Vettel continues Suzuka dominance with pole (Japanese Grand Prix qualifying)

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2010

Sebastian Vettel remains the man to beat at Suzuka after taking pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.

He leads an all-Red Bull front row at Suzuka while Robert Kubica will start from third position.

Lewis Hamilton qualified third but will start from eighth due to his penalty. Robert Kubica’s Renault will take third on the grid instead.

Q1

The first part of qualifying was very busy, with drivers doing many laps as the track conditions improved rapidly.

A few damp spots around the circuit were not enough to lead most teams into using anything other than slicks – with the exception of McLaren, who sent both their drivers out on intermediates.

Despite a busy session for traffic there were few surprises in Q1. The three new teams were eliminated as usual along with one of the Toro Rossos – Sebastien Buemi, who said he’d been held up by an HRT on his last effort.

Driver eliminated in Q1

18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.568
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’35.346
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’35.464
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’36.265
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’36.332
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’37.270
24 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’37.365

Q2

The shock of Q2 was Felipe Massa failing to make the cut for Q3. He looked on course to improve on his final tour but a slow middle sector left him 12th.

Nick Heidfeld was on the cusp of making it through into the top ten in the Sauber. But he was demoted at the end by Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes.

It was another poor qualifying session for Force India, with Adrian Sutil 15th, two places ahead of his team mate.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’32.187
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’32.321
13 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’32.422
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’32.427
15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’32.659
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.071
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’33.154

Q3

Jenson Button made an unusual gamble to use the hard tyres in Q3. It seemed to pay off to begin with, as he moved up to fourth place with his first lap.

But he couldn’t improve on his final run, and later said they should have done a single lap and took the benefit of running with less fuel.

Sebastian Vettel put in another virtuoso performance to take pole position, clearly revelling in the RB6’s massive downforce on the Suzuka circuit.

But Mark Webber got within a few hundredths of his flying team mate to take second place and complete an all-Red Bull front row.

Lewis Hamilton took third place despite failing to improve in the first sector on his final lap. But his gearbox change penalty means he will start the race from eighth place.

Taking third in his place will be Robert Kubica, who qualified ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’30.785
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’30.853
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.169
4 Robert Kubica Renault 1’31.231
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’31.352
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.378
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’31.494
8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’31.535
9 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’31.559
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’31.846

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.035 1’31.184 (-0.851) 1’30.785 (-0.399)
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.476 1’31.241 (-1.235) 1’30.853 (-0.388)
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.809 1’31.523 (-1.286) 1’31.169 (-0.354)
4 Robert Kubica Renault 1’32.808 1’32.042 (-0.766) 1’31.231 (-0.811)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’32.555 1’31.819 (-0.736) 1’31.352 (-0.467)
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.636 1’31.763 (-0.873) 1’31.378 (-0.385)
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.238 1’31.886 (-0.352) 1’31.494 (-0.392)
8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’32.361 1’31.874 (-0.487) 1’31.535 (-0.339)
9 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’32.211 1’31.926 (-0.285) 1’31.559 (-0.367)
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’32.513 1’32.073 (-0.440) 1’31.846 (-0.227)
11 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.011 1’32.187 (-0.824)
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’32.721 1’32.321 (-0.400)
13 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’32.849 1’32.422 (-0.427)
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’32.783 1’32.427 (-0.356)
15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’33.186 1’32.659 (-0.527)
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.471 1’33.071 (-0.400)
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’33.216 1’33.154 (-0.062)
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.568
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’35.346
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’35.464
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’36.265
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’36.332
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’37.270
24 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’37.365

Ultimate laps

A drivers’ ultimate lap is his best sector times added together.

1’30.7661’30.8081’31.0971’31.2131’31.2311’31.3781’31.4191’31.5071’31.5351’31.7631’32.1191’32.1281’32.1871’32.3841’32.5941’32.6221’32.6611’33.3691’35.3391’35.4501’36.2651’36.2801’37.1861’37.338
Driver Car Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best Actual position
1 5 Sebastian Vettel 0.019 1
2 6 Mark Webber 0.042 0.045 2
3 2 Lewis Hamilton 0.331 0.072 3
4 8 Fernando Alonso 0.447 0.139 5
5 11 Robert Kubica 0.465 0.000 4
6 1 Jenson Button 0.612 0.000 6
7 4 Nico Rosberg 0.653 0.075 7
8 10 Nico H???lkenberg 0.741 0.052 9
9 9 Rubens Barrichello 0.769 0.000 8
10 3 Michael Schumacher 0.997 0.083 10
11 7 Felipe Massa 1.353 0.202 12
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi 1.362 0.299 14
13 22 Nick Heidfeld 1.421 0.000 11
14 12 Vitaly Petrov 1.618 0.038 13
15 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi 1.828 0.560 17
16 14 Adrian Sutil 1.856 0.037 15
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari 1.895 0.410 16
18 16 Sebastien Buemi 2.603 0.199 18
19 18 Jarno Trulli 4.573 0.007 19
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen 4.684 0.014 20
21 25 Lucas di Grassi 5.499 0.000 21
22 24 Timo Glock 5.514 0.052 22
23 21 Bruno Senna 6.420 0.084 23
24 20 Sakon Yamamoto 6.572 0.027 24

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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40 comments on Vettel continues Suzuka dominance with pole (Japanese Grand Prix qualifying)

  1. Zatarra said on 10th October 2010, 3:23

    I bow before You, Robert !

  2. Rahim RG said on 10th October 2010, 3:33

    Good Job Robert and Vettel
    But i think Button did a Great Job too on Hard tyres….Will be interest Tomorrow….I Mean Today :)

  3. Mighty improvement from Williams! were consistently among top 6. Force India should forget catching them and just focus on next year…

  4. Any advantage on starting 1 vs 2?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th October 2010, 4:11

      First is further ahead…

      In terms of grip, P1 is on the racing line but clean/dirty effect will be diminished by all the rain that fell yesterday.

      • DaveW said on 10th October 2010, 5:15

        So we have better odds of seeing two purple cars plunge into turn 1 wheel to wheel. Can’t hardly wait. Given how those two start, I see Bobby Kubica through the esses first, one way or another.

  5. Darren said on 10th October 2010, 3:38

    Whats will the WC points be if Vet finishes 1st and Web 2nd?

    • Webber will have extended his championship lead by 3 pts to 14pts, Vettel into second place and Alonso down to at best 3rd. All of which would leave Vettel needing to beat Webber in at least two of the remaining three races to have a chance.

    • Assuming everybody else will DNF?

      • It doesn’t matter about the rest as Vettel will at worst be in second place with a win and Webber will retain a lead in the championship with a podium.

      • If you mean for the rest of season, no, that’s simply the minimum necessary requirement for Vettel going forward given a 1-2 for RB in Suzuka.

  6. What’s the potential penalty for Hamilton if the stewards say he blocked Hulkenberg? If its just one grid slot it won’t make much difference would it?

  7. F1Fan said on 10th October 2010, 3:39

    Kubica is in the top-5 drivers of this year’s grid, no doubt about it. One more poor start for Webber, and both Kubica and Alonso will jump him.

  8. Rahim RG said on 10th October 2010, 3:40

    Yea i think Hulkenberg Just Couldn’t improve due to Hamilton in front he was already a second slow in 1st Sector…

  9. Dorian said on 10th October 2010, 3:41

    Cracking drive from Kubica!!! What a result!!

    Can’t wait to see what he does in a championship winning car!….Hope Renault make a big step forward in 2011

  10. Frishy101 (@frishy101) said on 10th October 2010, 3:57

    Hamilton under investigation for blocking Hulkenberg during Q3 according to espnf1.

    http://en.espnf1.com/japan/motorsport/story/30720.html

  11. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 10th October 2010, 4:29

    A good session, first what was going on between Schumacher & Alonso in Q1, will Schumi be penalize for that? I understand he was on his flying lap while Alonso was on his warm-up lap.Bad for Ferrari as they needed him to perform here, the car understeer a lot in those slow corners I wonder with the lack of running in FP3 played a part.The race will be interesting as not only we have the 5 title contender but we too also have the Williams who looks strong & with them Kubica who can upset some today.

    My top 3 two Red Bulls whoever gets a good start & Alonso P3.

  12. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 10th October 2010, 4:36

    Vettel has had (is this his 8th?) poles and 2 wins this season and 3 FL’s. Not a very good job of converting those poles into victories.

    Alonso has had 2 poles and 4 victories, and has set FL 4 times.

    Yes the RB is quick but I’m going for the race pace of the Ferrari to win this one.

  13. Anagh said on 10th October 2010, 4:37

    watz with Force Indiaz bad performance? Some time ago they were really good? and they were supsd to introduce new parts? What hapnd there?

  14. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th October 2010, 4:40

    Two and a half hours before the start of the race there’s a thin but growing band of showers heading towards the circuit. Remains to be seen when and if they might hit the track.

  15. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 10th October 2010, 5:13

    Senna and Sato to pilot a pair of JPS liveried Lotus around Suzuka. :)

    5LiveF1 BBC 5Live F1 Team
    Gorgeous machinery!! http://yfrog.com/jw26owj

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