Sebastian Vettel continued his pole position dominance as he set the fastest time in the Saturday Qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Jenson Button tried hard to match or better Vettel’s time but he could only manage second fastest for McLaren whilst Lewis Hamilton failed to set a time in his second running but his initial time was good enough for him to finish third fastest.
Felipe Massa was P4 ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Michael Schumacher was P7 with Bruno Senna P8, Vitaly Petrov P9 and Kamui Kobayashi rounding off the top ten.
Pole position seemed going McLaren’s way as Hamilton had set the fastest time in the initial stages of Q1 and when the cars trundled out for their second stints on newer tyres, Hamilton dallied on his in-lap and couldn’t cross the start/finish line ahead of the chequered flag and hence could not better his initial time. That meant Vettel only had Button as a realistic competitor for the fastest time and as they finished their laps, the gap between them was only nine-thousandths of a second. Vettel had did it again…it was his fifteenth pole position this season.
Q1 had the local hero Kamui Kobayashi topping the timesheets for Sauber with Force India’s Adrian Sutil second – both of them on the faster soft tyre compound. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was third fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Vitaly Petrov. Jenson Button was sixth fastest with Vettel just behind him. But the name of the game in Q1 is to make it to the next session and the biggest casualty of that was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who failed to notch a time due to a hydraulics problem and will start 23rd. Joining him at the tail end of the grid were the two Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen & Jarno Trulli, the two Virgins of Timo Glock & Jerome d’Ambrosio and the two HRTs of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo.