Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in an incident filled Qualifying session which saw at least four drivers lose control of their cars and careened into the barriers. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start from P2 with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton P3. Force India had a resurgence of sorts with Adrian Sutil starting from P4 with the trailing Brawn of Rubens Barrichello beside him. Championship leader Jenson Button could only manage P7 with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld ahead of him. Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastian Buemi round off the top ten.
The Qualifying was in Japan and it meant the telecast was early in the morning, as compared to in the evenings for European races; and the heavy sleeper that I was, missed it all! From the race reports, it seemed to be quite a tricky session as limited running on Friday meant most of the teams were still in the dark about race setups, car balance etc. The session was red flagged thrice as Timo Glock, Jaime Algersuari, Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastian Buemi all had spins and shunts. The most high-profile casualty was Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who crashed out in free practice and the team couldn’t complete the repairs on his car in time for him to participate in the Qualifying session. He will start from the pit lane for Sunday’s race.
You can go through the race reports at BBC Sport and Formula1.com websites as I go ahead and set the alarm clock for tomorrow’s race
It is common knowledge by now that the erstwhile Spyker F1 team is now the Force India F1 team, after being taken over by a consortium (Orange India Holdings) led by maverick Indian Tycoon Dr. Vijay Mallya & European businessman Michiel Mol. The team has already concluded their winter testing at Catalunya and are hoping towards more productive testing across the beginning of next year. I came to know of their logo and website just today and both of them are pretty impressive; although there’s some room for improvement in the latter!
The car livery is predominantly white & maroon burgundy now and it remains to be seen if Mallya’s intentions of getting the tricolor onto the car will be fruitful. See all the pics of the Force India F1 car here.
The team’s journey will start with the 2008 season, at the Melbourne Grand Prix when the team’s newly designed livery, will be launched on track for the first time.
Adrian Sutil is their only “probably confirmed” driver for next season and speculation is rife as to who will partner him. The contenders include Vitantonio Liuzzi, Christian Klien and even Ralf Schumacher! Indian drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandok are also said to be in the fray; what with Karthikeyan relinquishing his Williams test driver role and Chandok donning the same role, albeit at Red Bull. As I say most often than not: only time will tell…