Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has stormed to pole position at Suzuka, for the fourth year in a row. He is joined by his team-mate Mark Webber, who had been looking good for pole position before a silly mistake by Raikkonen sent him into a spin which brought out the Yellow Flags with just seconds to go, forcing all ten drivers to slow down during what should have been the climax of Qualifying. The surprise of the Q3 was Kamui Kobayashi finishing 4th on the grid, but to start 3rd after Jenson Button was handed his 5-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
Romain Grosjean set a fast time to start fourth on the gird after qualifying fifth. Sergio Perez, who will be at McLaren next year, was a brilliant 5th ahead of Fernando Alonso, who seems to be ever-so-slightly loosing sight of the Championship. Behind him is Kimi Raikkonen who lost control of his car in Turn 16. Jenson Button was demoted from 3rd to 8th and starts just ahead of his team-mate who could do no better than 9th. Felipe Massa starts from 10th after gaining one place because of Nico Hulkenberg’s gearbox penalty; Hulkenberg will start 15th. Behind Massa is Paul Di Resta followed by Pastor Maldonado and the off-pace Nico Rosberg in 13th. Daniel Ricciardo was in 14th, who’s ahead of the penalised Hulkenberg in 15th and they are followed by Bruno Senna who was blocked by a very slow-moving Jean-Eric Vergne in the last chicane. Although, If he had kept driving, instead of waving at Vergne, he would have made it through to the next round. Vergne was given a three-place penalty for the race and will start in 19th.
Heikki Kovalainen is the best back-marker today, lining up 17th ahead of Marussia driver Timo Glock in 18th and HRT’s Pedro De La Rosa in 20th. Charles Pic, who was given a reprimand for dangerously blocking Hamilton in FP3, lines up 21st, followed by Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher in 23rd who was given a 10 place grid-penalty for his collision with Vergne in Singapore, 2 weeks ago. Narain Karthikeyan lines up 24th, and last.
* At the time this article was written, Vettel was under investigation for impeding Alonso.