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

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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.


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

18Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.568
19Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’35.346
20Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’35.464
21Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’36.265
22Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’36.332
23Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’37.270
24Sakon YamamotoHRT-Cosworth1’37.365


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

11Nick HeidfeldSauber-Ferrari1’32.187
12Felipe MassaFerrari1’32.321
13Vitaly PetrovRenault1’32.422
14Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’32.427
15Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’32.659
16Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.071
17Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’33.154


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

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’30.785
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’30.853
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’31.169
4Robert KubicaRenault1’31.231
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’31.352
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’31.378
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’31.494
8Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’31.535
9Nico HulkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’31.559
10Michael SchumacherMercedes1’31.846

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’32.0351’31.184 (-0.851)1’30.785 (-0.399)
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’32.4761’31.241 (-1.235)1’30.853 (-0.388)
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.8091’31.523 (-1.286)1’31.169 (-0.354)
4Robert KubicaRenault1’32.8081’32.042 (-0.766)1’31.231 (-0.811)
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’32.5551’31.819 (-0.736)1’31.352 (-0.467)
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.6361’31.763 (-0.873)1’31.378 (-0.385)
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’32.2381’31.886 (-0.352)1’31.494 (-0.392)
8Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’32.3611’31.874 (-0.487)1’31.535 (-0.339)
9Nico HulkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’32.2111’31.926 (-0.285)1’31.559 (-0.367)
10Michael SchumacherMercedes1’32.5131’32.073 (-0.440)1’31.846 (-0.227)
11Nick HeidfeldSauber-Ferrari1’33.0111’32.187 (-0.824)
12Felipe MassaFerrari1’32.7211’32.321 (-0.400)
13Vitaly PetrovRenault1’32.8491’32.422 (-0.427)
14Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’32.7831’32.427 (-0.356)
15Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’33.1861’32.659 (-0.527)
16Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.4711’33.071 (-0.400)
17Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’33.2161’33.154 (-0.062)
18Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.568
19Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’35.346
20Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’35.464
21Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’36.265
22Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’36.332
23Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’37.270
24Sakon YamamotoHRT-Cosworth1’37.365

Ultimate laps

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

DriverCarUltimate lapGapDeficit to bestActual position
15Sebastian Vettel1’30.7660.0191
26Mark Webber1’30.8080.0420.0452
32Lewis Hamilton1’31.0970.3310.0723
48Fernando Alonso1’31.2130.4470.1395
511Robert Kubica1’31.2310.4650.0004
61Jenson Button1’31.3780.6120.0006
74Nico Rosberg1’31.4190.6530.0757
810Nico Hulkenberg1’31.5070.7410.0529
99Rubens Barrichello1’31.5350.7690.0008
103Michael Schumacher1’31.7630.9970.08310
117Felipe Massa1’32.1191.3530.20212
1223Kamui Kobayashi1’32.1281.3620.29914
1322Nick Heidfeld1’32.1871.4210.00011
1412Vitaly Petrov1’32.3841.6180.03813
1515Vitantonio Liuzzi1’32.5941.8280.56017
1614Adrian Sutil1’32.6221.8560.03715
1717Jaime Alguersuari1’32.6611.8950.41016
1816Sebastien Buemi1’33.3692.6030.19918
1918Jarno Trulli1’35.3394.5730.00719
2019Heikki Kovalainen1’35.4504.6840.01420
2125Lucas di Grassi1’36.2655.4990.00021
2224Timo Glock1’36.2805.5140.05222
2321Bruno Senna1’37.1866.4200.08423
2420Sakon Yamamoto1’37.3386.5720.02724

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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

    1. I bow before You, Robert !

      1. He always shines on circuits with dangerous consequences. The circuits that separate the men from the boys if you will. Kubica is certainly a man.

        1. The Polish Mansell perhaps?

          1. Well after Q2 it was like 7-10 fight for Rob.
            He and Lewis- master class.

      2. I think his car is pretty good on these tracks. I bet if he had rosberg as a team mate he wouldn’t look so special.

        1. Yes he would. Kubica’s better.

        2. I think he’d still look good, perhaps even more so, at the moment, it’s almost like he is in a one car team. If he had a bigger name against him, people would think even more of him.

          3rd in a car is supposedly a high mid table car… Not bad at all!…

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. I don’t agree: Webber can afford to lose point to Vettel but not to Alonso. He’ll take it easy.

            1. I think he means get-aways from the line. They both got pretty good starts in Singapore so maybe they’ve fixed that issue.

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

      1. 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.

      2. Assuming everybody else will DNF?

        1. 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.

        2. 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?

      1. 10 place grid drop, isn’t it? I think that has been the penalty for blocking all season.

      2. Generally Williams let things go, So I guess they should be right on that one.

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

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

      1. Well to add to that it’s reported that Lewis has an ear infection as well.

        He’s having one rough weekend.

        1. Any news on Schumacher ALonso incident in Q1?

    11. 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. 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.

      1. Yep this is his eighth pole in 16 races this year.

    13. 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. 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.

      1. The official website is claim that there will be thunderstorm at the time of the race, we still may have the last piece of drama left this weekend.

        1. You have to be kidding me! This is going to be magnificent! :D

          1. AAAAABSOLUTELY FAAAANTASTIC! I would say. =)

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

      5LiveF1 BBC 5Live F1 Team
      Gorgeous machinery!!

    16. According to 5LiveF1 no penalty for Hamilton for impeding Hulkenburg.!/5LiveF1

    17. Whitmarsh explains the decision as to why Macca didn’t make the free gearbox change for Hamilton.

      Well that came back to bite them on the ….

      1. I don’t really get their logic about trying to stretch the gearbox switch. Isn’t a team allowed to switch out a gearbox due to accident damage?

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