Japanese GP: Vettel on pole as Ferrari locks out front row

Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position with a commanding performance in qualifying for Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix, as Ferrari overturned Mercedes’ practice pace advantage to lock out the front row.

Japanese GP: Vettel on pole as Ferrari locks out front row

Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position with a commanding performance in qualifying for Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix, as Ferrari overturned Mercedes' practice pace advantage to lock out the front row.
Vettel led the way throughout Q3 at Suzuka, setting a 1m27.2s lap on his first run and improving to a 1m27.0s best on his final run to claim his first pole since June's Canadian Grand Prix.

Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc found three tenths of a second between his two Q3 runs, but missed out on making it five poles in a row and saw his streak of nine straight qualifying victories over Vettel come to an end.

Having dominated Friday practice, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both had disappointing first runs in Q3 to lie third and fourth, behind the Ferraris.

Bottas, who led the way in both Friday sessions, improved to 1m27.2s on his final run but still missed out on the front row by 0.040s.

Championship leader Hamilton was less than one hundredth of a second behind in fourth.

Max Verstappen, who suffered a power loss on his Red Bull-Honda in Q2, and teammate Alex Albon set identical times in locking out row three of the grid. Verstappen claimed fifth by setting his 1m27.851s lap before Albon did.

Carlos Sainz continued his strong form by again qualifying best of the rest for McLaren, 0.160s clear of teammate Lando Norris.

Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso-Honda and Romain Grosjean's Haas rounded out the top 10, Gasly almost four tenths down on Norris and Grosjean over half a second adrift of Gasly.

Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Lance Stroll (Racing Point) and Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) narrowly missed out on the top 10 during the late flurry of improvements at the end of Q2.

Giovinazzi was just over a tenth adrift of Grosjean, while Stroll and Raikkonen missed the cut by just over two tenths.

Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) was two tenths further back after making only a modest gain on his final run, while Nico Hulkenberg was cut well adrift in 15th.

Hulkenberg was unable to complete the session after suffering a "major problem" on his Renault. He complained of feeling something "funny" with the power steering and gear shift on his out-lap.

Daniel Ricciardo missed out on Q2 by just under a tenth of a second in the other Renault, despite finding six tenths of a second between his first and second runs in Q1.

Sergio Perez's Racing Point was 17th, half a second down on Ricciardo and only 0.020s faster than George Russell's improved Williams.

The lack of grip and windy conditions early on in qualifying appeared to catch out Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Robert Kubica (Williams), who both crashed out at the kink just before the start/finish line before setting a time.

Kubica struck the barrier at the end of his out-lap, wrecking his Williams and causing the session to be red-flagged.

Replays showed Kubica understeering off the circuit onto the grass on the outside as he tried to negotiate the kink. He described it as a "f***ing joke" before trudging back to the pits.

Magnussen then hit the barrier after going off at the same spot shortly after the session resumed, causing a second red flag.

The Haas driver lost control of the rear of his car, and managed to limp back to the pits with front and rear wing damage after spinning into the barrier, but he did not re-emerge from the garage.

Qualifying results

Cla # Driver Chassis Engine Time
1 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari Ferrari 1'27.064
2 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari Ferrari 1'27.253
3 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes Mercedes 1'27.293
4 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Mercedes 1'27.302
5 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull Honda 1'27.851
6 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Red Bull Honda 1'27.851
7 55 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren Renault 1'28.304
8 4 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren Renault 1'28.464
9 10 France Pierre Gasly
Toro Rosso Honda 1'28.836
10 8 France Romain Grosjean
Haas Ferrari 1'29.341
11 99 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'29.254
12 18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point Mercedes 1'29.345
13 7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'29.358
14 26 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso Honda 1'29.563
15 27 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault Renault 1'30.112
16 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault Renault 1'29.822
17 11 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point Mercedes 1'30.344
18 63 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams Mercedes 1'30.364
19 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas Ferrari
20 88 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams Mercedes
shares
comments
Pirelli set to sign off 2020 F1 tyres ahead of Austin test
Previous article

Pirelli set to sign off 2020 F1 tyres ahead of Austin test

Next article

Ferrari "quite surprised" by Suzuka qualifying 1-2

Ferrari "quite surprised" by Suzuka qualifying 1-2
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Prime

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1's champion isn't fazed by Silverstone return Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1's champion isn't fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Prime

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue.

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Prime

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger .

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory Prime

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s Oleg Karpov on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow.

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc Prime

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career.

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Prime

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Prime

Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022