Japanese GP Qualifying: Sebastian Vettel takes superb Ferrari pole
Sebastian Vettel has secures a pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix this Sunday as Ferrari surprised opponent Mercedes to seal a front-row lockout.
The session was pushed back by 19 hours due to the Super Typhoon approaching – Hagibis. Vettel did well with his Q3 in two laps where he was faster than his opponents. He then claimed his first pole since the Canadian Grand Prix and Ferrari’s fifth consecutive pole.
Vettel said that he was surprised to have won and did not expect the front-row. Charles Leclerc stood second even though he had taken four poles before this for Scuderia. He was two-tenths slower than Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari was praised as being unreal by Paul Di Resta who said it was an epic GP.
Mercedes dominated its opponents on Friday but was taken over by Ferrari in the final shootout. Both Bottas and Hamilton managed third and fourth spots.
This is the first time that the Silver Arrows haven’t sealed a one-two in the Japanese GP, qualifying in the hybrid-era, while no wins over Suzuka have been recorded in history.
Ferrari seemed to be untouchable and came out of nowhere according to Bottas and Toto Wolff of Mercedes.
Max Verstappen stood fifth for Red Bull and 0.787 seconds off pole. Alex Albon surprised the team by matching Max’s time.
Both McLarens qualified through to Q3 along with Carlos Sainz. They defeated Lando Norris, but Pierre Gasly and Romain Grosjean will be able to begin at the top 10 of the race.
The typhoon passed overnight in Suzuka and the sun made an appearance in Japan, but extreme winds caught Robert Kubica and Kevin Magnussen at the onset. They crashed into the barriers at the final corner and were red-flagged twice in the beginning.
Williams and Haas now will have a great responsibility to fulfill by readying the car for a short turnaround. Renault suffered a nightmare qualifier when Daniel Ricciardo was knocked out in Q1. Nico Hulkenberg was one place above Ricciardo on 15th with issues arising in Q2.
Williams and Haas have a big job on their hands to get their cars ready for the race with a short turnaround.
Renault, meanwhile, had a nightmare qualifying as Daniel Ricciardo was knocked out in Q1, while Nico Hulkenberg was only a place above him in 15th and suffered a reliability issue during Q2.