Japanese GP – Qualifying – Pole to Hamilton

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After some weather worries the qualifying had taken part and weather permitted all 3 sessions. The track was pretty much in the clouds at some parts especially during the Q1. Some rain kept falling all the time. Track conditions seemed to be improving for a while, with best around half the way through the Q2.
Q1 was not too good to the “home” teams and drivers. Yamamoto, Sato, Davidson (Super Aguri), Barrichello (Honda), Wurz (Williams-Toyota) were all eliminated. Ralf Schumacher made it to Q2, but his collisions with Yamamoto wrecked his car and ended his day. However the uncertainty about the weather caused non stop action during the race, with all the cars trying improve their times all the time, just in case the weather does not permit the qualifying to continue.

Q2 saw impressive times from Vettel and Button, both unusually making it to Q3.
Q3 began with the usual fuel burn. The McLarens seemed to have an upper hand most of the time. But at the final stages Raikkonen only missed Alonso’s pole setting time by 7 hundreds. At that time Hamilton was still on his flying lap and managed to leapfrog both Raikkonen and Alonso. This means all McLaren front row on a track that should suit McLaren better than Ferrari. However with the unpredictable weather, and 85% chance of rain reported for the race, anything can happen tomorrow.
This was very good day for Button and Vettel. This was only second time Vettel made it to Q3, but first time in Toro Rosso… Pretty remarkable… Button will be starting from 3rd row after Rosberg’s 10 place grid penalty… Considering how Barrichello’s day went, Button’s performance was impressive…

This race will not be an easy one to predict :-)

Qualifying Results Japanese GP, Fuji:

1. L. Hamilton – McLaren – 1:25.368
2. F. Alonso – McLaren – 1:25.438
3. K. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:25.516
4. F. Massa – Ferrari – 1:25.765
5. N. Heidfeld – BMW – 1:26.505
6. N. Rosberg – Williams – 1:26.728 (10 places grid penalty)
7. J. Button – Honda – 1:26.913
8. M. Webber – Red Bull – 1:26.914
9. S. Vettel – Toro Rosso – 1:26.973
10. R. Kubica – BMW – 1:27.225
11. G. Fisichella – Renault – 1:26.033
12. H. Kovalainen – Renault – 1:26.247
13. D. Coulthard – Red Bull – 1:26.247
14. J. Trulli – Toyota – 1:26.253
15. V. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1:26.948
16. R. Schumacher – Toyota – no time
17. R. Barrichello – Honda – 1:27.323
18. A. Wurz – Williams – 1:27.454
19. A. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1:27.564
20. A. Sutil – Spyker – 1:28.628
21. T. Sato – Super Aguri – 1:28.792
22. S. Yamamoto – Spyker – 1:29.668

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2013 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
1. Sebastian VETTEL
2 Mark WEBBER
Ferrari
3. Fernando ALONSO
4. Felipe MASSA
McLaren
5. Jenson BUTTON
6. Sergio PEREZ
Lotus
7. Kimi RAIKKONEN
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Toro Rosso
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