Japanese Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position in qualifying at Suzuka, leading a Ferrari front row ahead of Charles Leclerc.
Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. The four time World Champion put in two flying laps in Q3 that was good enough for pole position, with his first flying lap of 1:27.212 faster than teammate Charles Leclerc and both Mercedes drivers on their first runs.
Leclerc tried again, but failed to improve on his own best time and was forced to settle for P2 as Vettel lowered his laptime to 1:27.064 to claim an emphatic pole position by quarter of a second.
Mercedes didn’t have an answer for Ferrari’s pace, with Valtteri Bottas forced to settle for P3 and 0.040 down on Leclerc. The Finn’s time was just 0.009 clear of Lewis Hamilton, with the championship leader thus starting from P4.
Max Verstappen and Alex Albon finished qualifying in P5 & P6 with the exact same laptime but, as Verstappen set the time first, he starts ahead of Albon.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished in P7 & P8 respectively as McLaren led the battle of the midfield, while Pierre Gasly was P9 for Toro Rosso. Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten for Haas.
Antonio Giovinazzi won the battle of the Alfa Romeos by finishing P11, with Kimi Raikkonen in P13 and just over a tenth behind his teammate – they were split by Lance Stroll for Racing Point.
Daniil Kvyat was P14 in the second Toro Rosso, with Nico Hulkenberg in P15 after encountering a hydraulic pressure issue in Q2 and unable to put in a flying lap.
Daniel Ricciardo rounded off a bad qualifying session for Renault by finishing in P16, while Sergio Perez finished P17 for Racing Point. George Russell was P18 for Williams, while Kevin Magnussen crashed out of Q1 in his Haas. Losing the rear out of the chicane, he crashed backwards into the barriers. This means it’s a race against time for Haas to get his car ready for the race in three hours time. Robert Kubica also made a similar mistake, running wide out of the chicane starting his first flying lap in Q1. Williams are also working hard to get his car ready for the race.