Stats from Suzuka Qualifying
Sebastian Vettel romped to pole position and then endured a long wait to see if he would get to keep it. A time of 1 minute 30.839 early in the final qualifying session was good enough to clinch the front spot. Kimi Raikkonen subsequently spun out, and the resultant yellow flags hindered anyone else’s chances of improving their times. However, after a long investigation Vettel was adjudged to have hindered championship rival, Fernando Alonso but escaped with a reprimand. No such luck for Jean-Eric Vergne, though, who was moved back three places for getting in the way of Bruno Senna.
- This is Sebastian Vettel’s fourth pole position of 2012 and his fourth successive pole at Suzuka. Sebastian’s 34th pole moves him into 3rd place in the all-time pole standings table with a ratio of 0.36 from his 95 starts.
- Mark Webber’s second place sees Red Bull take their first front row lock-out of the season, they last achieved that feat in Brazil last year.
- Sixteen drivers have taken a new engine at this event. Button, Hamilton, Schumacher, Rosberg and Kobayashi have taken their eighth engine of the season; taking a new engine beyond the eight allowed will incur them a 10-place grid drop.
Qualifying Lap Times
|1. Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:30.839|
|2. Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:31.090|
|10. Hulkenberg¹||Force India-Mercedes||no time|
|Q2 cut-off time:||1:32.272|
|12. di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:32.327|
|16. Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:32.954|
|17. Vergne³||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:33.368|
|Q1 cut-off time:||1:33.370|
|21. de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:35.385|
107% time: 1:38.471
¹ Button and Hulkenberg each received a 5-place penalty for a replacement gearbox and will start from 8th and 15th position respectively.
² Schumacher received a 10-place penalty for a collision at the Singapore GP, he starts the race from 23rd position.
³ Vergne received a 3-place grid drop for impeding Bruno Senna in Q1, he starts the race from 20th position.
Best Sector Times
What are your predictions for the race? Did Jean-Eric Vergne get off lightly with his grid drop? How about Sebastian Vettel? Did the yellow flag have much effect on the final shoot-out? Who was lucky and who was unlucky today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…
Photo: Red Bull Racing/Clive Rose/Getty Images