Vettel secures pole in between red flags

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

Sebastian Vettel has secured pole position during today's qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli is second, Lewis Hamilton third. The session was disrupted by 3 crashes, with especially Timo Glock's a violent off track excursion with possible injuries.

The qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix will be held under clear skies. Sebastian Buemi did not seem to like that prospect a lot and crashed off the circuit on his first timed lap. He hit the tyre barrier backwards but could still manage to get out of the gravel trap and return to the pits. It is however unlikely he will be able to return to the track in time.

10 minutes later, Vettel puts in the fastest time, he looks already secure for a move through to Q2. So is Hamilton and Button who are second and third fastest.

Meanwhile Kovalainen is struggling with his car and also slipping off the track in the same area as Buemi did. Just when the clock stops, Kovalainen manages to get through to Q2, knocking out Fisichella, another dwindling performance of the Italian at Ferrari. Nakajima, Grosjean and Luizzi are out with him.

Mark Webber didn't even compete in this qualifying session as the Australian went off track during this morning's free practice. The event damaged his car so that his team will need to replace the chassis.

Buemi on the other hand managed to get back on track and easily secured his place in Q2.

The only remaining Ferrari, that of Kimi Raikkonen, kicks off Q2. He is followed by Jenson Button. 2 minutes later Alguersuari is also on track, but soon after off again. He went too wide and was unable to steer his car away from the tyre barrier. The Spaniard went crashed head on but could step out of the car without much trouble.

As the crash required the deployment of the medical car, the session is stopped briefly with a red flag.

5 minutes later the session is restarted with both Toyota's taking the track immediately. Trulli sets the fastest lap, but Timo Glock loses control of his car upon approaching the finish line. The German also hits the tyre barrier hard, causing another red flag.

The impact this time appeared even harder than Alguersuari. This time the driver stays in his car until the medical crew was there to extract him. Glock immediately threw out his steering wheel after crashing but it is so far unclear why he is not getting out of his car himself.

10 minutes later he is extracted from the car and carried into an ambulance. A thumb up makes us believe that he will be fine, but tomorrow's race may very well be in danger for him.

When the lights go green again, 58 minutes after the start of qualifying, there are 7 minutes left on the clock in Q2. Alonso and Rosberg are the first out on track.

Lewis Hamilton follows suit and is the first to beat Trulli's time. Even Sebastian Vettel who crosses the line a minute later is unable to improve on Trulli during his first attempt. A second flying lap on the same option tyres proves more succesful and puts him in P1.

The Brawns are out on track late in the session and have only one lap to qualify for Q3. They both do, but both during a yellow flag situation caused by Buemi who went through the grass after spoon curve. He lost his front wing in the event but managed to get back to the pitlane without trouble.

It remains to be seen what will happen with these yellow flag times, but most likely those will be scrapped from the board. Fernando Alonso is waiting for the same to happen as he is standing at the technical box with his helmet still on. He is currently 12th, so a yellow flag decision can be important for him to move on to Q3.

Eliminated are Rosberg, Alonso, Kubica, Glock and Alguersuari. The session gets underway with no decision yet on the Brawn times. They will most likely endure a backlash after qualifying has finished.

Only 2 minutes in Q3, Kovalainen is off the track, again in turn 8. His car is only damaged by a slight hit in the barriers sideways. The Finn is out of the car immediately, but a red flag is raised for precautionary measures at a time that nobody has yet set a time in the final session. There are 6:49 to go.

Raikkonen and Trulli are the first men out after the red flag. Raikkonen has been put on track on the harder tyre and will run 3 or 4 timed laps to ensure a good grid position.

Trulli meanwhile entered his stand again while Sutil is also out on track, followed by everyone except Brawn. The championship leaders look set to go for one single attempt, all-or-nothing.

Vettel is on the quicker option tyre and easily goes faster than Raikkonen. Moments later Trulli puts himself in between them. Button puts himself in 7th place, Barrichello 5th in an incredibly hectic final part of this qualifying.

Results

Pos.DriverTeamTime
1S. VettelRed Bull Racing1:32.160
2J. TrulliToyota1:32.220
3L. HamiltonMcLaren1:32.395
4A. SutilForce India F11:32.466
5R. BarrichelloBrawn GP1:32.660
6N. HeidfeldBMW1:32.945
7J. ButtonBrawn GP1:32.962
8K. RäikkönenFerrari1:32.980
9H. KovalainenMcLarenno time
10S. BuemiScuderia Toro Rossono time
11N. RosbergWilliams1:31.103
12F. AlonsoRenault1:31.638
13R. KubicaBMW1:32.341
14T. GlockToyotano time
15J. AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rossono time
16G. FisichellaFerrari1:31.704
17K. NakajimaWilliams1:31.718
18R. GrosjeanRenault1:32.073
19V. LiuzziForce India F11:32.087


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