In a difficult session that saw Mark Webber not take part and several red flags caused by drivers going off-track, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has triumphed in taking pole position for tomorrow’s race. The first of the day’s incidents actually took place in the third practice session prior to qualifying, when Mark Webber ploughed his RB5 into the barrier at the second Degner Curve. Although unhurt in the accident, the car was badly damaged and forced the Australian to sit out of qualifying. Webber is expected to start the race from the pitlane.
Vitantonio Liuzzi also endured a troubled start to the weekend with a gear box change, prompting a five-grid slot penalty. Although having only qualified ahead of Webber, the punishment will see no change of grid position for the Italian unless he decides to also start from the pitlane.
The first incident during qualifying came from Scuderia Toro Rosso pilot Jaime Alguersuari. Again at the Degner Curves, Alguersuari ran wide on his entry and hit the barriers. Although the Spaniard had to be assisted from the car, it was later announced Jaime was unhurt and cleared to race tomorrow.
The second of the red flags to be posted was in result to Timo Glock having a sizable accident coming out of the final chicane. The Toyota pilot skated of the gravel and smashed into the barriers, causing not only a red flag but the medical car to be in attendance as well. Timo suffered a cut leg and complained of back pain after being extricated from the TF109. As a precaution, Glock has been airlifted to hospital, but scans have apparently shown there is no serious damage to the driver. Toyota have stated they will make a decision early Sunday morning as to whether or not Glock would race (if cleared by the FIA). Test driver Kamui Kobayashi, who stood in for Glock during practice as the German driver is also recovering from a fever, is on stand-by to deputise again but the Japanese driver’s inclusion would require all other teams to unanimously agree to it.
Not escaping moments themselves, Sebastien Buemi also crashed in the second session which meant that although the Swiss pilot had made it through to Q3, could not set a time. Heikki Kovalainen also suffered incident after he too felt the magnetic force of the Degner tyre barrier.
And so after a hectic session at the returning Suzuka circuit, Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position from Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton. Adrian Sutil managed a great fourth place while Rubens Barrichello helps his championship cause by out-qualifying team mate Jenson Button, fifth to seventh respectively. Sebastien Buemi placed his Scuderia Toro Rosso in tenth despite failing to set a lap in Q3 and Nick Heidfeld continues BMW’s renaissance by qualifying in sixth.
|1.||Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing||1m30.883s||1m30.341s||1m32.160s|
|2.||Jarno Trulli Toyota||1m31.063s||1m30.737s||1m32.220s|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||1m30.917s||1m30.627s||1m32.395s|
|4.||Adrian Sutil Force India||1m31.386s||1m31.222s||1m32.466s|
|5.||Rubens Barrichello Brawn||1m31.272s||1m31.055s||1m32.660s|
|6.||Nick Heidfeld BMW||1m31.501s||1m31.260s||1m32.945s|
|7.||Jenson Button Brawn||1m31.041s||1m30.880s||1m32.962s|
|8.||Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari||1m31.288s||1m31.052s||1m32.980s|
|9.||Heikki Kovalainen McLaren||1m31.499s||1m31.223s||No Time|
|10.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m31.196s||1m31.103s||No Time|
|11.||Nico Rosberg Williams||1m31.286s||1m31.482s|
|12.||Fernando Alonso Renault||1m31.401s||1m31.638s|
|13.||Robert Kubica BMW||1m31.417s||1m32.341s|
|14.||Timo Glock Toyota||1m31.550s||No Time|
|15.||Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m31.571s||No Time|
|16.||Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari||1m31.704s|
|17.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||1m31.718s|
|18.||Romain Grosjean Renault||1m32.073s|
|19.||Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India||1m32.087s|
|20.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||No Time|