Vettel pips Button for Suzuka pole position

Sebastian Vettel muscled his way into pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was several thousands of a second ahead of Jenson Button, with teammate Lewis Hamilton failing to make his final run after a timing problem. Here is the full report:

Q1

Sebastian Vettel was out early in the session, setting a 1:33.051, with his teammate several hundreths of a second behind. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button soon went faster than the Red Bulls on the prime tyres.

Hamilton soon went 2nd, 0.02 seconds slower than Fernando. On the soft tyres, Adrian Sutil pipped the Ferrari for first place in the dying few minutes of the session. However, he was quickly displaced by Kamui Kobayashi.

Neither Nico Rosberg or Vitantonio Liuzzi left the pits after undisclosed problems with their cars. Jerome D’Ambrosio beat his teammate on his final flying run for 20th position.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:35.454

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:35.514

20) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:36.439

21) Timo Glock – 1:36.507

22) Daniel Ricciardo - 1:37.846

23) Nico Rosberg – No time

24) Vitantonio Liuzzi – No time

Q2

Vettel was once again out of the pits early, setting a 1:31.424, marginally ahead of Jenson Button. Lewis Hamilton then lowered the benchmark by 0.3 seconds.

Pastor Maldonado set his times on the medium tyres, and as a result was nowhere near progressing to Q3. Kamui Kobayashi went 8th, but was promptly pushed back by Vitaly Petrov, with Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna behind.

The Toro Rossos, following their promising practice pace, were relegated to 15th and 16th.

Sergio Perez became the third driver of the afternoon not to set a lap time in his session, and the Mexican will start 17th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil – 1:32.463

12) Paul di Resta – 1:32.746

13) Rubens Barrichell0 – 1:33.079

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:33.224

15) Sebastien Buemi – 1:33.227

16) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:33.427

17) Sergio Perez – No time

Q3

Kamui Kobayashi was the first car out of the pits for Q3, but pitted before setting a time. Fernando Alonso was the first man to set a flying lap, but the Ferrari ran wide at Spoon corner.

A 1:30.617 was Lewis Hamilton’s time, with Button and Vettel each a further 0.1 behind. Mark Webber was half a second off the leading group.

Only 6 out of 10 cars exited the pits for the final few minutes. Hamilton failed to cross the line by the chequered flag, Fernando Alonso went 5th, with Felipe Massa 4th. Sebastian Vettel pushed his way onto provisional pole, and Jenson Button missed out by only 0.009 seconds.

Mark Webber was 6th, with Michael Schumacher, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi all electing not to run in Q3.

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