Tag Archives: qualifying

Rosberg takes first Mercedes pole in 57 years in China

Nico Rosberg took a surprise pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, causing a major upset by leading the field by half a second.

Michael Schumacher was 3rd, but will start alongside his teammate due to Lewis Hamilton’s grid drop. Kamui Kobayashi was a surprise 4th, and will start 3rd tomorrow. Here is what happened:

Q1

Paul di Resta started proceedings with a 1:38.190. This was promptly beaten by over a second by Lewis Hamilton, pushing ahead of his teammate.

Kamui Kobayashi split the McLarens, while Webber pipped Lewis for 1st place. Jenson got within 0.06 seconds of Mark’s time to demote Hamilton to 3rd.

Felipe Massa was struggling in 16th, so he was forced to use a set of the soft tyres to survive Q1. A final push on the new rubber put Massa on top of the timesheets. However, he was soon displaced by Romain Grosjean.

Despite having good pace, Perez decided to use the option in Q1 as well, and set a 1:36.198 to end the session on top. Jean-Eric Vergne was almost a second off his teammate’s time, and was knocked out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:37.714

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:38.676

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:38.677

21) Timo Glock – 1:39.282

22) Charles Pic – 1:39.717

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:40.411

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:41.127

Q2

Kamui Kobayashi was first out, setting a 1:35,962, but was soon displaced by Nico Rosberg. The top 5 were separated by 2 tenths of a second.

It was a poor start for Red Bull, with Vettel only 6th and Webber 9th. Romain Grosjean messed up his first attempt, and left it until the final few minutes to set his time.

The two Ferraris went on their final runs at the same time. Alonso did his best to trouble the frontrunners, but was only 6th, while Massa was 10th.

Mark Webber ended Q2 on top, while the Renaults shoved Sebastian Vettel out of the top 10 in the final minute. The double world champion will start 11th on the grid.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sebastian Vettel – 1:36.031

12) Felipe Massa – 1:36.255

13) Pastor Maldonado – 1:36.283

14) Bruno Senna – 1:36.289

15) Paul di Resta – 1:36.317

16) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:36.745

17) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:36.956

Q3

Kimi Raikkonen was straight out at the start of Q3, setting a 1:35.898. However, Nico Rosberg set a fantastic 1:35.121 to take top spot. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton were half a second slower than the Mercedes driver.

Mark Webber was over a second off Rosberg’s time. Jenson Button had a similarly poor lap, ensuring both drivers were out of contention for pole.

Kamui Kobayashi shocked many in the paddock by going 4th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton and Schumacher were unable to improve on their times, leaving Rosberg half a second in front of the entire grid. This ensured that Mercedes take their first pole position since Italy 1955.

Lewis Hamilton will drop from 2nd to 7th, meaning that Mercedes have effectively locked out the front row, with Kobayashi an incredible 3rd.

Hamilton leads McLaren lockout in Malaysia qualifying

Lewis Hamilton ensured a 100% record so far in 2012, taking pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Teammate Jenson Button was a tenth behind in 2nd, while everyone back to 8th was separated by 0.4 seconds.

Michael Schumacher went 3rd, while Sebastian Vettel has chosen a different strategy for tomorrow’s race. Here is what happened:

Q1

Jean-Eric Vergne was knocked out of Q1

Jean-Eric Vergne was knocked out of Q1

The two Mercedes drivers set the early pace with mid-1:37  times. They were soon split by Jenson Button, with Lewis Hamilton 4th.

Felipe Massa’s initial pace was very poor, leaving him only 18th. While he stayed out on the options, his teammate decided to use primes for Q1. Massa eventually improved to move out of the drop zone.

Mark Webber soon smashed the best time, setting a 1:37.1.

Within the last few minutes, the midfield began to move past Massa again, but not by enough. Jean-Eric Vergne aborted several laps, and failed to progress to Q2.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:39.077

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:39.306

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:39.567

21) Timo Glock – 1:49.903

22) Charles Pic – 1:41.250

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:42.914

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:43.655

Q2

Massa once again failed to progress to Q2

Massa once again failed to progress to Q2

Sergio Perez was the first car out of the pits for the start of Q2. He set his benchmark time of 1:39.043.

Pastor Maldonado went massively wide at Turn 11, almost hitting the barriers. Kimi Raikkonen went on top with an impressive 1:37.715.

Teammate Romain Grosjean made a mistake on his lap, but still went 4th, setting a sector best as well.

Felipe Massa went 9th, but Fernando Alonso quickly beat that, going 6th. Maladonado and Perez jumped into the top 10, pushing Massa out of Q2. The Mercedes drivers left it until their final laps to move back into the top 10, going 3rd and 4th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Pastor Maldonado – 1:37.589

12) Felipe Massa – 1:37.731

13) Bruno Senna – 1:37.841

14) Paul di Resta – 1:37.877

15) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:37.883

16) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:37.890

17) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:38.069

Q3

Schumacher appeared in the top 3, alongside the two McLarens

Schumacher appeared in the top 3, alongside the two McLarens

Kimi Raikkonen was the first out of the pits, setting a 1:36.833 after a scrappy lap. Jenson Button and then Lewis Hamilton beat that time, setting a 1:36.219.

Sebastian Vettel’s time was a second off Hamilton’s, though he set his time on primes. Nico Rosberg made a mistake on his lap, going 3rd. Teammate Michael Schumacher moved up to 2nd.

Fernando Alonso took 9th, while Mark Webber jumped up to 4th. Sebastian Vettel moved up to 6th, while Kimi Raikkonen could only go 5th. Rosberg did not set a final lap, and was a disappointing 8th.

Jenson Button was within a tenth of a second of Hamilton, ensuring another McLaren lockout of the front row.

Perez dropped to 22nd after gearbox change

Perez will start from 22nd

Perez will start from 22nd

Sergio Perez has been relegated to 22nd on the grid after qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver was forced to change his gearbox after Q2, and will be dropped 5 places for tomorrow’s race. It was this gearbox issue that halted him from setting a time in Q2.

Perez said that he was still adjusting his car in Q1 when the failure occurred:

"We made some set-up changes to the car today and in Q1 I was busy adapting my 
driving style a bit.

In Q2 I knew exactly what to do but then I could not shift any more because of 
a gearbox problem. It is a true shame as there was a lot more to come from the 
car and from myself."

Perez was disqualified from last year’s Australian Grand Prix result following a rear wing technical infringement.

Seeing as neither HRT will start the race, Sergio will be the last driver on the grid.

Hamilton back on top in Australia qualifying

The 2012 F1 season’s first qualifying session kicked off with a bang, as Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix. Teammate Jenson Button was a tenth of a second behind, resulting in a McLaren 1-2. Romain Grosjean took a very impressive 3rd, while Nico Rosberg ruined his final lap and will start 7th. Here is the full report:

Q1

Raikkonen's mistake left him 18th

Raikkonen's mistake left him 18th

Timo Glock’s Marussia kicked off the first qualifying session of 2012.

Sebastian Vettel felt the need to go out early, running onto the outside kerbs during his lap, followed by Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso was badly held up by a HRT as he attempted to set a flying lap.

The two McLarens tussled for several laps, before being beaten by Nico Rosberg. Many midfield teams soon felt the need to take on the soft tyres, as the Force Indias escaped the drop zone.

Felipe Massa put on the soft tyres, and yet was only 16th. Kimi Raikkonen made a mistake on his final lap, and incredibly was out of Q1. Both Caterhams were 19th and 20th, while Timo Glock was ahead of Charles Pic. Both HRT cars were miles outside of the 107% rule.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kimi Raikkonen  – 1:27.758

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:28.679

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:29.018

21) Timo Glock – 1:30.923

22) Charles Pic – 1:30.670

Outside 107% rule:

Pedro de la Rosa – 1:33.495

Narain Karthikeyan – 1:33.643

Q2

Felipe Massa's dismal pace left him 16th

Felipe Massa's dismal pace left him 16th

Paul di Resta’s Force India kicked off Q2. Vettel was the first to break the 1:26 barrier, but was quickly beaten by Lewis Hamilton.

The red flag put an end to this battle, though. Fernando Alonso was the latest driver to make a mistake, spinning into the gravel at Turn 1. The Spaniard was already 6th fastest, but would have no further part in the session.

As the green flag went out, Rosberg went in front of the McLarens, with Schumacher only a tenth behind. Romain Grosjean was an impressive 5th, while Mark Webber only went 7th.

Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo jumped into the top 10, shoving Alonso down to 12th, with Massa a disappointing 16th. Sergio Perez failed to set a lap time.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:26.429

12) Fernando Alonso – 1:26.494

13) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:26.590

14) Bruno Senna – 1:26.663

15) Paul di Resta – 1:27.086

16) Felipe Massa – 1:27.097

17) Sergio Perez – No time

Q3

It's a McLaren 1-2 followed by Grosjean

It's a McLaren 1-2 followed by Grosjean

Nico Rosberg was the first out of the pits on used option tyres. However, due to a mistake in the final sector, he ended up behind Vettel, Schumacher and Button.

Lewis Hamilton’s time of 1:24.922 set the benchmark for the final set of runs. Mark Webber was next up, setting a 1:25.651 to put him second – for the moment.

In the final two minutes, 9 of the frontrunners set one more fast lap, with Ricciardo opting to stay in the pits.

A lock-up at Turn 3 ruined Rosberg’s chance of pole, leaving him 7th. Michael Schumacher took 4th, while Romain Grosjean shocked the entire paddock by snatching 3rd.

The battle for pole position was between the two McLarens. Button’s time of 1:25.074 was just off Lewis’ previous time, leaving the McLarens 1st and 2nd for the race tomorrow. Mark Webber pipped his teammate by 0.017 seconds for 5th.

Pastor Maldonado did well to qualify half a second ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, with Daniel Ricciardo saving a set of options for tomorrow’s race.

Vettel crushes rivals with 15th pole of the year in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel set yet another record today in Interlagos – 15 pole positions in a single season. The German was blisteringly fast in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix – and could have gone faster.

A late lap by Mark Webber ensured a Red Bull front row lockout, while Jenson Button was 3rd. Here is what happened:

Q1

The threat of rain nearby sent most cars out on track early for Q1. Lewis Hamilton set a 1:13.8 on the prime tyres, 2 tenths faster than his teammate. All 24 cars were out within 5 minutes, with Vettel soon taking the lead at the top.

Mark Webber went fastest, and was soon beaten by Jenson Button, with a 1:13.2. Adrian Sutil’s first attempt put him in 6th place, with Felipe Massa only 8th.

An impressive lap put Jaime Alguersuari 7th, while several cars made the switch to the soft tyres. Pastor Maldonado moved out of the drop zone, taking 14th, with local hero Rubens Barrichello moving into 9th.

The Force Indias took 3rd and 5th on the options, while Felipe Massa again felt the need to take on the soft compound.

Maldonado slipped back into 18th, and couldn’t improve on his previous time. Heikki Kovalainen’s final run put him ahead of Jarno Trulli for the 16th time this year.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Pastor Maldonado – 1:14.625

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:15.068

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:15.358

21) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:16.631

22) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:16.890

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:17.019

24) Timo Glock – 1:17.060

Q2

The pit lane was again crowded, as the rain clouds loomed near the circuit. The Force Indias set 1:13 times, while Vettel sett eh standard with a 1:12.446. Nico Rosberg was a tenth off the Red Bull, with Mark Webber half a second behind.

All cars pitted after several laps, with further qualifying attempts only restarting in the last 5 minutes.

Jaime Alguersuari went 12th, while Felipe Massa was forced to use another new set of soft tyres in order to progress to Q3. The rain clouds cleared, leaving the midfield to battle for top 10 positions.

Michael Schumacher just moved into 10th place, with Paul di Resta 11th. Despite Massa ruining his final lap, he was safe in 8th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Paul di Resta – 1:13.584

12) Rubens Barrichello – 1:13.801

13) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:13.804

14) Sebastien Buemi – 1:13.919

15) Vitaly Petrov – 1:14.053

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:14.129

17) Sergio Perez – 1:14.182

Q3

While the thunder storms died away, Nico Rosberg was the only car to leave the pits at the start of Q1. After a warm-up lap for the tyres, Nico set a 1:13.159.

Lewis Hamilton followed the same tactic on the first lap, but was soundly beaten by Sebastian Vettel – setting a 1:12.268. None of his rivals could even get close to that on their first runs.

In the period between the frontrunners’ first and second runs, Adrian Sutil moved into 7th place.

Vettel was first out for the final attempts, smashing the 1:11 barrier, and beating his previous time by 0.35 seconds. Fernando Alonso was half a second off the Red Bull, and Jenson Button went 2nd, before being beaten by Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton’s final lap only gave him 4th position.

Nico Rosberg beat Felipe Massa for 6th, with Sutil, Senna and Schumacher filling up the top 10.

Vettel pips McLarens to Abu Dhabi pole

Sebastian Vettel pulled out another last-gasp lap to steal pole position off Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Jenson Button was 3rd, just 0.009 seconds off his teammate. Mark Webber was 4th, with the Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:

Q1

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Rubens Barrichello failed to set a lap time in his Williams, after suffering an oil leak earlier on that day. He will start in 24th place alongside his teammate, who took a 10-place penalty for an engine change.

With this, there was no shootout to see what midfield car would be knocked out. Both Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher went out on soft tyres late on in Q1, but abandoned their laps when it became clear Rubens wasn’t taking part.

Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified Jarno Trulli for the 15th time this year, while Daniel Ricciardo did well to out-perform both his teammate and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:42.979

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:43.884

20) Timo Glock – 1:44.515

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:44.641

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:44.699

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:45.159

24) Rubens Barrichello – No time set

Q2

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

The Red Bulls and McLarens battled it out at the top of the timesheets for a while, before the red flags came out.

Felipe Massa, and then Jenson Button, had dislodged a bollard at Turn 8, and it landed on the racing line. When racing resumed, Hamilton remained ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the top.

Pastor Maldonado was 17th, and with his grid penalty, will start on the back row alongside his fellow Williams driver.

Both Force Indias made it through to Q3, while a mistake by Sebastien Buemi ensured he only qualified 13th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sergio Perez – 1:40.874

12) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.919

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:41.009

14) Bruno Senna – 1:41.079

15) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:41.162

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:41.240

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:41.760

Q3

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Q3 saw a fantastic shoot-out between the McLarens and Vettel, each driver just pipping the other after every lap.

A cooling track resulted in times being slower than in Q2. Lewis initially led Sebastian going into the final run, but Jenson Button threw himself into the mix by taking top spot on his final lap.

Hamilton then snatched the lead back, but only just – a gap of 0.009 seconds separated the McLarens. However, just when it looked as if it could be a McLaren front row lockout, Vettel smashed his Red Bull into pole position by 0.141 seconds.

It was his 14th pole position this year, equalling Nigel Mansell’s record from the 1992 season. However, it must be considered that there were only 16 races that year.

Interestingly, while Vettel and Button managed to go faster in Q3 despite the dropping temperatures, Lewis Hamilton felt that his Q2 lap was much better.

Mark Webber and the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa never challenged for pole, each finishing 4th, 5th and 6th. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil considerably further back. Paul di Resta was the only driver not to set a time.

Vettel on pole while Massa crash disrupts Q3 in India

Sebastian Vettel will start on pole position for the 13th time this season, as Q3 was disrupted by a crash from Felipe Massa.

The Ferrari hit a kerb on his final lap, breaking the suspension and sending Massa into the barriers. This prevented several drivers from setting their fastest lap time, allowing Vettel to easily take pole.

Mark Webber will start second, despite qualifying 3rd, as Lewis Hamilton has been docked 3 places after disobeying yellow flags in qualifying. Fernando Alonso will start 3rd. Here is the full report:

Q1

The two Lotus cars led the field out for the first qualifying session in India. The Renault drivers set the pace in the early few minutes, while the frontrunners stayed in the pits.

Fernando Alonso soon set a 1:27.4 on the harder tyre, while teammate Massa was shown running onto the grass, and was swiftly followed by Rubens Barrichello.

Sebastian Vettel moved into the 1:26 range, with Lewis Hamilton 2nd. Timo Glock dropped out of the session, having suffered a gearbox failure, and not set a time within the 107% rule.

The Saubers emerged from the pits with 7 minutes to go on the option tyre. Sergio Perez went 8th, with Kamui Kobayashi 11th. Bruno Senna was dangerously held up by Jaime Alguersuari exiting the pits at Turn 1, gesticulating angrily.

Amazingly, Jenson Button felt the need to take on soft tyres at the end of Q1, and to make matters worse, the McLaren emerged behind backmarkers. However, Button moved his way past to take 3rd place. Michael Schumacher was forced to slice past a HRT to move out of the drop zone, again on the soft tyres.

After abandoning his last lap, Kobayashi was the main driver taken out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:27.876

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:28.656

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:28.752

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:30.216

22) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:30.238

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:30.866

Outside 107% rule:

24) Timo Glock – 1:34.046

Q2

With a difference of 2 seconds between the option and prime, soft tyres were the norm for Q2.

Sebastian Vettel took a 1:24.657 to take 1st, with Hamilton and Webber behind. Both Toro Rossos moved into the top 10, while Button again struggled with his tyres, being forced to use 2 sets of the option tyre.

Adrian Sutil pushed Michael Schumacher out of the top 10 in the dying few minutes, while Paul di Resta took 12th. Schumacher improved, but was 0.012 seconds slower than 10th-placed Alguersuari.

Jaime was 0.000 seconds faster than 11th-placed Vitaly Petrov, but the Toro Rosso driver set his lap time first.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov – 1:26.319

12) Michael Schumacher – 1:26.337

13) Paul di Resta – 1:26.503

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:2.537

15) Bruno Senna – 1:26.651

16) Rubens Barrichello – 1:27.247

17) Sergio Perez – 1:27.562

Q3

Lewis Hamilton – who will be dropped 3 places on the grid after an incident in practice – was first out. The McLaren driver only set a 1:26.4, and was swiftly beaten by the Ferraris.

Vettel soon went fastest on a 1:24.4, which was matched by Hamilton. Interestingly, the Pirelli soft tyres seemed to be faster on their second and third laps, so the frontrunners stayed out longer than expected.

Webber was 0.071 seconds off Vettel’s time, as all 10 drivers exited the pits, the first time in quite a while.

With 2 minutes to go, Jenson Button was still massively off the pace, 3 seconds slower in the first sector alone. Sebastian Vettel increased his lead at the front, while Lewis Hamilton abandoned his final run.

However, many drivers’ final laps were ruined by a crash from Felipe Massa. The Ferrari hit the inside of a kerb, ripping off the front suspension and sending Felipe into the barriers.

This resulted in Button only going 5th, with Massa remaining 6th and Nico Rosberg 7th. Lewis Hamilton was 2nd, but will start 5th. Mark Webber qualified 3rd (effectively 2nd), with Fernando Alonso just behind.

Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari failed to set a time, despite exiting the pits.

Hamilton breaks Red Bull’s pole position streak in Korea

For the first time since the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, a Red Bull will not start from pole position. Today, it was Lewis Hamilton who took top spot for the Korean Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver was on the pace all weekend, but his teammate was unable to challenge for pole, instead being split for 3rd by Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber was disappointingly slow in Q3, finishing 4th, with the off-pace Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:

Q1

The Renaults briefly led Q1, before a flurry of cars exited the pits. Strangely enough, both Red Bull cars decided to make their first runs on the super-soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton soon went top with a 1:38.278, with Jenson Button half a second off his teammate. Despite being on faster tyres, both Red Bulls were unusually slow, lapping in the 1:39s.

Lewis went another 7 tenths faster the next lap, with Jenson again off the pace. The Williams drivers, as well as Vitantonio Liuzzi, only left the pits with 4 minutes to go. Although he was using the super-soft compound, Pastor Maldonado could only go 16th.

Rubens Barrichello abandoned his final run, allowing Maldonado to take his teammate out of Q1. Daniel Ricciardo failed to set a time in this session, with an apparent technical problem with the HRT.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Rubens Barrichello – 1:39.538

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:40.522

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:41.101

21) Timo Glock – 1:42.091

22) Jerome D’Ambrosi – 1:43.483

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:43.758

24) Daniel Ricciardo – No time

Q2

Again, Hamilton comprehensively led Button in the early stages of the session, with Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso off the pace of McLaren. A little twitch from Vettel’s car on his first run slipped him to 7 tenths off Hamilton.

Michael Schumacher’s first run put him only into 9th place. Felipe Massa was forced to use another set of super-softs to survive the session.

Jaime Alguersuari and Paul di Resta briefly made it into 10th place, with the Scot staying there as the chequered flag fell. This left Michael Schumacher stranded down in 12th position for the race.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:38.315

12) Michael Schumacher – 1:38.354

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:38.508

14) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:38.775

15) Bruno Senna – 1:38.791

16) Pastor Maldonado – 1:39.189

17) Sergio Perez – 1:39.443

Q3

Pole favourite Lewis Hamilton was first out, setting a 1:36.130. The Ferraris were well off the pace, with Button still nearly half a second off his teammate. Sebastian Vettel was slower than Hamilton by only 0.03 seconds after his first run.

A 1:35.820 improved Hamilton’s benchmark, with Button 0.3 seconds off. Mark Webber abandoned his final run after a dismal first sector, a move copied by Paul di Resta.

While the Ferraris failed to make any impact on the front runners, Vettel was on a charge to knock Hamilton off top spot. However, for the first time this year, the Red Bull car will not start on pole position, as Sebastian could only get within 2 tenths of the McLaren.

With that, Lewis will start on pole tomorrow, with Vettel preventing a McLaren front row lockout. Webber will be 4th, ahead of the two Ferraris. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Vitaly Petrov 8th. Neither Force India car set a time in Q3.

Hamilton and Schumacher miss final Q3 run after “ridiculous” incident

Hamilton was clearly frustrated after today's qualifying

Hamilton was clearly frustrated after today's qualifying

Both Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton lost out at the end of Q3 in today’s Japanese Grand Prix qualifying, missing out on the final run in the dying minutes.

As a pack of four cars approached the final chicane – led by Jenson Button – teammate Lewis Hamilton backed off to create a raceable gap between the two McLarens. However, Mark Webber dived down the inside of Hamilton in order to retain a clean section of track in front of him. Meanwhile, Schumacher was on the outside, and took to the run-off area to avoid the duo.

Hamilton was on top of the timesheets at the time, but failed to set another time after crossing the line after the chequered flag. Schumacher suffered the same fate, while Webber made little impact on the frontrunners.

When asked about the incident, Lewis was initially coy on explaining, but later gave his view:

"It is what it is. Jenson was in front of me and he slowed down to get his gap. I 
was coming up to the last corner to make sure I had a gap between me and him. It 
wasn't that big.

Just as I was coming into the chicane I looked in my mirror and I saw Mark diving 
up the inside of me. Out of nowhere, he just shot up the inside and nearly 
crashed with me, so I had to avoid him.

And then I saw...I didn't even see Michael as I gave Mark room, but he nearly 
crashed on me on the left, so it was quite dangerous.

I don't know what the hell he was doing, but he went off onto the grass. It was 
just the most ridiculous thing I've ever experienced in qualifying.

I really hope somebody finds the footage for what happened because it wasn't right 
and it stopped my last qualifying lap."

On the other hand, Schumacher claimed that Hamilton had pushed him onto the grass:

"I had Webber in front because Hamilton slowed down. I don't know what was in front 
of him, if he really had to slow down that much, but it was tight for all three of 
us so we all had to push somehow to make it through and do another lap.

At that moment I was set to do a lap because I didn't know whether Kobayashi, or 
somebody, may go out [to set a time]. I tried my best and Lewis pushed me a little 
bit wide onto the grass."

As of yet there is no television footage of the incident.

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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