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OCTOBER 6, 2012

Vettel escapes with reprimand

Sebastian Vettel kept his Japanese GP pole position when race stewards, including Derek Warwick, issued him with a reprimand for holding up championship leader Fernando Alonso in Q3 at Suzuka.

Having listened to the opinions of both drivers and studied video footage of the incident, which occurred at Suzuka's chicane, the officials decided that the impediment was not sufficiently serious to warrant a grid penalty.

Alonso qualified seventh but starts sixth after a five-place penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change is applied to Jenson Button's third placed McLaren. Alonso lines up behind both Red Bulls, Kobayashi's Sauber, Romain Grosjean's Lotus and new McLaren recruit Sergio Perez.

One man who was hit with a penalty for impeding, however, was Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, the Frenchman demoted three slots from his 17th place for delaying Bruno Senna at the same part of the circuit.