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Japanese GP 2009

OCTOBER 3, 2009

Qualifying Report - Vettel rides high amid chaotic session

Sebastian Vettel, Japanese GP 2009
© The Cahier Archive

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and with Rubens Barrichello fifth and Jenson Button seventh the German driver is in a good position to close on the Brawn pair in the Drivers' World Championship. At the moment Glock is 25 points behind Button with a maximum of 30 available from the last three races. If Button fails to score then the race for the title will be much more open. Vettel's team mate Mark Webber will not be in any position to help as he crashed heavily in the morning session and his car needed to be repaired and so he took no part in the Q sessions and will start from the pitlane.

There were three red flags. The first involved Jaime Alguersuari, who crashed heavily in Degner Corner. It looked as though the Spanish driver hooked a kerb and was unable to get the car back and went into the barriers at a very acute angle. He emerged from the car unscathed. When the qualifying restarted Glock went off at the final corner. The car going off the road and heavily into the barriers. He remained in the car for eight minutes and was then stretchered to an ambulance and taken to the medical centre. He is reported to be suffering from back pains and a cut on his left leg. The German driver was transported to hospital in Yokkaichi, 10 miles away. It is expected that the injury will require some stitches and that will probably mean that he will not be in a position to race tomorrow.

Vettel will be delighted to have Jarno Trulli along side him in the Toyota as the Italian is a great qualifier but often fails to deliver in the races and may hold up those behind him on Sunday. However Lewis Hamilton is third and hopes that his KERS system and the long run down the hill from the start will help him to get ahead of the Toyota and thus be in a position to challenge Vettel for victory.

Adrian Sutil was fourth fastest in his Force India-Mercedes, the car clearly more competitive than it was in Singapore with Barrichello fifth, Nick Heidfeld sixth and Button seventh. Kimi Raikkonen was eighth in his Ferrari ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastien Buemi, both of whom crashed in the Q3 session.

Q2 ended with Buemi leaving his front wing on the road at the exit of Spoon Curve and several drivers lost their chance to complete their final runs. Fernando Alonso seemed particularly upset by this and has been to see the stewards. Those to miss out included Nico Rosberg (11th), Alonso (12th) and Robert Kubica (13th).