October 06, 2012

F1 Quals: Japan 2012

An overcast sky hung low over the Suzuka International Racing Circuit as Quals got under way, a shocking contrast to the beautiful sunny day we had for both Friday practice sessions.  The good news is that there wasn't even a hint of rain in the sky, so we had an unimpeded run for pole today.  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2012 Grand Prix of Japan:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:32.608 1:31.501 1:30.839
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:32.951 1:31.950 1:31.090
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.077 1:31.772 1:31.290
4 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.042 1:31.886 1:31.700
5 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:32.029 1:31.988 1:31.898
6 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.147 1:32.169 1:32.022
Ferrari 1:32.459 1:31.833 1:32.114
8 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:32.221 1:31.826 1:32.208
9 Shiv Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.061 1:32.121 1:32.327
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:32.828 1:32.272 No Time
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.946 1:32.293
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:32.898 1:32.327
13 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:33.349 1:32.469
14 Rinpoche Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:32.834 1:32.512
15 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.015 1:32.625
16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:33.059 1:32.954
17 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:33.370 1:33.368
18 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:33.405

19 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Caterham-Renault 1:34.657

20 Tim O'Glockenspiel Marussia-Cosworth 1:35.213

21 Pete Rose
HRT-Cosworth 1:35.385

22 Charles ToothPic Marussia-Cosworth 1:35.429

23 The Red Menace
Caterham-Renault 1:35.432

24 Narain Kittylitter HRT-Cosworth 1:36.734

Q1 107% Time

Oh look, Seb Vettel is on pole in Japan, what a shock.  This is the fourth season in a row he's been the top qualifier at Suzuka.  Right next to him, we find his teammate Mark Webber, making this the first Red Bull front row lockout of the season.  What a difference a year makes; last year at this time there had been seven such performances by Red Bull.  Roughly a half-second behind the leader, we find Jenson Button, de facto lead driver for McLaren... except he's got a five-spot grid penalty.  As you may remember, Shiv Hamilton wound up out of the race at Singapore with a failed gearbox.  It turns out that Button's gearbox had the same problem, it just hadn't yet reared its ugly head.  McLaren made the decision to change his gearbox, resulting in the grid penalty.  This promotes Gandalf Kobayashi into third place on the grid, the best starting position ever for a Japanese driver in his home race.

Nico Hulkenberg gets the same penalty as Button; Slappy Schumacher has been slapped with a 10-spot penalty for his overrun attack on Jules Vergne at Singapore.  For quite some time in Q1, it was looking like Slappy would be starting from somewhere in the vicinity of Hokkaido.  It wasn't until he completed his final flying lap in that session a full minute after the session ended that he wasn't 24th. 

A late spin in Q3 by Kimi Raikkonen killed off a bunch of drivers' final runs for pole; HWMNBN in particular has stated that he was probably going to get 3rd on the grid before the yellow flags forced him to back off.  Speaking of Kimi, after the session he was asked what happened.  His response: "I spun."  When asked about the impact his spin had on the other drivers, he said "I don't care about the others."  Thanks for that, Kimi.

So that's the grid for Japan!  The race is at 1230a Sunday, so while I may stay up for it, I don't think I'll be able to do the F1U! until Sunday morning... still and all, we'll see you right here then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:28 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Asked about surpassing Jim Clark's 33 career poles (to take #3 on the all-time poles list), Vettel said "He passed away while he was still racing and had he carried on, he would still be ahead."  One of the reasons that I actually like finger-boy is that he still manages to be humble and magnanimous most of the time.

Posted by: flatdarkmars at October 06, 2012 10:07 AM (I55Es)

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