Finally after being postponed on Saturday, the Suzuka came to circuit came to life with the qualifying session for today’s all-important grand prix.
Qualifying Round 1 – A brand new track
Many struggled during the first round with the track being completely green, new with none of the usual tyre rubber left from the practice sessions following the impressive amount of rain in Saturday. The newbies all dropped out, Lotus being best of the bunch and Sebastien Buemi joining them as the 7th driver to be knocked out. It was a packed session and there may be some changes due to drivers being blocked – updates on tbat later.
Qualifying Round 2 – Disaster for Massa
Red Bull kept their impressive run of table-topping, with the McLarens not too far behind. Alonso went through comfortably while his team mate had seeminly no pace, or will to get into the top 10 shootout – Massa ended a disappointed 12th. Heidfeld was looking to head into the shootout for Sauber, until Schumacher pulled out a last minute effort to just beat him to 10th.
After Q2 we’re set for the great pole position shoot out with everyone trying to beat the Red Bull duo. As special note for Williams and a well done for getting both of their drivers into the top 10 along with the McLarens, Mercedes, Red Bulls, Alonso, and Kubica.
Qualifying Round 3 – Top Ten Shoot Out
Sebastian Vettel laid down the gauntlet early – with the first lap in under 1 minute 31secs of the weekend. Hamilton pulled out an impressive lap to go 3nd (before his five place penalty) behind Webber who had no answer to Vettel’s amazing pace. Kubica scooped up fourth ahead of Alonso and Button. Schumacher completed the top 10 behind both Williams and his team mate Rosberg.
One important note was that Jenson Button did his final qualifying laps on the harder tyres, whereas the rest of the top ten stuck to the more obvious and conventional soft tyres – it could be a great strategy call – we will all find out later today…