McLaren super-rookie, and holier-than-thy teammate, Lewis Hamilton (I can't find an icon for a halo) stormed to pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix with a blinding lap of the Fuji Speedway. Hamilton clocked 1:25.369 to notch up the top...
McLaren super-rookie, and holier-than-thy teammate, Lewis Hamilton (I can't find an icon for a halo) stormed to pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix with a blinding lap of the Fuji Speedway. Hamilton clocked 1:25.369 to notch up the top time to put himself at the front of the grid. Fernando Alonso backed up McLaren's charge with second, less than a tenth behind.
"The car ran perfectly, and the team has done a great job in making sure we were as prepared as possible," said Hamilton. "My final lap was quite good. I managed to improve my style in a couple of corners which made a difference but lost a little bit of time in the exit of the last corner. Today's pole position is important, but tomorrow is when it counts."
Alonso was happy enough with second. "I am satisfied to start from the front row which will be a good basis for the race. I have always liked driving in the wet, so I enjoyed today's qualifying. It's very challenging, and I think it will be an exciting race tomorrow as our main competitors are incredibly close and have been both in the dry and wet conditions."
The Ferraris had to settle for second best, Kimi Raikkonen third and Felipe Massa fourth. Those top four were the only ones in the 1:25 bracket; fifth place went to the alarmingly hairy Nick Heidfeld for BMW Sauber. Teammate Robert Kubica only just made the top 10 in 10th.
"I could probably have got a better grid position but I came up against a bit of traffic and also had a small problem with the electronic management of the gearbox which cost me precious time," Raikkonen commented. "Of course it was something of a gamble starting qualifying in the wet without having ever run in these conditions but it only took a handful of laps to find the right line."
Nico Rosberg had good morning with sixth for Williams but he will have a ten place grid demotion due to an engine change through Friday practices. Jenson Button was a notable seventh for the beleaguered Honda outfit while Rubens Barrichello was a more likely 17th,
Mark Webber made Red Bull's presence felt in the top 10, eighth, but teammate David Coulthard didn't make the cut and was 13th. Sister team Toro Rosso faired remarkably well, at least as Sebastian Vettel was concerned, ninth on the grid. Tonio Liuzzi did well enough to get through to Q2 but ended 15th.
For once Giancarlo Fisichella got the better of rookie teammate Heikki Kovalainen, but only just in 11th and 12th respectively. Toyota was unsurprisingly dull; Jarno Trulli 14th and Ralf Schumacher 16th. Things were pretty familiar at the back: Anthony Davidson led the Super Aguris in 19th and Takuma Sato was 21st. The Spykers of Adrian Sutil and Sakon Yamamoto were 20th and 22nd respectively.