Suzuka – Formula 1 might be the ultimate form of motor sport, boasting incredible technology, but the human element, both in the car and in the pits is very important and even the superstition universally known as luck can play its part.
Fernando Alonso’s fast lap was ruined by a yellow flag and Felipe Massa, quick all weekend, suddenly found himself unable to make the most of a new set of Option tyres when it mattered most.
Fernando and Lewis Hamilton were those worst affected by the Kimi Raikkonen induced yellows. The only small consolation is that Jenson Button, who qualified his McLaren third and Nico Hulkenberg, tenth in the Force India, both have gearbox grid place penalties.
It means that the two Ferrari men move up one spot from their qualifying positions of seventh and eleventh. Fernando starts from the outside of row 3, on the downhill sloping Suzuka grid, while Felipe moves up to tenth place on row 5.
Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel reinforced their status as the masters of the flying lap at Suzuka, because for the fourth consecutive year, the German has secured pole position for tomorrow’s fifteenth round of the World Championship.
This is obviously not good news for our Spaniard’s title aspirations, given that, of those drivers chasing his lead in the classification, the reigning world champion is currently closest, trailing the Ferrari man by 29 points.
And tomorrow, Vettel will have his team-mate riding shotgun, as Mark Webber is second on the grid. Last year’s winner in Japan, Jenson Button, qualified third fastest, however his grid penalty is possibly met with mixed feelings from the crowd here, for whom Jenson has been a hero since his Honda days, because his misfortune means that Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi starts from the second row in third place, with Romain Grosjean next to him in the Lotus.
Fernando has Sergio Perez in the second Sauber just ahead of him in fifth spot. Felipe shares his row with old adversary Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.
Tomorrow, we are going to be treated to a very exciting 53 laps, starting at 3pm and although the Suzuka track is one of the best in the world, overtaking is not something it is well known for, but with tyre wear likely to play a key role, getting the strategy right in terms of when and how many times to stop will probably decide the race result and possibly produce another twist to this fascinating season.
Source: Scuderia Ferrari