Stewards demote five drivers for Japan GP

Five drivers received five-place grid demotions after qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. Among those penalised were championship protagonists Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, meaning title chaser and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel is in...

Five drivers received five-place grid demotions after qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Among those penalised were championship protagonists Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, meaning title chaser and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel is in an ideal position going into Sunday's race at Suzuka.

Button and Barrichello had qualified seventh and fifth respectively, but drop down the order because stewards found they ignored the yellow flags being waved for the Sebastien Buemi incident.

"We acknowledge and respect the decision of the stewards and will do our best to have a good race tomorrow," said team boss Ross Brawn.

Buemi was demoted five places and also reprimanded, for trying to get his heavily damaged Toro Rosso back to the pits and then impeding other drivers in the process.

Adrian Sutil had qualified an impressive fourth but, like the Brawns, was demoted. Fernando Alonso received the same penalty, even though the stewards acknowledged that he reduced his speed after passing "the hazard".

Heikki Kovalainen, who crashed at the Degner corner in qualifying, and Vitantonio Liuzzi are also dropping five places apiece for unscheduled gearbox changes.

Red Bull's Vettel appears the standout favourite to win the race, and is carrying slightly more fuel than closest opponents Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton for the first stint.

"We want to win so I think we are in the best position for tomorrow's race," he said.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Fernando Alonso , Ross Brawn , Heikki Kovalainen , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Sébastien Buemi
Teams Toro Rosso