Formula 1 – Vettel Snatches Pole In Japan

October 8, 2011

Formula 1

There’s a certain sense in inevitability about this season in Formula 1.

Vettel will win the title, Massa will appear disinterested, Webber will blow the start and Hamilton will have a ‘moment’. Oh and Vettel will snatch Pole in dramatic circumstances to put an exclamation on what will be yet another dominant weekend for the Red Bull Racer.

Nine thousandths of a second were all that seperated Jenson Button from P1 for tomorrows Grand Prix, yet it proves once again that McLaren have played second fiddle to Red Bull all season long.

Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel

“I went off in the free practice yesterday and damaged the front wing, so it wasn’t ideal to prepare the car for today. We suffered a bit from that this morning regarding the car’s balance and were too slow. We sat down after P3 and looked at where we could improve and we were able to extract everything out of the car in qualifying, which was crucial. There wasn’t much between me and Jenson! I want to say thanks to the team and the factory for getting another front wing out for me, I would not sit here now without them, so I’m very happy and very proud. Regarding one point or no point tomorrow, I’m not focussing on that. I had a lesson yesterday where for a little moment I wasn’t 100% focused and lost the car. Tomorrow is a long race and it’s challenging; I’m looking forward to it. We really love to come here, it’s a special atmosphere and the fans are so passionate and crazy. When we leave the hotel in the morning, it’s full of people and they’re all screaming, so it’s a nice feeling to be part of that and starting from pole tomorrow will be special. It’s a long race and a lot of things can happen.”

Mark Webber

“I’m very surprised to be sixth. I did my best, but it wasn’t quick enough and it was a bit of a surprise that I couldn’t go with the pace there at the end. Seb obviously did a massive lap for pole so he got on the front row just, which was a great effort. I’m disappointed to be on the third row. The car was pretty good yesterday on the long run – and it was good on short runs too, up until the end there – so clearly I didn’t get the most out of it today. I’ll wake up and push tomorrow.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Jenson Button

“This is the closest I’ve been to pole position all season, but it’s still not pole: tomorrow’s grid will still be the same distance from first to second place. But I’m satisfied, because I didn’t leave anything out on the track today – I feel like I got everything I could from the car; there was nothing left. I think the whole team feels encouraged because we didn’t come to this race with any significant upgrades, we just got the car working well all weekend. We have a more efficient rear wing, particularly with DRS, but we’ve just made this car very quick on high-speed circuits. We were quick at Spa, and we’re quick here too, so it’s no surprise. Our Friday long-runs on high-fuel were less than ideal, but we’ve seen the form vary significantly between Friday and Sunday, so tomorrow should be very different. Sunday’s the important day: we start second, but it’s so, so close. I really hope we can take the fight to Red Bull tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton

“I’m happy to be third – I’ll be starting from the cleaner side of the grid, and we can have a good race from there. And I’m pleased that we’ve been extremely competitive all weekend. We’ve definitely shown an improvement: to be so close at a high-speed circuit like this means we’re doing well. It’s very encouraging, because if we’d had this car at the beginning of the season, I think the championship could have been a different story. In Q3, my final attempt at a lap was compromised when I entered the final corner on my out-lap and, from out of nowhere, Mark [Webber] shot up the inside of me. Then Michael [Schumacher] came past on my outside and went across the grass. Those incidents delayed me, so I couldn’t reach the startline to begin my lap – it was an interesting situation but we were all up against it to get across the line. I might be starting third, but I know I’m as quick as the two guys in front of me. It’s not been a fantastic weekend for me so far, so hopefully that’ll change tomorrow.

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Fernando Alonso

“Fourth place is possibly my most common result in qualifying this season, so I definitely cannot be surprised at this performance. Usually, in the race we go better than in qualifying, therefore this grid position could provide the basis for a podium finish, which is our realistic target for tomorrow afternoon. Fighting for the win? I think it will be very difficult, even if this year’s races have often thrown up surprises. I will try to make up some places at the start, which could make the race even more interesting. It was not easy to find the right balance on the car this weekend. We made a lot of changes to the set-up after each session and again this morning we were not satisfied. Then unexpectedly, in qualifying, the car improved and was more stable under braking and easier to drive, to the extent that we were always in the top four or five positions in each session. Clearly the higher temperatures helped, otherwise we would not be just a few hundredths off the McLarens, after being over two seconds away in Spa qualifying. We hope it will be equally hot tomorrow: it would be great to get a result to delight all our fans who will be in the grandstands.”

Felipe Massa

“All things considered, it was a good qualifying, though definitely not an easy one, because we knew there were some very quick cars out there. The result is pretty much in line with our expectations going into the session. We worked well, trying to fine tune the car in one session after the next. In Q3, on my final run, I had got a good tow behind Michael, but then, I pushed a bit too much and lost precious time at the second chicane and the Lesmo corner. Maybe I could have been one or two places further up, but definitely nothing more than that. Tomorrow, I expect the race will be very close and difficult and rear tyre degradation will be one of the key factors. As usual, strategy will be decisive and I hope I can do well. This is a very important event for Ferrari and we are keen to give our fans something to cheer about. The target? A place on the podium, but I know it will be very difficult.”

Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team

Michael Schumacher

“It was a tricky ending to my qualifying session today, but at least we have saved a set of tyres for the race tomorrow. We are still in a good position for gathering some important points, and obviously that is what I am geared to do. I am very happy with how we worked as a team to improve our performance this weekend, and I am really looking forward to having a good race at this great track which is one of my favourites.”

Nico Rosberg

“On my first lap out in Q1, the team advised that I had a problem and asked me to come back into the pits. We tried to fix it in time for me to complete a lap, however the hydraulic systems are quite complicated and there just wasn’t enough time. So for the race, I have a promising strategy with all the new tyres that I have! But seriously, I will push and try to get into the top ten. That will be my aim tomorrow.”

Lotus Renault GP

Bruno Senna

“It was a bit of a squeeze getting my car together in time for qualifying but the team did a fantastic job to mend it after my mishap in practice this morning. I haven’t been able to get as much track time as I would have liked yet this weekend, however the car performed flawlessly throughout qualifying, and the strategy we deployed helped put us in a strong position for the race tomorrow. I am really looking forward to lining up on the grid, as it should be an exciting race. As I’ve said several times this weekend, I love this track and I am very well supported here so I hope to be able to give the supporters in the stands something to shout about.”

Vitaly Petrov

“I’m pleased with lining up ninth on the grid. We are looking much stronger here than in Singapore, and we’re demonstrating the potential of the R31 at high speed corner tracks once again. The car has felt progressively better each time I’ve taken to the wheel this weekend. It felt good in FP1 and FP2, and then FP3 this morning confirmed my sense that there will be a good opportunity for us to perform well here. The stability of the car improved around the high speed corners and the traction was better too, so I’m feeling confident going into tomorrow. A lot of different strategies will be played out during the race but I’m glad we are back in the hunt again.”

AT&T Williams

Rubens Barrichello

“First of all I want to thank the team for working so hard on making the changes I wanted. The car wasn’t behaving well in practice this morning so we changed almost everything on it before qualifying. Everyone did a great job turning it around in time. The changes really transformed the car and we pulled off a strong lap this afternoon.”

Pastor Maldonado

“Quite a difficult qualifying for me, primarily because we lost a lot of track time during yesterday’s practice. We made a few changes after this morning’s session and we managed to get a good lap out of the car in qualifying. I don’t have the balance I’d like, but we have time go through everything and do some more work ahead of the race.”

Force India Formula One Team

Adrian Sutil

“Overall I think today’s qualifying session went pretty well. I was a little bit disappointed to miss Q3 because we were not too far away from it, but everybody knows P11 is a very good place to start, especially because of the free choice of tyres for tomorrow. I was happy with my laps and I don’t think I could have found much more. Also, we opted to do just one run on the soft tyres in Q2, which means I have a fresh set available for the race. So I think we can make the strategy work tomorrow and have a good race.”

Paul Di Resta

“Given the weekend we’ve had I’m pretty happy to be starting P12 – just a place behind Adrian. I’ve struggled to get fully up to speed here and find the ideal balance, which is why we’ve opted for a set-up more suited to the race. Hopefully that will pay off tomorrow because I think tyre wear is going to be a major factor in this race. Also, I’m feeling a bit under the weather today with a sore throat, so I’m pleased to come away with a starting position that should allow us to fight for points. I’ll get some rest tonight because this is one of the more physical tracks of the year and will give it my all tomorrow.”

Sauber F1 Team

Kamui Kobayashi

“I am really happy we made it into the top ten qualifying in Suzuka. I very much enjoy seeing all the fans here. In free practice we struggled quite a lot with the balance of the car, but the set up changes we made for qualifying worked out well. I think from the pace of the car you can see now that the new aero package is starting to work. My laps in Q1 and Q2 were good, and I can’t complain. We still have some good tyres left for the race tomorrow, and the race is what counts. I want to score points in front of this crowd.”

Sergio Pérez

“As you can see from Kamui’s result the car is quite competitive, and I was optimistic t I would also make it to Q3. But then on my last lap in Q1 in sector two I suddenly had a hydraulic problem, I lost everything, starting with the power steering. Therefore I could not go out in Q2, which is obviously disappointing. The mechanics worked very hard and tried to fix it, but we have to do some further investigations and I’m sure we will be alright for the race. For me the weekend isn’t that easy because I also have a cold. However, looking at it positively – I have plenty of good tyres for tomorrow’s race.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi

“I got a super lap in Q1, but I cannot be happy with Q2, because I made a mistake on the exit of Turn 9, hitting the kerb a bit too hard which sent me off into the grass, costing me around half a second. I am disappointed about that because I’ve ended up behind the Williams, when we could easily have been ahead of them. They don’t give out any points for qualifying, so we took the decision to save tyres for the race and we will see if that was the right choice tomorrow. Tyre degradation is quite heavy, which means that having new tyres will be important in the race.”

Jaime Alguersuari

“We could have had a much better qualifying in performance terms, but we had concentrated on the race in terms of our set-up and aero balance. Therefore, even if the grid position is not so good, I am quite happy because I feel that tomorrow I will have a car strong enough to score some points. I could have gone quicker this afternoon, but we decided to save tyres as well as run with a race set-up. I expect we can see a situation similar to Valencia and Monza, being very quick in the race. We have tried to focus a lot on the race in terms of getting consistency from the tyres, even if that was going to penalise us this afternoon. Thanks to the mechanics who did a good job of sorting out a problem on the car after Q1 in order to get me back on track in Q2.”

Team Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen

“I’m pretty happy with that, particularly as it was one run, one lap to get it right, and I nailed it straight out of the box. We took the riskier strategy with the tyres, went out late in the session and I think I may have even been able to find a bit more in the first sector, but overall I’m pleased. I went through 130R with the rear wing open which was pretty hardcore, but having been bold with the tyres we’re in a good position for the race tomorrow. There’s been quite a lot of talk about the tyre wear here but I’m not sure the degradation will be as big a problem as people thought. The long run on the soft tyres yesterday was good – I think we can get maybe up to 15 laps out of them, and as we have a few new sets ready to go tomorrow it’ll be an interesting afternoon.”

Jarno Trulli

“That was a good session. The car felt much better this afternoon as we made the right changes to the setup and even though I made a couple of mistakes on my quickest lap I still don’t think I could have got much more out of it. Tomorrow we’ll fight as hard as possible in the race and give our Japanese fans something to cheer for. Our pace in the races has been good all season, so I hope I can make as good a start as I have been in a lot of the races this year, play with the tyre strategies and see where we end up.”

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Vitantonio Liuzzi

“It’s been a terrible start to the weekend. Yesterday I could only do four laps, eight this morning after an engine issue and this afternoon again problems so in the end I’ve hardly done any laps in two days. We’ll start from last position, which isn’t very positive, and it’s a shame because the few laps we did weren’t too bad. But this is one of the best races of the season with a great atmosphere so I’m hoping to put this behind me and have a good race tomorrow”.

Daniel Ricciardo

“From my point of view it was not a bad session. I approached it well and did what I had to do. In qualifying you have to push 100% and I definitely did that. I went a little bit wide in some areas from pushing too much but I’d say I only lost about a tenth which isn’t enough to get in front of our rivals. I am satisfied because the balance of the car was the best it’s been all weekend but the others have also improved and we have to keep on working. Anyways it’s time to focus on the race where I’m keen to put in a good performance”.

Marussia Virgin Racing

Jérôme D’Ambrosio

“It was a good Saturday. We had a very good last lap, something which is difficult to achieve here. You want to push hard, but you still have to think, as it’s all about priorities and working out which corners to sacrifice. I’m pretty happy about today, especially because we turned it around – yesterday was a difficult day and we managed to do well at a track like Suzuka. I’m really happy. I worked well together with the engineers and I think that thanks to this combination we improved the car and my driving.”

Timo Glock

“For me I think it was a good qualifying session. Going from Free Practice 3 to Qualifying was a bit blind again because we tried something overnight which didn’t really work out as we had hoped, so we had to go back on that between sessions. In the end the car was really good and my lap was pretty spot-on. There’s not much to say apart from I think today Jérôme was slightly quicker and he did a good job. I’m happy with the car so we’ll see what happens tomorrow

 

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