Vettel grabs pole in disrupted qualifying

Sebastian Vettel scored his first pole position since Silverstone in a chaotic Suzuka qualifying session interrupted by three red flags for massive crashes, one of which left Timo Glock injured

Vettel grabs pole in disrupted qualifying

Vettel dominated the session for Red Bull, setting the fastest time in all three segments and beating Toyota's Jarno Trulli and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to pole.

The Brawns were fifth and seventh, with Rubens Barrichello ahead of Jenson Button, but their positions could come under threat if they are protested for setting their best Q2 times while yellow flags were out.

The first two red flags occurred in Q2, starting when Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari ploughed head-on into the Degner barriers after running wide on entry.

The Spaniard was assisted out of his car but soon declared unhurt and cleared to race.

Then Glock had an even larger crash as he accelerated out of the final chicane - his Toyota understeering over the gravel at speed and spearing into the barriers.

The medical team carefully extracted Glock, who was conscious and moving in the cockpit, and he was removed from the scene on a stretcher. The German waved to the crowd as he was placed into an ambulance and is being taken to hospital by helicopter with pain in his back and left leg.

With the red flags having interrupted most drivers' Q2 flying laps, there was a last minute sprint to get through to Q3 - and this was also interrupted when Sebastien Buemi crashed on the exit of Spoon and deposited his Toro Rosso's front wing and other debris in the middle of the track as he limped back to the pits.

As yellow flags waved for that incident, both Brawns made last minute gains that got them into Q2 - to the displeasure of drivers like Renault's Fernando Alonso, who lifted on his last lap and ended up 12th and eliminated, along with Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Robert Kubica (BMW).

The Spoon incident was Buemi's second accident of the afternoon, as he had already spun backwards into the Degner tyre wall in Q1. Amazingly he got back to the pits, received a new rear wing, and rejoined in time to easily reach Q2, then qualified for Q3 before his second trip into the barriers.

Heikki Kovalainen had also spun at Degner in Q1, but regained control before hitting the wall. He was less fortunate on his first flying lap in Q3 - spinning into the barriers and causing the final red flag of this disjointed afternoon. The Finn was unhurt but will join Buemi on row five.

After Kovalainen's incident the session finally proceeded without drama to the finish, with Vettel easily securing pole with his first flying lap.

Red Bull will have a car at both ends of the grid, with Mark Webber missing the session as he will need a new chassis following his practice crash.

Behind Trulli and Hamilton, Adrian Sutil showed Force India was firmly back on the pace by taking fourth, with BMW's Nick Heidfeld splitting the Brawns in sixth.

Kimi Raikkonen took eighth, while Giancarlo Fisichella was within half a second of his team-mate's pace in Q1, but that left him back in 16th. It was a similar story for home driver Kazuki Nakajima, who only managed 17th for Williams.

Romain Grosjean (Renault) and Tonio Liuzzi (Force India) were the other Q1 departures, with the latter set to take a gearbox change penalty anyway, along with Webber.

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3  1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:30.883 1:30.341 1:32.160 2. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:31.063 1:30.737 1:32.220 3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:30.917 1:30.627 1:32.395 4. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:31.386 1:31.222 1:32.466 5. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:31.272 1:31.055 1:32.660 6. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:31.501 1:31.260 1:32.945 7. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:31.041 1:30.880 1:32.962 8. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:31.228 1:31.052 1:32.980 9. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:31.499 1:31.223 10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:31.196 1:31.103 11. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:31.286 1:31.482 12. Alonso Renault (B) 1:31.401 1:31.638 13. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:31.417 1:32.341 14. Glock Toyota (B) 1:31.550 15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:31.571 16. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:31.704 17. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:31.718 18. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:32.073 19. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:32.087 20. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) All Timing Unofficial 

shares
comments
Glock crash halts Suzuka qualifying

Previous article

Glock crash halts Suzuka qualifying

Next article

Vettel out to keep title hopes alive

Vettel out to keep title hopes alive
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Author Matt Beer
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021