Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vettel To Lead Formula 1 field at Japanese Grand Prix

Since the last Japanese Grand Prix was held at Honda's Suzuka circuit in 2006, the Formula One grid along with Formula One as an entity is heavily altered. With the 2009 Japanese Grand Prix returning to Suzuka after a two season stint on Toyota's Fiji Speedway track, this race looks again to make a sizable impact the complexion of driver and manufacturer standing as it had years prior. Three races remaining and Jenson Button enjoying a 15 point lead over fellow Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello, the championship is well within mathematical reach for the veteran Brazilian to triumph over the determined Brit.

Saturday Qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix in the dry was a departure from the weather of the previous day where remnants of storm system Ketsana soaked the Suzuka circuit. With the track conditions of Saturday being radically different than Friday, teams were desperate to get a handle on the faster track. Leading to three separate on track accidents. The most frightening as these incident occurred as Timo Glock sustained a heavy impact with 18th and final corner tire barriers on his first outlap. Conscious following the high-speed impact, Glock was taken to hospital as a precaution. Suffering only a cut on his left leg, the Toyota F1 team had test driver Kamui Kobayashi on standby before the Timo Glock's accident following concerns of a persistent illness Glock had on Friday in Japan. The safety and track crews at the Suzuka race course were busy all through the session which was complicated by several Formula One drivers who weren't addressing local yellow flags. While attempting to maintain what might have been their fastest laps in qualifying, the FIA reacted by handing down penalties demoting four drivers four positions down the grid. Receiving these penalties includes Adrian Sutil who had just set fastest time in the qualifying session. The Brawn GP pair of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello as well as Fernando Alonso with Renault are the others. Torro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and the McLaren-Mercedes of Heikki Kovalainen have also had their qualifying results modified with five spot deductions for other incidents.

When grid scoring for the Japanese Grand Prix was modified, Team Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel captured the top spot with homeland manufacturer Toyota piloted into second spot by Jarno Trulli. Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton placed his McLaren-Mercedes in 3rd place while Nick Heidfeld rests in 4th driving the BMW Sauber. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen starts 5th in a difficult season for the Italian team. On the otherhand, Williams' 6th place in qualifying with Nico Rosberg is a great result for a team once the toast of Formula One Grand Prix racing.

A true of two fortunes, not registering times in the session was Vettel's teammate Mark Webber. Webber's Team Red Bull chassis was too damaged to compete in qualifying following a crash in a practice just prior. The 2009 German Grand Prix winner will have to start from the pit lane in his Renault-engined Red Bull car.

In the Eastern time zone, the Japanese Grand Prix is set to start at 1:00 am Sunday Morning.

2009 Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Order

1. Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull
2. Jarno Trulli- Toyota
3. Lewis Hamilton- McLaren
4. Nick Heidfeld- BMW Sauber
5. Kimi Raikkonen- Ferrari
6. Nico Rosberg- Williams
7. Robert Kubica- BMW Sauber
8. Adrian Sutil- Force India
9. Rubens Barrichello- Brawn GP
10. Jaime Alguersuari- Toro Rosso
11. Jenson Button- Brawn GP
12. Heikki Kovalainen- McLaren
13. Giancarlo Fisichella- Ferrari
14. Sebastien Buemi- Toro Rosso
15. Kazuki Nakajima-
16. Romain Grosjean- Renault
17. Fernando Alonso- Renault
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi- Force India
19. Timo Glock- Toyota
20. Mark Webber- Red Bull

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