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Sebastian Vettel took Pole early this morning after a close call - and I do not mean his lap time. A last-minute inquiry by the stewards into whether Vettel blocked Fernando Alonso during final qualifying resulted in a three-hour delay in official results. Vettel walked away with a reprimand instead of what could have been a grid-place penalty. His luck holds out yet again, as this will be his fourth consecutive Pole at Suzuka.
Next to Vettel sits teammate Mark Webber, creating a dominant Red Bull front row. Jenson Button did well qualifying in third but takes a five-grid penalty for a gearbox replacement in his McLaren.
The top of the grid fills up as follows: Kamui Kobayashi in fourth, Romain Grosjean in fifth, Sergio Perez in sixth, what must be a very disappointed Alonzo sits in seventh and struggled to get even that, Kimi Raikkonen starts at eighth with the most talked about driver of the week right behind him- Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton briefly notes wrong set up on his car as he takes ninth position. Nico Hulkenberg rounds out the top ten but suffers the same penalty as Button and back five grid spaces he goes.
Just a reminder as I mentioned penalties above- Michael Schumacher will be serving a 10-grid spot penalty for causing an accident two weeks ago at the Singapore Grand Prix. Lots of movement before the red lights even go off this week!
Here is a look at the full running order:
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
2 Mark Webber Red Bull
3 Jenson Button* McLaren
4 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team
6 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
7 Fernando Alonzo Ferrari
8 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus F1
9 Lewis Hamilton McLaren
10 Nico Hulkenbeg* Force India
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari
12 Paul Di Resta Force India
13 Michael Schumacher* Mercedes GP
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams
15 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso
18 Bruno Senna Williams
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham
20 Timo Glock Marussia
21 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1
22 Charles Pic Marussia
23 Vitaly Petrov Caterham
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1
*Will be serving grid point penalties for the JapaneseGP
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