Vettel leads Ferrari front row lockout at Suzuka

Sebastian Vettel wins his 5th Suzuka pole
Sebastian Vettel wins his 5th Suzuka pole

Sebastian Vettel broke the Suzuka track record twice in Q3 on the way to taking pole position for the Japanese GP at Suzuka on Sunday morning after Saturday qualifying was rained out. Vettel's lap of 1m27.064s was enough to beat his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc by 0.189s.

The 2nd row was all Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas getting the best of his teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Alexander Albon turned identical lap times to take 5th and 6th 0.787s behind.

Behind the top six, Sainz Jr. was 'best of the rest' in seventh, Norris was one tenth back and Pierre Gasly improved to steal ninth back from Romain Grosjean.

It was the first time Vettel outqualified Leclerc since June.

From left, Leclerc, Vettel and Bottas
From left, Leclerc, Vettel and Bottas

"I think we're quite surprised, we didn't expect that, a front row lock out. Really enjoyed it." said Vettel

"Pole was not possible, Seb was too quick. Congratulations to him," said Leclerc.

Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica crashed out of the first few minutes of qualifying and will start at the back.

But the morning was all about Vettel, who was just “too quick" according to team mate Leclerc. It continues a remarkable turnaround for the German, who has been in a rich vein of form since the Singapore Grand Prix. Can he convert in a few hours time?

Qualifying Results

POS NO DRIVER CAR Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:28.988 1:28.174 1:27.064 16
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:28.405 1:28.179 1:27.253 16
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:28.896 1:27.688 1:27.293 21
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.735 1:27.826 1:27.302 20
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:28.754 1:28.499 1:27.851 16
6 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 1:29.351 1:28.156 1:27.851 19
7 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:29.018 1:28.577 1:28.304 21
8 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:28.873 1:28.571 1:28.464 21
9 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:29.411 1:28.779 1:28.836 21
10 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:29.572 1:29.144 1:29.341 15
11 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:29.604 1:29.254 15
12 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point Bwt Mercedes 1:29.594 1:29.345 12
13 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:29.636 1:29.358 15
14 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:29.723 1:29.563 16
15 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:29.619 1:30.112 13
16 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:29.822 8
17 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point Bwt Mercedes 1:30.344 9
18 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:30.364 10
NC 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari Crashed 2
NC 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes Crashed 1

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