F1 – Japanese GP – Qualifying
Hello MiniFans! We are back in Suzuka for the last five races of the F1 season! The year is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean that the rivalry in the championship is over yet!
It wasn’t sure at the beginning of qualifying that Hulkenberg would be on time to set his flying laps in Japan. During FP3, he actually had a crash with quite some damage. Due to that, we saw the mechanics doing their ultimate best to repair his car. Their hard work was worthed since we saw him on his out lap after ten minutes. Vettel spun in turn eleven owing to loss of grip. Ericsson caused a red flag at the same time by crashing in the first sector. He went too fast through a corner and put his tyres on the grass. He slid around and ended up in the wall. With eight minutes to go, it was a surprise to see both Renaults still dangling at the last two places. Sainz was the only one of the team who was able to set a lap time that was good enough to push through to the next part of qualifying. Suzuka is surely not the best track for them. Stroll finished with a very good last lap and ended up in 15th position. That way, he also made it till part two. The ones who didn’t were Hulkenberg, Sirotkin, Alonso, Vandoorne and Ericsson.
Ricciardo lost power at the beginning of Q2 and had to be pushed to his pit box. He couldn’t go out later on in the session, so he will start from P15. A couple of minutes later, we saw that Leclerc spun when he hit a sippery, wet kerb stone. That means that it started raining in Suzuka! It promised to be exiting third session, since everyone stayed in the pits during the last couple of minutes. It was very surprising to see the Toro Rosso managing to be in Q3, while we had to leave Leclerc, Magnussen, Sainz, Stroll and Ricciardo behind.
The excitement for rain was soon over. Vettel went out of the pits on Intermediate tyres, while the track was only a bit damp. It wasn’t a good choice since it stopped raining and the German lost some time by putting regular compound tyres on his Ferrari. Verstappen thought that it could start raining again towards the end of the session, so Red Bull decided to push a little bit extra, while Vettel went a bit too wide over the wet kerbs and lost control over his car. Nothing happened luckily, but his flying lap had to be called to a halt. Verstappen was indeed right about the rain, since it started raining again with only three minutes to go. Almost all the teams stayed in the pit lane and that was how Q3 ended!
Lewis Hamilton starts on pole in Suzuka, with Valtteri Bottas second and Max Verstappen third. Raikkonen starts from P4 followed by Grosjean, Hartley, Gasly, Ocon, Vettel, who couldn’t set a fast enough flying lap, and Perez.
We are ready for an exciting race tomorrow at the legendary track of Suzuka! Are you too?