But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes or Red Bull are looking like the team to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Sauber may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.
Let the battle for Pole Position begin…
In Q1, Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.32.844, Nico Rosberg was second, Kimi Raikkonen was third, Valtteri Bottas was fourth and Romain Grosjean was fifth. Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Jenson Button, Felipe Nasr, Will Stevens, Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi.
We also saw in Q1, Marcus Ericsson spinning his Sauber which affected Alexander Rossi’s lap and left him with one shot in Q1 to get a flying lap while also we saw Max Verstappen stopping on the track as he suffered a complete electric failure on his Toro Rosso. This then affected Jenson Button who was suffering problems in the session anyways and affected his laptime.
In Q2, Rosberg tops the timesheets with a time of 1.32.632, Hamilton was second, Raikkonen was third, Massa was fourth and Bottas was fifth. Vettel, Ricciardo, Perez, Kvyat and Grosjean managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q2, we lose Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr, Pastor Maldonado, Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen.
The battle for Pole Position is on….
In Q3, Rosberg takes his second Pole Position of this season at the Japanese GP with a lap time of 1.32.584 and showing the form we saw in 2014. Rosberg finished ahead of his team mate Hamilton who was 0.076 seconds behind Rosberg and also ahead of Bottas who did a super job to finish in third 0.440 seconds behind Rosberg.
Vettel finished in fourth place 0.661 seconds behind Rosberg, Massa finished in fifth 0.753 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen finished in sixth 0.763 second behind Rosberg, Ricciardo finished in seventh 0.913 seconds behind Rosberg, Grosjean finished in eighth 1.383 seconds behind Rosberg, Perez finished in ninth and Kvyat finished in tenth place.
At the end of Q3, Daniil Kvyat brought out the red flags at the end of Q3 when he crashed at the kink after the Degner curves. Kvyat then smashed into the tyre barrier and rolling over before his car came to rest in the gravel trap.
He thankfully walked away from the wreckage but the accident brought out the red flags and halted any hopes for Hamilton of striking back, thus Rosberg confirmed his first pole since May’s Spanish Grand Prix and only his second all season.
It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend.
You cannot discount Vettel, Raikkonen, Massa even Bottas even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to leapfrog in the Constructors Championship.
Grosjean, Perez and Ricciardo could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain tomorrow? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know Who will win the championship after this race?
Let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Suzuka circuit on race day tomorrow…