2016 Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Review

suzuka

But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, McLaren, Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Force India 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…

Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Sebastian Vettel tops the timesheets in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q1, we saw Sebastian Vettel topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.31.659, Kimi Raikkonen was second, Nico Rosberg was third, Lewis Hamilton was fourth, Valtteri Bottas was fifth, Nico Hulkenberg was sixth, Romain Grosjean was seventh, Max Verstappen was eighth, Daniel Ricciardo was ninth and Felipe Massa rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q1 we lose Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q2, we saw Rosberg topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.30.714, Hamilton was second, Vettel was third, Raikkonen was fourth, Verstappen was fifth, Ricciardo was sixth, Gutierrez was seventh, Grosjean was eighth, Hulkenberg was ninth and Perez rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q2 we lose Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz Jr, Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Nico Rosberg claims Pole Position for the Japanese GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg claims Pole Position for the Japanese GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At the end of Q3, it was Rosberg who secured Pole Position for the Japanese GP with a lap time of 1.32.850. Hamilton qualified in second place 0.013 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen is in third 0.302 seconds behind Rosberg, Vettel is fourth 0.381 seconds behind Rosberg and Verstappen is fifth 0.531 seconds behind Rosberg.

Ricciardo is sixth 0.593 seconds behind Rosberg,  Perez in seventh 1.314 seconds behind Rosberg,  Grosjean is eighth 1.314 seconds behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg is ninth 1.495 seconds behind Rosberg and Gutierrez rounds off the top ten finishers.

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; even if Hamilton has a challenge on his hands to get a result this weekend.

You cannot discount Ricciardo, Verstappen or Raikkonen 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 kick start their Constructors Championship.

Hulkenberg, Perez, and even Grosjean Button could also have a decent race and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.

But let’s see what happens on the Suzuka circuit on race day on Sunday…

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