Rosberg Beats Hamilton To Suzuka Pole

Nico Rosberg put his recent troubles behind him to beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Rosberg’s best time of Q3 was a 1:32.506, with Hamilton in second position by just under two tenths of a second. Valtteri Bottas put in yet another strong lap to be the only driver to be within a second of the Mercedes drivers and lines up third on the ground.

It is the 12th pole of Rosberg’s career and it puts the German level with Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard in the list of all time polesitters. With it being certain that the race will be wet due to the typhoon known as Typhoon Phanfone due to hit Suzuka after the race, it gives Rosberg a good chance to have a clear track ahead of him along with increased visibility from the clear track.

Nico Rosberg praised the merits of his Mercedes car and was delighted to land his first pole position at the fabled Suzuka circuit.

“That was one of the best qualifying sessions we did this year. The team did an incredible job to give me a brilliant car. It was so enjoyable to drive this wonderful track with that Silver Arrow. The balance was perfect, so I was able to push a lot and go to the limits in the corners. It’s always a great battle against Lewis; we push each other very much through the sessions. ”

Hamilton is hoping to extend his championship lead but won't be leading the grid in Japan

Hamilton is hoping to extend his championship lead but won’t be leading the grid in Japan

Lewis Hamilton said he wasn’t quite where he needed to be as he failed to beat his team-mate to pole but stopped short of blaming his accident in the morning practice session two hours before qualifying as the cause.

“It wasn’t the best of sessions today but it was a decent recovery considering the crash in FP3. I just overcooked it this morning and the team did a fantastic job to put the car back together. Our mechanics are the best, they work so hard to get everything perfect. I feel good but I just wasn’t quick enough today. ”

Bottas has impressed this year with his consistency and speed

Bottas has impressed this year with his consistency and speed

Valtteri Bottas said that his Williams team had expected to be further from Mercedes than the times showed and took it as a positive that the British squad had gotten as close as they did in qualifying.

“The goal was to be third and fourth behind the Mercedes so it’s good to have accomplished that. The gap to the top two was actually closer than we had expected so it’s positive to have closed that. Suzuka isn’t an easy circuit, and the chance of a typhoon tomorrow makes it even harder. I think we still have a chance to get a podium position regardless of the weather.”

Vettel has had a busy weekend, announcing his intention to leave the Red Bull team at the end of the season

Vettel has had a busy weekend, announcing his intention to leave the Red Bull team at the end of the season

Sebastian Vettel finished down in ninth and said he did not have the session he wanted and that he struggled on a track that he has won at three times in his F1 career.

“I wasn’t entirely happy with that qualifying, we lacked some running his morning but I wasn’t able to go with the track and was on the back foot, I struggled a bit on corners that I normally love, so it’s not easy, but tomorrow we still have a chance if it rains, if it doesn’t then it’s tougher from where we start but we will see.

Alonso has had to bat away persistent questions about his future this weekend

Alonso has had to bat away persistent questions about his future this weekend

Fernando Alonso ended up in fifth, mentioning that as the position he has often occupied after qualifying in recent years and spoke of his enjoyment in preceedings this weekend.

“I’ve often ended up fifth in qualifying, but I think that today’s result can be seen in a different light as I enjoyed myself a lot out on track, both in the quick parts and the slower ones. So far, this weekend has been very positive as I had a good feeling from the car right from the first lap of free practice.”

 

Japanese GP Grid

* – 10-place grid penalty for changing engine and using sixth ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) of season, originally qualified 11th

** – 10-place grid penalty for changing engine and using sixth ICE of season, originally qualified in 17th, remaining places will carry over to next race (Russia)

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.506s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.703s 0.197s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m33.128s 0.622s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m33.527s 1.021s
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m33.740s 1.234s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m34.075s 1.569s
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m34.242s 1.736s
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m34.317s 1.811s
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1m34.432s 1.926s
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m34.542s 2.036s
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m35.089s
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m35.092s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m35.099s
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.364s
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.681s
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m35.984s
17 Marcus Ericsson Caterham/Renault 1m36.813s
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia/Ferrari 1m36.943s
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1m37.015s
20 Max Chilton Marussia/Ferrari 1m37.481s
21 Jean-Eric Vergne* Toro Rosso/Renault 1m34.984s
22 Pastor Maldonado** Lotus/Renault 1m35.917s
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