Japanese Grand prix: Vettel – Leclair – BotasOctober 13, 2019
Due to the super typhoon Hagibis in Suzuk, all Saturday sessions were canceled, and the qualifications were postponed until Sunday morning. On Friday, the teams worked out two trainings on the dry track – Valtteri Bottas twice headed the protocol, rested on Saturday – the FIA extended the curfew from Friday night to five in the morning on Sunday.
Fortunately, the typhoon passed by, only slightly patting Suzuka with rain and wind, on Sunday morning it was warm and sunny. The qualification was scheduled for ten in the morning local time (04:00 Moscow time), by this time all the external equipment at the circuit, dismantled the day before, had been restored.
Tires brought to Japan the toughest compounds, in the roles of Hard, Medium and Soft, C1, C2 and C3 tires were used. On Friday, the teams worked with the sets that were intended for Saturday, so that before qualifying everyone had the usual number of sets.
In the first session, Leclair, Vettel, Sainz and Norris first went to Hard to evaluate the settings. The rest immediately put Soft.
In the third minute, the session was stopped with red flags. Robert Kubica drove two wheels on the grass, the car lost stability and flew off the track, crashing into the barrier.
The driver left the cockpit on his own, the car suffered very seriously. Dozens of marshals hastened to the scene of the accident to remove the wreckage and restore the fence. Seven minutes later, the qualification was continued. All went to Soft.
A few minutes later red flags reappeared – Kevin Magnussen flew off the track and hit the barrier in the same last corner – and returned to the pits with a broken rear wing.
The protocol was headed by Charles Lecler, driving a circle for 1: 28.405. Riccardo, Perez, Russell, Magnussen and Kubica dropped out of the further struggle.
In the second session, everyone went to Soft. Lewis Hamilton led the protocol in the first attempt – 1: 27.826.
Verstappen complained about the loss of power of the power plant. On the Hulkenberg machine, there were problems with the hydraulics – they stopped shifting gears, he slowly returned to the pits and left the fight.
In the second attempt, Bottas turned out to be faster, having passed the circle in 1: 27.688. Giovinazzi, Stroll, Raikkonen, Kvyat and Hulkenberg did not reach the final.
In the final, Vettel headed the protocol in the first attempt, having driven a lap for 1: 27.212, and in the second he was able to add – 1: 27.064 – this is a new record of the Japanese track.
Sebastian Vettel won the qualification in Suzuka, winning the second pole of the season and 57th in his career. Charles Lecler lost a little less than two-tenths – Ferrari has the entire first row of the starting field.
Bottas and Hamilton start from the second row, Verstappen and Elbon start from the third, showing the same time.
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