Sebastian Vettel headed a front row lock out for Red Bull in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Vettel beat team-mate Mark Webber to pole by 0.2 seconds, while McLaren’s Jenson Button posted the third fastest time. Button though will start the race eighth due to a gear box change from Singapore.
His demotion means local hero Kamui Kobayashi will start third, ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and McLaren bound Sergio Perez.
Championship leader Fernando Alonso will start sixth, the Spaniard’s final flying lap was hindered after yellow flags were waved for the stranded Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn spun on the entrance to the Spoon Curve and will begin the race seventh.
New Mercedes signing Lewis Hamilton could only manage ninth, while there was no fortune for their current employees Nico Rosberg or Michael Schumacher.
Nico Hulkenberg rounded off the top ten but will also take a five place gear box penalty, meaning team-mate Paul Di Resta will take his place in tenth.
Vettel heads the first Red Bull one-two of the season and looks in terrific form heading into the closing stages of the season. The German feels the car fulfilled it’s potential and is odds on to make it a win on Sunday: “We had almost the perfect qualifying,” he said.
“The car felt fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Title rival Alonso though, feels his team were very unlucky in pursuit of a top four finish after Kimi Raikkonen’s spin forced the Spaniard to lift off on his final lap: “We were the only ones to get it,” said Alonso.
“Five seconds there were no yellow flags, the car behind me was a green flag already, so we just lost probably position four, which was our target on the split times.”