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Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Saturday, 3 October 2009 13:16 UK

Japan GP qualifying as it happened


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Post-qualifying update two: The grid is reshuffled as penalties are handed out according to the order in which cars passed the yellow flags. Jenson Button starts 10th, with Rubens Barrichello sixth. McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Force India's Tonio Liuzzi are given five-place penalties for changing their gearboxes.

Post-qualifying update: There are several changes to the Suzuka grid following penalties issued to drivers.
Brawn's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, Force India's Adrian Sutil and Renault's Fernando Alonso all drop five grid places after being penalised for not slowing for yellow flags following Sebastien Buemi's crash in Q2.
Buemi has also been demoted five grid places and reprimanded by the stewards for causing the incident and then driving back to the pits in his damaged car.
In addition to those penalties it is understood that McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Force India's Tonio Liuzzi will be given five-place penalties for changing their gearboxes.

By Caroline Cheese

0752: Time to go. The green light is at 0600 BST tomorrow, but we'll be kicking off the build-up at 0430 BST. Because we want to. See you then, I hope.

0748: You've got to feel sorry for Toro Rosso, who showed some impressive pace today, but saw both their drivers crash out. Sebastien Buemi will start 10th, Jaime Alguersuari 15th. Jenson Button will have to hold off the Kers-powered Kimi Raikkonen off the start.

0743: Rubens Barrichello says Suzuka's run-off areas need to be bigger because it is "very dangerous". The good news is that Timo Glock's injury is described as an "abrasion to the left upper leg", which doesn't sound too bad.

Rubens Barrichello: "To beat JB on the same fuel level is an aim I have reached. When you don't have the car to win, that's what you have to aim for. We didn't have a very competitive session."

Jenson Button: "It's OK. It was a tough session. No one got any practice yesterday, very little this morning. Three red flags is very unusual so I hope everyone is OK. I think we've got a reasonable amount of fuel on board, so yeah, it's good. I'm not looking at Sebastian really."

Brawn boss Ross Brawn: "Very, very messy session. We had a good balance on low fuel, not so good on high fuel. It wasn't a great qualifying. We're fuelled about 17 laps but I don't think we did the lap time we thought we could do on that load."

Fernando Alonso: "I think everybody was improving their times [when the yellow came out]. I backed off. Other people didn't. We'll see what happens this afternoon. "

0731: Sebastian Vettel leaps out of his car and punches the air. That's his fourth pole position of the season. Jarno Trulli is second, with best buddies Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil filling the second row. Then: Rubens Barrichello, Nick Heidfeld, Jenson Button, and Kimi Raikkonen in eighth.


0728: Seb Vettel takes a whopping eight-tenths of a second out of Kimi Raikkonen's time. He'll have another go too. Clock now at zero. Here we go...

Text in your views on 81111
From Helen, Leeds, via text on 81111: "And to think I nearly turned over and went back to sleep at 4.50am!"

0726: This is poised to be a very dramatic finish. Raikkonen still on his own on the leaderboard. Less than two minutes left.

0725: Less than four minutes remaining and no one has put a flying lap on the board. Now they have: Kimi Raikkonen in P1 with a 1:33.010.

0723: We're back up and running. About six minutes remaining. Lewis Hamilton in P1 at the moment.

0719: I'm getting a bit bored of the sight of this red flag now. Fernando Alonso has told BBC 5 live Sports Extra that he expects to move further up the grid from 12th because some drivers did their quickest laps while the yellow flags were out in Q2.

Someone has crashed
0717: If I told you someone has found the wall at Degner, would you believe me? It's Heikki Kovalainen, who is quickly on the team radio with the following: "I had a crash into turn eight OK? I'm sorry." He sounds embarrassed. But he adds: "I'm fine."

0715: Martin Brundle is absolutely fuming with Sebastian Buemi for dragging his Toro Rosso back to the pits after throwing it into a wall. "It's sheer stupidity," he concludes. Buemi, not surprisingly, is not on the track.

0714: Q3 is on.

0712: Ted Kravitz confirms that Timo Glock has a "left leg wound" but is "fine". He has been taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital.

0710: The stewards could be having a word with Sebastian Buemi, who David Coulthard believes should have parked his Toro Rosso instead of driving it back to the pits without its front wing. Toro Rosso have a bit of a challenge on their hands to get him back out for Q3.

0707: Dramas, dramas - but the championship contenders go through. The men to go are: Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Robert Kubica, along with Timo Glock and Jaime Alguersuari. It was Sebastian Buemi who went off and the Toro Rosso driver left his front wing on the track and limped back to the pits.

0706: Time's up. AND THERE'S A YELLOW FLAG. Debris all over the place at the Spoon corner. Can Button and Barrichello get through?

0704: Vettel top, Buemi up to fourth. Sutil, Button, Barrichello in the danger zone.

0703: Finally. Here come one-lap wonders Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. Sebastian Vettel looks to be through.

0702: Lewis Hamilton goes top with a 1:30.917 and that should be enough, with three minutes remaining. The Brawns are still dawdling in the pits. Playing with fire.

0700: Fernando Alonso jumps up to third, and now Lewis Hamilton is flying. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are still in the pits.

0657: The green light is back on and Fernando Alonso it waiting at the end of the pit lane, with Nico Rosberg just behind him.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Timo is conscious and talking. Toyota say he has a leg wound. It's early days but it'll be surprising if Timo is able to race with that injury."

David Coulthard on BBC One: "It's such an unusual place to go off the circuit. I'll be interested to find out what happened."

0651: BBC 5 live report that Timo Glock waves and gives the thumbs-up as he is transferred to an ambulance on a stretcher.

From anon via text on 81111: "This is what happens when the drivers have little dry running on a circuit which hasn't been run on since a major regulation change."

BBC Radio 5 live's David Croft: "The red flag came out seven minutes ago and as yet Timo Glock hasn't come out of the car. It was a huge, huge impact."

0649: Some good news. Jaime Alguersuari has got the all-clear from the hospital. "I'm fine," he tells the BBC. "I just lost the car going into turn 10. The car looks very bad, but I'm fine."

0647: The leaderboard situation is that Jarno Trulli is top ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Adrian Sutil, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are the men in the drop zone.

0645: Worried looks in the Toyota garage as they watch the white sheet come out at the scene of Glock's crash. The doctor is attending now, and now an ambulance arrives.

0643: Glock, remember, missed practice yesterday as he nursed a heavy cold. That won't help his recovery one bit. The German was due to head straight back to the hotel after qualifying to continue his recuperation. "The drivers have been told to stay in the car until the doctor arrives on the scene," reports Ted Kravitz.

Someone has crashed
0642: Jarno Trulli takes us into the 1:30s and Toyota team-mate Timo Glock is about to follow him until he runs wide at the final turn and smashes into the tyre wall. We have another red flag.

0638: And there are 10 minutes remaining. Kimi Raikkonen sits top, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Robert Kubica.

0637: Jaime Alguersuari has been taken to hospital as a precaution. The session is now back on.

Giancarlo Fisichella after missing out on Q2: "Not too bad in the first and last sector. Three-tenths missing in the second sector. It's tough but I'm looking forward."

0633: Alguersuari walks away from his Toro Rosso, which is an encouraging sign. He is driven away by the medical team. His team-mate Sebastian Buemi, Heikki Kovalainen and Mark Webber have all gone off at the same place today.

BBC One commentator Martin Brundle: "That gravel trap didn't slow him down at all. He'll at least be winded. Let's hope there's no damage to his legs."

Someone has crashed
0630: Red flag. Jaime Alguersuari becomes another victim of Degner, the Spaniard straight-lining into the tyre wall.

0627: I tell a lie. Kimi Raikkonen is on the track... He'll carry Ferrari's qualifying hopes once again after Giancarlo Fisichella's failure to get out of Q1 for the second race running.

0627: Jaime Alguersuari is through to Q2 for the first time. And that session is under way now. No one moving yet though.

Anthony Davidson on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra: "That is outstanding from Buemi - he has just shown that he can be in contention for a podium this weekend."

0622: Sebastian Vettel is quickest, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jarno Trulli, Sebastien Buemi and Kimi Raikkonen.

0621: Q1 is over and Giancarlo Fisichella, Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grosjean and Tonio Liuzzi join Mark Webber at the back of the grid.

0620: Kovalainen is in danger, so is Fisichella, so is Nakajima.

0618: Everyone is on track except the two Red Bulls. Sebastian Vettel is top, Mark Webber providing the other bookend. Sebastien Buemi roars out of the drop zone and up to fourth. Impressive.

0616: Three minutes remaining and the men in bother are: Grosjean, Liuzzi, Fisichella, and Buemi - who is on the track now.

0613: Giancarlo Fisichella is really struggling in the Ferrari. He remains 18th, with only Buemi and Webber behind him.

0611: It will be a real shame if Sebastien Buemi can't get out again. Jaime Alguersuari is up in sixth in the other Toro Rosso. "That car has got some real pace this weekend," says Brundle.

0610: Four to join Mark Webber at the back of the grid after Q1. That quartet is currently: Kovalainen, Fisichella, Liuzzi, Buemi.

0608: Degner is proving very tricky indeed. Heikki Kovalainen takes a spin through there now. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli are playing cat and mouse at the top. Vettel takes us into the 1:30s for the first time this weekend. Brawns are fourth and sixth.

0606: The Toyotas quickly go one-two, Jarno Trulli top with a 1:31.810. Ted Kravitz reports that Toro Rosso are hopeful of getting Sebastien Buemi out again before the end of the session. Only a damaged rear wing.

0603: Oh dear. Sebastien Buemi, so impressive in final practice this morning, goes off at exactly the same place that Mark Webber did. He goes backwards into the barrier, but manages to escape from the gravel trap and limp back to the pits. "That shows you what a bad gravel trap that is," observes Martin Brundle.

0602: Martin Brundle has heard a rumour that Jaime Alguersuari collided with Jenson Button in final practice because he was fiddling with his radio and didn't notice the Brawn. Typical 19-year-old then.

0600: And we're off, Sebastian Buemi racing out of the pits first in his Toro Rosso.

0558: One of the Red Bull mechanics is caught on camera scoffing a sandwich... He quickly dives to the back of the garage. Too late.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt tweeting from Suzuka: "OK time to go. Something is telling me to go for Lewis for pole."

0555: Webber is backing Jenson Button to handle the pressure this weekend. "He knows what he needs to do. He's going to go out there and do his job. For sure, he'll be in the top few," says the Australian. The Brawn man is only a 7-1 chance with bookies to clinch the title in Japan, where Lewis Hamilton and Seb Vettel are rated joint favourites to win. Meanwhile, William Hill reckon the F1 musical chairs will see between eight and 11 drivers changing teams before the start of next season.

Webber on the title race: "It's down to two guys... I think JB will probably go on to wrap it up."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "So you were wondering why Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso was second fastest in final practice and his team-mate Jamie Alguersuari was 10th, especially as neither of them have raced at Suzuka's formidable circuit before? Well, I have the answer. The team say they opted to simulate qualifying and had just 30 litres of fuel in the tanks. Most of the other teams will have done some longer runs with heavier fuel loads on board to get a good idea of how they will go during the race."

Mark Webber on his crash in final practice: "We bottomed out pretty hard coming into Degner, that sent me wide and into the barrier. We're not sure if we'll start on the grid or in the pit lane but we'll see if we can nick a point."

Text in your views on 81111
From Will in Cheltenham, via text on 81111: "Just got back from a wonderful night out to find Jarno up top. Time to make it 26 hours up! Can't wait to watch the race. Go Jenson!"

Brawn boss Ross Brawn: "Not a good balance yet but we're making some changes. It's not bad, we're just not quite there yet. I think [we can make Q3]. We have to make another step. The times are remarkably close. We've got to do a good job."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "Adrian Sutil reckons the Suzuka circuit with its medium downforce track and high-speed corners will suit his Force India. The German roared to second, his career-best qualifying performance, in Monza and is out to repeat that feat in Japan. What you really want to know about the 26-year-old though is that he likes musicals and 1950s films. AND, as if that wasn't enough gossip for you, he took a stuntman course over the winter break. What a super man."

Eddie Jordan
Check the threads
0539: Talking of Eddie Jordan... well, we were about 10 minutes ago... EJ showed up for Friday practice wearing pink trainers. And cropped jeans. I'm not joking. Jake Humphrey tweeted evidence.

0535: Aah, didn't think it would be long before we heard the sound of Big In Japan, as Toyota's Timo Glock does a tour of Tokyo. Alphaville's biggest (and possibly only) hit went to number one in four countries, including Venezuela. It only got to number eight in the UK, fact fans.

0533: Lucky Jake Humphrey. He's just inches away from genius as he chats with Adrian Sutil. Back now to David Coulthard, who comments: "Now that the Force India car is delivering, he needs to start getting results." He will, DC, he will.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "The Webber news was the talk of the Japan paddock on my latest trek up there. The Australian told me yesterday that he was really hopeful of winning here this weekend because he wants to end the season on a high - now it looks like he'll have to wait until Interlagos or Abu Dhabi for his next opportunity to try and chalk up another win this season."

0527: The BBC boys head over to speak to Stefano Domenicali now... and Eddie Jordan actually touches fists with the Ferrari boss. Seriously. I am so distracted by that, I have no idea what he said. Something about how pleased he is Fernando Alonso is coming to the Scuderia.

0523: BBC One are having a little look at the drivers' merry-go-round. Eddie Jordan reckons Bob Kubica's move to Renault will be announced next week - and that the Pole wants Heikki Kovalainen as his team-mate. "It's interesting," adds David Coulthard. "The 'crashgate' scandal came about because Renault got rid of Nelson Piquet Jr. But Piquet's replacement (Romain Grosjean) has actually been worse than the Brazilian."

0519: That news about Mark Webber may well change BBC commentator Jonathan Legard's predictions for Sunday's race. Sadly, we make him play Mystic Meg after Friday practice so he's stuck with tipping Webber for second. But behind who?

0516: Red Bull need to score at least seven points more than Brawn this weekend to stay in the hunt for the constructors' championship. With Mark Webber starting from the back of the grid or the pits, that now seems very unlikely.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner on how Webber's crash affects their constructors' title hopes: "What was a hill has become a mountain to climb. It's not great in that respect. But the main thing is he wasn't injured and he'll be able to race tomorrow."

0505: Whoop whoop. The BBC One coverage is up and running.

0502: Bad news if you've just had a cheeky bet on Mark Webber to win the Japanese Grand Prix (like my sleep-deprived colleague). The Aussie is out of qualifying after that off in final practice. Red Bull do not have enough time to repair his chassis. Betting is a mug's game anyway.

0500: Welcome back.

0410: Let's go on a mini-break. I'll be back at 0500 BST as we count down to qualifying at 0600 BST. See you then.

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "Well done Jarno! Now for an hour's sleep..."

0406: A poor session for Red Bull's Mark Webber, who is a dismal 19th. Lewis Hamilton was strangely quiet in 16th. Fernando Alonso improved a touch at the end of the session to move up to 13th. And while Kimi Raikkonen looked strong, Giancarlo Fisichella did not. He is 18th.

0403: The top six is completed by Nico Rosberg, Seb Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil. Rubens Barrichello is seventh, Jenson Button ninth.

0402: Toro Rosso are within seconds of their first P1 in practice of 2009, but Jarno Trulli denies them, pipping Sebastian Buemi with a last-gasp 1:31.709. A boost for Toyota at their home Grand Prix.

Chequered flag
0400: The chequered flag is out... still some cars on the track though.

0359: One minute left. Can anyone beat Sebastian Buemi? Not a sentence I ever thought I'd write, to be honest.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Brawn are taking the fuel out for a Q1 and Q2 simulation. They want to make absolutely sure they have the pace to get through Q2."

0352: Yellow flags are out. Mark Webber has buried his Red Bull in the barriers at the Degner curve. Looks like driver error and the Aussie is trudging back to the pits.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "This has been a fascinating session in the pit-lane. There is frantic activity as the teams try to find some kind of set-up they can go racing with. A few worried faces at Renault. They've taken some fuel out now and Fernando is going out for his first run on the soft tyre."

0349: The Renaults are propping up the leaderboard at the moment. A Toro Rosso is top. Strange times. Less than 10 minutes remaining.

0347: Nick Heidfeld has a sideways moment.... and now Romain Grosjean is off altogether, his tyres covered in grass after locking up going into the chicane.

0345: Fifteen minutes remaining. Still Buemi in P1, followed by Raikkonen, Vettel, Kovalainen, Barrichello and Sutil.

0342: Mark Webber appears to have had an off, without anyone noticing. Holly Samos reports that the Aussie surprised his Red Bull team by returning to the pits with some tell-tale gravel and grass in his tyres. In answer to Maithri and Danny (see below), Kimi's rumoured to be off to McLaren to replace fellow Finn Kovalainen. But he could also quit altogether.

From Maithri on Twitter: "Maithri and Danny here, bravely fighting off the effects of sleep (or lack of). Pondering where Kimi will be next season..."

Brawn radio to Jenson Button: "The options don't look great. Glock was graining on the rear."

0337: A few of the drivers are coming out on the option tyres now. Timo Glock is struggling though, reports Ted Kravitz. The sickly German has done 16 laps, including a stint on the options, and he's still only 19th quickest.

Anthony Davidson on BBC Red Button: "Jenson Button is looking good. The rear looks stable. The car looks fairly planted at the moment."

From mattgeorgejack on Twitter: "Just back from hospital, new baby boy! Kebab ordered. Let's hope this practice is exciting or I'm asleep!"

0328: Seb Vettel reckons his Red Bull works well in both wet and dry conditions, and he's doing a good job of proving it. Vettel is second quickest at the moment. Mark Webber is only 12th though. Still Sebastian Buemi in P1.

0324: Nick Heidfeld is troubled by understeer in his BMW, particularly in turn two. Anthony Davidson tells us that the wind has a big effect on F1 cars, and should not be underestimated.

0322: The first man into the 1:32s is... Sebastian Buemi actually. Unusual.

0319: Trulli, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, the one-two-three. The Red Bulls are 10th and 20th, although Seb Vettel is yet to post a quick lap.

BBC Sport pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Hello! Everyone is happy now that the sun is shining. I had a lovely chat with Kamui Kobayashi in the paddock, who was delighted to drive here as stand-in for Timo Glock at Toyota. Kamui says he was frustrated by the rain on Friday. Despite doing an impressive 20 laps, he felt he could have done much better. He said he had not driven the F1 car for six months AND he had never run an F1 car in the wet. He also told me he had never used Timo's steering wheel before which is very different to Jarno Trulli's, which he has. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was also in good spirits but was wondering what the day would hold. He said it was difficult to know where everyone is placed after such limited running."

0315: Heikki Kovalainen misses his braking going into the chicane in sector 18, and takes a trip onto the green. No big drama though. Jenson Button currently fourth quickest, Rubens Barrichello gradually moving up the leaderboard.

0312: Impressive times already. Kimi Raikkonen is down to 1:33.453 already in the Ferrari, with Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso just behind.

From theaardvark on Twitter: "Just got in from DJing at a BeeGees night in time to catch the start of practice. Cheers for the live txt."

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Jenson was super-impatient to get out of the box and get some running on the harder compound tyres. He was spinning his wheels as he came out of the garage. He clearly wants to get on with it."

From padawanbeck84 on Twitter: "Re 0251: Hello! I got up again a few minutes ago and am happily sat at the computer in my pyjamas to watch final practice."

0302: Disastrous start to the day for Jenson Button, who collides with Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari on his out lap and his front wing is bust. Alguersari's fault, reckons Anthony Davidson. Button will be kicking his heels in the pits for the next few minutes.

0300: The green light is on and after yesterday's damp squib, there's a traffic jam at the end of the pit lane as every driver races to get out for some much-needed track time. Everyone except Rubens Barrichello, who is still celebrating Rio's Olympics win. Not really, he'll be on his way shortly.

0258: BBC television coverage is under way and it's a feisty start, as David Croft accuses Ted Kravitz of requiring a hair loss shampoo.

From Urt via text on 81111: "Phew! Just finish work an hour earlier than expected and managed to get back for P3. Bring it on!"

0251: Anyone out there? Anyone?? Let me know on 81111 or on Twitter, there's a love.

0246: The sun may be out now, but the F1 website reports that "showers are expected in the region on Saturday, though locals hope they may miss the circuit this time, with ambient temperature highs of 24 degrees Celsius." Forecast for race day: "It should be dry, partially cloudy and 23 degrees."

Text in your views on 81111
From Team42 via text on 81111: "Had to leave a party to be here. There are some things more important than friendship. Such as: how did lack of Friday running upset the apple cart? Tune in, chill out and watch the big teams panic."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Suzuka: "Konnichiwa. Look at that Caroline, I'm becoming more immersed in Japanese culture with each passing day. Well, the good news is that it is hot and sunny in Suzuka, which means for the first time we could see some real pace from the contenders for the Japanese Grand Prix. I popped over to Brawn HQ at breakfast time to find out what track conditions will be like. Reserve driver - and 5 Live expert - Anthony Davidson told me that the tarmac is now dry and he'd be surprised if there were any puddles of water confusing the issue. The long and short of it is that all the teams will have a lot to learn in third practice."

0238: Sarah also reports that Timo Glock is fit to return to his Toyota today after skipping yesterday's practice sessions with a heavy cold.

0234: First things first, an important tweet from BBC Sport's Sarah Holt: "A much brighter morning in Suzuka; so chances of a drier couple of sessions are looking up."

0230: Hello. I've just got back from the celebrations down at Copacabana. Yeah, it was OK - but I didn't want to miss final practice at Sukuka.

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see also
Button demoted as Vettel shines
04 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Glock misses Japan GP after crash
04 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Japanese GP qualifying photos
03 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Downpours disrupt Japan practice
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Highlights - Japanese GP second practice
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Highlights - Japanese GP first practice
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Vatanen hits back in Mosley row
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Renault cost me title, says Massa
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota target Raikkonen for 2010
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1

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