Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat on Saturday apologised to his mechanics after leaving his vehicle in a crumpled heap during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg starts from pole for only the second time this season after pipping Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in a return to form for Mercedes after their blip in Singapore last week.
Rosberg started from pole in Japan past year but Hamilton got the better of his Mercedes team-mate in the torrid conditions.
The second Williams and Ferrari cars, of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen were fifth and sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Hamilton’s lead over Rosberg, who finished fourth in Singapore, was trimmed from 53 to 41 points with six races left.
Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg had taken Mercedes back to the top of the timing screens on Saturday after their Singapore setback and exchanged times at the top in Q1 and Q2. His session ended prematurely with a damaged floor.
Lewis Hamilton made it an all-Mercedes front row, but showed that he had the pace to beat his teammate for the pole position.
It should be noted that the track in Suzuka is a very challenging one, especially during the rain.
“Nico is driving well this weekend but I definitely felt pretty good on that last lap”. “There might be a few surprises tomorrow, but I am confident I found a good balance”.
Drivers, crew and spectators will be on edge, as the circuit saw F1’s most tragic incident in 21 years with young driver Jules Bianchi of Manor-Marussia suffering severe injuries at the track during a rain soaked 2014 Japanese GP. “It was a shame we didn’t get to finish the last lap but I’m glad (Kvyat) is safe”. I never had a auto crash until now… maybe in karting, I have never rolled a vehicle.
Rosberg set the fastest time of Q3 during the drivers’ first quick laps, but Kvyat’s shunt as they set out on their second runs neutralised the session with just 30 seconds remaining before the FIA decided not to resume running.
“I am not as good as them at building the auto but I will try to stay with them as long as I can tonight”.
“It was a rookie mistake, I put two wheels on the grass, there is no runoff area and there was nowhere to go”, said Kvyat. “I am disappointed in myself”. We learned it all in the last race here when it was raining, so it is irrelevant what we did today as it is going to be dry.
“I just want to say sorry to them”.
While 2014 was defined by a number of on-track scuffles between Hamilton and Rosberg, from the “Duel in the Desert” in Bahrain to their collision in the opening stages at Spa-Francorchamps, this season has been something of a cold war.