A Noah’s Ark grid for the Japanese Grand Prix sees Ferrari at the head of a two-by-two line-up across the first four rows, with Sebastian Vettel on pole ahead of Charles Leclerc.
The Monegasque had outqualified Vettel in nine successive races prior to Suzuka, but Vettel turned the tables, ending Leclerc’s run of four successive poles, but maintaining Ferrari’s flawless qualifying form since the summer break.
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Valtteri Bottas ousted Lewis Hamilton in an all- Mercedes second row, with the third row full of the Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen ahead of Alexander Albon after both set identical lap times in Q3.
McLaren got a lockout of the fourth row, potentially huge in their fight for fourth with Renault, who saw Daniel Ricciardo go out in Q1 and Nico Hulkenberg run into hydraulic problems in Q2.
Matters could be more terminal for
Robert Kubica and Kevin Magnussen, who both crashed in Q1, giving Williams and Haas a little over three hours to rebuild their cars.