After failing to secure a podium finish during the last race, the Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes drivers – Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton – came up with an impressive qualifying performance at the Japanese Grand Prix, where they topped the charts at the Suzuka circuit. Rosberg and Hamilton will start the race in first and second position respectively on Sunday.
Rosberg was the fastest with a timing of 1m 32.584s, while teammate Hamilton's best timing in the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix read 1m 32.660s. Williams' Valtteri Bottas will start in third position.
However, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who has won three races this season including the last one, will start in fourth position after timing 1m 33.245s.
Once again the fight could be between Rosberg and Hamilton for the coveted Japanese GP title on Sunday. Both the drivers have been in amazing form in the circuit. Hamilton, having won seven races this season, and Rosberg, with three wins, are the drivers to watch out for in the Japanese GP.
Rosberg, who has never won the Japanese Grand Prix, is confident ahead of the main race on Sunday after a splendid performance on Saturday.
"It was difficult to set up the car here for the dry conditions, because we had the two wet sessions yesterday. But when we were able to practise some high fuel and qualifying runs, today I got a really good feeling," said Rosberg.
"I nailed my laps and I was already on another good quick lap when Dani hit the wall. Then the team informed me that he is fine so we were all very happy to hear that. I'm confident for tomorrow. Thanks to the team for this car, It seems that we are coming back stronger here than in Singapore."
In all F1 races, it has been noticed that the early few stages are important as a lot could be decided on how one starts the race. Hamilton believes it is not going to be easy on Sunday.
"Tomorrow is going to be hard; it depends on the conditions. The start will be crucial as you can't follow closely here and it will be hard to pass but I will give it my best shot," said Hamilton.
However, both these Mercedes drivers are going to be severely tested by Vettel, who has been outstanding in the Japanese Grand Prix in the past. The German has won the race four times in the last six seasons, which establishes his dominance in the Suzuka circuit.
Though Vettel might have not been happy with the way he qualified, he was happy overall with the fourth fastest timing he achieved.
"In the end we can be reasonably happy, I had a decent lap and I was a lot happier than previously; having scored a lap time which is competitive. Third place on the grid would have been the maximum today, but I missed this by one position," said Vettel.
"Mercedes are back to their usual level of competitiveness, as we have seen - unfortunately - all year. They will be the ones to beat tomorrow, but for sure we will try everything we can, even if we may expect stronger competition from Red Bull Racing and Williams."
Vettel's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, will start in sixth position and Force India's Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will drive from ninth and eleventh positions in the grid respectively.
Where to watch live
The Japanese Grand Prix is scheduled for a 2pm local time (10.30 am IST, 6 am BST, 1 am ET) start.
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports 4HD|
|United Kingdom||BBC, Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
|India||Star Sports Online|
|US||NBC Sports Online|
|UK||Watch Sky Sports|
|Middle East||BeIN Sports Connect|
|Asia||Fox Sports Online|
|Italy||Sky Go Italy|
|Germany||Sky Go Germany|