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Sebastian Vettel secures pole for 2012 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix

For the first time in the 2012 season Red Bull Racing will fill the front row at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. World champion Sebastian Vettel pipped Aussie teammate Mark Webber for pole.

McLaren driver Jenson Button will start alongside hometown hero and Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi on row two while his teammate Sergio Perez will start with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean on the third row.

Points leader and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso will have to make do from seventh with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton – who earlier in the week announced he will be joining the Mercedes team in 2013 – wasn’t quite on the pace and will start from ninth beside Nico Hulkenburg who was unable to complete a lap in Q3.

Notable names outside of the top 10 include Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (11th) and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (15th). Michael Schumacher will start from the back of the pack (23rd) after qualifying 13th along with a 10 grid-place penalty for his crash at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo will start from 15th after setting the 16th fastest time (gaining one spot with Schumacher’s relegation).

2012 Japanese F1 Grand Prix qualifying:

1        Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:30.839
2        Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:31.090
3        Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.290
4        Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.700
5        Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:31.898
6        Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.022
7        Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:32.114
8        Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:32.208
9        Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.327
10        Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:32.272
11        Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.12293
12        Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:32.327
13        Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.469
14        Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:32.512
15        Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:32.625
16        Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:32.954
17        Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:33.368
18        Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:33.405
19        Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:34.657
20        Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:35.213
21        Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:35.385
22        Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:35.429
23        Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:35.432
24        Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:36.734

Josh Barnett specialises in motorsport and road testing. His passion for cars is long and wide, and his experience is just as impressive. Josh's work has appeared in titles such as Street Commodores and Fox Sports.