Vettel bags Suzuka pole
Button and Hamilton edged out by rampant German

Jenson Button missed out on pole position for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix by just nine thousandths of a second as Sebastian Vettel continued his astonishing run.

With Button's McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton provisionally in top spot after the first run at Suzuka, the Briton aborted his second and instead it was left to Vettel and Button to battle it out.

Vettel crossed the line first in his Red Bull and ousted Hamilton by only 0.151secs, but that left Button behind him in on the grid.

However, after topping the practice times in all three sessions, the 31-year-old failed to clinch his first pole for 45 races by the narrowest of margins but did vault over his colleague.


It is now five poles in a row for Vettel and his 12th of the season, with only three drivers ahead of him in F1 History who have managed more in a single campaign - Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost with 13, with record-holder Nigel Mansell on 14.

It is also Red Bull's 16th consecutive pole, with only McLaren on 17 and Williams with 24 ahead of them.

Needing just a point in Japan to win back-to-back titles, only a failure and a Button victory can deny Vettel the championship.

Behind the front row, Hamilton will start third alongside Felipe Massa in his Ferrari, with an interesting duel likely to develop there in light of their feud a fortnight ago in Singapore.

Fernando Alonso, who blew his first run when he made a mistake, lines up fifth, with Mark Webber sixth in his Red Bull and the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher seventh.

The Renaults of Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov start eighth and ninth, while Kamui Kobayashi delighted his fans by qualifying in the top 10 for only the fourth time this season and first time in six races, with the Japanese starting 10th.

The Force India pair of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta line up on the sixth row in 11th and 12th respectively, the duo separated by just under three tenths of a second.

Then come the Williams' of Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado, split by 0.145secs, followed by the Toro Rosso's of Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, 0.2secs apart.


Sergio Perez starts 17th after failing to set a time in Q2 in his Sauber, with the Mexican suffering from a high fever.

The usual names dropped out of Q1, spearheaded by Heikki Kovalainen in his Lotus in 18th, albeit the Finn was only a third of a second away from what would have been a surprise slot in Q2.

For Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes, the German faces an uphill battle just to get into the points after an hydraulic problem resulted in him failing to set a time.

The issue occurred after he returned to the pits after completing an installation lap, with Rosberg then forced to frustratingly sit in the car as his mechanics worked around him, but to no avail.

Rosberg, though, will not be last on the grid as that dubious honour falls to the Hispania of Vitantonio Liuzzi, whose problems in practice in which he managed just 12 laps overall, continued to plague his car as he too failed to post a time due to an engine misfire.