Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel is hoping for a wet 2022 Japanese Grand Prix after a strong Qualifying session.
Throughout his F1 career, Vettel had always reached Q3 in Qualifying for Japanese Grand Prix but that prospect looked unlikely after he finished 14th in FP3 and 0.384 seconds shy of a hypothetical Q3 spot which was held by his teammate – Lance Stroll in 10th place.
Vettel though was able to find further performance once Qualifying began to secure ninth in a tightly-fought Qualifying session, which means that he has reached Q3 on each of his 14 F1 visits to Japan although two of those trips came at Fuji Speedway in 2007 & 08 seasons.
Reflecting on what it has meant to compete in Suzuka over the years, Vettel commented: “It is so much more fun around here than at the other circuits! I mean, the cars and the speeds are great – but at this place you feel alive.
“I have enjoyed it so much over the years – and I had a wonderful day today. We will see what we can do tomorrow, but I am just very happy about today. At the same time, I am a bit sad – because it is the last time I will ever tackle this track in qualifying trim.”
Vettel though is hoping for rain to sweep in in time for the race at 2pm local time in order to boost his chances of a top-ten finish, which coincidentally would bring his Japanese GP experience full circle after his first Japanese GP in 2007 was held in wet conditions in Fuji.
Explaining why he is keen to see a wet race, the four-time champion said: “I do not mind if it rains tomorrow – I cannot influence the weather! – but I think wet conditions would probably be a bit better for us.
“Still, we had a strong day today and I think we can make a difference managing the tyres whatever the weather. Laps like these make me feel sad about leaving F1.”
Stroll meanwhile qualified 19th after he suffered a lock-up at the Turn 11 hairpin on his final Q1 lap which proved “the difference” in condemning him to a Q1 exit, despite feeling that the car was “good” to drive.