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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer at Suzuka
Ferraris Sebastian Vettel made a performance to take pole position.
It eventually halted a run of nine races being out-qualified by team-mate Charles Leclerc and had been Vettels first pole because the Canadian Grand Prix in June.
The 21-year-old Monegasque, that has taken rod in the last four races, was second, 0.189 minutes behind.
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth, both just over 0.2secs off the Ferraris.
Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon were fifth and sixth, putting exactly the identical lap time, 0.787secs off the pace, a hugely impressive performance from the Anglo-Thai in his very first visit to Suzuka.
However, the story was Vettel, that has struggled slightly below Leclercs struggle in the second half of the season but revived memories of some of his performances in an illustrious career with just two laps good enough.
Vettel revelled in his own execution on the Suzuka track following a catchy session in which drivers were faced with gusting winds, a hangover in Typhoon Hagibis, which compelled qualifying to be postponed from Saturday until race .
Vettel explained:Were quite surprised. We did not expect to have the front row. It was incredible, the automobile being on and so light brand new tyres and wed mind wind. I dont think I touched the brakes (there) besides Turn Two.
He was being threatened by leclerc his final lap before he left some mistakes at the chicane and accelerating on to the last straight but admitted that Vettel was just too good for him.
Seb did a incredible lap, Leclerc said,and now he simply deserves to be on pole. I have been a bit. However, I have been pretty content with my lap. But to be honest, pole was possible, Seb was just too quick.
Leclerc said he was wary of the danger from the Mercedes cars at the race.
Mercedes are very quick at the race, he explained,and it isnt going to be easy but well attempt to focus on our job and maintain that one-two.
Mercedes had mastered Friday clinic but believed that Ferrari were carrying something in book afterward, so it proved.
Bottas, that has appeared faster than Hamilton all weekend, stated:We looked quite strong but we always understood Ferrari could have something to turn up. Through the straights theyre unbeatable. But were quick through the corners.
The tough conditions led to 2 drivers crashing out as Williams driver Robert Kubica and Haas Kevin Magnussen both dropped controller at the last corner at the first part of non invasive, in exactly the identical region.
Kubica ran wide and understeered into the barriers, while Magnussen spun and hit the obstacles backwards, even though he was able to get his car back to the pits.
Both groups face a race against time to get the cars ready in the short period before the race starts at 14:10 local time (06:10 BST).
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