Sebastian Vettel admitted he was delighted to secure pole for the Japanese Grand Prix on a mixed day for the Red Bull Racing team.
Team-mate Mark Webber was forced to miss qualifying following an accident in the final free practice session, leaving Vettel to go it alone as he seeks to maintain his slim title hopes.
The young German duly dominated the session – which was hit by a number of incidents – to snare pole and he admitted he was pleased to see things go his way.
“I did my best not to get distracted today; it was a strange session with a lot of incidents,” he said. “The most important thing is that all the drivers are okay. In qualifying, it's usual that you're looking for the limit, as it's about just one fast lap time, but Turn 9, where the people went off, is quite difficult.
“If you go too wide on that kerb you're basically just a passenger, as you can't get rid of the speed. There's not much run off, so the wall is close and people hit it. For the other cars, sometimes you're lucky and the red flag is called just as you're about to warm up your tyres, but sometimes it's called when you've started your flying lap. The car worked fantastically today and we were quickest in Q1, Q2 and Q3.
“The most difficult was probably Q3, due to running with race fuel and only having one lap. It's not easy through the S-bends and the tyres don't really last for a second lap. I'm very happy, we're back to full strength since Singapore and have now put the car on pole. A good day today, now let's see tomorrow.”
Team boss Christian Horner was also thrilled with Vettel's performance, stating the team would now look to attack from both the front and the rear of the field.
“A great performance by Sebastian and the team,” he said. “We were fastest in all three sessions and have a healthy fuel load for the race; we'll wait with interest to see the fuel figures later today. So, a good start for Sebastian. It's unfortunate for Mark not to be able to take part in qualifying when the car's proved so competitive here. It's important tomorrow that we attack the race from both ends of the grid.”