4 October 2009
Japanese GP grid finalised, Button tenth.
The convoluted way in which the FIA applies penalties has seen the starting grid for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix will see Jenson Button start tenth, rather than twelfth.
The Briton was among four drivers handed five-place penalties for failing to slow down through the yellow flag zone caused by Sebastien Buemi's Q2 accident, but the timing of the infringements means that, instead of dropping the full number of places, Button will 'only' lose three spots on the grid after qualifying seventh fastest.
That, however, will still lose the points leader ground on Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello who, despite committing the same offence, only loses one place over his original fifth. With Force India's Adrian Sutil and Renault's Fernando Alonso both also being penalised, Buemi handed a similar punishment for attempting to get his damaged car back to the pits and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen also taking five places for changing his gearbox, Barrichello will line up from the outside of row three instead of the inside, simply because he erred earlier than his rivals.
Kovalainen will now start just behind Button on row six, but the reshuffle has promoted Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica - who both missed the cut to make the third phase of qualifying - ahead of the Briton, to seventh and ninth respectively. Given the fuel weights published after qualifying, both are expected to be running long into the race before making a pit-stop.
Sutil, who had qualified fourth fastest to line up alongside Lewis Hamilton, will now roll off from eighth place, with Alonso, who missed the final phase despite setting his fastest time with Buemi's debris strewn across the run from 130R, will start 16th, one place ahead of Renault team-mate Romain Grosjean.
The top three positions on the grid remain unchanged, with Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli ahead of Hamilton.
Timo Glock will be missing on Sunday afternoon, having been declared unfit to race following his qualifying accident, while Mark Webber, who missed the session after crashing in practice. is expected to start from the pit-lane in a spare car.
The revised starting line-up is as follows:
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Jarno Trulli Toyota-Toyota
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
4. Nick Heidfeld BMW-Sauber
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari-Ferrari
6. Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes
7. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
9. Robert Kubica BMW-Sauber
10. Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes
11. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
12. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari
14. Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari-Ferrari
15. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
16. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault
17. Romain Grosjean Renault-Renault
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
19. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
DNS Timo Glock Toyota-Toyota injured
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