Although he had never driven the Scuderia Toro Rosso in the rain before, Sebastian Vettel showed he has all the makings of a 'regenmeister' after claiming a superb eighth place on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Looking to put a troublesome first few races with the team behind him, Vettel had to learn how his STR2 handled in the wet the hard way after being forced to skip the equally sodden morning practice.

Nonetheless, despite a couple of innocuous spins in the opening knockout phase, Vettel comfortably qualified inside the second session for the first time and then when drizzle came to ruin the laps of his rivals at the latter end of the second phase, the German's tenth place winning time was enough to get him into the shootout.

A historic moment for the team as it marks the first time a Toro Rosso has qualified inside the top ten, Vettel went on to set the ninth fastest time of the day, moving up to eighth place when Nico Rosberg's penalty was taken into account.

Even so, just a tenth separated Vettel from a stunning sixth on the grid, offering up the possibility that he could be in the running for the team's first points of the season come race day.

"Definitely a good day and a great experience for the team to get to Q3 for the first time. Fantastic! It was difficult not having any free practice this morning and it was the first time for me driving this car in the rain this afternoon. It feels good and I looking forward to tomorrow now.

"I think if I had managed that final run, I could have improved by up to two places but we went for a last minute strategy change which meant I lost the last lap. When you start high up the grid you expect a better than usual finish position.

"Hopefully there will be some more rain which would help us and then we will see how far we can go."

 

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