• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Kobayashi promoted to seventh

ESPNF1 Staff
October 8, 2011 « 'It was a squeeze getting my car together' - Senna | 'No secret' to back-to-back titles - Vettel »
Kamui Kobayashi started a flying lap on medium tyres whereas Michael Schumacher, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna did not © Getty Images

Kamui Kobayashi will start from seventh on the grid at the Japanese Grand Prix after a lengthily deliberation over how positions seven to ten should line up for Sunday's race.

Michael Schumacher, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov and Kobayashi all failed to set a time in the final session of qualifying after deciding to save fresh tyres for the race. The preliminary classification put them in number order, with Schumacher (No. 7) ahead of Senna (No. 8), Petrov (No. 9) and Kobayashi (No. 16).

However, under the regulations any driver who starts a flying lap is classified ahead of drivers who did not, and therefore Kobayashi - who went out on medium tyres, crossed the line and then came back to the pits at the start of the session - is ranked higher than the other three.

Schumacher attempted to start a flying lap at the end of the session but got stuck behind Lewis Hamilton at the final chicane and failed to make the start line before the chequered flag came out. Similarly, Senna and Petrov went out at the end of the session but did not start a flying lap before the flag came out. As a result Schumacher, Senna and Petrov will start in number order behind Kobayashi.

Sauber confirmed the news via Twitter: "Good news, at the end of a long day - FIA Formula One Provisional Starting Grid: Kamui is staring from P7 tomorrow."

Before he heard the news, Kobayashi was already ecstatic about starting in the top ten in front of his home crowd.

"I am really happy we made it into the top ten qualifying in Suzuka," he said. "I very much enjoy seeing all the fans here. In free practice we struggled quite a lot with the balance of the car, but the set up changes we made for qualifying worked out well. I think from the pace of the car you can see now that the new aero package is starting to work. My laps in Q1 and Q2 were good, and I can't complain. We still have some good tyres left for the race tomorrow, and the race is what counts. I want to score points in front of this crowd."