MERC STAR SHINING AGAIN: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (left) and team mate Lewis Hamilton seems to have bounced back from their poor form in Singapore ahead of the Japanese GP.Image: Tom Boland / Canadian Press via AP
Suzuka, Japan - Red Bull and Ferrari feared F1 had shrugged off the blip of Singapore and resumed 'normal service' after dominant champions Mercedes swept the front row in the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday (Sept 26).
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, winner from pole in Singapore but now back to fourth on the grid, said: "Mercedes is back to their usual level of competitiveness as we have seen, unfortunately, all year.
"They will be the ones to beat tomorrow but for sure we will try everything we can, even if we may expect stronger competition from Red Bull Racing and Williams," added the German, the only non-Mercedes driver to win this year.
Struggled for pace
Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo, second in Singapore while Mercedes struggled for pace with Lewis Hamilton retiring and Nico Rosberg fourth, agreed with the assessment after qualifying seventh.
Ricciardo said: "I don't think we really left much on the table. We hoped Singapore would last but if I had to put money on it, I would have said they (Mercedes) would have been first or second so no real surprise.
"I'm sure Williams and Ferrari are going to be pretty close, I have a feeling we use our tyres a bit better than them so maybe we can put ourselves in the fight through some strategy but otherwise I'll just be running around trying to tag on the back of them."
Rosberg qualified on pole on Saturday with Hamilton alongside.
Rosberg said: "It's fantastic after such a difficult weekend in Singapore to be back to our usual strength today.
Double world champion Hamilton, winner of seven grands prix this year, leads Rosberg by 41 points with six races remaining. The Briton won at a wet Suzuka last year after Rosberg had started on pole.