Lewis Hamilton's Suzuka struggle became even more obvious on Sunday, when it emerged the 2008 world champion is suffering an ear infection.

Lewis Hamilton's Suzuka struggle became even more obvious on Sunday, when it emerged the 2008 world champion is suffering an ear infection.

The McLaren driver had crashed in Friday practice at Suzuka, following two consecutive race-ending collisions.

He then learned on Saturday that he would have to move back five grid positions due to an unscheduled gearbox change, meaning that managing to qualify just behind the Red Bulls is good enough only for eighth.

"It doesn't appear to be slowing him down," BBC pundit Eddie Jordan said after learning about Hamilton's minor health issue.

But to make things even worse for Hamilton, the stewards are investigating Williams' claim that Nico Hulkenberg was held up on a flying lap by the Briton in qualifying.

"It's not been the best of weekends for us," admitted the 25-year-old Hamilton, revealing that the repaired rear wing parts rushed to Suzuka after his Friday crash were ultimately not used.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso benefits from the Hamilton demotion after qualifying just fifth, but he is still behind both Red Bulls and also the impressive Robert Kubica for the race start at 1500.

"We need to pressure Red Bull. We know they are very quick but if we put some pressure maybe they make a mistake. But so far they are very dominant this weekend," said the Spaniard.

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:32.035 1:31.184 1:30.785 20
2 6 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:32.476 1:31.241 1:30.853 21
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.809 1:31.523 1:31.169 22
4 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1:32.808 1:32.042 1:31.231 21
5 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:32.555 1:31.819 1:31.352 26
6 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.636 1:31.763 1:31.378 21
7 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:32.238 1:31.886 1:31.494 22
8 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:32.361 1:31.874 1:31.535 22
9 10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:32.211 1:31.926 1:31.559 20
10 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:32.513 1:32.073 1:31.846 21
11 22 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.011 1:32.187   17
12 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:32.721 1:32.321   20
13 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:32.849 1:32.422   18
14 23 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.783 1:32.427   15
15 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:33.186 1:32.659   17
16 17 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:33.471 1:33.071   17
17 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:33.216 1:33.154   16
18 16 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:33.568     11
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:35.346     10
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:35.464     11
21 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.265     9
22 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.332     8
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:37.270     10
24 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:37.365     8

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2010 Japanese Grand Prix QUALIFYING - RESULTS