Fastest in the 3 practice sessions were LH, NR and TG (1:32.605).
My qualifying notes are behind this cut:
The air temperature is 38°C; track is 51°C; humidity 13%; wind 5.7m/s
It’s forecast to be cooler tomorrow for the race, but still the threat of sandstorms.
Bridgestone have brought the medium and super-soft compounds.
Qualifying Session 1 (Q1):
GF is first on track, followed by AS
Pit-car for AS telling him to cool the engine as much as possible
Only half the cars on track
5mins gone – 15mins left of Q1
Yet to leave the pits are LH, FM, RK, NH, KN
KR 1:33.648 on the super-soft (option) tyre
HK has a big lockup in Turn 9 + 10
LH 1:33.290 also on options
(SBu P5 on his home circuit)
5mins left; bottom 5 are FA, SBo, MW, HK, TG
2mins left; bottom 5 are RB, GF, GFA, SBo, MW
MW had to pass AS – that could have ruined MW’s lap
Chequered flag is out but current laps will count
So the back of the grid is: P16=AS, 17=SBu, 18=GF, 19=MW, 20=SBo
FA tells his team he was held up by RK
Expect a penalty for AS and maybe RK
Qualifying Session 2 (Q2):
HK is first on track
Most of the cars are on track early on
RB runs wide in the hairpin
SV 1:32.474 – the first to beat the fastest Practice time
5mins left; bottom 5 are LH, FM, RK, NP, NH
(HK only moves from P to P8)
2mins left – everyone except SV on track – he may not be P1 but he’s safe
Chequered flag falls on Q2
(NH can’t improve on P14)
NP ran wide in the final turn
The mid-grid positions are: P11=HK, 12=KN, 13=RK, 14=NH, 15=NP
Apparently AS has apologised to MW – he didn’t realise MW was on a flying lap
Qualifying Session 3 (Q3):
Battling for the top 10 grid spots are SV, TG, JT, KR, RB, JB, FA, LH, FM, NR
TG first on track, followed by NR and JT
FA is the last to join the party
TG 1:34.366 – remember these cars are carrying the fuel with which they’ll start the race
Everyone pits for new tyres
2mins left; order is JT, TG, JB, SV, RB, FA, LH, FM, KR, NR
JB fastest in Sector 1
LH faster than JB in S1
JB fastest in S2
Chequered flag falls to end Q3
JT 1:33.431 – that’s an all Toyota front row
(RB can only manage P6)
The front of the grid is: P1=JT, 2=TG, 3=SV, 4=JB, 5=LH, 6=RB, 7=FA, 8=FM, 9=NR, 10=KR
That’s Toyota’s first pole position since Japan 2005!
The FIA will publish the cars’ weights soon – are Toyota fuelled light?
The provisional grid is: JT, TG, SV, JB, LH, RB, FA, FM, NR, KR, HK, KN, RK, NH, NP, AS, SBu, GF, MW, SBo.
However, will there be a penalty for AS? And maybe RK?
The race starts at 8am EST tomorrow; my notes will be online then, as usual.