Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying

In the three practice sessions for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, the fastest drivers were Button (1:21.799), Rosberg (1:21.588) and then Massa (1:20.553) this morning.

Qualifying starts in a few minutes…
The air temperature is 23°C; track 40°C; wind 1.2m/s; humidity 43%

As usual, my notes are behind this cut…

The lights go green for the start of Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
First on track are HK and the Force India cars of AS and GF
HK is on the hard compound (the prime tyre) – saving the soft (option) tyres for later
AS 1:23.544 – he’s on option tyres
(HK P2)
5mins gone; 15mins left of Q1
NH 1:23.375 – no KERS on the BMW cars this weekend
HK 1:23.095
NP 1:22.852
JT 1:22.369
SV 1:22.192
TG 1:22.185
SBu 1:22.055
SV 1:21.532
NR 1:21.396
10mins gone = halfway through Q1; yet to set a time are FM, MW, LH, KN & RK
SV 1:20.715
(FM P2)
(LH P4)
FM 1:20.484
(HK can only manage P16 and he’s using the soft tyres)
5mins left; bottom 5 are FA, HK, GF, AS, NH
(NH up to P11)
(HK P14 – that’s not going to be enough to get him through to Q2)
(FA from P18 to P5)
90secs left – time for one last lap
Bottom 5 are SBo, HK, RB, GF, AS
(MW P2)
(RB P5)
Chequered flag falls
(NH P12)
(NP P13)
(JT P15)
Bottom 5 grid positions are: P16=KR, 17=SBo, 18=HK, 19=AS, 20=GF
HK tells his team he was blocked by a BMW
BBC report that Ferrari have admitted it was the team’s mistake – they thought KR was safe and didn’t send him out again

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
KN first on track, 2mins after Q2 starts
KN 1:27.036
SBu 1:21.499
NR 1:21.145
SV 1:20.220
SBu in the gravel trap in Turn 9 – replay shows he lost it on the way into the corner – digs himself out of the kitty litter, spreading gravel onto the track
MW 1:20.007
5mins left; bottom 5 are NR, TG, SBu, RK, NH (RK & NH yet to set a time)
On-board with FM shows he’s still got a bit of understeer in the Ferrari but he goes to P2
(NR can’t improve on P14)
(LH only up to P10)
RB 1:19.954
(JB P5)
Chequered flag
(NP P8)
(TG jumps up to P3)
Midfield positions will be: P11=KN, 12=NP, 13=NH, 14=LH, 15=SBu
Local boy FA scraped through in P10

The top 10 cars are fueled up for Q3 and for the start of the race

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Battling over the top 10 grid spots are FM, RK, FA, JT, TG, MW, SV, NR, JB & RB
The 10 minutes starts to count down for Q3
JT is first to leave the pits
JT 1:22.588
TG 1:22.198
RB 1:21.442
(NR P4)
5mins gone = halfway through Q3; just four drivers have set a time so far
(MW P2)
SV 1:21.301
Now everyone’s posted a time, the order is SV, RB, JB, MW, FM, FA, TG, JT, RK, NR
Time for a quick stop for new tyres for the final push
RB 1:20.762
Chequered flag marks the end of Q3
(MW P2)
SV 1:20.660
(JT P4)
(FA P5)
(FM P3)
JB 1:20.527
Pit-car radio for JB – very excited – apparently they only managed to start that final lap with 2 secs left before the flag fell
The front of the grid is: P1=JB, 2=SV, 3=RB, 4=FM, 5=MW, 6=TG, 7=JT, 8=FA, 9=NR, 10=RK

So the provisional grid is JB, SV, RB, FM, MW, TG, JT, FA, NR, RK, KN, NP, NH, LH, SBu, KR, SBo, HK, AS, GF.

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