It’s going to be an interesting Qualifying session again – the track is soaked and it’s still raining.
Both Friday Practice 1 and Practice 2 had rain, but this morning’s Saturday practice was the wettest of them all. The start was delayed because heavy rain & poor visibility medical helicopter would be unable to fly. The session finally started at 11:42 local time, so that left just 18mins in this session … except a red flag ended the session at 11:55 after RG hit the wall. Fastest was NR (1:23.182) followed by KN, JB, FA, AS, RG, SB & JT.
My notes are after the cut as always.
Qualifying Session 1 (Q1)
Some drivers are keen to get on track, despite the rain – there’s no guarantee it won’t get heavier!
Everyone’s on the full wet tyres, of course
There’s a lot of spray as the cars make their way around
SV 1:39.694 – that’s about 28secs off a good dry time
GF has spun the Ferrari and he’s right across the track
Red flag – session stopped with 15:53 left on the clock
GF’s out the car and the marshals push the Ferrari off the track
Fortunately for GF he managed one timed lap (1:40.703) so he might not be P20
Excellent view from a TV camera that’s embedded into one of the kerbs – it’s completely under water!
GF’s car has been cleared for a while but no sign of Q1 restarting – looks like the stewards are hoping the rain will ease up shortly
Official notice from FIA: “Q1 will not continue until conditions improve”
Unfortunately the weather forecast is that the rain won’t reduce
GF tells BBC that the conditions are “crazy; dangerous”; his “anti-stall didn’t work again”
The medical car is doing a lap; BBC report the sky is a little brighter, so maybe a restart is imminent
Q1 will restart 1418 local time
Pit-car for VL tell him he’s fuelled for 7 laps, which means he can stay out until the end of Q1
LH heads down pit lane and sits at pit exit, waiting for the light to change
There’s a dry line appearing in some places but rivers running across the track elsewhere
GF has already been dropped to P20 and of course can’t do anything about it after spinning and stalling his Ferrari
10mins left of Q1; top are NR, MW, RB, NH, FA; bottom 5 are HK, VL, JT, JA, GF
KN 1:24.154 – that’s a Williams 1-2
Pit-car for LH warn him that’s rain expected in a couple of laps
LH can’t improve on P16; JB down in P12 but RB is P5
FA pits for fuel & tyres – stays on full wets
LH pits – he’s down in P18 – another set of full wets
NH elbows his way past AS – looks like they think it’s a race!
4mins left; bottom 5 are SV, HK, LH, NH, GF
LH has gone off at Turn 5 but kept the engine going
2mins left; still the bottom 5 are SV, HK, LH, NH, GF
LH pits – so he’s out of Q1
SV trying to escape the relegation zone but it’s raining hard and the car is slithering
Chequered flag falls to end Q1 – current laps will count, of course
So the back of the grid will be: P16=SV, 17=HK, 18=LH, 19=NH, 20=GF
Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Start of Q2 delayed until conditions improve…
LH tells BBC that his car was set up for a dry race – “The conditions were awful, but, wow, our car was terrible. Pretty poor performance from us. We couldn’t even go flat-out on the straights. That’s how bad it was. We didn’t have a wet weather set-up, which probably contributed to it.”
The forecast for tomorrow is for heavy rain; presumably McLaren have different info
Replay of SV getting out of the Red Bull – he’s furious
Medical car is on track again – looks a little drier than Q1 but no word on when Q2 will start
Q2 will start at 14:57 local time
The two Williams cars are waiting at the pit exit
Q2 finally gets started
All 15 cars are on track, hoping to get a lap time before the next red flag
Red flag – VL has spun off at the end of the pit straight and destroyed the Force India
Clock stopped with 12:24 left; no-one managed to set a lap time
VL is out of the car and seems OK
Replay shows VL coming out of the mist running backwards along the pit wall!
Pit-car from JB asking if VL aquaplaned – team says he hit right in front on them and they felt it
BBC expect “a deputation” from the drivers to tell the stewards it’s too dangerous to restart
Pit-car for MW asking if there’s anything they need to pass on to the stewards; MW says tell him to put his glasses on and look at the conditions 🙂
BBC interview SV – “I think I went to the pool not the racetrack today”
Official notice from FIA: “Q2 will not restart until conditions improve”
A couple of engines are fired up but no news about a restart
RB looks like he’s taking a nap in the cockpit of his Brawn
BBC say there’ll be another track inspection at 15:30 local time
Medical car is on track again… and back into the pits.. but still no word from the stewards
BBC get bumped to BBC2 and TSN end their coverage – it’s hard to justify delaying other programmes just so we can watch the rain in Brazil
I wonder when the stewards will just decide to put all the names in a hat and just draw the grid?
15:45 local time and still no word on what’s happening with Q2, not to mention Q3
RB gets back into his car as the medical car does yet another lap
False alarm; next track inspection at 16:00 local time
Q2 will restart at 16:10 local time – that’s just over 2 hours since Q1 was scheduled to start!
OK, Q2 finally restarts; how long do you think before the next red flag?
NR is first to dive into the pool … err, first to drive onto the track
NR 1:21.815 – that’s the first timed lap in Q2
Everyone except FA is on track now
We’re now halfway through Q2 – hopefully it won’t take another 90mins to finish the session
KK runs wide but recovers
NR pits and swaps to intermediate tyres – brave or foolish?
5mins left; bottom 5 are JA, JB, FA, RG, VL
KR changes to intermediates too
3mins left; bottom 5 are SB, JA, JB, RG, VL
RB is P5; JB needs to find 0.4sec to make it through to Q3
1min left; bottom 5 are still SB, JA, JB, RG, VL
NR 1:20.668 – remember he’s on inters
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are SB, JA, RG, JB, VL
JB can’t improve on P14 🙁
So the midfield will be: P11=KK, 12=JA, 13=RG, 14=JB, 15=VL
RB only just made it through to Q3 by less than 0.3sec
Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Battling over the top 10 grid spots are NR, KN, JT, SB, AS, MW, RK, KR, FA & RB
Hopefully Q3 will start shortly…
MW is first on track
Everyone barring AS is on track and we’re just 90secs in to Q3
5mins gone = halfway through Q3 – this session seems to be positively racing by 🙂
4mins left; order is JT, RK, MW, KR, EB, SB, KN, FA, AS
2mins left; order is RB, JT, NR, RK, MW, KR, SB, KN, AS, FA
Chequered flag but it’s not over yet
Looks like the Brazilian fans were rewarded for waiting in all that rain!
The front of the grid is: P1=RB, 2=MW, 3=AS, 4=JT, 5=KR, 6=SB, 7=NR, 8=RK, 9=KN, 10=FA
So, after 2 hours and 41 minutes, the provisional grid: RB, MW, AS, JT, KR, SB, NR, RK, KN, FA, KK, JA, RG, JB, VL, SV, HK, LH, NH, GF.
The three Drivers’ Championship contenders are in P1 (RB), P14 (JB) and P16 (SV). Should be an exciting race … and don’t forget that there’s heavy rain forecast for tomorrow!