Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying

Sakon Yamamoto is back in the HRT car having missed the Singapore Grand Prix.

Hamilton went off at Degner in the first practice session and damaged the McLaren so badly that he only managed a handful of laps in the first two practice sessions combined. Team-mate Button went off at the same corner but escaped without damage.

Fastest in practice 1 was Vettel, followed by Webber and Kubica; the top of the timings for Practice 2 was the same. It was dry for the Friday practice sessions but the weather was dramatically different for final practice – so bad in fact that only 2 drivers set lap times!

LH faces a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change.

A couple of minutes before Qualifying is due to start: air temperature 20°C, track 19°C, 93% humidity, wind 3.9m/s … and it’s pouring with rain.

Start of Qualifying session 1 (Q1) has been delayed by 30 minutes.

The forecast for tomorrow’s race is that it’ll be dry again, so car set up is a real challenge.

BBC interview LH & JB – apparently the Safety Car has been aquaplaning, so there’s no way they’ll send the F1 cars out just yet.

TSN abandon their coverage of qualifying in favour of an old documentary about boxing. Great.

Well, in the end even the FIA decide to give up – Qualifying is postponed until 10:00am local time on Sunday (9pm EST Saturday). [FIA site] I guess I’ll update these notes when it restarts….

OK, so take 2 … and it’s dry & sunny

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
VP 1:38.957
NHu 1:35.352
AS 1:34.963
FM 1:34.636
VP 1:34.307
NHu 1:33.096
RB 1:32.858
NHu 1:32.317
LH on track in his rebuilt McLaren
SV 1:32.168
5mins left of Q1
SV 1:32.035
Chequered flag
SB on a quick lap but doesn’t improve
Back of the grid will be SB, JT, HK, LdG, TG, BS, SY

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
The two Ferraris are first on track, followed by the two Williams cars
FM 1:32.573
FA 1:31.819
MW 1:31.651
(JB P2)
(LH P4)
MW 1:31.455
(JB P2)
5mins left; bottom 7 are FM, KK, VP, AS, NHe, JA, VL
SV 1:31.184
(LH P3)
Chequered flag
(NHe P10)
(MS P10)
Middle of the grid: NHe, FM, VP, KK, AS, JA, VL

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
The top 10 shoot out is between SV, MW, LH*, JB, FA, RB, NR, NHu, RK and MS
*Remember LH has a 5 grid spot penalty waiting for him
LH first out of the pit lane
LH 1:31.320
(FA P2)
(RB P3)
MW 1:31.185
SV 1:30.792
4mins left; no lap time from JB or NHu; order is SV, MW, LH, FA, RB, RK, NR, MS, JB, NHu
JB on track – he’ll do a 3 lap run on hard tyres
(JB P4)
2mins left
(NHu P6)
Chequered flag; order is SV, MW, LH, JB, FA, NHu, RB, RK, NR, MS
(LH P2)
(MW P2)
SV 1:30.785
So the front of the grid will be: SV, MW, [LH*] RK, FA, JB, NR, RB, LH, NHu, MS

Provisional grid: SV, MW, [LH*] RK, FA, JB, NR, RB, LH, NHu, MS, NHe, FM, VP, KK, AS, JA, VL, SB, JT, HK, LdG, TG, BS, SY

The race is just under 4 hours away…. 🙂

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