Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying

Red Bull topped the timing charts in all three Practice sessions: MW in P1 and P2, and SV in P3 (1:21.707).

The race has been won by the pole-sitter for the past 10 years, so Qualifying is more crucial than usual.

The talk is still about the hard tyre compound; the Renault mechanics are busy rebuilding NH’s car after a fire in P3; Ferrari had to change their rear wing after the FIA declared their current design illegal on Friday night.

This is the first race this season that I can do my notes live, so I’ll hide them behind a cut (as normal) but hit refresh/reload to keep up to date.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1 = 20mins)
NK heads to the pit exit and has to wait a moment for the lights to turn green
It could be a struggle for HRT (Hispania) to hit the 107% cut off
NK 1:28.981
VL 1:28.851
VP 1:28.823
VP 1:26.107
VP 1:25.621
JB 1:24.708
MW 1:23.938 on prime tyres (that means the current 107% target is 1:29.813)
(SV P2)
10mins gone = halfway through Q1; no lap times yet from JD, SB, HK, JT, NH, KK, SP
BBC report they’re still rebuilding NH’s Renault
Pit-car radio from LH complaining of “massive understeer”, which explains why he ran wide in Turn 7
(JA P2)
MW 1:23.619 {107% = 1:29.472}
(SB P2 on soft tyres)
(KK P2 on soft)
5mins left of Q1; bottom 7 are PD, VL, NK, TG, JD*, JT*, NH* (*no time yet)
Everyone who’s set a time is within the current 107% target time
Lotus report JT has gearbox problems
VP 1:23.069 on soft
Both Ferraris are heading out on soft tyres!
2mins left; still no time for JT or NH; bottom 7 are PD, VL, NK, TG, JD, JT, NH
MS 1:22.960 on soft tyres {1:28.767}
(PD P10; now RB in P18)
JT set a time but it’s only P18
Chequered flag; current laps will count (as usual)
BBC report RB has gearbox problems
Back of the grid will be JT, RB, TG, VL, NK, JD, NH* (*no time)
107% cut off is 1:28.767 but everyone is inside that time; NH ought to be allowed to join the grid but that’s the stewards’ decision
RB describes the Williams as “a mess”!

Qualifying session 2 (Q2 = 15mins)
Lights turn green; no rush for anyone to get out of the pits
SV exits the pits on soft tyres … and so is MW
SV 1:21.540 – didn’t appear to use KERS on that lap
(MW P2)
BBC believe SV had a KERS problem in Q1 too
5mins left of Q2; no lap time yet from NR, MS, VP, PM, AS, PD or HK
2mins left; bottom 7 are KK, JA, SP, AS, PM*, PD*, HK* (*no time)
Both Force India cars are on hard tyres – interesting tactic
(PM P8, pushing FM to P10 and into danger)
Chequered flag
KK aborted his lap – problem with traffic? Peter Sauber (KK’s boss) shaking his head
Middle of the grid will be SB, SP, JA, KK, HK, PD, AS

Qualifying session 3 (Q3 = 10mins)
Battling over the top 10 grid spots are SV, MW, JB, LH, NR, MS, FA, PM, VP & FM
Again, no rush to start the session
JB heads out of the pits on soft tyres, followed by his teammate
SV on track too
JB 1:21.996
LH 1:21.961 – he flat-spotted the front-left and he’ll have to start the race on those tyres tomorrow
SV 1:21.181 – that’s almost 8/10ths second faster than the McLarens, and he’s not using KERS!
MW 1:20.981
Red Bull put another set of tyres on SV’s car – surely he won’t waste a set just to take P1 from his teammate?
MS on hard tyres!?
Only the top 4 in the garage – everyone else on track
MS pitted instead of setting a lap time – very odd!
Chequered flag
(PM P5)
(NR P5)
(FA P4 – splits the McLarens)
(FM P7)
(VP P6)
I still don’t understand what MS was doing – was he going to set a (slow) lap time in case someone stayed in the pits, then he’d be P9?
Front of the grid will be: MW, SV, LH, FA, JB, VP, NR, FM, PM, MS
Because he didn’t set a lap time, MS can chose which tyres he starts on tomorrow

So the provisional grid is: MW, SV, LH, FA, JB, VP, NR, FM, PM, MS, SB, SP, JA, KK, HK, PD, AS, JT, RB, TG, VL, NK, JD, NH.

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