Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying

It’s dry but very windy on the main straight. Air temperature 28°C, track 41°C, wind 2.7m/s, humidity 35%

Tyre compounds for this weekend are hard (silver band) and soft (yellow).

FA was fastest in Free Practice 1 at his home Grand Prix; JB was fastest in FP2 and SV in FP3.

(See my Practice notes for other news/updates.)

Lotus have repaired RG’s car after a fuel pressure problem in Free Practice 3

MS was reprimanded for going off track in FP3

Qualifying 1
Pit lane lights turn green, marking the start of the session but no-one rushing to leave their garage
PRe is the first on track with 4mins of Q1 already gone
The crowd gets excited as FA exits the pit lane
Radio for NK says there’s a tail wind in Turns 3 and 9
PRe held up by CP (CP’s on his out lap and should have moved out the way sooner)
PRe 1:25.675
RG 1:25.025
FA 1:24.326 on the prime (hard) tyre
SP 1:24.261
LH 1:24.143
Radio for NR informing him of the wind too
PRe runs wide in Turn 3
Only CP & TG have used options (soft tyres) so far
10mins left = half way through Q1
(JB P7)
LH 1:23.989 on primes
PM 1:23.380 on options
Radio from JB complaining of massive understeer, same as in Practice yesterday
The Red Bulls of SV & MW exit the pits, both on options
5mins left of Q1; bottom 7 are HK, CP, TG, PRo, NK, SV*, MW* (*yet to set a time)
(SV P2)
(KR P2)
(MW P3)
RG 1:23.248
2mins left; bottom 7 are DR, VP, HK, CP, TG, PRo, NK
(NK is outside the 107% time of RG)
(DR P12, relegating JV)
(JV P17; BS to P18)
(FA P2)
LH has a little oversteer
Chequered flag
LH 1:22.583
(CP P20)
BS pushing hard to improve his position; lost the tail and slides off into the gravel
Back of the grid will be: BS, VP, HK, CP, TG, PRo, NK* (*outside of 107% time)

Qualifying 2
Another wait before anyone leaves the pits; it’s the Force India cars of PRe and NH who make the first move
KK 1:24.031
NR 1:23.401
JB 1:23.319
LH 1:22.465
(MW P2)
Frustrated radio call from JB – still struggling with the rear tyres
Everyone’s on options but are they new or used?
LH is out of his McLaren – either confident in his time or a problem with the car
5mins left of Q2; bottom 7 are NH, FM, PRe, KR*, JV*, RG* (*no time set)
LH getting back into his car
(KR P2)
(RG P2)
3mins left; bottom 7 are FA, SP, PM, KK, NH, FM, PRe
FM working hard to get his Ferrari in to Q3
(FM P10)
(FA P4; FM to P11)
(PRe P6; SV to P11)
(SV P5; DR to P11)
Chequered flag; bottom 7 are JV, NR, DR, FM, MS, SP, PM
(SP P3, NH to P11)
(KR & FA both improve; MW & PRe to P11, P12)
PM 1:22.105 – that pushes JB to P11
Radio from JB says now he has understeer – “work that one out”!
KK has parked his car and is walking away – he won’t be able to take part in Q3
Middle of the grid: JB, MW, PRe, NH, JV, DR, FM

So battling over the top 10 grid spots are: PM, LH, RG, SP, KR, FA, NR, SV, KK* & MS (*except KK won’t be in the battle as his car is stopped on the circuit)

Qualifying 3
SV is waiting at the end of the pit lane, keen to get on track
Green light; SV exits the pits but no-one else seems to be as keen
Even though he was waiting to get on track, SV doesn’t seem to be pushing the Red Bull very hard on his timed lap
SV back into the pit lane without setting a time, so he’ll start ahead of KK at least
LH 1:22.560 on used options
MS on track but then back into the pits without setting a time
Strange tactics in Q3
NR on track now
FA leaving the pits – new set of options
(NR P2)
Chequered flag
FA 1:22.302
(KR P2)
(SP P3)
(RG P2)
PM 1:22.285
LH 1:21.707
OK, that was a very strange session
Front of the grid: LH, PM, FA, RG, KR, SP, NR, SV, MS, KK
LH has stopped on track
Radio for PM informing him he’s P2 – they both sound quite calm
150th pole for McLaren

Provisional grid: LH, PM, FA, RG, KR, SP, NR, SV, MS, KK, JB, MW, PRe, NH, JV, DR, FM, BS, VP, HK, CP, TG, PRo, NK* (*outside of 107% time)