It’s been five weeks since the Hungarian Grand Prix but the Belgian GP weekend started just the same as the past few races … with heavy rain 🙁 There was almost no running in Free Practice 1 or FP2, so I didn’t bother to create a separate blog entry.
Fortunately it’s dry for Qualifying, and the forecast is for race day to be dry too. Air temperature 16°C; track 26°C; wind 3m/s
Tyre compounds available this weekend: prime = hard (grey band) and option = medium (white band).
My GridBids picks for this race: SV, MW, JB, LH, FM, SP.
Alonso sits in his throne as he watches the Ferrari team prepare his car.
It’s Michael Schumacher’s 300th Grand Prix.
5-grid spot penalties await MW and NR for unscheduled gearbox changes.
Qualifying 1 (Q1)
CP waits at the end of the pit lane … and the lights turn green for the 20 minute Q1 session
Radio from MS – brakes locking – team say it’s brake/throttle overlap, i.e. driver error 🙂
RG runs a little wide, kicks up some dust
FM fights his Ferrari through Turn 13
NK reacts quickly to prevent his car spinning around
10mins left of Q1
Radio from JB – complaining of understeer – seems he has this problem every weekend
FM slowed by back-marker as he catches an HRT that’s recovering from a small off
JB 1:49.250 that moves the 107% target time to 1:56.897 – everyone’s inside it
5mins left; no lap time yet from SV but he’s on track
Incident involving PM & NH under investigation – impeding
3mins left; bottom 7 are MS, VP, TG, CP, HK, PRo, NK
PM 1:48.993 – he’s on options (medium compound) – 107%=1:56.622; all inside
LH & FA out on options too – are they wasting a set?
RG struggles but the Lotus runs wide in Puhon
NR didn’t cross the line in time for another flying lap – he’s P18 and out of Qualifying
Bottom 7 are NR*, HK, VP, TG, CP, PRo, NK
*NR has a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change
Track temperature up to 29°C
McLaren busy making a rear wing adjustment on JB’s car
BS loses the tail but keeps moving forward, regains control
5mins left of Q2; bottom 7 are MS, PRe, FM, JV, DR, PM, BS
Radio for KR telling him they don’t expect to run again in Q2
3mins left; time to leave the pits for one final flying lap
Only JB & KR remain in the pits, confident in going through to Q3
(FM P9, relegating NH)
(PM P9, relegating FM)
(NH P10, releg SP)
(SP P2, now NH P11)
(SV P11 – he’s not going through to Q3!)
Middle of the grid: SV, NH, MS, FM, JV, DR, BS
Battling over the top 10 grid spots: JB, SP, KR, MW*, LH, KK, FA, RG, PRe, PM
(*MW has a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change)
LH struggles with massive oversteer
PM pits without setting a time
5mins left of Q3; only KR & JB have set lap times
Radio for JB confirms he’s 0.5sec faster than KR
3mins left; cars are heading back onto the track
FA sitting a long time in the garage without tyre warmers
LH has to jink around SP at the pit exit – why was SP almost stationary, blocking the exit? Will either driver get a penalty?
Chequered flag; order is JB, KR, and no other lap times, but everyone’s on track for a single flying lap
KR doesn’t improve on P4
JB 1:47.573 – I think his P1 time was already pretty safe
Front of the grid: JB, KK, PM, KR, SP, FA, MW*, LH, RG, PRe
That’s JB’s first ever pole for McLaren! 🙂
Sauber P2 and P5, Williams P3 and Lotus P4 – what a mix of teams at the front!
Provisional grid: JB, KK, PM, KR, SP, FA, MW*, LH, RG, PRe, SV, NH, MS, FM, JV, DR, BS, NR*, HK, VP, TG, CP, PRo, NK. (MW & NR have 5 grid spot penalties for a gearbox change.)