Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying

We were away in Montreal so I’m catching up on the race weekend now.

Sepang is humid, as always. Air temperature 32°C; track 41°C; humidity 58%, wind 3.1m/s
There’s a heavy downpour most afternoons, which could make qualifying interesting.

Tyre compounds for the weekend are: prime=hard (orange markings) and option=medium (white)

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Lights turn green but everyone is still in their garage
CHI is first out on track, followed by teammate BIA
(Check out my blog post if you’re not familiar with the driver abbreviations)
15mins left of Q1
CHI 1:40.683
BIA 1:40.053
BOT 1:38.376
ROS 1:37.239
(MAS P2)
(ALO P2)
(HAM P3)
10min left; 6 drivers still yet to set a time
(DIR P6 on options)
SUT 1:36.809
Sky is looking more grey than it was 20mins ago
(RAI P2)
5mins left; bottom 6 are BIA, CHI, PIC, VDG; no lap time yet for VET or WEB
WEB abandons his lap – he’s got 4mins left to set a time
(VET P11 – that’s a slow time for him)
Radio for VET telling him to “have another go”
(WEB P15)
2mins left; bottom 6 are BOT, VER, BIA, CHI, PIC, VDG
Radio for WEB urging him to improve his time
(WEB P9)
Chequered flag
Back of the grid: VER, BOT, BIA, PIC, CHI, VDG

Qualifying 2
DIR exits his garage as soon as Q2 starts
SUT 1:36.834
Radio for DIR – “rain on the way”
ROS 1:36.190
(HAM P2)
Spots of rain of the on-board camera lens
Radio from HAM – rain in turns 5 & 6
DIR on a quick lap but loses it a fraction under braking due to the rain
5mins left; bottom 6 are GRO, HUL, RIC, GUT, DIR, MAL
DIR loses the tail again – spins the Force India 2.5 times
Everyone sits in the pits – no chance of improving while the track is wet
It’s still drizzling – not the usual torrential downpour we see in Malaysia
Chequered flag; middle of the grid will be GRO, HUL, RIC, GUT, DIR, MAL

Qualifying 3
Battling over the top top 10 spots are: ROS, WEB, HAM, RAI, SUT, MAS, ALO, BUT, VET, PER
Still raining; unless they’re sure it’ll dry up, I’d expect everyone out on inters any minute
Queue forming at the pit exit, all on inters
Race control: DRS disabled because of the weather
HAM runs wide on his out lap
RAI around the outside of WEB as the prepare to start their first quick lap
SUT 1:58.293
PER 1:56.640
HAM 1:54.199
ROS 1:53.898
(ALO P3)
VET 1:52.576
Order is VET, ROS, MAS, ALO, HAM, PER, RAI, SUT, WEB, BUT
Radio for VET asking which tyres he wants – more inters
(WEB P2)
(BUT P7)
3mins left of Q3; order is VET, WEB, ROS, MAS, ALO, HAM, BUT, PER, RAI, SUT
WEB 1:52.244
HAM 1:51.699
ROS slowing, judging the right moment to start his final flying lap
(PER P6)
Chequered flag
(BUT P4)
(RAI P4)
(SUT P6)
(ROS P3)
ALO 1:50.727
VET 1:49.674
(MAS P2)
Front of the grid: VET, MAS, ALO, HAM, WEB, ROS, RAI, BUT, SUT, PER

Shame that TSN immediately cut away from F1 🙁

Provisional grid: VET, MAS, ALO, HAM, WEB, ROS, RAI, BUT, SUT, PER; GRO, HUL, RIC, GUT, DIR, MAL; VER, BOT, BIA, PIC, CHI, VDG.

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