Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying

Just a few days after the dismal Korean Grand Prix, the circus moves to the figure-8 circuit at Suzuka in Japan.

VET can win the drivers’ championship this weekend if ALO finishes lower than 9th, although that’s fairly unlikely.

BIA and PIC both have 10 grid spot penalties having accumulated 3 reprimands

My GridBids picks are VET, BUT, PER, HAM, MAL & DIR

Tyre choices are: prime = hard compound (red lettering), option = medium (white)

BBC report there was a KERS problem with VET’s car but Red Bull appear to have fixed it

SUT’s car had to be rebuilt after a shunt in FP3; a gearbox change means he’ll incur a 5 grid spot penalty

Air temperature 24°C; track 36°C; wind 8.3m/s; humidity 41%

HAM is on the pit wall, waving to fans, as the first session is about to begin

BUT has a star on his crash helmet in memory of Maria de Villota [FIA; BBC]

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Radio for VDG warning him of strong, gusty winds
GUT heads out of his garage as the lights turn green for the start of Q1
WEB is still out of the car, watching the timing screens – he was fastest in FP3 (1:32.053)
GUT 1:33.547
PIC and VDG have gone out on options for their first run
GUT 1:33.380
DIR 1:33.059
BUT 1:32.606
SUT posts 1:50.708 – that’s just a sighting lap after the rebuild
Fire in GUT’s garage!
Flames from the Sauber’s right side but it was dealt with very quickly – it was out before GUT was out of the car, and he jumped out pretty fast
Almost immediately they’re getting GUT back into the car
ALO 1:32.371
10mins left of Q1; no time yet from MAS, ROS, HAM, VET, WEB or BIA
MAL has to drive around a much slower MAS
HAM 1:32.340
WEB 1:32.271
5mins left; bottom 6 are GUT, SUT*, PIC*, VDG, CHI, BIA* (no time from BIA yet)
*remember: penalties waiting for BIA, PIC and SUT
Radio for WEB says they want him to do 1 more lap (even though he’s P1) as the wind changes
VER has fire in both rear wheels (brakes?) – pulls off and marshals immediately use extinguishers to put it out
Red flag – session paused as there’s foam (from the extinguishers) and a burnt Toro Rosso at the edge of the track
Session will restart with 2:55 on the clock
Radio fro GRO – one quick lap on option tyres
Bottom 6 before the restart are GUT, SUT, PIC, VDG, CHI, BIA
ROS sits at the end of the pit lane – he’s on options
Queue starts to form behind ROS
Green lights for the restart
Radio for BUT – decision is to sit it out – he’s currently P5
GRO (P6) and everyone below him is on track for one flying lap
RAI squeezes past GUT on their out lap
Everyone bar GRO on options
Chequered flag
ROS 1:32.244
GRO 1:31.824
(BUT has been relegated from P5 to P11 but he’s through to Q2 and that’s all that matters)
107% time = 1:38.251 so everyone is through
Back of the grid: SUT^, VER, CHI, PIC*, VDG, BIA*
*=10 grid spot penalties for BIA, PIC; ^=5 grid spot penalty for SUT

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
DIR 1:33.059 on primes
HUL 1:32.969
RAI 1:32.020
HAM 1:31.852
ALO 1:31.828
5mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are DIR, BOT, GUT; no time yet from VET, WEB or RIC
WEB exits the pit lane just in front of PER, who had just finished a quick lap – WEB didn’t hold him up but will the stewards agree?
VET 1:31.290
(WEB P2)
2mins left; bottom 6 are MAL, PER, HUL, BOT, GUT; no time from RIC
(GRO P3)
RIC is finally on track
Chequered flag
(HUL P5; ROS to P11)
(ROS P4; MAS P11)
(MAL P11)
(GUT P11)
(PER P10; DIR P11)
(MAS P6; PER P11)
Middle of the grid: PER, DIR, BOT, GUT, MAL, RIC

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Top 10 shootout is between VET, WEB, GRO, HAM, RAI, MAS, ROS, ALO, BUT & HUL
On-board thermal camera shows VET’s tyres lose temperature as soon as the warmers come off, even as he drives down the pit lane and onto the track
Radio for VET – KERS failure
VET 1:31.312
(ALO P2)
WEB 1:30.975
(HAM P4)
Just 4 cars set a time on that first run (WEB, VET, ALO, HAM); everyone’s in the pits
Radio for VET suggests they’v fixed the KERS problem
2mins left of Q3; everyone now on track
Chequered flag
(RAI P3)
(VET P2)
(ROS P3)
WEB 1:30.915
(HUL P4)
(ALO P5)
(MAS P3)
(GRO P3)
(BUT P9)
(HAM P3)
Radio from VET – “that’s all I had”
Front of the grid: WEB, VET, HAM, GRO, MAS, ROS, HUL, ALO, RAI, BUT

Provisional grid: WEB, VET, HAM, GRO, MAS, ROS, HUL, ALO, RAI, BUT; PER, DIR, BOT, GUT, MAL, RIC; SUT^, VER, CHI, PIC*, VDG, BIA*
*=10 grid spot penalties for BIA, PIC; ^=5 grid spot penalty for SUT

3 Replies to “Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying”

  1. “Caterham’s Charles Pic has been issued with a drive-through penalty for Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix for passing through a red light at the pit exit during the first part of qualifying in Suzuka.” [source: FIA]

  2. Applying the (current) penalties, provisional grid: WEB, VET, HAM, GRO, MAS, ROS, HUL, ALO, RAI, BUT; PER, DIR, BOT, GUT, MAL, RIC, VER, CHI, VDG, PIC, BIA, SUT.

    Additionally PIC has to serve his drive-through penalty within the first 5 laps of the race.

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