United States Grand Prix – Qualifying

It’s the penultimate race of the season but there’s still lots happening:

  • Former Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen has been announced as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement at Lotus for the final two races of the season. [source: FIA]
  • Meanwhile Lotus have confirmed that their driver Kimi Raikkonen underwent his planned back surgery on Thursday at The University Hospital of Strasbourg in France. [source: FIA]
  • Sergio Perez has confirmed he will leave McLaren at the end of 2013 after just a single season with the British team. [source: FIA] — I’ll cover the 2014 driver changes in a separate blog post.

Tyre choices: prime = hard (orange lettering), option = medium (white).
My GridBids picks: VET, ALO, BUT, HAM & MAL.

The start of Free Practice 1 was delayed due to fog preventing the medical helicopter from landing. After BUT and PER set their initial times there was another 20-minute delay as the helicopter had still not arrived — I don’t understand why the session started without the medical helicopter and then was halted because it hasn’t arrived; surely it either needs to be there or not? Anyway, the session was red-flagged; BUT apparently overtook another car during this red flag period and has been given a three-place grid penalty for tomorrow. [source: FIA]
ALO was fastest (1:38.343) ahead of BUT, BOT, GUT & ROS.
VET headed FP2 (1:37.305) followed by WEB, ROS, HAM, KOV, GUT & HUL.
VET also topped FP3 timing (1:36.733) ahead of WEB, HAM, HUL, GRO, BUT & ROS.

Air temperature 27°C; track 31°C; humidity 61%; wind 3.7m/s

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Marussia’s CHI and BIA first on track
PIC has a 5 grid-spot penalty for a gearbox change
3mins into Q1 and everyone except VET and WEB are on track
CHI 1:47.022 on options
DIR 1:45.130 on primes
Everyone except CHI, PIC, BIA & VDG are on primes (hard compound)
BOT 1:44.182
HUL 1:43.698
BOT 1:39.825
MAL runs off track; rejoins and nearly collides with a Sauber (GUT?)
Radio from HAM – “track is slow”
ALO 1:39.658
Incident involving cars 12 and 16 (GUT and MAL) under investigation
HAM 1:39.153
BOT 1:38.773
GRO 1:38.676
Incident involving cars 12 and 16 (GUT and MAL) will be investigated after Qualifying
Radio from BUT – high speed oversteer, low speed understeer
WEB and VET finally take to the track while most of the other cars are in the pits
Radio for WEB told his target is 1:38.6
WEB 1:38.493
(VET P2)
Everyone (except Red Bull) coming out on options
4mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are VER, RIC, VDG, BIA, PIC, CHI
HAM 1:37.959
2mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are MAL, SUT, VDG, PIC, BIA, CHI
Incident involving cars 23 and 16 (CHI and MAL) will be investigated after qualifying – I didn’t see that incident
Chequered flag; ; bottom 6 are SUT, MAL, VDH, PIC, BIA, CHI
SUT runs wide in Turn 1, ruining his chance of improving on P17
MAS cruising but he’s P16 – that’s risky
BOT 1:37.821
SUT pulls off track – something’s failed on his Force India
Everyone well inside the 107% time

Back of the grid: SUT, MAL, VDG, BIA, PIC*, CHI
*PIC has a 5 grid-spot penalty for a gearbox change
Also need to wait to hear the outcome of 2 stewards investigations – incident involving GUT and MAL, and another between CHI and MAL.

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Will KOV be able to get his Lotus through to Q3 like HAK usually does?
The two Toro Rossos first out of the pits, both on used options
VER 1:38.696
HAM 1:38.104
5mins left of Q2
GRO 1:37.523
WEB 1:37.312
3mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are KOV, BUT,VER, ROS, MAS, VET (no time from VET)
VET 1:37.065
1min left of Q2; bottom 6 are GUT, ROS, KOV, BUT, MAS, VER
Chequered flag
(GUT P8, relegating DIR)
(KOV P9, pushing RIC to P11)

Wow, some big names fail to get in to Q3
Middle of the grid: RIC, DIR, BUT*, ROS, MAS, VER
*BUT has a 3 grid-spot penalty for overtaking under a red flag in FP1

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
So the top 10 battle is between VET, WEB, ALO, BOT, GRO, HUL, HAM, GUT, PER & KOV
PER 1:38.074
WEB 1:36.699
BOT pits without setting a time
(GRO P2)
(KOV P4)
(VET P2)
4mins left of Q3; order is WEB, VET, GRO, PER, KOV, BOT; yet to see HAM, HUL, ALO & GUT
2mins left; all 10 cars on track
(HUL P6)
(BOT P3)
(HAM P8)
Chequered flag; order is WEB, VET, BOT, GRO, PER, KOV, HUL, HAM, ALO
WEB 1:36.441
(HUL P3)
(GRO P3)
(ALO P5)
(HAM P5)
(KOV P7)
(PER P7)
VET 1:36.338 – his 8th pole of the season

Front of the grid: VET, WEB, GRO, HUL, HAM, ALO, PER, KOV, BOT, GUT

Provisional grid: VET, WEB, GRO, HUL, HAM, ALO, PER, KOV, BOT, GUT; RIC, DIR, BUT*, ROS, MAS, VER; SUT, MAL, VDG, BIA, PIC*, CHI.
*BUT has a 3 grid-spot penalty for overtaking under a red flag in FP1
*PIC has a 5 grid-spot penalty for a gearbox change
Also need to wait to hear the outcome of 2 stewards investigations – incident involving GUT and MAL, and another between CHI and MAL.

2 Replies to “United States Grand Prix – Qualifying”

  1. Incident involving GUT and MAL:

    Gutierrez – who qualified 10th – has been given a 10-place grid penalty for blocking the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and will now start 20th on the grid.

    Incident involving CHI and MAL:

    Chilton – who qualified 22nd – received a drive-through penalty for impeding both Maldonado and Force India’s Adrian Sutil. The Briton must serve the penalty during the first five laps of the race.

    [source: FIA]

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