Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying

One week after the controversial Australian Grand Prix (which ended with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo losing his second-place finish after stewards decided his car had run with too high a fuel flow rate) the F1 circus moves to Malaysia, with the teams are marking the loss of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

The start of qualifying has been delayed by 15 minutes due to a downpour – the weather in Malaysia is always unpredictable.

Looking at Red Bull’s weather forecast, it says “shower continues and is going to become thundery again”.

Start of Q1 delayed a further 15 minutes.

About 20 mins after the originally scheduled start of qualifying, Berndt Meylander takes the AMG Mercedes SLR safety car round the circuit and it’s aquaplaning in a few turns.

Start of Q1 delayed a further 15 minutes (local time 1645).

Forecast: “shower may ease briefly but further intense activity developing”
BBC report it’s almost stopped raining in the pit lane

SC on track; not looking too wet
Teams are using huge dryers to clean up their pit boxes
Drivers getting into the cars

Start of Q1 delayed a further 5 minutes (local time 1650).

SC on track again; almost looks like a dry line appearing
Confirmation that Q1 will start at 1650 local time

The two Mercedes drivers head to the end of the pit lane but there’s ~3 minutes before Q1 starts
Looks like everyone’s going out on intermediate tyres

Air temperature 26°C; track 34°C but still very humid

Qualifying session 1 (Q1) finally gets started
Radio for HAM saying rain expected during Q1
Both McLarens (BUT & MAG) on full wets
ERI has stalled his Caterham in the queue at pit exit
VET and RAI waiting for the pack to get halfway round the lap before they exit the pits
Radio for MAL asking how the track is – OK for inters
Radio for BUT confirming set a time on wets and then switch to inters
HAM 1:57.309
ROS 1:57.189
Radio for MAG – box for inters
ROS 1:57.183
Radio for VET – “issue with car; box please”
Radio for GRO – rain is getting heavier
Radio for VET – problem with the energy story; reset may fix it
5mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are MAL, SUT, BIA, KOB, CHI, ERI (BUT is only P15)
Radio from ROS – raining more now
BIA sideways out of Turn 9
On-board with GUT shows his constant struggle to keep the car pointing forward
ERI touched the white line and then the grass; backwards across the run-off; clouts the front right on the wall, ripping it off; through a polystyrene braking marker; back across the track, just missing GUT
Red flag with just 35secs left of Q1
Back of the grid: MAL, SUT, BIA, KOB, CHI, ERI

Qualifying session 2
Rain a bit heavier than at the end of Q1
Both Mercedes head to the pit exit, this time on full wets
Looks like most cars on full wets except the Ferraris (RAI & ALO) on inters
Radio from RAI – wants to switch to full wets
Slow-moving ALO (on inters) turned in on KVY and hit him; broke the Ferrari’s front-left suspension
Red flag – was that because of the ALO/KVY collision or the rain/visibility?
Brief pause while debris cleared from the track
Line up at pit exit, waiting for the restart with just over 12mins left of Q2
Everyone on full wets except BOT on inters
BOT sliding around but he doesn’t pit – staying on inters
ALO exits the garage on full wets
Incident involving car 14 (ALO) and 26 (KVY) will be investigated after qualifying
HAM 1:59.419
(TSN have lost the BBC commentary but at least we still have FIA TV feed and telemetry)
5mins left; bottom 6 are GUT, MAS, BUT, VER, KVY, BOT
HAM 1:59.241
(BUT to P9, relegating GRO)
(RAI to P7; BUT to P10)
MAG off into the gravel at the last turn / pit entrance; recovers and pits
HAM 1:59.041
1min left; bottom 6 are GRO, GUT, MAS, VER, KVY, BOT
Chequered flag
GUT to P10, pushing PER to P11
BOT to P12
KVY to P10; GUT to P11
VER to P10; KVY to P11
MAS to P13
Middle of the grid: KVY, GUT, MAS, PER, BOT, GRO
Radio from GRO complaining BOT held him up

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shoot out is between HAM, VET, ROS, RIC, HUL, ALO, RAI, BUT, MAG & VER
RAI heads the queue at the pit exit
BBC report MAG’s off has damaged his rear diffuser which means less downforce
Radio for MAG asking if it’s too wet for inters; MAG says yes; told to box for wets
MAG and BUT both pit; MAG switches to wets but BUT took on new inters
RAI 2:01.218 on full wets
HAM 1:59.431 – wets
ROS P2
VER P4
RIC P3
ALO P2
VET P2
HUL P7
Radio for HAM – “keep pushing”
Radio for BUT – times are on the crossover (so inters may be the smart choice)
HAM doesn’t improve his time
ROS runs a bit wide
MAG P7
Radio from RAI – need to change tyres
BUT P10
Order now everyone has set a time: HAM, VET, ALO, ROS, RIC, RAI, MAG, HUL, VER, BUT
RAI pits – more wets; only BUT on inters
3mins left
BUT improves his time but still P10
HUL P7
No-one improving their sector times; 90secs left
Radio from HAM – can’t see anything in my mirrors
Everyone backing up in the final turn, trying to open a gap to reduce the spray ahead of them
Chequered flag – VET didn’t cross the line in time for one more lap
HAM ran wide
BUT aborts his lap
ROS P3
Front of the grid: HAM, VET, ROS, ALO, RIC, RAI, HUL, MAG, VER, BUT

HAM matches Jim Clark’s record of 33 pole positions

Provisional grid: HAM, VET, ROS, ALO, RIC, RAI, HUL, MAG, VER, BUT, KVY, GUT, MAS, PER, BOT, GRO, MAL, SUT, BIA, KOB, CHI, ERI.

Remember: Incident involving car 14 (ALO) and 26 (KVY) will be investigated after qualifying
Also there may be some complaints of blocking (e.g. GRO complaining BOT held him up in Q2)

4 Replies to “Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying”

  1. “Williams’ Valterri Bottas has been given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo during the Q2 part of qualifying in Malaysia.” [source: FIA]

    “The stewards also investigated the Q2 collision between Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, but judged that no further action was required.” [source: FIA]

    So the revised grid: HAM, VET, ROS, ALO, RIC, RAI, HUL, MAG, VER, BUT, KVY, GUT, MAS, PER, GRO, MAL, SUT, BOT, BIA, KOB, CHI, ERI.

  2. I forgot to update my GridBids picks for this race so the ones from Australia are carried over: ROS, HAM, ALO, BUT & MAS.

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