Third race in three weeks! 🙂 (Malaysia last weekend, Australia the week before.)
Bahrain has been switched to a night race, so it’ll be an interesting qualifying session.
Tyre compounds this weekend: prime=medium, option=soft
Air temperature 24°C; track 29°C; dry but windy; temps will obviously drop as the sun has set.
Remember that RIC has a 10-place grid penalty following an unsafe release from his third pit stop in the Malaysian race.
Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
No rush for the cars to get on track
GUT first out of the pit lane
GRO the first to go out on options
(GRO P2 on the faster tyre)
About half the cars on options but the (current) top 3 all on primes
Radio from KVY saying fronts locking
(VET P7 – he went off in Free Practice 3 earlier today)
MAL off track at Turn 4; recovers
7mins left of Q1; BOT and MAS yet to set a time
(GUT P3 now he’s on options)
5mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are VER, CHI, MAL, ERI; no time from BOT, MAS
VET on track on options – only Red Bull feel the need to use soft tyres early in Quali
2mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are RAI, BIA, VER, CHI, MAL, ERI
(VET P7 on options; that’s not a great sign unless Red Bull are sandbagging)
RAI fighting the Ferrari through Turn 9
Chequered flag; bottom 6 MAG, KOB, BIA, CHI, MAL, ERI
(BIA P16, relegating GRO)
(GRO P16 – replay shows SUT blocking the start of GRO’s lap, expect penalty for SUT)
Back of the grid: MAL, SUT, KOB, BIA, ERI, CHI.
Qualifying session 2
BOT first out of the pit lane, followed by a steady stream of cars mostly on options
HAM 1:33.872 – faster than the fastest Q1 time (HUL 1:34.874)
5mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are PER, BOT, VER, GUT; no time for VET or GRO
HAM out of his car, happy that his time will get him through to Q3
VET sawing away at the wheel; only P8
Lots of improving times, pushing VET to P11
(GRO only P14)
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are VET, HUL, KVY, GRO, VER, GUT
VET pits – he’s not going to make it to Q3
GUT & VER both improve
Middle of the grid: VET, HUL, KVY, VER, GUT, GRO.
Qualifying session 3
Battling over the top 10 grid spots are ROS, HAM, RIC, BUT, ALO, PER, BOT, MAS, MAG & RAI
12mins Q3 session starts but everyone sits in their garage
BOT first on track, on new options
PER and MAS on new options too
Everyone bar BUT and RAI on track; all on new options except ALO & MAG on barely-used options
BUT on track too – 3-lap old options
(RAI still in the Ferrari garage)
5mins left of Q3; order is ROS, HAM, BOT, PER, MAS, RIC, MAG, ALO
RAI still yet to leave the pits
RIC runs wide in the final turn
RAI exits his garage with just over 3mins left
2mins left; everyone is on track
Chequered flag; order is ROS, HAM, BOT, PER, MAS, BUT, RIC, MAG, ALO; no time yet from RAI
Looks like HAM has backed off after locking up in Turn 1
Front of the grid: ROS, HAM, RIC*, BOT, PER, RAI, BUT, MAS, MAG, ALO
*RIC will drop 10 places after an unsafe release from a pit stop in the previous race.
Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, (RIC*) BOT, PER, RAI, BUT, MAS, MAG, ALO, VET, HUL, KVY, RIC, VER, GUT, GRO, MAL, SUT, KOB, BIA, ERI, CHI.
I think there’s probably a penalty for SUT for blocking GRO in Q1.