Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying

Three weeks after the Chinese Grand Prix it’s the turn of Catalunya, Spain, to host Formula One. (There are no penalties carried forward from China.)

Since Hamilton’s victory the majority of F1 news has been around Bernie Ecclestone’s trial, Nigel Stepney being killed in a road accident, and the 20th anniversary of the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in which Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died.

Meanwhile, back in Spain, the tyre choices are prime=hard (orange lettering) and option=medium (white).

There have been 3 free practice sessions:

  1. HAM (1:27.023), BUT, RIC, ALO, ROS.
  2. HAM (1:25.524), ROS, RIC, ALO, RAI.
    VET did not run due to technical problems.
    JEV has been handed a 10-place grid penalty after the right-rear wheel came off his Toro Rosso in FP2. [source: FIA]
  3. ROS (1:25.887), HAM, ALO, MAS, GRO.

Air temperature 26°C; track 42°C; humidity 45%; dry and sunny

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
GUT is first out of the pit lane
SUT runs a little wide
GUT 1:29.257
MAL has put his Lotus in the wall – lost it coming out of Turn 3; ripped the front right off
HUL 1:28.856
Red flags – Q1 is suspended so they can recover MAL’s car
Replay shows MAL was fighting it through the previous turn too
MAL is out of his car – seems to be OK
Clock stopped with 13:31 remaining of Q1
Marshals clear MAL’s car away
Q1 will restart in 2 minutes
MAL has made it back to the paddock but won’t be able to rejoin Q1
ERI waiting at pit exit, followed by a few others
Green light – Q1 restarts
ROS 1:26.764
GRO locks up and runs wide in the only Lotus left in Q1
HAM runs wide too, onto the grass; abandons his lap
Radio from GRO – struggling with front end
Radio for HAM telling him he can pick up time in exit of turns 7 and 10
Radio from BUT – struggling to get front tyres working
5mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are BIA, CHI, ERI, KOB, GRO, MAL
Radio from HAM – changes have made car worse
Radio from HUL – rear is so unstable
Lower half of the timing chart all on options now
GRO up to P14
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are SUT, BIA, CHI, ERI, KOB, MAL
CHI fighting to keep his car on track
KOB to P19
CHI to P18
Back of the grid: SUT, CHI, BIA, ERI, KOB, MAL

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
HUL first on track; he’s on new options
Wind speed is increasing – up to 3.4m/s
HUL 1:27.863
Both Mercedes going out on options
BOT 1:27.859
MAS 1:27.733
RAI 1:27.454
Replay of RAI drifting sideways through the chicane
ROS 1:26.088
Poor time from BUT – in the drop zone
MAG getting out of his McLaren without setting a time in Q2
Radio for RIC – not running again (he’s currently P3)
VER hasn’t set a time yet; he’s also got a 10 spot penalty waiting for him
Only MAS and HUL on track at the moment
VER out of his car too
BBC report MAG has a power unit issue
Only the top 4 (ROS, HAM, RIC, VET) and MAG & VER in the pits
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are PER, BUT, GUT, KVY, MAG, VER
GUT improves his time but not his position
BUT to P9, pushing HUL to P11
ALO lucky to hang on to P10
Middle of the grid: HUL, PER, KVY, GUT, MAG, VER*
*VER has a 10-place grid penalty for the unsafe release in FP2
Radio for PER asking how BUT got through; we need to learn from that

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
The top 10 battle is between ROS, HAM, RIC, MAS, VET, GRO, RAI, BOT, BUT & ALO
No rush to get on track as Q3 starts
ROS first to leave the pits, followed by teammate HAM
VET has pulled off track and parked his Red Bull
Radio from VET – “no drive”
Red flag – Q3 suspended with 8:10 remaining
Replay shows VET slowed and let RIC pass him in the pit lane
Christian Horner tells BBC that VET lost 2nd gear in the pit lane and all gears in Turn 3
Q3 will restart in 2 minutes
ROS waiting at the end of the pit lane
Radio from HAM saying he was held up by a Red Bull
Q3 restarts
6mins remain; only ROS, HAM, RIC and ALO on track
ROS 1:26.561
HAM 1:26.288
ALO P3
RIC P3
Everyone else still in the pits
4mins left; order is HAM, ROS, RIC, ALO
Quick tyre change for both Mercedes cars
Radio for RIC – think about the tyres
RAI P4, ahead of his teammate
GRO P4
Chequered flag; order is HAM, ROS, RIC, GRO, RAI, ALO
ROS 1:25.400
HAM 1:25.232
BOT P4!
BUT P8
RIC P3
MAS P9
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, RIC, BOT, GRO, RAI, ALO, BUT, MAS, VET

Mercedes continue to dominate the pole position.

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, RIC, BOT, GRO, RAI, ALO, BUT, MAS, VET, HUL, PER, KVY, GUT, MAG, SUT, CHI, BIA, ERI, KOB, MAL, VER*.
*VER has a 10-place grid penalty for the unsafe release in FP2 so he’ll drop from P16 to P22.

My GridBids picks for the race are: HAM, ROS, MAL, GRO, BUT & SUT.

2 Replies to “Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying”

  1. “Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is set to start Sunday’s race in Spain from a lowly 15th place after Red Bull had to change the gearbox on his car following his problems in qualifying.” [source: FIA]

Comments are closed.