It’s only been a week since the German GP – less for me as I didn’t get to watch it until Tuesday!
ROS is 14 points ahead of his teammate in the drivers’ championship, and Mercedes have almost twice the points of Red Bull.
HAM was fastest in all three practice sessions this weekend; he’s also won the Hungarian GP four times (would have been 5 if it weren’t for a car problem) so he has to be favourite, but ROS and even the Red Bulls are snapping at his heels. And of course HAM has not had a great record in recent qualifying sessions.
Tyre compounds: prime = medium (white lettering); option = soft (yellow)
Air temperature 28°C; track 47°C; wind 1.1m/s; overcast, 30% chance of rain in Quali.
My GridBids picks for the race: ROS, HAM, RAI, MAL, GRO, BUT & SUT.
Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
18 minutes on the clock for Q1
Green light; Q1 starts but a short pause before anyone exits the pits
Looks like some of the tail-enders going straight out on options – ERI, KOB, GUT & SUT all on soft tyres
MAL pulls off track without even completing his warm-up lap
ROS locks up and cuts across the chicane
HAM crawling into the pits – huge fire! Marshals slow to react
Replay of HAM on the radio telling his engineer about the fire; told to stop in front of a marshal, but HAM says the car won’t stop
MAS fighting away at the wheel of his Williams
Without setting a time, HAM will be on the back of the grid with MAL
HAM walks back toward his garage; body language shows his frustration at yet another failure
6mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are BIA, CHI, GRO, ERI, HAM, MAL
More drivers going out on options
Lotus and Marussia suffering without FRICS
(GRO P8; moves KOB to P17)
VER 1:24.941 on options
ERI improves his time but still P20
CHI going even slower than usual – there’s a problem with his Marussia
Radio for CHI – fuel pressure problem
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are KOB, BIA, CHI, ERI, HAM, MAL
BIA P16, bumping RAI to P17 and out!
ERI improves his time again but still almost 1sec behind CHI
Back of the grid will be: RAI, KOB, CHI, ERI; HAM & MAL will need the stewards OK to allow them to race
That’s 3 of my GridBids picks at the back of the grid.
Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Expect everyone will be on options for Q2
BOT 1:24.001 – fastest time of the day
Radio for PER – that’s it for us; hydraulic leak
5mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are HUL, PER, GUT, SUT, GRO, BIA
PER is out of his car; he won’t improve on P12
HUL to P9; KVY down to P11
SUT up to P12
KVY lost the tail under braking; he won’t improve his time
Middle of the grid: KVY, SUT, PER, GUT, GRO, BIA
So from my GridBids picks only ROS & BUT are through to Q3.
Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Top 10 shootout is between ROS, VET, RIC, BOT, MAS, ALO, BUT, MAG, VER & HUL
It’s just starting to rain
Cars waiting at the end of the pit lane, hoping to set a time before the rain really sets in
Radio for VER – rain is changing very quickly so get one quick lap
Rain getting harder
ROS locks up into Turn 1 – runs wide
MAG off into the tyres wall
Red flag – Q3 suspended while they extract MAG’s car
MAG is out of his car
There 9:59 left on the clock
Radio from BUT – no grip, very scary
Still raining; presumably everyone will use intermediate tyres
Marshals rebuilding the tyre wall
Radio for HUL – dry or inters? He says it’s only the main straight that’s damp
Session will restart at 1457 local time
No rush to be the first to venture onto track
Green light; Q3 restarts with just under 10mins remaining
Looks like everyone going out on dry tyres – mix of new & used options
ROS cautious through Turn 1; staying away from the white lines
BOT a lot quicker than anyone else in Sector 1
Radio for RIC – push for 3 laps in a row
3mins left of Q3; order is ROS, VET, BOT, RIC, HUL, ALO, BUT, MAS; no time from VER or MAG
Everyone on track, except MAG of course
Radio for VET – rain in Turn 1
Chequered flag; order is ROS, BOT, VET, ALO, MAS, BUT, RIC, VER, HUL, MAG
Front of the grid: ROS, VET, BOT, RIC, ALO, MAS, BUT, VER, HUL, MAG
Provisional grid: ROS, VET, BOT, RIC, ALO, MAS, BUT, VER, HUL, MAG, KVY, SUT, PER, GUT, GRO, BIA, RAI, KOB, CHI, ERI; HAM & MAL will need the stewards OK to allow them to race
VET nearly got his first pole of the season but ROS’ last lap was almost 0.5sec faster than VET’s best.