Brazil Grand Prix – Qualifying

A week after the US GP, the circus moves to Brazil. The field is still down to 18 cars, although Caterham and Marussia are both on next year’s entry list, with Marussia listed as “Manor F1” [BBC].

However two days later BBC reported that “Marussia Formula 1 team has ceased trading and all staff will be made redundant, administrators FRP have announced”.

Penalties carried over from Texas:

  • PER has a 7 grid spot penalty for the collision with SUT
  • KVY has the remainder of his 10 place penalty for an engine change in Texas, so he’ll drop 7 places

Mercedes topped Free Practice times as usual:

  • FP1: ROS (1:12.764), HAM, KVY, ALO, MAS
    Daniel Juncadella, driving PER’s Force India in FP1, put it in the barriers, causing a lot of damage and bringing out the red flags.
  • FP2: ROS (1:12.123), HAM, RAI, RIC, BOT
    Just 15 minutes into FP2, VER loses power and parks his Toro Rosso; red flags while the car is removed.
    Looks like ALO’s Ferrari engine has gone bang – smoke and flames as he stops; red flags again.
    Another red flag as GUT’s Sauber breaks down at the end of pit exit.
  • FP3: ROS (1:10.446), HAM, MAS, BOT, RIC

My GridBids picks are: HAM, ROS & ALO.

Obviously everyone’s focused on the ROS/HAM battle for the Drivers’ Championship. Double points in the final race mean it’s still undecided at the moment.

The weather forecast is for rain, maybe even thunderstorms, for both Quali and the race.
Tyre choices (in the dry) are: prime=medium (white markings), options=soft (yellow).

Air temperature 25°C; track 36°C; wind 0.7m/s.
It’s dry at the moment; latest forecast says 40% chance of rain during Qualifying

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Green light; pit lane is open
SUT first out on track; he’s on options
I’m surprised so many are waiting given the weather forecast and dark clouds over the track
SUT 1:13.401
GUT 1:13.166
BBC commentators mention a Porsche support race dropped some oil on the track earlier
RIC 1:12.825
KVY 1:12.555
VER 1:12.553
HUL 1:12.491
12mins left of Q1; everyone except VET on track
BOT 1:11.834 on primes
MAS 1:11.570
HAM 1:11.223
ROS 1:10.693
MAL inside ALO into Turn 1, runs wide; ALO angry on the radio & gesticulating
HAM 1:10.457
8mins left of Q1; still no time from VET
VET finally leaves the pits
ROS 1:10.347
Radio from RIC saying track is very dirty in places; lots of marbles (rubber from tyre wear)
3mins left of Q1; bottom 4 are: MAL, GRO, VER, VET
VET to P12; pushes RIC to P15
RIC to P9; PER to P15
VER pushing hard; runs wide
VER up from P18 to P15
HUL runs wide
1min left; bottom 4 are VER, PER, MAL, GRO
Chequered flag
GRO up from P18 to P15
Back of the grid will be GRO, VER, PER*, MAL.
*PER has a penalty to be applied.

Time for a check on the rugby scores while we wait for the start of Q2…

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Green light and again no rush to get on track
HUL exits the pits, followed by GUT
HUL 1:12.306
SUT runs wide, onto the grass but finds the track again
ALO locks up, runs wide
HAM locks up too
HAM 1:10.712
ROS 1:10.303
Radio from ROS – too much overheating on rear tyres
5mins left of Q2; bottom 4 are GUT, SUT*, KVY*, RIC* (*no time)
HUL the only one on track at the moment
HUL improves his time but stays P10
KVY still in the pits – there’s not time for him to do a flying lap now
Chequered flag; bottom 4 are GUT, HUL, SUT, KVY* (*no time)
BOT P2, splitting the Mercedes
MAS P2
Middle of the grid: GUT, HUL, SUT, KVY*
*KVY has a penalty to be applied

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
The top 10 shootout is between ROS, MAS, BOT, HAM, BUT, VET, RAI, RIC, MAG & ALO
No rain so far; clouds are looking less threatening
Green light everyone in their garage
HAM first out of the pits
30sec gap, then ROS leaves the pits
10mins left of Q3; only the two Mercedes cars on track
HAM 1:10.195
ROS 1:10.166
BOT locks up in two corners; P3
RIC P4
BUT P4
MAG P5
MAS P3
VET P7
RAI and ALO sit in the pits
5mins left of Q3; order is ROS, HAM, MAS, BOT, BUT, MAG, VET, RIC, RAI*, ALO* (*no time)
RAI heads onto the track; teammate ALO still in his garage
3mins left; everyone heading out of the pits
RAI P7
RIC P7
VET P6
HAM has a big lock up in Turn 9
Chequered flag; order is ROS, HAM, MAS, BOT, BUT, VET, MAG, RIC, RAI, ALO
ALO P8
HAM 1:10.056
ROS 1:10.023
Front of the grid: ROS, HAM, MAS, BOT, BUT, VET, MAG, ALO, RIC, RAI
That’s fastest in FP1, FP2, FP3 and Quali for ROS

ROS takes the new pole position trophy with 10 poles

Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, MAS, BOT, BUT, VET, MAG, ALO, RIC, RAI, GUT, HUL, SUT, GRO, VER, MAL, KVY*, PER*.
*penalties: KVY +7; PER +7.

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