Grand Prix of Bahrain – Qualifying

After Hamilton’s victory in China, his 10th consecutive race podium, two penalties were handed out: Button had five seconds added to his race time and was docked two penalty points after accepting blame for his late coming-together with Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado; and Marussia’s Roberto Merhi was also docked two penalty points, and received a five-second time penalty, after failing to stay above the required time set by governing body the FIA during the late safety car period. Neither penalty affected the points awarded to HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, MAS, BOT, GRO, NAS, RIC & ERI.

Surprisingly neither Mercedes was in the top 10 quickest cars in Free Practice 1 (FP1) – fastest was RAI (1:37.827), followed by VET, BOT, SAI and RIC. BUT parked his McLaren after an electrical problem.

FP2 followed more a usual form: ROS (1:34.647), HAM, RAI, VET, BOT, RIC, MAL. Despite it being Free Practice, PER tried to dive inside NAS but collided with VET; the stewards determined that neither the Ferrari driver nor Perez was to blame. Additionally HAM and RAI passed a queue of cars on the inside at the exit of the pit lane at the end of the session is still being looked at – with RAI reprimanded “for driving in a manner deemed to be dangerous in the pit lane”.

FP3: MAL lost a piece of bodywork; KVY spun off, causing red flags while they extract his car from the gravel trap; fastest was HAM (1:34.599), VET, ROS, RAI, BOT, MAS, MAL, RIC, HUL, NAS.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
RAI is first out of the pit lane
Lots of sparks from the car bottoming out, more visible than usual thanks to this being run at dusk
RAI 1:36.731
Everyone except STE on the harder tyre (medium compound)
Radio from RAI – lots of vibration, presumably due to him locking up into Turn 1
BOT 1:36.268
ROS 1:35.657
(HAM P2)
Some of the expected front runners now going out on options (soft compound)
BUT has parked his McLaren without setting a time 🙁
Yellow flags for BUT’s car, while the marshals push it behind the barriers
Unlike in China, the marshals move the car without hitting a wall 🙂
GRO fighting with his Lotus – lots of oversteer
7mins left; only BUT and VET yet to set a time (and BUT won’t now)
ROS leaves the pits on options, so if Mercedes are on soft tyres everyone will need them if the want to get in to Q2
5mins left; bottom 5 are MAL, STE, MER, VET*, BUT* (*no time)
VET 1:34.919 (VES relegated to P16)
RAI 1:34.568
ROS 1:34.398
HAM 1:33.928
(BOT P2)
1min left; bottom 5 are VES, MAL, STE, MER, BUT*
Radio from MAS complaining about traffic
Chequered flag
(VES P14)
Back of the grid: MAL, KVY, STE, MER, BUT*
*BUT will need approval from the stewards but ought to be OK to race tomorrow

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Green lights but no-one rushing to get on track
2.5mins in to Q2, PER first out of the pits
PER 1:36.354
ROS 1:33.878
HAM 1:32.669
(MAS P2)
5mins left; no time from RAI, VET, ALO, NAS, ERI
(RAI P2)
Chequered flag
Middle of the grid: PER, NAS, ERI, ALO, VES

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, RAI, MAS, VET, ROS, BOT, GRO, RIC, HUL & SAI
Used options for many runners
VET 1:34.522
RAI P2
RIC 1:33.850
GRO P4
BOT P2
ROS P2
HAM 1:33.522
5mins left; order is HAM, RIC, ROS, BOT, VET, RAI, MAS, GRO; no time from SAI or HUL
RIC P2
Chequered flag
HUL P5
VET 1:32.982
BOT P2
RAI P2
ROS P2
GRO P8
MAS P6
HAM 1:32.571
SAI P9
Front of the grid: HAM, VET, ROS, RAI, BOT, MAS, RIC, HUL, SAI, GRO

Provisional grid: HAM, VET, ROS, RAI, BOT, MAS, RIC, HUL, SAI, GRO; PER, NAS, ERI, ALO, VES; MAL, KVY, STE, MER, BUT*

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