Grand Prix of Italy – Qualifying

There is still lots of talk about safety and tyre wear following the Grand Prix of Belgium and the unfortunate death of Justin Wilson at an IndyCar race [BBC].

BBC report that F1 drivers have demanded the end of tyre blowouts, but I don’t understand how they else they expect a tyre to react when it fails at such high speeds. And tyres will fail, partly because of the restrictions placed upon Pirelli by the FIA to produce tyres with limited lives to make the racing more exciting. Apparently Pirelli wanted to put a maximum usage limit on their tyres last season but it wasn’t accepted, so I feel sorry for Pirelli who are stuck in the middle of the conflicting demands of the FIA and the teams/drivers. As with most things in F1, it’s become very political. [BBC]

Meanwhile Justin Wilson died after being struck by flying debris and suffering a serious head injury at the Pocono IndyCar 500 race. This has reopened the discussion about open-cockpit racing, including the suggestion of a “halo“. The struggle is going to be balancing protection from debris with ease of escape / extraction in the event of an accident. Unfortunately almost every safety change results in increased risk in other circumstances – I remember the catch fencing of the 70s and early 80s [video when fencing worked]; armco guardrails keep the crowds and marshals safe but impacts are pretty hard on car and driver; gravel traps and asphalt run-offs each have pros and cons.

In other news, Lotus are racing in Italy despite ongoing legal battle with ex-reserve driver Charles Pic [BBC]. Red Bull are pushing to use Mercedes engines having lost confidence in their current supplier Renault [BBC]. McLaren set to lose £20m in sponsorship next year due to their poor performance this season [Telegraph].

Free practice:

  1. FP1: HAM (1:24.670), ROS, VET, HUL, PER
  2. FP2: HAM (1:24.279), ROS, VET, PER, HUL
  3. FP3: HAM (1:24.544), VET, ROS, BOT, MAS

There are lots of penalties to apply after qualifying is over: Ricciardo, Kvyat, Verstappen, Sainz, and yet more Honda engine changes mean a 10-place penalty for Alonso and a five-place drop for Button.

ROS has had to revert to an older power unit, so no penalty for re-using it; it does, however, mean he’ll be down on power compared to HAM

Tyre choices: prime=medium (white), option=soft (yellow)

Air temperature 22°C; track 34°C; wind 2.9km/h; humidity 54%; thunderstorms overnight but sunny with a few clouds now
The overnight rain means the track is quite green again, so times will improve throughout Quali

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
STE is first out of the pit lane
Expected cut-off time is 1:25.0
Red Bull mechanics still working on RIC’s car
STE 1:28.254
HUL gets held up by ERI right at the start of his flying lap
HAM 1:24.649
Radio from HAM asking about expected cut-off time; told low 1:25
Incident between ERI and HUL under investigation
HAM 1:24.251
ROS P2 but over 0.5sec slower
Big lock-up from MAS into the first chicane
Incident between ERI and HUL will be investigated after the session
ROS still P2; closed to 0.4sec off HAM
BOT in P3, 0.7sec behind HAM
VES finally getting into his car with only 4:30 left of Q1
3mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are BUT, STE, MER; no time from VES or RIC
RIC heading out of the pits with time to set a single lap but VES is still in the garage
VES out of the pits – he’ll only get an installation lap
Chequered flag
RIC P14, relegating ALO
BUT P16 ahead of ALO
Bodywork on track – that’s from VES – expect a penalty for the team not securing it properly
Back of the grid: BUT, ALO, STE, MER, VES but there are penalties to apply

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Expected cut-off time is 1:24.3
ROS heads out on new options
Radio for ROS – track temp 35 but expect it to increase
ROS 1:24.128
HAM 1:23.383 – I think he can safely park for the rest of Q2 🙂
VET goes P2, 0.2sec quicker than ROS
RAI P2
The Tifosi enjoying Ferrari in P2 and P3
4mins left; no time yet from SAI, RIC or KVY
1min left; everyone bar HAM & RAI trying to improve their times, along with SAI and KVY
Chequered flag
VET P2
Middle of the grid: MAL, NAS, SAI, KVY and RIC

That Infiniti advert is really, really annoying

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Top 10 shootout will be between HAM, VET, RAI, ROS, MAS, BOT, PER, GRO, ERI & HUL
HUL 1:25.317
Lots of strategic positioning as they try to pick up the tow of the car in front
ROS 1:23.942
BOT P2
MAS 1:23.940
HAM 1:23.397
VET P2
RAI P3
GRO P8
6mins left of Q3; order is HAM, VET, RAI, MAS, ROS, BOT, HUL, GRO (no time yet from PER or ERI)
HUL coasting into the pit lane; lost power
Yellow flags at pit entrance as marshals push HUL
HUL crosses the line and the Force India mechanics push him into the garage
2mins left
Big group of cars trying to find a tow again for their final flying lap
HUL still in the garage
Chequered flag
ERI P9
GRO P7
VET P2
RAI P2
PER P7
ROS P4
Front of the grid: HAM, RAI, VET, ROS, MAS, BOT, PER, GRO, HUL, ERI

Ferrari P2 and P3
HAM running through some clutch checks in parc ferme

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

Penalties for engine changes to be applied. Also ERI penalised three grid places for blocking HUL in Q1.

3 Replies to “Grand Prix of Italy – Qualifying”

  1. “Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen will have to serve a drive-through penalty in the first three laps of Sunday’s Formula 1 Gran Premio d’Italia 2015 after the stewards concluded that his car had been released from the pits in an unsafe condition during qualifying.” [FIA]

    FIA report:

    Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen will start last after failing to record a time in Q1 – the first time he has failed to progress to Q2 in his career – and picking up a 20-place grid drop for changing two power unit components. He will also have to serve a drive-through penalty in the first three laps of the race after the stewards decided that his car had been released in an unsafe condition during qualifying.

    Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will share the back row of the grid with the young Dutchman having collected a total of 50 grid-slot drops.

    Ricciardo’s team mate Daniil Kvyat will start one place further forward having accrued a 35-place grid drop, whilst Carlos Sainz will start 17th in the second Toro Rosso after picking up an identical penalty.

    McLaren’s Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso also picked up penalties for changing power unit elements and will start 15th and 16th respectively, while Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson drops from 10th to 12th after he was adjudged to have impeded Hulkenberg during qualifying.

    In full, the provisional starting order will be: Hamilton, Raikkonen; Vettel, Rosberg; Massa, Bottas; Perez, Grosjean; Hulkenberg, Maldonado; Nasr, Ericsson; Stevens, Merhi; Button, Alonso; Sainz, Kvyat; Ricciardo and Verstappen.

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