Grand Prix of Russia – Qualifying

Friday’s practice sessions were washed out by a diesel fuel spill and heavy rain. Free Practice 3 was red flagged after a scary accident for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz. [BBC] He has been airlifted to hospital after crashing deep into the barriers at Turn 13 at the end of a long straight. BBC reports that Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said: “He is conscious and with the doctors. We don’t know what his conditions are but so far it seems he is OK.” SAI has tweeted that he’s OK and hoping to race tomorrow.

Air temperature only 15°C; track 26°C; wind 2.5km/h; partly cloudy

Tyre compounds: prime = soft (yellow tyre wall); option = supersoft (red)

Penalties are waiting for ALO at his 250th race – “Fitting a new, upgraded engine, which was then taken out and replaced by an old one after first practice, means a grand total of 35 grid places”

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
MER and VES wait at the end of the pit lane for a few seconds before the lights go green
The track is green and the teams haven’t gathered much data, so expect lots of running in this session
MAL slides off backward but recovers
VES 1:40.529 on primes
NAS P2 on options
16 cars on track
ROS 1:38.556
VET leaves the pit lane on options already
Radio for HAM giving him the gap to ROS – HAM asks for confirmation that he’s a second slower
ROS 1:38.343 despite fighting the car through the final couple of turns
HAM 0.2sec behind ROS
5mins left of Q1; bottom 4 (because SAI isn’t running) are BOT, MER, STE, RIC* (*no time from RIC)
VET locks up, flat spots his front left
3mins left of Q1: bottom are ERI, BOT, MER, STE
BOT to P6, relegating Russian KVY
KVY to P11, now PER is P16
PER to P10, so NAS now P16
Chequered flag
NAS to P15; bumps ALO to P16
Back of the grid ALO, ERI, STE, MER

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Radio for HAM – lost telemetry
Track temp has dropped 1°C
PER 1:39.486
ROS 1:38.385
HAM slow in Sector 2, backs off
Radio from VES – low grip
HAM 1:37.672 despite still being slower than ROS in S2
ROS 1:37.500
5mins left of Q2; no time yet from either Ferrari or Red Bull
They’re all on track now
VET P3
BOT P3
2mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are RIC, NAS, BUT, MAL, MAS
ROS and BUT jostling for track position before starting another quick lap
Chequered flag
NAS to P9, relegating PER
RIC P8, bumping KVY
MAS can’t improve – still P15
KVY only moves up to P11
Middle of the grid: KVY, NAS, BUT, MAL, MAS

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
RAI first on track
Radio for HUL – need to work hard to get tyres up to temp
RAI 1:45.267
VET 1:42.591
BOT P2
ROS P4
HAM P4
PER 1:38.691
HUL 1:38.659
RAI 1:38.348
VET 1:38.160
BOT 1:37.912
ROS 1:37.113
HAM P2
5mins left of Q3; order is ROS, HAM, BOT, VET, RAI, HUL, PER; no time from GRO, RIC or VES
GRO P8
HAM runs wide; pits; pushed into the garage – no 50th pole for him this weekend
VES P9
RIC P10
RAI runs wide
Chequered flag
Front of the grid: ROS, HAM, BOT, VET, RAI, HUL, PER, GRO, VES, RIC

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

Will SAI be able to race tomorrow?

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