Grand Prix of Bahrain – Qualifying

Two weeks after Rosberg beat his teammate in the Australian GP, he topped the timings ahead of Hamilton in Free Practice 1 and FP2; he was also faster the HAM in FP3 but VET was quickest overall followed by RAI then ROS and HAM.

Stoffel Vandoorne is standing in at McLaren after “Alonso has revealed he suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung in his frightening crash in Melbourne”. [source: FIA] They also report ALO “admits he cannot guarantee he will be cleared to race in China in two weeks’ time”.

Tyre choices for Bahrain weekend are published on FIA’s website – super-soft seem to be most popular.

FP1 was fairly uneventful but in FP2:

  • BUT joked “I found the go-faster button” as he ended up 3rd fastest in the session
  • VET parked his Ferrari after the rear left wheel worked loose
  • GRO lost his front wing on a kerb, prompting a brief Virtual Safety Car period while debris was cleared
  • Kevin Magnussen will start the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from the pit lane after failing to stop at a red light for a weight check during FP2. [FIA]

FP3:

  • VAN (Stoffel Vandoorne) delayed by an oil leak
  • GUT complained “I have some traffic from Lewis”, “I don’t know what he is doing, it was the same the other day.”
  • Williams tweet that they’re testing a new nose on MAS’ car
  • VET topped the timings, followed by RAI, ROS, HAM, BOT & GRO

Remember that the same Qualifying format from Australia will be used today; despite unanimous agreement to roll back to the 2015 format, FIA decided to give it one more try.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
The sun is setting and the flood lights are on
VET sitting at pit exit for 2 minutes, losing temperature, just so he can be first to set a time
Both Mercedes line up behind VET, and RAI rolls up to join the queue
Green light to mark the start of Q1
RAI passes ROS on their out lap
VET 1:31.636
HAM 1:31.391
ROS 1:31.325
MAG, VES and SAI are the last to get on track
90 second countdown already ticking for the first elimination
NAS will be P22*
*Remember MAG will start from the pit lane due to his FP2 penalty
HAR is in the pits, so he won’t be able to improve on his time and therefore will be P21
PAL is on a quick lap; jumps ahead of VAN
VAN to P12, so PAL out (P20)
MAG is next in the firing line
RIC improves his time; moves to P3
MAG out; P19 in theory
WEH improves, jumps from P18 to P16
PER is only just starting a quick lap now but too late for it to count; he’ll be P18
ERI is in the pits, so he’ll be P17
Radio for WEH congratulating his quick lap and telling him to box, so he’ll be P16
That means Q1 is effectively over with just over 3mins left on the clock for this session
Back of the grid: WEH, ERI, PER, MAG*, PAL, HAR, NAS
Chequered flag finally falls

Qualifying session 2
RAI heads down the pit lane; sits at the red light
Why has Q2 clock started but the lights are still red?
Green flag waved at RAI, showing Q2 started despite what lights say
Looks live everyone is on supersoft tyres
RAI 1:30.559
HAM 1:30.039
ROS P2
VET P2
First eliminated is KVY; P15 for tomorrow’s grid
BUT isn’t going to finish his 2nd quick lap in time, so he’ll be P14
Everyone heading for the pits, so the next couple of grid spots will be determined while everyone’s in their garage
GUT out; P13
HUL heading out for a quick lap; he’s currently P11
VAN is out of his McLaren so he’ll be P12 on his debut F1 race
HUL the only one on track, improving on his lap times
HUL jumps to P8, bumping GRO out of Q3
BOT and MAS on track, but they’re currently P5 and P7 so why?
VES is already being weighed as he gets eliminated – P10
GRO will be P9
Middle of the grid: GRO, VES, SAI, VAN, GUT, BUT, KVY
BOT improves his time so he’ll start the race on this set of supersofts
Chequered flag

Qualifying session 3
Two Ferrari heading out followed by the two Mercedes
Everyone on track as the countdown has already started for P8
RAI 1:30.244
VET 1:30.065
HAM runs wide in the final turn; P3
ROS 1:29.897
BOT P5
MAS P6
RIC P5
HUL P8, and with only 13secs left on the countdown means he’ll be P8 for the race
Why did the countdown clock just restart at 90secs?
HUL now eliminated; P8
Looks like BOT is getting out of his car
Top 4 are back on track – ROS, VET, RAI & HAM
MAS eliminated; P7
BOT eliminated; P6
HAM sets great Sector 1 time
RIC elim; P5
HAM fastest in S2 too
RAI doesn’t improve his P3 time
HAM 1:29.493
VET stays P3
ROS can’t improve his time either
RAI elim, P4
2:45 left on the clock but the top 3 spots are set
Front of the grid will be: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, RIC, BOT, MAS, HUL

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, RIC, BOT, MAS, HUL, GRO, VES, SAI, VAN, GUT, BUT, KVY, WEH, ERI, PER, MAG*, PAL, HAR, NAS
*MAG will start from the pit lane due to his FP2 penalty

51st pole for HAM, just 0.077secs ahead of his teammate

Interviews:
HAM: “not been a smooth weekend”
ROS: “my lap felt good – I was sure I was on pole”
VET: “there isn’t one place on the track where the car doesn’t feel right”
HAM: “it’s always important to get a good start”; “hopefully better than it was [in Australia]”

3 Replies to “Grand Prix of Bahrain – Qualifying”

  1. “Lewis Hamilton has been called to the Bahrain stewards after appearing to break regulations by reversing his car in the pit lane at the end of Saturday’s qualifying session.” [FIA]

  2. “Lewis Hamilton has been reprimanded by the Bahrain stewards” … “officials decided not to impose a penalty “due to the fact that no clear instruction was given to the driver on where he should park the car after qualifying”. [FIA]

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