Grand Prix of Germany – Qualifying

Just a week after the GP of Hungary, with HAM now a single point ahead of ROS, the circus moves to Hockenheim – ROS’s home race.

The big news is that the “F1 Strategy Group has agreed to ease the current radio restrictions during races in order to improve content for fans.” [F1i.com] The new official line is “With the exception of the period between the start of the formation lap and the start of the race, there will be no limitations on messages teams send to their drivers either by radio or pit board.”

Also: the introduction of the “halo” head protection has been postponed for a year (to 2018 season) so that all the drivers can run practice sessions with it. There will standing re-starts after a safety car start in wet conditions; and during a race stoppage, teams will no longer be able to change their cars or tyres; both rule changes coming for the 2017 season.

Free practice:

  1. FP1: ROS (1:15.517), HAM, VET, RAI, VES
  2. FP2: ROS (1:15.614), HAM, VET, VES, RIC
    Radio for RAI – “Information from race control, they are going to be more strict with track limits so we need to respect them at Turn One.”
    A few minutes later, radio for HAM – “Lewis short cut detection, track limits at Turn 1”
    Radio for HUL – “No more running wide at Turn One”
    Radio for RAI – “Kimi we only have two more opportunities at Turn One before we will be reported. Be careful.” RAI replies “My right-hand wheels are on the circuit, why do we get complaints all the time?”
    VES has apparently run wide in T1 fourteen times!
    BUT was taken to hospital in Mannheim to check an eye irritation – hopefully he’ll be OK for FP3

  3. FP3: ROS (1:15.738), HAM, RIC, RAI, VET
    BUT seems to be OK after after a carbon brake fragment injured his eye in FP2 [F1i.com]
    HAM is under investigation for an unsafe release which saw GRO almost collide in the pit lane – “Although the team decides when to release a car from the pits, a driver can be given a reprimand for the incident – and if Hamilton receives one it would be his third of the season and an automatic 10-place grid penalty.” [BBC]
    GRO had a gearbox issue; replacing it means a 5-spot grid drop
    HAM saw the stewards; they have fined the team for the unsafe release but not penalised HAM – that’s bound to be contentious! Where’s the consistency in that?

Air temperature 26°C; track 38°C; overcast but only 10% chance of rain

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Green light to start Q1; WEH is the only one to leave the pit lane
WEH heads back into the pits without setting a time, and teammate HAR exits the pits
HAR 1:17.701
GUT 1:17.052
Bit of a smoky exit from the garage by ROS’s Mercedes
BUT 1:16.949
BOT 1:15.952
ROS 1:15.485
HAM 1:15.243
VET runs quite wide – initially the stewards said they wouldn’t penalise anyone for running off track but before Q1 they said they’d “look at” any drivers running beyond track limits
Radio from PER saying he’s not going to go any quicker – he’s P8
4mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are HAR, GRO, MAG, PAL, NAS, ERI
MAS improves but only to P17
GRO to P10, bumping GUT to P17
ERI to P20
GUT to P8, KVY now P17
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are KVY, NAS, HAR, ERI, MAG, PAL
KVY to P16; WEH to P17
PAL to P14; BUT to P17
BUT to P10; WEH back to P17
SAI to P12; MAG to P17
Back of the grid: MAG, WEH, KVY, HAR, NAS, ERI
HAM and ROS were on soft tyres; everyone else on softer compounds

Qualifying session 2
The two Mercedes are first on track
ROS 1:14.839
HAM 1:14.748
RIC on a very slow out lap, treating his tyres very carefully
VES P3, 0.3sec slower than ROS but quicker than teammate RIC
RAI P4, splitting the Red Bull pair
SAI didn’t move out of MAS’s way, messing up the Williams’ quick lap
Incident involving SAI and MAS will be investigated after the session – impeding at Turn 2
2mins left; bottom 6 are GUT, GRO, SAI, ALO, BUT, PAL
Top 5 (HAM, ROS, VES, RAI, RIC) are staying in the garage
BUT to P9; MAS relegated to P11
Chequered flag
GUT to P9; PER to P11
MAS to P9; BUT to P11
PER to P5; GUT to P11
Middle of the grid: GUT, BUT, SAI, ALO, GRO, PAL

Air temperature still 26°C but track temp up to 41°C

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout will be between HAM, ROS, VES, RAI, BOT, PER, RIC, HUL, VET & MAS
VET 1:15.619
ROS abandoned his lap and ducked into the pits
RAI 1:15.142
HAM 1:14.486
PER P4
VES P2
HUL P6
RIC P2
Order so far: HAM, RIC, VES, RAI, VET, PER, HUL; no time yet from ROS, BOT, MAS
Mercedes ROS had an “electronic error”; seems resolved as they send ROS out of the garage
ROS 1:14.363
MAS P6
1min left of Q3; order is ROS, HAM, RIC, VES, RAI, MAS, VET, PER, HUL; no time yet from BOT
Everyone on track for a final run
Chequered flag
BOT P6
HAM improves but still P2
VES P4
HUL P6
VET P6
PER P9
Front of the grid: ROS, HAM, RIC, VES, RAI, VET, HUL, BOT, PER, MAS

Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, RIC, VES, RAI, VET, HUL, BOT, PER, MAS, GUT, BUT, SAI*, ALO, GRO*, PAL, MAG, WEH, KVY, HAR, NAS, ERI
*GRO had a gearbox issue in FP3; replacing it means a 5-spot grid drop
*Incident involving SAI and MAS will be investigated after the session – impeding at Turn 2 in Q2

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