Grand Prix of Russia – Qualifying

Race 4 of the 2017 season; VET is just 7 points ahead of HAM in the Drivers’ Championship, with two wins (Bahrain) to the Mercedes driver’s one (Australia and China).

Many cars and drivers are sporting #BillyWhizz stickers in honour of Billy Monger, the Formula 4 driver who had both legs amputated after a crash at Donington Park recently. [BBC]

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: RAI (1:36.074), BOT, HAM, VER, VET, RIC, PER, MAS, STR, OCO
    OCO caused the session to be suspended briefly when his engine cover flew off
  2. FP2: VET (1:34.120), RAI, BOT, HAM, VER, RIC, MAS, HUL, MAG, PER
    MAG complaining of a long brake pedal; later in FP2 his Hass teammate GRO complains of brake problems too
    VER’s Red Bull appeared to lose power, so he parked off track
  3. FP3: VET (1:34.001), RAI, BOT, HAM, VER, MAS, HUL, RIC, SAI, MAG
    RIC’s Red Bull died on him but he managed to limp back to the pits

So Ferrari were fastest in all three practice sessions; over at Mercedes, BOT was faster than HAM in all three too.

Penalties:

  • SAI has a 3 grid spot penalty from his collision with STR at the Bahrain Grand Prix
  • VAN gets a 15 place penalty following more power unit problems in his McLaren
  • PAL has a new engine in his Renault, so he’ll get a 5 spot penalty too. The team are still working on the car but he should be able to get out for a run in Q1.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Local driver KVY is first onto the track
KVY 1:37.052
MAG 1:36.975
SAI 1:36.575
VET running on supersoft tyres – everyone else is on ultrasofts
PER 1:36.185
VER 1:36.021
BOT 1:34.177
(VET P2 by 0.9sec)
HAM runs wide and abandons his lap
BOT 1:34.041
HAM P2 – 0.37sec behind his teammate
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are ALO, VAN, WEH, GRO, ERI
WEH P17
ERI P19
Chequered flag
ALO P13, PAL P16
PAL off into the tyre wall; WEH spun at a different corner but avoided the wall
VAN P17
Back of the grid: PAL*, VAN*, WEH, ERI, GRO (*penalties to be applied)

Qualifying session 2
MAS 1:35.677
RAI 1:34.053
BOT 1:33.264
HAM P2, 0.5sec behind BOT again
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are: KVY, SAI, MAG, ALO, PER
Both Ferrari going out for another run
Radio for RIC telling him he needs “a couple more tenths” to be safe – he’s currently P8
3mins left; just BOT, HAM and VER remain in the pits
MAG P13
Chequered flag
PER P9, STR P11
ALO P15
SAI P11
Middle of the grid: SAI, STR, KVY, MAG, ALO

Qualifying session 3
Both Mercedes head out of their garage and wait at the end of the pit lane
Green lights
HUL trying to pass HAM on their out lap; HAM holds him off for a couple of turns but then lets the Renault pass
HUL backs off and HAM nearly runs into the rear of him
Radio from HAM complaining HUL is driving dangerously
BOT lets HUL past, so now the two Mercs are running close together on their warm up lap
HUL 1:35.412
BOT P2
HAM P3
RAI 1:33.253
VET P2
PER P3
OCO P5
VER P3
RIC P3
BOT P2
HAM P4
MAS P7
Order is RAI, BOT, VET, HAM, RIC, VER, MAS, PER, HUL, OCO
Mercedes crews rushing to refuel the cars as well as change tyres and get them back out quickly
3mins left of Q3; just VET, BOT and HAM on track
Chequered flag
HUL P7
OCO P10
RAI doesn’t improve
MAS P6
VET 1:33.194
BOT P3
HAM P4
Front of the grid: VET, RAI, BOT, HAM, RIC, MAS, VER, HUL, PER, OCO

First time since France 2008 that Ferrari take Pole and P2
The Ferrari mechanics are ecstatic; Mercedes look deflated

Provisional grid: VET, RAI, BOT, HAM, RIC, MAS, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, SAI*, STR, KVY, MAG, ALO, PAL*, VAN*, WEH, ERI, GRO.
(*penalties to be applied)

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