Grand Prix of Azerbaijan – Qualifying

I was away camping so I didn’t see the race weekend live.

In the run up to Qualifying, there are a few cars getting a lot of attention from the mechanics:

  • PAL’s Renault caught fire in FP3; there’s a strong possibility of him not getting out in Quali
  • VER had a power failure in FP3 but ought to be ready for Q1
  • VET’s Ferrari was also in pieces

There’s also a heap of penalties being handed out ahead of Qualifying:

  • SAI has a 3 grid spot penalty after causing a collision on lap 1 in Canada [my notes]
  • ALO has a massive 40 grid spot penalty due to McLaren making multiple engine changes
  • VAN also has a theoretical 30 spot drop for the same reason

VET is 12 points ahead of HAM in the Championship, but Mercedes are 8 ahead of Ferrari.

Air temperature 26°C; track 50°C; wind 2.9km/hr; 60% humidity

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
HUL heading the queue at the pit exit
No timing data 🙁
Radio from MAS complaining about tyre temps
SAI locks up, takes to the escape road; reverses back onto the track
RAI 1:43.419
10mins left of Q1; no time yet from VAN or PAL
VER 1:42.860
HAM 1:42.384
OCO goes P3!
4mins left; bottom 6 are GRO, MAG, VAN, ERI, PAL* (*no time)
ALO fumes as RIC blocks him
Chequered flag
ERI P18
MAG P14, relegating ALO
Back of the grid: ALO*, GRO, ERI, VAN*, PAL
*Penalties to be applied

Qualifying session 2
PER gesticulates at HUL after being held up
MAS 1:43.739
Radio from VER – more problems with vibrations
RAI 1:42.114
BOT 1:42.032
HAM 1:41.992
MAS touches a wall, throws up some sparks
HAM 1:41.275
5mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are SAI, KVY, MAG, HUL, WEH
Looks like a Red Bull (RIC?) hit a bottle that was just on the edge of the track
KVY up to P11
VET goes P2 but he’s 0.6sec behind HAM
Chequered flag
Middle of the grid: KVY, SAI*, MAG, HUL, WEH
*Penalty to be applied

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, BOT, VET, VER, RAI, RIC, STR, PER, MAS, OCO
Track temp down to 44°C
BOT 1:47.201
RIC P2
HAM P3
Timing info is missing again 🙁
BOT 1:41.274 despite tagging the wall in Turn 8
HAM P2
VER P3
VET uses the escape road
Radio from HAM asking whether there’s time for new tyres
4mins left of Q3; order is BOT, HAM, VER, RAI, VET, RIC, PER, OCO, MAS, STR
OCO P5
RIC has stopped on track – looks like he hit a wall
Red flag – session suspended with 3:33 left
Replay shows PER also skimmed a wall but he got away with it
RIC’s Red Bull is craned away
Queue starts to form at the pit lane exit: VER, BOT then HAM
Radio for VER telling him it’s OK to switch engine mode if someone tries to pass on the out lap
Green flag to resume Q3; time for just one quick run each
BOT 1:41.027
HAM 1:40.593
PER P4
OCO P5
STR P7
MAS P8
RAI P3
VET P4
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, RAI, VET, VER, PER, OCO, STR, MAS, RIC

That’s HAM’s 66th pole – he continues to close on Schumacher’s record
I don’t know who is doing the top 3 interview but he’s really annoying!

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