Grand Prix of Malaysia – Qualifying

Following a very eventful Grand Prix in Singapore … well, first few seconds of the race … Formula One moves on to Malaysia.

Oddly enough, Vettel said “I don’t think it’s necessary to discuss” presumably because he’s realised he was the major culprit in the collision that took out him, his teammate, and Verstappen. “These things happen, not much you can do and therefore not much point to try and look at them again and again.” Yeah, other than accept responsibility and apologise to the other two drivers.

Incidentally, this will be the last Grand Prix of Malaysia – “after almost 20 years in formula one the government has decided that 2017 will be the last race at the Sepang circuit.” [grandprix.com]

In other news…

  • “F1 owner Liberty Media is backing an initiative to make the cars louder.” [grandprix.com]
  • “Pierre Gasly will make his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.” [BBC]
    GAS is replacing Kvyat for at least the next couple of races
  • “The head of the FIA’s Formula 1 technical department, Marcin Budkowski, has resigned with immediate effect.” [autosport]
    There’s concern in the paddock that he might join one of the teams
  • “A consortium backing a grand prix in Danish capital Copenhagen for 2020 is in advanced talks with Formula 1 bosses, Autosport has learned.”

Free Practice

  1. FP1: VER (1:48.962), RIC, ALO, RAI, VET, HAM, BOT
    Rain – that’s probably all that needs to be said – it caused a 30 minute delay to the start of FP1
    Quite a few spins despite running on full wets or intermediate tyres
  2. FP2: VET (1:31.261), RAI, RIC, VER, ALO, HAM, BOT
    BOT and HAM both ran wide and skimmed across the gravel trap at Turns 11 and 7 respectively
    Red flag – GRO ran over a drain cover which immediately tore his right rear tyre off, spinning him across the gravel and into a tyre wall; fortunately GRO is OK
    Session abandoned – there was about 20 minutes left of FP2 but obviously changes need to be made to make that drainage safe
  3. FP3: RAI (1:31.880), VET, RIC, BOT, HAM, VER, PER
    VET had an engine issue which saw him limp back to the pits
    VER closed the door on PAL as the Renault was on a quick lap, destroying PAL’s front wing


It sounds like Ferrari are replacing VET’s engine with a new one they were hoping to save until Japan
Stewards said no further action required on the VER/PAL collision in FP3

Air 31°C; track 47°C; humidity 59%

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Ferrari mechanics are just finishing rebuilding VET’s car with moments to go before the start of Q1
WEH and GRO are first to leave the pit lane – they’re both on supersoft compound tyres
HAM heads out with soft tyres
GRO 1:34.9
WEH 1:34.655
HAM 1:32.380
RAI 1:32.277 despite almost catching GAS in the final turn
Radio from GRO – “lots of problems with locking”
VET pits at the end of his out lap, without setting a time
Radio from VET – “feels like I have no turbo”
HAM 1:31.605 still on softs
Ferrari mechanics don’t seem to be rushing to work on VET’s car – seems like they’ve decided it’s not fixable in time for VET to run again in Q1
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are GAS, WEH, GRO, ERI, VET
HAM is out of his car and going for a break
3mins left; Ferrari are sending VET out on supersofts … no, they’ve changed their mind
Chequered flag
WEH 17
GAS P8!
STR P13, relegates GRO
Back of the grid: GRO, MAG, WEH, ERI, VET*
*technically VET will need approval from the stewards as he didn’t set a time within 107% of the fastest time

Qualifying session 2
Mercedes pair are first out of the pit lane, both on supersofts
BOT 1:31.272
HAM 1:31.009
RAI 1:30.926
VER P2
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are VAN, PER, SAI, GAS, STR
Sneak peak of HAM making some changes on his steering wheel as he sits in the garage
Everyone except RAI and VER (P1 and P2) on track for a final run
Chequered flag; VAN, PER, SAI, GAS, STR
BOT 1:30.803
PER P6; PAL P11
RIC P5
VAN P8; ALO P11
ALO P10; MAS P11
STR P13
Middle of the grid: MAS, PAL, STR, SAI, GAS

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between BOT, RAI, VER, HAM, RIC, PER, OCO, VAN, ALO and HUL
Everyone bar HUL head out for the first run
VAN 1:31.889
OCO 1:31.846
BOT 1:30.945
HAM 1:30.076
RAI P2
ALO P6
RIC P3
PER P5
VER P4
Order after one run: HAM, RAI, RIC, VER, BOT, PER, OCO, VAN, ALO, HUL
3mins left
Everyone (including HUL this time) on track for a final run
Radio from HAM – “feels down on power”; “checking; we’re happy with modes”
Chequered flag
HUL P6
VER P3
BOT P5
OCO P6
VAN P7
RAI P2
HAM P1
Front of the grid: HAM, RAI, VER, RIC, BOT, OCO, VAN, HUL, PER, ALO

That’s HAM’s 70th pole position

Provisional grid: HAM, RAI, VER, RIC, BOT, OCO, VAN, HUL, PER, ALO, MAS, PAL, STR, SAI, GAS, GRO, MAG, WEH, ERI, VET

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