Grand Prix of Brazil – Qualifying

Now that both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships are wrapped up, the focus moves to the battle over the other positions. VET is 15 points ahead of BOT, so will HAM help his teammate or continue driving all out for his own win?

Not a whole lot of news:

  • BBC reports that ALO will drive in the Le Mans 24 Hours for Toyota next season, although they also note that a contract has not yet been signed
  • A van of Mercedes workers was held up at gunpoint on the road away from the Interlagos track! [BBC]
  • Renault and Toro Rosso have had a bit of an “exchange of views” about the cause of recent problems –

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: HAM (1:09.202), BOT, RAI, VER, RIC, VET, MAS, VAN, OCO, ALO
  2. FP2: HAM (1:09.515), BOT, RIC, VET, VER, RAI, OCO, MAS, HUL, ALO
  3. FP3: BOT (1:09.281), HAM, RAI, VET, RIC, ALO, PER, OCO, VER, SAI

Penalties:

  • RIC, HAR and GAS are each taking their 8th MGU-H, so they each have 10-place grid penalties.
  • GAS’ car had more problems so they’re on to their 9th MGU-H and 7th turbocharger, which means an additional 15 spots.

Williams mechanics are working on STR’s car after a gearbox penalty; he’ll probably have a 5 grid spot penalty as a result.

Air temperature 18°C; track 29°C; there’s a small chance of some light rain, but the track is still a bit damp from earlier showers.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Lots of cheers as MAS heads to the track
HAM slides off, sideways into the tyre wall – he’s broken the front left suspension
Red flag – Q1 is suspended so they can move HAM’s car
Radio asking HAM if he’s OK; confirms he is but he sounds completely deflated
HAM is picked up by the medical car and taken off for a check-up – no, he heads back to the pits
Replay shows the tail step out as he turned in to Turn 6, and then he’s as passenger as his Mercedes slides side-on into the tyre wall

All of this has given Williams time to finish rebuilding STR’s car
Green lights to resume Q1 with just under 16 minutes of this session
BOT 1:10.053
VER 1:09.966
VET 1:09.796
Looks like everyone except the Ferrari pair are on supersoft tyres; VET and RAI are on softs
Radio from VER – “there’s definitely something not right with my engine”
BOT 1:09.452
RAI 1:09.405
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are WEH, ERI, STR, HAR, HAM
Looks like GRO has lost some of the “T-wing” which is the wing just above & behind the airbox
WEH improves, goes P15 and relegates HAR but then HAR goes quicker than WEH and pushes him back to P16
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are WEH, GAS, STR, ERI, HAM
(MAS P4)
STR P18
GAS P17
Back of the grid (before penalties) are: WEH, GAS, STR, ERI, HAM

Qualifying session 2
BOT and OCO are keen to get back on track
Looks like drops of rain on BOT’s onboard camera
Radio from VER reporting rain too
BOT 1:08.901
Looked like there was someone beside the pit entry lights waving VER to stop – that’s odd
Replay shows there was confusion whether it was VER or ALO that was being told to stop at the weighbridge
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are GRO, VAN, HUL, MAG, HAR
HAR comes through the pit lane so he can do another practice start (which you’re only allowed to do at the end of the pit exit)
HUL P7, relegates SAI
GRO P9, bumps ALO
ALO P5, OCO P16
VAN P13
SAI P10, GRO P11
BOT 1:08.638
OCO P11
VET 1:08.494
Middle of the grid: OCO, GRO, VAN, MAG, HAR

Qualifying session 2
Top 10 shootout is between VET, BOT, VER, RAI, RIC*, ALO, MAS, HUL, PER & SAI
(*remember RIC has a 10-spot penalty awaiting him)
BOT 1:08.442
VER P2
HUL P3
VET 1:08.360
RAI P3
RIC P5
ALO P7
PER P6
SAI P9
MAS catches SAI and is impeded; he gesticulates at SAI and aborts his lap
Radio from SAI complaining he was impeded by MAS on his quick lap (presumably that’s why he then held up MAS)
After one quick lap, the order is VET, BOT, RAI, VER, RIC, PER, HUL, ALO, SAI, MAS
Time for one last run
Chequered flag
ALO P7
MAS P10
RIC P5
VET P1
VER P4
RAI P3
BOT 1:08.322
PER P6
Front of the grid: BOT, VET, RAI, VER, RIC, PER, ALO, HUL, SAI, MAS

Whoops! VET and RAI have stopped on the grid, which is where the top 3 have stopped in previous Quali sessions but today they were told to stop in the pit lane

Provisional grid: BOT, VET, RAI, VER, RIC*, PER, ALO, HUL, SAI, MAS, OCO, GRO, VAN, MAG, HAR*, WEH, GAS*, STR, ERI, HAM*
*Penalties to be applied for RIC, HAR, GAS; HAM has to apply to be allowed to race because he didn’t set a time.

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