Grand Prix of Bahrain – Qualifying

Hopefully Mercedes have fixed the bug in their pit stop calculator which cost HAM the win in Australia, and that Haas have resolved the wheel nut issues which put both MAG and GRO out of the race.

Bahrain and China swapped dates for 2018, so Ferrari may well extend their lead this weekend as the Sakhir circuit tends to favour them.

Tyre compounds are medium, soft and supersoft.

Free practice sessions:

  1. FP1: RIC (1:31.060), BOT, RAI, VET, HAM
  2. FP2: RAI (1:29.817), VET, BOT, HAM, VER
  3. FP3: RAI (1:29.868), VER, RIC, HAM, VET

So Ferrari and Red Bull are looking like they’ll give Mercedes a run for their money.

Ahead of Qualifying, there have been a couple of penalties:

  • HAM has been given a 5-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change following a hydraulic leak in the Melbourne race [FIA]
  • Ferrari has been fined €5,000 for releasing Kimi Raikkonen’s car in an unsafe condition [racefans.net]

It’s approaching 6pm local time; air temperature 28°C; track 33°C; wind 2.5km/h

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Green lights for the start of the session
ERI and LEC head out first
Mechanics are still working on VAN’s car
ERI 1:31.976
LEC 1:31.775
RAI has left the pits on soft tyres – Ferrari confident in making it to Q2
Radio for HAR reporting damage to the front wing
MAG 1:30.030
RAI 1:28.951
(VET P2)
(BOT P3)
(HAM P4)
(VER P4)
Big lockup for GRO as he starts a quick lap
Brief yellow flag (for GRO’s off presumably) cancels DRS availability for a few seconds
VER is in the tyre wall! Looks like he lost the tail in Turn 2
Red flags – session suspended with 5:25 remaining
VER is OK but clearly frustrated
Marshals slowly removing VER’s car
When Q1 restarts, the bottom 5 are GRO, ALO, SIR, LEC, STR – it’s possible that VER will go through to Q2 (he’s currently P4)
Commentator reports that HAR’s front wing damage was caused when he hit a bird!
Green light to resume Q1
Everyone except the top 6 (RAI, VET, BOT, VER, HAM, RIC) are on track
ALO P12, ERI relegated to P16
Chequered flag
HAR P13, GRO dropped to P16
LEC spins
ALO and GRO set exactly the same time, but ALO did it first so he’s P15 but GRO is P16 and not going through to Q2
Radio from LEC – “I am so stupid”
Back of the grid: GRO, ERI, SIR, LEC, STR

Qualifying session 2
VER will be P15 given his accident in Q1
Will HAM set his Q2 time on soft or supersoft tyres? Softs will suggest they’re planning a 1-stop strategy for the race (Remember he has a 5 grid place penalty)
VET leaves the pits on supersofts; his Ferrari teammate is on supersofts too
HAM exits his garage – he’s on the yellow soft compounds
BOT is on supersofts
VET 1:28.341
(RAI P2)
(RIC P3)
(HAM P2)
Radio from PER – “I ran out of energy”, i.e. he deployed all his KERS battery sooner than expected
HAM went P2 on soft tyres, so now Ferrari and Red Bull need to decide whether to do their second run on softs or stick to supersofts
3mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are PER, ALO, VAN, HAR, VER
HAM heading out on supersofts – hmmm, interesting – will he actually set a time on them?
Chequered flag
ALO P11
PER P11
HAR P11
HAM finished his lap but didn’t improve on his time, so he’ll start the race on the soft tyres
Middle of the grid: HAR, PER, ALO, VAN, VER

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between VET, HAM*, RAI, BOT, RIC, HUL, MAG, SAI, GAS and OCO
(*Remember HAM has a 5 grid place penalty)
Everyone except HUL, MAG and OCO are on track
SAI 1:30.641
GAS 1:30.388
VET 1:28.196 but ran wide in Turn 13
RAI 1:28.101
RIC P4
HAM P3
Order so far: RAI, VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, GAS, SAI and no time yet from OCO, HUL, MAG
Both Renaults set off for their final runs
HUL P6
OCO P7
Chequered flag
MAG P7
BOT P2
HAM P4
VET 1:27.958
RIC P5
RAI P2
Front of the grid: VET, RAI, BOT, HAM*, RIC, GAS, MAG, HUL, OCO, SAI
*HAM’s penalty means he’ll start P9

Provisional grid: VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, GAS, MAG, HUL, OCO, HAM*, SAI, HAR, PER, ALO, VAN, VER, GRO, ERI, SIR, LEC, STR.

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