Grand Prix of China – Qualifying


It’s the 1,000th round of the world championship – it’s quite muddy how the FAI determined this because between 1950 and 1960 the Indianapolis 500 was included in the world championship even though there was barely any participation by F1 teams or drivers, and in 1952 and 1953 the sport was run to Formula 2 rules. It’s not often I agree with Bernie but it’s a bit of a shame it’s in China rather than a “classic” circuit like Silverstone, Belgium or Monaco. 🙂

After HAM’s win in Bahrain, BOT is just 1 point ahead of HAM in the Drivers’ Championship (44 vs 43 points) with VER in 3rd (27) and LEC 4th (26).

Unfortunately VET is still sporting that moustache – will someone please tell him to shave!

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: VET (1:33.911), HAM, LEC, VER, BOT
    KVY was the first to take a new power unit – Honda’s first engine change of the season after just 2 race weekends
  2. FP2: BOT (1:33.330), VET, VER, HAM, HUL
  3. FP3: BOT (1:32.830), VET, LEC, HAM, HUL
    Apparently HAM is having problems getting his tyres up to temperature
    VET was struggling for grip at times too
    ALB spun coming out of the final corner, heavily into the tyre wall and destroyed the chassis; it seems unlikely that he’ll be taking part in Quali. [video]

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Toro Rosso are still rebuilding ALB’s car, so he won’t run in Q1
The Williams pair of RUS and KUB are first on track
KUB 1:37.421
RUS 1:36.821
Radio from KUB – “I have massive oversteer”
LEC 1:34.069
VET 1:33.557
HAM 1:33.115
BOT 1:32.658
4mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are STR, KUB, RUS, GIO, ALB – no time from GIO, and we know ALB won’t run at all
GIO is still in the pits – the Alfa Romeo mechanics are still working on his car – there’s not time for an out lap and quick lap before the chequered flag
Only the top 5 (and the 2 receiving attention from their mechanics) remain in the pits
Chequered flag
KUB P17
STR P16
RUS P17
Back of the grid: STR, RUS, KUB, GIO*, ALB*
*Didn’t set a quali time so they’ll need to appeal to the stewards to be permitted to race

Qualifying session 2
Q2 has started but everyone is waiting for someone else to go first
Once someone leaves the garage, they all do!
RIC passes LEC in the pit lane
Both Mercedes, both Ferrari, and VER are all going out on medium compound tyres
PER 1:33.5
HAM 1:32.603
BOT 1:31.728
VET P2
GRO abandoned his lap after the Haas snapped back, refusing to turn in to a corner
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are PER, SAI, RAI, NOR, GRO
BOT going out again; using some brand new softs
HAM heads out on new mediums
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are HUL, PER, SAI, NOR, GRO
NOR P14
SAI P11
GRO P8; RAI P11
PER P11
HUL P7; KVY P11
HAM 1:31.637 so he’ll use these mediums to start the race
Middle of the grid: KVY, PER, RAI, SAI, NOR
That breaks RAI’s record-setting run of 53 appearances in Q3

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, BOT, VET, LEC, VER, GAS, HUL, MAG, GRO, RIC
Everyone on soft tyres, as expected, but some are used and some are new
RIC 1:34.285
HAM 1:31.570
HUL P2
BOT 1:31.563
VER P3
GAS P4
LEC P4
VET P3
MAG and GRO pit without setting a time
5mins left; order after first run: BOT, HAM, VET, VER, LEC, GAS, HUL, RIC, MAG, GRO
They’re all on track for a final run with 2mins left
Radio for BOT – “do not let people by”
Chequered flag
HAM P2
BOT 1:31.547
LEC P3
VET P3
Front of the grid: BOT, HAM, VET, LEC, VER, GAS, RIC, HUL; no time from MAG and GRO

Replay of the jostling for position before that final run showed VET passing HUL and VER
Radio from VER complaining that his quali lap is ruined before it starts
VER appears to cut across teammate GAS in the final turn on the out lap
VER abandoned his lap didn’t make it to the line in time to start his quick lap before the flag

Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, VET, LEC, VER, GAS, RIC, HUL, MAG, GRO, KVY, PER, RAI, SAI, NOR, STR, RUS, KUB, GIO*, ALB*
*Didn’t set a quali time so they’ll need to appeal to the stewards to be permitted to race