Grand Prix of France – Qualifying


Obviously the main news since Canada has been all about Ferrari and Vettel continuing to whine about the penalty that cost Vettel the victory. Initially Ferrari said they would appeal but then changed that to a request for a review … and yesterday the FIA rejected the “new evidence”. [BBC] [FIA]

Sporting director Laurent Mekies presented their evidence, which he described ahead of the meeting as “overwhelming”, to the same stewards at Paul Ricard in France on Friday afternoon.
After several hours of deliberation, the stewards issued a statement saying “there are no significant and relevant new elements which were unavailable to the parties at the time of the competition concerned”.

Mind you, there was no additional penalty applied for daring to question the FIA, which wasn’t unknown when Bernie was running the show.

So, with Ferrari distracted by all that noise (and VET got married!), I wonder if they’ve taken their eye off the ball going into the French GP weekend.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: HAM (1:32.738), BOT, LEC, VER, VET
    KVY, VER and GAS all had new Honda engines … and all three spun, but they weren’t the only ones
    HUL had smoke coming into the cockpit, apparently from the floor scraping on the track; RIC had a similar issue [FIA video]
    GRO’s Haas had a water leak
    Tyre wear seemed a problem up and down the field
  2. FP2: BOT (1:30.937), HAM, LEC, VET, NOR
    A hot session – track temps around 55°C
    GRO had all sorts of stability issues; he locked up and trashed his tyres; he sounded really frustrated all day
    HAM lost the tail in Turn 4 (as did many others) and took out the bollard; rejoined to VER [FIA video]
    Incident involving HAM and VER will be investigated after the session
    Radio from SAI reporting “strange” engine problems but the McLaren engineers tell him it’s okay
    “Stewards at Le Castellet have deemed that no further action is needed following the incident involving Lewis Hamilton during FP2” [pitpass.com]
  3. FP3: BOT (1:30.159), HAM, LEC, VET, VER
    The gap in lap times between the Mercedes pair and the Ferrari pair is quite small (0.47sec covered the four of them) but VER was a further 0.9s behind VET

It’s pretty warm at the Paul Ricard circuit – air temperature 25°C; track 56°C; not a cloud to be seen

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
KVY and RUS both pick up penalties for new engine components
NOR 1:32.708
ALB 1:32.573
SAI 1:32.010
VET 1:31.846
LEC 1:31.441
BOT 1:31.378
(HAM P3)
Everyone running on soft tyres
LEC 1:30.647
BOT 1:30.550
(HAM P2)
5mins left; bottom 5 are PER, MAG, RUS*, KVY*, KUB (*RUS and KVY both have penalties to be applied)
KVY P6, STR P16
MAG P5, ALB P16
Incident involving RAI and RIC will be investigated after the session (for leaving track)
Incident involving RAI and GRO will be investigated after the session (for unsafe rejoining track)
2mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are ALB, STR, PER, RUS, KUB
RUS P17
Chequered flag
PER P5, GRO P16
ALB P15, KVY P16
STR P18
Back of the grid: KVY*, GRO, STR, RUS*, KUB
*RUS will start P19, and KVY will start from the pit lane

Qualifying session 2
BOT and HAM go out on medium tyres
BOT 1:30.024
HAM 1:29.520
(VER P3) on mediums
(VET P4) – mediums
(LEC P3) – mediums
Radio for HUL warning him not to use 8th gear
BOT 1:29.437
(SAI P3)
(VER P3)
(VET P4)
(LEC P3)
VER’s first timed lap has been deleted – exceeding track limits at Turn 6
5mins left; bottom 5 are GIO, RAI, MAG, RIC, NOR
NOR P7, PER P11
RIC P7, ALB P11
2mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are ALB, PER, GIO, RAI, MAG
HAM and BOT are on track with soft tyres but they won’t want to set a better lap time because then they’ll have to start the race on them
Chequered flag
GIO P9, HUL P11
PER P13
ALB P10, RAI P11
(VET P2)
Middle of the grid: ALB, RAI, HUL, PER, MAG

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between BOT, VET, HAM, LEC, NOR, VER, SAI, RIC, GIO and GAS
McLaren send out SAI and NOR but then tell SAI to wait in the practice start area at the pit exit
Radio from HAM complaining about the cars ahead of him
NOR 1:29.826
VER 1:29.695
BOT 1:28.605
HAM 1:28.448
SAI P4
RIC P6
LEC P3
VET heads back to the pits – reports a mixed upshift
Order after first run: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, SAI, NOR, RIC, GAS; no time from VET or GIO
Radio from LEC complaining that VET isn’t pushing hard enough
BOT P2
HAM 1:28.319
GIO P9
GAS P8
SAI P4
NOR P4
VER P4
RIC P7
VET P7!
LEC P3
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, NOR, SAI, VET, RIC, GAS, GIO
McLaren lock out row 3, ahead of VET’s Ferrari
That’s a record 63 front row lockouts for Mercedes

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, LEC, VER, NOR, SAI, VET, RIC, GAS, GIO, ALB, RAI, HUL, PER, MAG, KVY*, GRO, STR, RUS*, KUB
*RUS will start P19, and KVY will start from the pit lane