Grand Prix of Italy – Qualifying


A week after the Belgian GP, people are still thinking about Anthoine Hubert, who died in the Formula 2 race, but also Juan Manuel Correa who was seriously injured in the same incident and has been placed in a medically-induced coma. [BBC] He suffered a spinal injury and broken legs, but when he was moved to a hospital in London he was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Then in the Formula 3 race today there was another big incident – Alex Peroni hit a small “sausage” kerb, flew through the air and landed on the tyre wall – he was really lucky to walk away! [video] [racefans]

Ahead of Qualifying, there are already some penalties:

  • VER and GAS will run Honda’s latest ‘Spec Four’ engine, so they’re sent to the back of the grid (ALB & KVY took this engine last weekend)
  • NOR’s McLaren needs a new Renault engine after it failed as he started the final lap in P5; SAI had the same problem but his engine has been revived and he won’t need any replacement parts
  • Both VET and LEC have new ICE, turbochargers and MGU-Ks but these are the last changes the Ferrari pair can take before they too get penalties

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: LEC (1:27.905), SAI, NOR, HAM, BOT (VER=P7, VET=P8, BOT=P9)
    A wet session with multiple red flags
    RAI spun across the gravel and backwards into the tyre wall at Parabolica
    SAI spun but stayed mainly on track so he continued ok
    PER, however, spun into a barrier and destroyed both the front and rear of his Racing Point
    Many others had trouble with Turn 1, either slithering off or cutting through the escape road
  2. FP2: LEC (1:20.978), HAM, VET, BOT, VER
    Less eventful session; when there was a brief downpour, everyone sat in the garage
  3. FP3: VET (1:20.294), VER, BOT, LEC, RIC (HAM=P6)
    Start of FP3 was delayed for a few minutes following Peroni’s accident in the F3 race

Air temperature 22°C; track 34°C; humidity 53%; no rain expected during Quali (but still forecast for the race)

FIA have said lap times will be deleted if cars run wide (all 4 wheels beyond the white line) in Turn 11
They’ve also said they’ll continue to use the black+white flag to warn drivers of their “unsportsmanlike driving”, which they used in Belgium to tell GAS off for repeatedly cutting a corner

Qualifying session 1
Radio from NOR complaining everyone’s “super slow” on their out lap
KUB 1:23.996
GIO 1:20.657
VET and LEC on medium compound tyres; everyone else on softs
Radio from LEC – “Seb is going very, very quick” so no tow for LEC
HUL 1:20.155
(LEC P3, VET P6)
(HAM P2, BOT P3)
LEC 1:20.126
Red flag – session suspended with 4:34 left
It’s because PER has parked his Racing Point on the inside of Curva Grande
Marshals are quick move remove the car
ALB has had one of his lap times deleted for exceding track limits
Q1 restarted; currently bottom 5 are GRO, PER, RUS, KUB, VER
Radio from VER – “no power” … but it looks like he’s going again
GRO P11, STR P16
A lot of other improvements, so GRO falls to P15
STR P12, GRO P16
Back of the grid: GRO, PER, RUS, KUB, VER

Qualifying session 2
KVY 1:21.0
MAG 1:20.615
BOT 1:20.018
HAM 1:19.706
(VET P2)
LEC 1:19.553
Radio from SAI “Track feels a bit slower with the sun coming out”
No time yet from RAI
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are STR, NOR, GIO, GAS, RAI
Radio from KVY “I think we need some tow” (and fortunately for KVY, his teammate GAS will start at the back due to engine-change penalties)
2mins left of Q2; everyone heading out of the pits at the same time
VET passes KVY on their out lap but LEC is held up – has he lost his chance of a tow on their quick lap?
Chequered flag but they’re all on their fast lap
GAS P13
STR P8, MAG P11
GIO P11
HAM 1:19.464
Radio from KVY “what a mess, what a mess”
Middle of the grid: GIO, MAG, KVY, NOR, GAS

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, LEC, VET, RIC, BOT, ALB, SAI, HUL, STR & RAI
HAM and BOT leave the pits but pull over to the practice start area, letting everyone pass them
Lots of jockeying as teammates try to pair up for their tow
VET 1:19.457 but did he exceed track limits? Video replay shows clearly yes but will they delete his time?
LEC 1:19.307
HAM P2
RAI into the tyres! Red flags – Q3 suspended with 6:35 left
Some people won’t get their lap times
Order so far: LEC, HAM, VET, RIC, HUL, SAI; no time from BOT, ALB, RAI, STR
Ah, BOT’s time has just appeared on the leaderboard – he’s P3
RAI’s Sauber is recovered from the tyre wall – the rear wing has been concertinaed up against the engine cover
Q3 restarts … but all the teams are waiting for someone else to go first
2:00 on the clock and Renault blink first
It’s a slow race – HUL uses the escape road at Turn 1 and STR backs everyone up
SAI moves to the front and everyone picks up their pace
Chequered flag – only SAI crossed the line in time to do a quick lap
SAI P7
Radio from LEC – “what a mess!”
Front of the grid: LEC, HAM, BOT, VET, RIC, HUL, SAI, ALB, STR, RAI

What a crazy end to Quali!
Race control: “The last lap of Qualifying is under investigation”

Provisional grid: LEC, HAM, BOT, VET, RIC, HUL, SAI, ALB, STR, RAI, GIO, MAG, KVY, NOR*, GAS*, GRO, PER, RUS, KUB, VER*
Penalties: VER, GAS, NOR … but maybe more after the last lap investigation

LEC “At the end, there was a big mess. The pace was good in the race simulations, better than in Spa.”
HAM “Honestly, I have to be grateful that I’m on the front row. As a team, it’s a good position to be in.”; “So just get pole in Q2 then time us out.”
BOT “Pace was good, and it’s tomorrow that counts”

Toto Wolff: “The problem was everyone wants a slipstream and nobody wants to go first…. and then everyone looks like idiots.”

I guess we’ll wait and see what (if any) penalties come out of the investigation of the final lap
And that chaos has overshadowed the question of whether VET’s one quick lap time should be deleted – that’s convenient!