Grand Prix of Russia – Qualifying


A post-race penalty for GIO didn’t change the result for the Singapore GP.

Penalties:

  • All four drivers from the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams will be hit with grid penalties at the Russian Grand Prix. [BBC]
    Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly drop five places on the grid.
    Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat will start at the back for his home race on Sunday. Kvyat’s bigger penalty is because Honda is replacing five of the six constituent elements of his power-unit, the internal combustion engine, turbo, hybrid parts the MGU-K and MGU-H and console electronics. Only the battery on his car is not being replaced.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: LEC (1:34.462), VER, VET, BOT, HAM
    HAM almost rear-ended GRO coming into the pit lane! [video]
    RIC lost the tail of his Renault and put it backwards into the tyre wall, causing a lot of damage [video]
    BOT and HAM were P4 and P5 on medium tyres, whereas everyone else ahead and around them were on softs
  2. FP2: VER (1:33.162), LEC, BOT, HAM, VET
    The Toro Rosso pair almost came together when KVY exited the pit lane and almost clipped GAS’s front wing
    A few drivers locked up in Turn 13 but all avoided the tyre wall
    HAM had another close call – this time it was ALB on a cooldown lap, moving towards the racing line as HAM (on a quick lap) had to take avoiding action [video]
  3. FP3: LEC (1:32.733), VET, HAM, BOT, VER
    KVY had more engine problems and had to park his Toro Rosso
    PER also had problems, spending most of FP3 in the Racing Point garage

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
The Ferrari pair are quick to lead the pits and set a time on medium tyres – the other runners so far are all on soft compounds
Sounds like KVY won’t run at all in Quali due to his engine penalties
The skies are still overcast but no rain has arrived… yet!
RUS 1:36.201
VET locks up and abandons his lap
LEC 1:33.613
Yellow flags as KUB has gone off at Turn 13, but he recovers back to the track
10mins left of Q1; no time yet from HAM, BOT, VER and a few others
HAM 1:33.230
(VER P2)
(BOT P4)
VET is still down in P19 due to an aborted lap and then another quick lap spoiled by yellow flags
GAS fights the Toro Rosso through the final corner – reports “big rear, big issue”
ALB heavily into the tyre wall at T13 – red flag – session suspended with 6:38 left on the clock
That’s a lot of damage to his Red Bull but ALB reports he’s OK
VET was on his 3rd attempt to set a quick time, so he’s in jeopardy of not making it out of Q1
VET heads to the pit exit, waiting for the session to restart – he’s on soft tyres now
Green light; Q1 restarts with over 6mins left
VET has an empty track ahead of him so he ought to get himself out of P19
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are RUS, KUB, ALB, VET, KVY … but ALB is now out and KVY isn’t running in Q1
VET 1:33.032; pushes GAS down to P16
Lots of jockeying for position for a final flying lap as almost everyone is now on track
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are GAS, RUS, KUB, ALB, KVY
GAS 11, GIO P16
(BOT P4)
GIO P15, RAI P16
Back of the grid: RAI, RUS, KUB, ALB*, KVY*
*Engine penalties to be applied

Qualifying session 2
Mercedes pair are first out of the pits – they’re both on mediums
VET on used soft tyres due to his extra runs in Q1
BOT 1:33.281
HAM 1:33.134
VER 1:33.092
LEC 1:32.434
(VET P2)
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are MAG, GRO, STR, RIC, GRO
0.035sec cover P6 (GAS) through to P10 (GAS)
Chequered flag
GRO P6, HUL P11
RIC P9, PER P11
HUL P10, GAS P11
GIO P13
Middle of the grid: GAS*, PER, GIO, MAG, STR
*Engine penalties to be applied

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between LEC, VET, VER*, HAM, BOT, GRO, NOR, SAI, RIC and HUL (*5-place engine penalty to be applied)
NOR 1:34.108
RIC P2
HUL 1:33.607
SAI P3
GRO P4
BOT 1:32.632
HAM 1:32.365
VET 1:32.135
LEC 1:31.801
VER P5
Order after first run: LEC, VET, HAM, BOT, VER, HUL, NOR, SAI, GRO, RIC
Radio from HAM asking his team to check his shifts
3mins left; time for one last fast run
HUL P6
RIC P8
SAI P6
GRO P9
VET P2
LEC 1:31.628
VER P3
HAM P2
Front of the grid: LEC, HAM, VET, VER*, BOT, SAI, HUL, NOR, GRO, RIC

That’s 4 consecutive pole positions for LEC – the first time Ferrari have done this since Michael Schumacher in 2001… when LEC was 3 years old! 🙂
And yet LEC is on the radio beating himself up for the final sector

LEC – “I don’t want to think about stats – I just want to focus on the job”
HAM – “These (Ferrari) guys have some crazy speed on the straights”
VET – “I’m not entirely happy, I didn’t extract the absolute maximum from the car”

Provisional grid: LEC, HAM, VET, VER*, BOT, SAI, HUL, NOR, GRO, RIC, GAS*, PER, GIO, MAG, STR, RAI, RUS, KUB, ALB*, KVY*
*Engine penalties to be applied
HAM and BOT will start the race on medium compound tyres; the rest of the top 10 will be on softs.