Grand Prix of Brazil – Qualifying


HAM sealed the Drivers’ Championship at the GP of America, and Mercedes took the Constructors’ title in Japan. I posted an updates points standing table last week.

There’s only 2 races left but still some key battles to be resolved: 3rd in the Drivers’ table is between LEC, VER and VET; P6 is being fought over by ALB, SAI and GAS; there’s just one point between Racing Point and Toro Rosso (P6 and P7); Alfa Romeo and Haas are still battling over P8.

In other news:

  • “Ferrari say Charles Leclerc will have a 10-place grid penalty at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.” [BBC]
  • “Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff is to miss this week’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the first time he has been absent from a race since joining them in 2013.” [BBC]
  • “Formula 1 has launched a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. The intention is to wipe out the carbon footprint of activity at race tracks, including road and air transport of staff and equipment to the events.” [BBC]

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: ALB (1:16.142), BOT, VET, LEC, SAI
    A wet start to the weekend; running initially on full wets and then intermediates
    After posting fastest lap (on inters) ALB switched to slicks and promptly slid off the track and into the tyre wall, destroying his front-right corner and causing red flags [video ]
    Red Bull also put VER on slicks but his off was less eventful
  2. FP2: VET (1:09.217), LEC, VER, BOT, HAM
    KUB touched a wet kerb, lost the Williams’ tail, spun and slammed into the armco barrier, resulting in red flags [video]
    Both Toro Rosso cars (GAS and KVY) stopped with engine issues
    HAM nearly rear-ended teammate BOT, and VER complained of being obstructed by BOT too
  3. FP3: HAM (1:08.320), VER, LEC, VET, ALB
    A much warmer session that FP1 and FP2
    KVY struggled with a brake problem
    PER and GRO have been summoned to see the stewards after GRO complained PER pushed him off track (although it didn’t appear that bad to me) [video]

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
KUB does an installation lap to check out his rebuilt Williams
RUS 1:10.688
GIO 1:09.324
KVY 1:09.320
GAS 1:09.288
VET 1:08.556
Everyone on soft tyres so far
(LEC P2)
ALB 1:08.503
Radio from SAI, “Something went on the engine”; “Pit if you can”
VER 1:08.242
(HAM P5)
Radio from HAM complaining his tyres are really hot
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are HUL, STR, RUS, KUB, SAI
SAI is still in the garage; doesn’t look like he’ll get out in time to set a time
RUS P18
HUL P10, PER P16
PER P13, RAI P16
RAI P14, KVY P16
STR P17
KUB P19
Radio from GRO is almost entirely bleeped out!
Back of the grid: KVY, STR, RUS, KUB, SAI

Qualifying session 2
A couple of minutes without any activity, then Mercedes send out both their cars on softs
HAM 1:08.088
(BOT P2)
LEC 1.07.888 on mediums
VER 1:07.503 on softs
RAI left his garage a bit close to NOR as he rumbles down the pit lane
2mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are NOR, RIC, GIO, PER, HUL
Everyone except VER, VET and ALB are on track
HUL P14
GIO spins; brief yellow flag might have ruined the last laps
Chequered flag
Middle of the grid: NOR, RIC, GIO, HUL, PER

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between VER, LEC*, VET, HAM, BOT, GRO, GAS, MAG and RAI
*Remember LEC will have a 10-place grid penalty for engine changes
Everyone except MAG heads out of the pits
RAI 1:09.659
GRO 1:09.484
HAM 1:07.861
(BOT P2)
VET 1:07.631
(LEC P2)
VER 1:07.623 just 0.008 faster than VET
Order after first run: VER, VET, LEC, HAM, BOT, ALB, GRO, RAI, GAS, MAG
2mins left; everyone wants someone else to go first, but finally they start to leave the pit lane
Chequered flag
RAI P7
VER 1:07.508
GRO P7
MAG P9
GAS P7
LEC P3
HAM P3
BOT P5
Front of the grid: VER, VET, HAM, LEC*, BOT, ALB, GAS, GRO, RAI, MAG

Seems strange it’s only VER’s 2nd pole

Provisional grid: VER, VET, HAM, LEC*, BOT, ALB, GAS, GRO, RAI, MAG, NOR, RIC, GIO, HUL, PER, KVY, STR, RUS, KUB, SAI
*LEC will have a 10-place grid penalty for engine changes