Grand Prix of France – Qualifying

Round 6 was in Azerbaijan two weeks ago; round 7 would have been Canada but it was dropped due to quarantine requirements; it was replaced by Turkey, but then that too was dropped due to quarantine requirements. Rather than find yet another circuit, the FIA decided to move France a week earlier and then have two races at Spielberg in Austria: the Styrian GP (round 8, June 25-27) and then the Austrian GP (round 9, July 02-04). [calendar]

As for the points standings after Azerbaijan, VER is still 4 points ahead of HAM, with PER a further 32 points back; Red Bull are 26 points ahead of Mercedes, with Ferrari now third. [points]

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: BOT (1:33.448), HAM, VER, PER, OCO, RIC, ALO, GAS, NOR, TSU
    BOT and HAM have swapped chassis, so HAM now has the newer one
  2. FP2: VER (1:32.872), BOT, HAM, ALO, LEC, OCO, GAS, SAI, RAI, NOR
    McLaren have a tribute to Mansour Ojjeh on both cars
  3. FP3: VER (1:31.300), BOT, SAI, PER, HAM, NOR, ALO, OCO, GAS, RIC

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 28°C; track 45°C
The Mercedes mechanics were busy just before Q1 making some last-minute set-up changes on HAM’s car
TSU backwards into the tyre wall; yellow flags… replaced by red flags; Q1 suspended
Replay shows TSU took a lot of kerb into Turn 1
14:19 left on the clock and no lap times set as yet
Cars queueing at pit exit waiting for Q1 to restart
Radio from HAM asking if he should pull aside? “This is going to be mad”; Bono explains “We are short on time”
LEC 1:33.187
SAI 1:32.289
GAS 1:31.898
BOT 1:31.669
(HAM P2)
STR’s lap time is deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 6
VER 1:31.001
(PER P2)
Radio from ALO complaining about the position he was in when he was sent out of the garage
(HAM P2)
5mins left; bottom 5 are LAT, RAI, MAZ, STR, TSU
STR aborts his quick lap but he still has time to put in one quick lap
Yellow flags in sector 2 – SCH in the barriers … Red flags; Q1 ended
Replay shows SCH lost the tail into Turn 6; technically he’s through to Q2 but he won’t be able to run
Back of the grid: LAT, RAI, MAZ; no time from STR or TSU

Qualifying session 2
Looks like everyone going out on medium compound tyres except RUS
GAS 1:31.353
SAI 1:31.146
(BOT P2)
NOR’s time deleted
(HAM P4)
VER 1:31.080
PER 1:30.971
(NOR P7)
HAM 1:30.959
5mins left; bottom 5 are OCO, VET, GIO, RUS, SCH
NOR told to box; “we’ll explain later”
RUS P13
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are OCO, VET, RUS, GIO, SCH
BOT 1:30.735
GIO P13
Middle of the grid: OCO, VET, GIO, RUS, SCH

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between BOT, HAM, PER, VER, SAI, GAS, NOR, ALO, LEC and RIC
Wind has picked up a bit
Everyone on soft tyres except RIC and ALO on mediums
GAS 1:31.410
RIC P2
LEC 1:31.577
GAS’s time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 6
SAI 1:31.142
NOR P2
ALO P3
VER 1:30.325
PER P2
BOT P3
HAM P2
After first run: VER, HAM, PER, BOT, SAI, NOR, ALO, LEC, RIC; GAS has no time as it was deleted
Radio from LEC, “I’m struggling so much”
Radio from VER asking the team to check his front wing
3mins left; everyone heading out for a final run; all on softs
Chequered flag
GAS P5
LEC P5
ALO P8
SAI P3
NOR P8
RIC P10
VER 1:290.990
PER P2
BOT P2
HAM P2
Front of the grid: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR, ALO

Interviews:
VER: “Really positive weekend, FP2 was a turnaround and just made it even better today. Of course we have to finish it off tomorrow, the car felt good yesterday [in the race simulation] so I’m looking forward to it.”
HAM: “Really, really hard weekend. Mentally, not physically. Trying to get this car into a happy place, the changes I made to the car were satisfying. Max did a great job today, he’s been incredibly quick, he’s got a fresh engine this weekend so just got to give it everything.”
BOT: “It’s been a strong weekend, much better than a couple of weeks ago.”

Isn’t HAM’s cap his Canadian GP design?

Provisional grid: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR, ALO, OCO, VET, GIO, RUS, SCH, LAT, RAI, MAZ; no time from STR or TSU so they’ll need to appeal to the stewards

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]

1 thought on “Grand Prix of France – Qualifying”

Comments are closed.