Grand Prix of Austria – Qualifying

Third of the back-to-back-to-back races; same circuit as last week, but different tyres… will we see the same result?
I’ll update my points standings page after this race; VER is currently on 156 points, with an 18 point lead over HAM and a big gap to PER on 96; Red Bull has a 40 point lead over Mercedes, with McLaren a further 92 points back. The Haas and Williams pairs (MAZ, SCH, LAT and RUS) are the only ones yet to score a point after 8 rounds of the 2021 season.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: VER (1:05.143), LEC, SAI, BOT, TSU, RAI, HAM, PER, GAS, NOR
    Each driver had to run Pirelli’s new rear tyre for at least 12 laps on Friday (FP1 and/or FP2)
    It’s also the reserve drivers’ time to step in: Guanyu Zhou was in ALO’s Alpine, Callum Ilott in GIO’s Alfa Romeo, and Roy Nissany in RUS’ Williams
    STR had a couple of spins but everyone stayed out of the barriers

  2. FP2: HAM (1:04.523), BOT, VER, STR, VET, TSU, GAS, ALO, NOR, GIO
    Air temperature 19°C; track 31°C; 60% chance of rain during FP2
    SAI reports drops of rain but team say it won’t become a heavy shower
    A line of 5 cars holding back as they wait for a gap to start their quick lap, but they’re in the way of the exit of Turn 9 and the pit lane entrance
    Radio from LEC, “That’s dangerous” (referring to that queue)
    A couple of lap times deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 9
    STR shouts “You’re not clear, Brad!” at his engineer as he’s told to keep up his front tyre temps
    LEC runs very wide in Turn 9 and only just stays out of the gravel
    Radio on VER, very unhappy at NOR
    The Red Bull pair were P1, P2 but now Mercedes claim the top spots
    Radio from NOR reporting spots of rain in Turn 3
    Radio from VET asking if the drizzle is going to increase; told no
    HAM locks up, runs wide in Turn 1
    ALO aborts his lap at the final turn; on the radio, complaining about Alfa who impeded him; turns out it was RAI
    PER reports that upshifts are unsettling the rear of his Red Bull
    VER told to carry on because they might have these conditions during the race (The forecast suggests thunderstorms for Sunday afternoon, but it said that last week too)
    Christian Horner tells Sky Sports “It’s just about manageable at the moment; it is getting a little bit greasy out there though”
    BOT runs wide in Turn 4, across the gravel
    Starting to rain a bit heavier, especially around Turns 4 and 5
    5mins left of FP2; 4 of the top 5 have Mercedes engines, so have they brought some improvements since last week?
    TSU getting frustrated over the radio, “This idiot is using DRS all the way!” (referring to GIO)
    NOR spins coming out of Turn 1 but keeps it out of the barriers; brief yellow flags
    Radio for NOR, “What damage do you have?”; “Talent” 🙂

  3. FP3: VER (1:04.591), BOT, HAM, GAS, GIO, SAI, PER, ALO, LEC, VET
    HAM has signed a new 2-year contract with Mercedes [FIA]
    TSU spun going in to Turn 9 [video] – there needs to be https://whendidtsunodaspin.com/ to match https://whendidmazepinspin.com/ 🙂

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 25°C; track 52°C; 26% humidity
Green lights mark the start of Q1
MAZ is first on track, followed by SCH; both Haas cars are on the soft compound tyres
Race director Michael Masi has told everyone they must not slow down to create a gap between Turns 9 and 10; the stewards will also be penalising anyone exceeding track limits in T9 and T10
MAZ 1:07.106
SCH 1:06.127
STR 1:05.523
GAS 1:05.423
VET 1:05.354
GIO 1:05.168
RAI 1:05.028
NOR 1:04.748
VER 1:04.249
(PER P4)
(HAM P2)
(BOT P3)
GAS’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
(ALO P2)
(NOR P2)
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are LAT, OCO, GAS, SCH, MAZ
Radio from GAS reporting the wind is getting gusty
OCO P13, relegating STR to P16
MAZ P20
Chequered flag
STR P10, TSU P16
GAS P9, RUS P16
SCH P19
TSU P12, OCO P16
LAT P18
RUS P12, RAI P16
Back of the grid: RAI, OCO, LAT, SCH, MAZ

Qualifying session 2
PER first to leave the pits; he’s on mediums
PER 1:04.554
Presumably PER will do a cool-down lap and then another quick one; he’s still the only one on track
No, he pits
Most of the field going out now; VER, HAM and BOT all on mediums, as are LEC and NOR
HAM 1:04.501
VER 1:04.208
(BOT P4)
(VET P2)
(NOR P2)
(PER sets identical time to NOR)
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are SAI, LEC, ALO, RIC, GIO
Everyone leaving the pits for a final run
VER and Mercedes all on mediums; PER on softs
VET impedes ALO in the final turn – VET was leaving a gap to start a quick lap but ALO was finishing his flyer
Chequered flag; RUS, SAI, GIO, ALO, RIC
ALO P14
(GAS P2)
GIO P13
VER 1:03.927
SAI P9, BOT P11
RIC P13
(HAM P2)
RUS P9, LEC P11
BOT P3, SAI P11
Middle of the grid: SAI, LEC, RIC, ALO, GIO
Incident involving VET and ALO will be investigated after the race

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between VER, HAM, BOT, GAS, NOR, PER, VET*, TSU, STR and RUS
*VET is likely to get a penalty for impeding ALO in Q2
Green lights; Q3 clock is running, but no-one’s rushing to leave their garage
STR 1:05.420
VET 1:04.580
GAS 1:04.489
TSU P3
NOR 1:03.958
HAM P2
BOT P3
VER 1:03.720
PER P5
Order after the first run: VER, NOR, HAM, BOT, PER, GAS, VET, TSU, STR; no time yet from RUS
2mins left; everyone heading out for the final run
VER P1
NOR P2
PER P3
GAS P6
VET P7
TSU P7
HAM P4
STR P9
RUS P9
BOT P5
Front of the grid: VER, NOR, PER, HAM, BOT, GAS, TSU, VET*, RUS, STR
First time there’s not a Mercedes in the top 3 grid places in dry Quali since Singapore 2017.

Interviews:
VER: “Of course to be twice on pole here is very good, hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow. Softer compounds, it will be tough to manage those in the race, it’s never straightforward so we’ll see.”
NOR: “I feel epic! Yeah it was cool. Yeah, it’s nice. Probably one of my best laps I’ve done I think.”
PER: “It’s been a hard weekend, we’ve been chasing a lot the balance. We’ve been chipping away every single run, it didn’t come easy. I believe tomorrow we have a better race car than quali.”
HAM: “It’s even more of a challenge than it was last week. We tried everything to get more out of the car, it’s just the underlying pace. We’ve got to find performance in the following races. It’s the whole lap. Just got to try and limit the damage.”
BOT: “Seems like others gained more than us since last weekend; I think pace-wise, we should be in better shape [tomorrow] as we aimed set up towards the race.”

Provisional grid: VER, NOR, PER, HAM, BOT, GAS, TSU, VET*, RUS, STR, SAI, LEC, RIC, ALO, GIO, RAI, OCO, LAT, SCH, MAZ
*VET is likely to get a penalty for impeding ALO in Q2

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

2 thoughts on “Grand Prix of Austria – Qualifying”

  1. “Vettel handed 3-place grid drop for impeding Alonso in qualifying”
    https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.breaking-vettel-handed-3-place-grid-drop-for-impeding-alonso-in-qualifying.7GgtvflZ8oncSBvUpU34UU.html
    “In addition to his three place grid drop – which will see him start Sunday’s race 11th, instead of eighth – Vettel was given one penalty point on his licence, bringing his tally over the last 12 months to six – six fewer than the amount that triggers an automatic one-race ban.”
    “Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who qualified fifth, and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who was P11, were also investigated for going too slowly in the same section, but the both escaped a penalty on the grounds that lots of drivers were queuing ahead of them and no one could be deemed predominantly to blame.”

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