The most surprising news since COTA was that ALO’s post-race penalty was overturned by the FIA. That’s virtually unheard of – the FIA almost never change their mind, and have even penalised teams for daring to appeal a decision, so Alpine did well to get ALO’s P7 reinstated. That means the final result is: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, RUS, NOR, ALO, VET, MAG, TSU; OCO, ALB, ZHO, GAS, SCH, RIC, LAT.
Oh, but why did Haas’ appeal against ALO fail? Because the race steward gave them incorrect information! The FIA (eventually) dropped Masi because of his mistakes and replaced him, but they didn’t fix the real problem – a single individual under a lot of pressure to make a rapid decision based on a ton of vague rules. For example, when the teams don’t even know how many points will be awarded at the end of a race (Japan) there’s got to be something wrong with the way the rules are written.
Of course, the discussions have mostly been about the “Accepted Breach Agreement” between the FIA and Red Bull for a breach of the 2021 Financial Regulations, i.e. Red Bull exceeded the budget cap.
Christian Horner Whiny Spice continues to whine because that’s what he’s best at. He claims that their overspending didn’t affect the cars’ performance, but that’s obviously a lie – if an F1 team spends any money then it (should) improve their cars’ performance, so if Red Bull spent more than US$2million more than they were allowed and they didn’t get any advantage from it, then I’d expect the shareholders to be up in arms!
On top of that, Whiny Spice continues to play the victim, saying that the other teams owe Red Bull an apology for claiming RB exceeded the cost cap – I don’t understand how he can dare do that, given (a) the other teams were right, and (b) he’s the biggest muck-slinger of them all. And by the way, Whiny Spice says RB will not apologise for breaking the rule. Wow. The arrogance just continues to grow. Their world championships deserve multiple asterisks (for breaking the cost cap and for VER’s Masi-assisted win) and yet they act like they’re the oppressed underdogs. Their attitude is disgraceful and it’s turning away people who have been F1 fans for years.
Did I mention they also think the penalty is unfair? That’s after they agreed the penalty with the FIA. I don’t recall the FIA agreeing the penalty for Mercedes when HAM’s rear wing was millimetres under spec (I’d add other examples but I’m just going to move on to watching Quali)
One last thing: the FIA reported Red Bull’s overspend in GBP but the penalty in USD – that makes the breach look smaller and the penalty look bigger; if they had reported it in USD and GBP respectively, then it would look like a tiny penalty for a big breach. Interesting how they chose to report that.
OK, on to Quali…
Reminder: STR has a 3-place grid penalty to be applied as he was deemed to have caused the collision with ALO at the previous race
Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 24°C; track 49°C; humidity 36%; 60% chance of rain but no sign of any clouds
SCH has a 5-place penalty for engine changes
5mins left; bottom 5 are SCH, ALB, VET, MAG, LAT
SCH P6; STR P16 … but SCH’s lap time is deleted for exceeding track limits
MAG P10, STR P16
Only VER, LEC, SAI and PER in the pits
Yellow flag –
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are STR, SCH, ALB, VET, LAT
SCH P14, RIC P16
RIC P13, ZHO P16
ZHO P14, SCH P16
Back of the grid: SCH, VET, STR*, ALB, LAT
*STR has 3-place penalty
Qualifying session 2
RUS reporting that his front brakes are getting up to temperature, although he’s only 0.013sec slower than HAM
Red Bull and Ferrari send their cars out on used tyres
5mins left; bottom 5 are TSU, PER, ZHO, GAS, MAG
PER has the track to himself, and the crowd cheer the Mexican driver all the way around the lap
(PER P3) relegating RIC to P11
2mins left; everyone now on track
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are RIC, ZHO, TSU, MAG, GAS
Back of the grid: RIC, ZHO, TSU, GAS, MAG*
MAG has a 5-place penalty
Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, SAI, RUS, VER, PER, BOT, OCO, LEC, NOR, ALO
HAM’s lap time is deleted
Order after the first run: VER, RUS, PER, SAI, BOT, LEC, ALO, NOR, OCO, HAM
Heading out for a final run; only ALO remains in the pits
RUS P2 – that time’s deleted but he’s still P2
Chequered flag; order is VER, RUS, HAM, PER, SAI, BOT, LEC, NOR, ALO, OCO
RUS apologises to his team for running wide in Turn 12
Provisional grid: VER, RUS, HAM, PER, SAI, BOT, LEC, NOR, ALO, OCO, RIC, ZHO, TSU, GAS, MAG*, SCH, VET, STR*, ALB, LAT
*MAG has a 5-place penalty; STR has 3-place penalty