The rain that battered the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday was long gone and in its place was glorious sunshine. The drivers, however, must have been busy out the back catching a tan and missed green flag coming out. Indeed we were four minutes into Qualifying before an engine finally revved up and Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso graced the circuit, joined by Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg.
Ricciardo’s first lap was a mediocre 1.24.100 on the harder tire compound. Hulkenberg’s effort put him top of the timesheets while Maldonado went third fastest until Jean-Eric Vergne swooped into go fastest and Gutierrez went fifth fastest.
The Lotus’ were the first big name team to come out on track and naturally jumped straight to the top, Raikkonen grabbing the new provisional top spot, a tenth a head of team-mate Romain Grosjean. The Ferrari duo were next up, Alonso blowing Raikkonen’s lap time out of the water – bettering it by a full 0.823 of a second while Massa filed in .2 behind the Spaniard.
Next came Nico Rosberg who took his Mercedes .3 above Alonso’s time while Perez set his first lap – 1.4 down on the fastest. Jenson tried to get closer but could only manage a time a full 1.2 shy of Rosberg. However, Button came straight on his team radio to complain of being held up and that the Williams that held him up should be penalised.
Sebastian Vettel came out and went second on the time sheets until Lewis Hamilton’s charge set him .2 clear of team-mate Rosberg. Hulkenberg, Bottas and di Resta were on the cuff of the knock-out zone, both Hulkenberg and di Resta setting a lap to put them safely through to Q2.
Gutierrez slowed right down in front of Raikkonen in the final chicane in the closing seconds of the session but the Iceman still finished the session in fourth. Williams however, have obviously taken a huge step backwards. 2012 saw Maldonado taking pole position while just one year later, both drivers were knocked out in Q1.
- Valtteri Bottas
- Pastor Maldonado
- Giedo van der Garde
- Jules Bianchi
- Max Chilton
- Charles Pic