Less than two minutes before Qualifying began, the rain hit the circuit. It was a light drizzle, but it’s light rain that is almost worse than heavy rain, as in slippy conditions, one must use the slick tires to put in a competitive time.
The Toro Rosso’s were first out, followed by Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean and soon, the rest of the grid while drivers attempted to put in a good lap before the rain really set in. Heavy rain, obviously, would seriously slow down the lap times. Kimi Raikkonen proved the problems with light, skipping across the grass at turn 4 while Marussia’s Jules Bianchi was also caught out by the conditions, losing his Marussia under braking at the hairpin. Eventually, the teams admitted that the rain was just to heavy to run on slick tires and the drivers boxed for the intermediate compounds.
Even with intermediates fitted, the drivers were left to crawl the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Lewis Hamilton cut turn 10, Sergio Perez cut turn 4, Adrian Sutil slid into the run off at turn 8 and Fernando Alonso went off at turn 2 – all within a few minutes as they fought to set a lap which would see them through to Q2.
Sebastian Vettel set the benchmark early on, which ten minutes into the session, couldn’t yet be bettered while both Toro Rosso’s stood in the knock-out zone. Jules Bianchi was in the wars several minutes later, cutting across turn 8 and the last corner in the same lap.
Mark Webber, who topped the morning’s FP3 session, put in a lap to go half a second clear of the rest of the grid. He stood there until Fernando Alonso jumped in to take the top spot, before Vettel stormed in and took P1 by a huge .906 of a second, the fastest time for the session.
Paul di Resta, the man who topped Friday morning’s FP1 session could do not better than 17th in a hugely disappointing result for the team. It was worse for Lotus though – Romain Grosjean qualifying in 19th, excluding the 10-place grid penalty which is carried on from his Monaco clash with Daniel Ricciardo. He will start 22nd.
- Paul di Resta
- Charles Pic
- Romain Grosjean
- Jules Bianchi
- Max Chilton
- Giedo van der Garde