Tag Archives: Valtteri Bottas

Rosberg Pips Hamilton To Japanese Pole

Nico Rosberg cemented Mercedes’ return to dominance when he grabbed pole at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday. The German had to fight off the challenge of his team-mate who edged closer every session, but an error on his timed lap in Q3 cost Hamilton and he settled for the second slot on the grid. Valtteri Bottas proved best-of-the-rest while Daniil Kvyat emerged unscathed from a mammoth crash.

In an effort to make up for the lack of dry running, most of the drivers took to the track as the green light flashed at the beginning of Q1. Max Verstappen was the first driver to clock a lap, although his fast first and second sectors were somewhat tarnished when he slipped wide at the final chicane. The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Rosberg jumped then to the top of the timesheets while the Williams cars and Daniel Ricciardo were some of the men separating the Silver Arrows from Verstappen’s Toro Rosso. Marcus Ericsson came close to clouting the barriers when he touched the astroturf on the lead into Spoon curve, with his C34 snapping and spinning into the gravel, leaving a startled Ericsson asking what had happened.

His spin affected Marussia driver Alexander Rossi who couldn’t set a competitive lap with the yellow flags flying and so ducked into the pits. When he returned to the track at the end of the session to finally set a lap, Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso ground to a halt just after the hairpin with what looked like a mechanical gremlin, which again impeded Rossi and left him without a lap time. It also affected Button who didn’t have the chance to improve on his time and got stuck in 16th – meaning he’d drop out of Quali at Q1. He blamed the team for not telling him which way to set his engine and subsequently setting the wrong engine map himself. It’s the first time in his career the Briton hasn’t qualified in the top ten at Suzuka. This benefitted team-mate Alonso, though, who narrowly scraped through to Q2.

Q2 got underway and, although fast enough to progress into Q2, Verstappen was obviously out of contention and watched from the pitlane. Almost immediately, Rosberg dived to the top of the timesheets and was soon followed by Hamilton who went second fastest. The Williams men flanked the Silver Arrows but Kimi Raikkonen edged himself two-hundreths ahead of Massa, while Vettel occupied the other side of the Williams. The top six felt confident enough to sit out the rest of the session, leaving the remaining eight to battle it out for the last four places in Q3. Perez split the Red Bulls with the three men in the top ten, while a late lap from Alonso was not strong enough to make the top ten. Hulkenberg opted not to put in one last lap and was demoted to eleventh – and out of qualifying – when Grosjean took the last Q3 spot. The Force India driver has a three-place grid penalty from his crash with Massa last weekend and so will drop to fourteenth as a result. Carlos Sainz clocked twelfth ahead of Maldonado, with Alonso in fourteenth but only 0.5s off the cut-off mark.

Although ten drivers were left to battle for pole position, realistically only two were in the fight. Rosberg was the first to set a timed lap in the session and clocked a 1.32.584 while Hamilton set a lap 0.076s behind the other Mercedes, although this was on a lap where he locked his brakes at the hairpin, suggesting he could overthrow Rosberg for pole. Behind them, Bottas provisionally clasped third ahead of Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Grosjean.

But as the drivers returned to the track for the final laps, Kvyat touched the grass on the entrance to the chicane and lost control of the car, spinning into the barrier which sent him sideways across the gravel and rolling the car. The Russian’s RB11 was utterly destroyed in the impact which will neccesitate a full rebuild, and as a result he will start the race from the pitlane. The red flag spurred by the crash came with only 36 seconds on the clock meaning there would not be enough time to set another lap and so qualifying was ended. Rosberg took pole as a result, with Hamilton rueing his lock-up which potentially cost him pole and Bottas taking third for Williams. Vettel took fourth for Ferrari, with former Ferrari man Massa ahead of the other Scuderia car, piloted by Raikkonen. Ricciardo took seventh ahead of eighth-placed Grosjean, while neither Sergio Perez nor Daniil Kvyat could set a time before the red flag, leaving them ninth and tenth.

Provisional Starting Grid:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Felipe Massa
  6. Kimi Raikkonen
  7. Daniel Ricciardo
  8. Romain Grosjean
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Carlos Sainz
  12. Pastor Maldonado
  13. Fernando Alonso
  14. Nico Hulkenberg
  15. Max Verstappen
  16. Jenson Button
  17. Marcus Ericsson
  18. Felipe Nasr
  19. Will Stevens
  20. Alexander Rossi (No Time)

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team. 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under F1, Qualifying Report

Rosberg Quickest In Opening Australian Practice

Nico Rosberg launched his challenge at Lewis Hamilton’s Championship crown by going fastest in the first practice session of the 2015 season, at Albert Park.

Although it was the Toro Rosso and Ferrari drivers who charged eagerly onto the track when practice began, it was nine minutes before Rosberg set the first timed lap. Hamilton’s first effort seconds later went slower, and Nico’s second effort went faster than his first.

The on-track action was typical of what could be expected in the first practice session of the year. Plenty of drivers went out on track, and plenty of drivers returned to the pits to have their cars disassembled by their crew. Both McLaren drivers, for example, were out of their respective machines with over half-an-hour left in the session, as Honda engineers fiddled with the new engine.

Romain Grosjean spent a chunk of his session watching his car being pulled apart by Lotus mechanics who decided the floor needed to be changed – a laborious and time-consuming task which requires a lot of bodywork removal.

Grosjean can take consolation from the fact he made it to track, though, while neither Sauber nor Manor managed to get a car out for a single lap.

Sauber presumably chose not to run their car for fear of a legal bite from Giedo van der Garde’s team. The Dutchman claims to have paid for a seat in 2015 before Sauber gave Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr a drive for the season. Van der Garde has challenged this in an Australian court and won, meaning Sauber will have to let him drive. However, without a Superlicense, which all drivers must posses, Van der Garde will likely have to wait until Malaysia before he lines up on the grid. Both Nasr and Ericsson sat in their cars for the bulk of the session, albeit not driving, almost as if afraid Van der Garde would steal their seat if they got out of the car.

Down at Manor, formerly Marussia, there were no legal issues holding them back: the cars just simply aren’t prepared. Having missed pre-season testing, Manor are having to battle through a myriad of technical issues to get their car out on track. Team CEO Graeme Lowdon told Sky Sports that it’s not clear if they will make FP2 – or even the race – so Malaysia could be the team’s first on-track appearance.

There were no big incidents to report, rather the usual opening session niggles to get out of the way. Daniel Ricciardo spun into the slow T15, while Max Verstappen took a wobble through the fast T1 chicane. Soon afterwards Valtteri Bottas showed off his driving skills when he stopped his Williams sliding into the gravel with some sexy opposite lock. Sebastian Vettel also pushed the limits through the super-fast T11/T12 but paid the price for his daring when he hobbled through the gravel trap on the exit of T12.

Apart from these few incidents, practice played its course in dry fashion, and finished with a Virtual Safety Car simulation. Nico Rosberg remained safely on top of the timesheets but, due to his 2014 performances, a Lewis Hamilton pole on Saturday cannot be discounted. One thing is clear already, though: the fight for pole involves only Mercedes.

Free Practice One Results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Carlos Sainz
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Max Verstappen
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Kimi Raikkonen
  9. Pastor Maldonado
  10. Daniel Ricciardo
  11. Daniil Kvyat
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Nico Hulkenberg
  14. Jenson Button
  15. Kevin Magnussen
  16. Romain Grosjean
  17. Marcus Ericsson
  18. Felipe Nasr
  19. Will Stevens
  20. Roberto Merhi

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, Free Practice Report

Rosberg Leads Mercedes Front-Row Lockout

Nico Rosberg took his eighth pole of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix today, qualifying two tenths ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The two had swapped fastest times in the first two sessions, but when it came to the all important Q3, it was Rosberg who came out on top. Although making a mistake at the hairpin, he outperformed Hamilton who had to fight to keep his car under control in the final sector.

Williams had looked promising in the practice sessions, and they followed this up with a second row lockout; Bottas qualifying ahead of Massa. Fernando Alonso, who insists he has not made a decision about 2015, qualified an impressive fifth compared to Kimi Raikkonen’s tenth in the sister car. Ironically, Sebastian Vettel, who announced this morning that he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season, qualified in ninth, just ahead of who is expected to be his team-mate in 2015. Ricciardo qualified in sixth, but Red Bull say that both of their cars are set up to optimise performance in the wet conditions tomorrow, so a strong showing from both Vettel and Ricciardo should be expected.

The McLaren men lined up in formation, with Kevin Magnussen ahead of Jenson Button, the latter now eager to impress in order to secure a seat next season. Jean-Eric Vergne was the first man to miss the Q3 session and qualified eleventh, but due to his sixth ICE change this season, he was handed a ten-place grid penalty and will subsequently start from twentieth. Therefore, Perez, who qualified twelfth, will start from eleventh. Daniil Kvyat could breathe a sigh of relief today with a seat in Red Bull confirmed for next season, and qualified thirteenth, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber’s Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.

Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean were both eliminated during the first Qualifying session, an embarrassing situation for Lotus. Maldonado will not start from seventeenth, however, due to a ten-place engine change penalty he will take, meaning he will start from the very back of the grid. Ahead of him will be Max Chilton and local hero Kamui Kobayashi, in twenty-first and twentieth respectively. Jules Bianchi qualified behind Marcus Ericsson, but explained that a call to the FIA weigh-bridge meant he could not set another flying lap, possibly costing him a higher grid spot.

The FIA has locked in tomorrow at 3pm local time as the race start time, despite the certainty of heavy rain at Suzuka thanks to Typhoon Phanfone. The race is not expected to be called off, however, as the brunt of the storm shouldn’t hit the area until after the race. Nonetheless, tomorrow promises to be a tough race. Jenson Button  and Valtteri Bottas are two men to pay particular attention to, as they tend to excel in wet conditions. Tomorrow also offers the opportunity for a back-marker team to score a few points, as wet races often have chaotic results.

Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Daniel Ricciardo
  7. Kevin Magnussen
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Sebastian Vettel
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Jean-Eric Vergne
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Daniil Kvyat
  14. Nico Hulkenberg
  15. Adrian Sutil
  16. Esteban Gutierrez
  17. Pastor Maldonado
  18. Romain Grosjean
  19. Marcus Ericsson
  20. Jules Bianchi
  21. Kamui Kobayashi
  22. Max Chilton

Image courtesy of Mercedes F1 Team. 

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, Qualifying Report

Ricciardo Takes Red Bull’s 50th Victory As Mercedes Trip Each Other Up

Daniel Ricciardo drove to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix this afternoon, taking advantage of an early crash between the leading Mercedes drivers which resulted in a puncture for Hamilton and front wing damage for Rosberg.

Hamilton had taken the jump on Rosberg into turn 1 and sped into the distance as Sebastian Vettel followed him past the Championship leader. In a mirror image of last year’s race, Vettel took a slingshot from Eau Rouge and gained rapidly on Hamilton, although it proved to be too little to successfully pass the Mercedes for the lead. In fact Vettel got squeezed at the end of the Kemmel straight and was forced to take to the run-off area where he skipped over several kerbs and lost his position to Nico Rosberg.

With the meddling Red Bull cleared, the Mercedes men were free to bolt away to battle each other, but that battle never materialised as Rosberg challenged Hamilton into turn 7, hit his front wing against Hamilton’s rear left and gave his team-mate a puncture. Hamilton rushed back to the pitlane, dropping down the order and causing damage to his car as his tyre carcus flailed and whipped the body work. He returned to the pits and was sent back out to the race, while Jules Bianchi also pitted with a puncture following a first lap incident which left Maldonado out of the race. Another driver dropping out of the race on lap 1 was German rookie Andre Lotterer who, after outqualifying his team-mate by a second, lost engine power at the end of lap 1 and had to abandon his car. Kobayashi is expected to return to the cockpit in Monza.

Back at the front Ricciardo had moved past Vettel and set his sights on new leader Rosberg, eventually taking the lead of the Grand Prix when Rosberg pitted for a new set of boots on lap 9. Rosberg had lost time changing his front wing in the pitlane and lost more time when Force India’s Perez ducked ahead of him in the run to Eau Rouge. Rosberg’s superior pace saw him getting back ahead of the Mexican but on the next lap round, some debris was thrown from the Sauber ahead of him and caught itself on his antenna, swinging across Rosberg’s field of vision and refusing to dislodge as he pulled at it.

Rosberg eventually managed to clear the object and latched onto the Bottas and Vettel fight ahead of him. Challenging Vettel into the bus stop chicane, he suffered a huge lock-up and went wide, letting Vettel get ahead and falling into the clutches of the Williams behind him. Bottas used Rosberg’s mistake to get past the Mercedes on the Kemmel straight and set his sights on the third place occupied by Vettel, a task which should be easy given Williams’ usual straight line advantage. As it turned out, Vettel’s aerodynamic changes for the weekend worked a treat and he managed to keep the feisty Finn behind him for an impressively long time.

Out of the public eye, Hamilton was trudging around the back of the grid with a damaged car and a downbeat mood, asking the team to allow him to retire the car so as to save the tyres. His team thought otherwise and repeatedly insisted on keeping him on track, fobbing him off with the excuse “we’re discussing that, Lewis”. Bizarrely then, after refusing to allow him to retire, they radioed him to order his retirement with four laps left in the race.

His team-mate had come into the pits with nine laps left and adopted a set of the softer, quicker Pirellis in a bid to catch the Red Bull ahead of him, but this proved fruitless as he emerged twenty-seven seconds behind. He did, however, catch Bottas and pulled a ballsy move around the outside of Blanchimont and moved up the order into the bus stop chicane.

Behind them, the two McLarens, Alonso and Vettel were fighting tooth and nail for position. Button got slightly out of shape which opened the door for his team-mate on the Kemmel straight. Alonso tried to hop on the overtaking bandwagon and got on the grass, losing his place to Vettel and slotting in behind. The two McLarens went two abreast through Les Combes and into turn 10 where they tried to get four abreast in their fight. Their collective skill was on show as they all made it through the battle unscathed. Eventually Vettel won the battle with Magnussen, Button and Alonso slotting in behind.

But while Vettel won his own little battle, it was Ricciardo crowned the overall winner as he crossed the line 3.3 seconds ahead of Rosberg. Bottas won a late battle with Kimi to take the final spot on the podium to mark his fourth podium appearance.

Belgian Grand Prix Race Results:

  1. Daniel Ricciardo
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Kevin Magnussen
  7. Jenson Button
  8. Fernando Alonso
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Felipe Massa
  14. Adrian Sutil
  15. Esteban Gutierrez
  16. Max Chilton
  17. Marcus Ericsson
  • Jules Bianchi
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Andre Lotterer

Image courtesy of Red Bull/Getty Images.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, Race Report

Bottas Quickest In Final Practice Session

Valtteri Bottas was the quickest man around Spa-Francorchamps this morning, putting himself two tenths clear of the next fastest man, race winner last-time-out Daniel Ricciardo. Following the pre-session rain, Bottas, like the rest of the grid, stayed in the shelter of his garage and willed others to go out to dry the wet track surface, a task which would essentially lead to wasted laps. The two Marussias and Kobayashi stand-in Andre Lotterer were the only three people to go out in the first half of the session, each setting a slow lap time before returning to the pits.

Eventually Esteban Gutierrez came out for Sauber following a long stint of track silence, and showed the others that the track had dried sufficiently, prompting the remaining drivers to emerge from their shelters. Following their first few flying laps, the usual suspects (Hamilton, Rosberg and Alonso) were near the top, but it was Bottas who held the top time provisionally. He traded the honour with the two Mercedes drivers and Fernando Alonso several times before putting in a session topping 1.49.465. As a reference, Jenson Button’s pole lap from 2012 was a 1.47.573.

Behind Bottas was Ricciardo who hopes to repeat his Hungarian Grand Prix victory this weekend and was himself followed by Championship leader Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Daniil Kvyat, who was one of the session’s leaders briefly, continued his impressive form and ended his session in seventh, only four tenths off the fastest time. Jenson Button was eighth while Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top ten. Sebastian Vettel finished thirteenth while Pastor Maldonado, who was hospitalised following a shunt during yesterday’s FP2 session, finished seventeenth. The Caterham duo filled out the bottom of the timesheets, nearly two tenths off the Marussias ahead of them.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, Free Practice Report

Rosberg Eases To Dominant German GP Victory

Nico Rosberg breezed to victory at the German Grand Prix this afternoon, leading unchallenged from pole to flag. His only realistic rival, team-mate Lewis Hamilton, had been effectively ruled out of contention after a crash during the first part of Qualifying on Saturday, meaning he started twentieth on the grid. An alternated strategy for the Briton as a result of contact with former team-mate Jenson Button, saw him finish third behind Valtteri Bottas, who celebrated his third consecutive podium.

The five lights came on and went out, and the grid raced towards turn 11. Jules Bianchi had bogged down which forced the Caterham behind him to dive around him, while up the front, Rosberg had maintained his lead towards turn 1. Kevin Magnussen was looking to jump Felipe Massa into the first corner but the Dane ran out of room and his wheel connected with Massa’s, flipping Massa’s car and sending it scraping across the gravel in the run off at turn 1. Ricciardo was sent wide by the incident and narrowly avoided the inverted Williams, but rejoined far down the order while the Safety Car was deployed.

The Safety Car came in at the end of the second lap and Rosberg bolted away from the Williams of Valtteri Bottas behind him. In the mid-field, Ricciardo was told that Hamilton was behind him and pushing hard, following the Briton’s crash in Qualifying and subsequent penalty, which caused saw him starting from twentieth. Engaged in their own battle, Ricciardo and Hamilton came up behind Sutil, where Ricciardo pushed past into turn 6. When Hamilton tried to follow the Red Bull past, Sutil turned in and made light contact with Lewis.

Soon after, Ricciardo and Hamilton had left Sutil trailing and had caught up to the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. The Red Bull took the outside line while the Mercedes locked up the inside and sailed into the Ferrari, causing slight damage to the Ferrari’s front wing. Nonetheless, Hamilton had secured the position and had advanced two places.

Kimi was sandwiched into turn six again a few laps later when Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, repeating their close battle from the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, arrived behind the Finn. Again Kimi took slight damage in the scrap for position, which left Alonso in the lead and debris on the track.

Behind them, Perez was getting inventive with his overtakes: he pulled a move on Romain Grosjean into turn 8 which had him ahead briefly, before Grosjean moved back past the Mexican at the exit of the 9-10 section. While Grosjean came close to exceeding track limits during the overtake, Vergne had been abusing the track limits and was handed a five-second stop/go penalty for same. Grosjean soon became the race’s second retirement when his Lotus broke down on lap 28.

After pitting for the first time, Hamilton emerged in eighth, and behind his sparring partner from the beginning of the race. Making short work of Ricciardo second-time-round, he came up behind Button who provided a tougher opposition for his former team-mate. Again at turn 6, Hamilton dived down the inside of Button, but hit the McLaren’s sidepod on the exit and damaged his front wing. With a subsequent drop in performance, his team began looking for an alternate strategy.

Behind him, Alonso had caught up to Ricciardo and was looking to squeeze past. Together they passed the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg into turn 6, and then resumed racing on the clear track ahead of them. They were denied the chance to fight into the track’s permier overtaking point, turn 6, when Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso burst into flames on the back straight and parked in the run-off area of turn 6. The Russian jumped clear of his fiery cockpit and punched a barrier in frustration, rueing the lost opportunity to score some valuable points for his team.

Adrian Sutil also ended his race prematurely when he spun out of the last corner and reported that there was a problem with his car. The yellow flags were shown again, and his Sauber was in a very dangerous position but, incredibly, the Safety Car stayed park. It was not even deployed when Sutil resigned himself to a DNF and climbed from his cockpit, strolling to the pitwall and back to the paddock. Instead, the Sauber sat dangerously across the grid until some brave marshals sprinted from the opposite side of the track and wheeled it to the pitlane, two laps later. It was a farce by Race Control and an unnecessary risk.

Hamilton, on his alternate strategy to try to combat the damage caused to his front wing, expected a Safety Car and came into the pits for a fresh set of soft tyres. Ricciardo and Alonso were still battling behind him, and Alonso eventually managed to get past Ricciardo into turn 6, but the Aussie pushed back mid-corner and regained the lead of the Spaniard. This was repeated at turn 7 where Alonso pulled a ballsy move on the Red Bull, only to lose the position to Ricciardo again. Finally, Alonso moved past into turn 6, and kept Ricciardo behind him at turn 8.

Bottas and Hamilton were also fighting for position, but the Finn kept control of the battle and closed out the race merely half-a-second ahead of the faster Mercedes. Up the front, where he had been since the race start, Rosberg was completely unchallenged, and breezed across the line in front of his adoring home crowd. Bottas followed him twenty seconds later to secure his third consecutive podium, while Hamilton shadowed him as he took third. Sebastian Vettel took fourth for Red Bull while Alonso came home fifth ahead of Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Button, Magnussen and Perez to round out the top ten.

Race Results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Daniel Ricciardo
  7. Nico Hulkenberg
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Kevin Magnussen
  10. Sergio Perez
  11. Kimi Raikkonen
  12. Pastor Maldonado
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Kamui Kobayashi
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Marcus Ericsson
  • Adrian Sutil – spin
  • Daniil Kvyat – fire
  • Romain Grosjean – mechanical failure
  • Felipe Massa – collision

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, Race Report

Rosberg Eases To Pole As Hamilton Crashes

Nico Rosberg took an unchallenged pole position at his home Grand Prix today following a brakes failure on the other Mercedes car which sent his only realistic competitor into the barriers at turn 13. With no one within range of the superior Mercedes, the Williams men slotted in to second and third ahead of McLaren’s Magnussen and the Red Bull duo.

Rosberg had made a series of mistakes on his opening laps in Q1 and was pushing hard to make sure he’d progress to the next session when a Mercedes was seen hitting the barriers at turn 13. Due to the dust thrown up by the accident it was hard to identify the driver and it looked to have been Rosberg crashing out of his home Qualifying session. But as the dust settled it became apparent that it was his team-mate who had hit the barriers. Mercedes soon confirmed that Hamilton’s crash had been caused by a brake disc failure. His front brake disc broke, locking his front right tyre and causing his car to spin. The momentum carried him across the gravel and he hit the barrier violently.

The session was red flagged as the debris was cleared up and Hamilton was whisked away by the medical car, while the other cars returned to the pits. While Rosberg still hadn’t a clear lap set, he would only need to get a relatively fast lap done when the session restarted in order to progress. It was a different story in the Caterham garage though, where Marcus Ericsson’s car was still on stilts and undergoing surgery. By the time the session was restarted and the clock resumed ticking down, Caterham were no nearer getting the car ready and Ericsson resigned himself to the back of the grid.

The usual suspects moved safely through to Q2, although many of them had to burn a set of the quicker super-soft tyres to make sure they got through. Adrian Sutil, despite his seemingly improved performance this season, amid rumours of his imminent replacement, qualified down the order in a disappointing seventeenth for Sauber. Jules Bianchi out-qualified Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus by half-a-second, while Max Chilton and Kamui Kobayashi took twentieth and twenty-first – leaving twenty-second for Ericsson who failed to set a time.

Hamilton moved through to Q2 but obviously couldn’t set a lap, and so sixteenth on the grid was reserved for him. Q2 was a far more straightforward affair and resulted in Button, Raikkonen, Vergne, Gutierrez and Grosjean being knocked out, in that order. Button was quick on the radio to express his anger at a Lotus which, he said, had held him up, but replays showed that the Lotus was several seconds ahead of Button, and so the stewards ignored the complaint. Gutierrez qualified fourteenth, but his grid penalty for his clash with Maldonado in Silverstone will be carried forward, and so he will start seventeenth – promoting Hamilton to fifteenth.

While pole position for Rosberg was almost guaranteed, the grid between second and tenth was still to be decided. The Force India duo came out early but neither lap was impressive and put Hulkenberg and Perez down the bottom of the order.Bottas and Massa crossed the line next for Williams, and secured provisional second and third respectively. Kevin Magnussen pushed ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, whose team-mate then slotted ahead of the McLaren. Alonso was surprisingly off the pace and could only manage sixth for the Scuderia, while Kvyat took eighth on his first effort. For their second laps, Magnussen improved to fourth and Ricciardo to fifth, while Alonso was bumped down to ninth. Excluding Bottas’ lap, which moved him to two-tenths shy of Rosberg, no one else improved, and no one could challenge Rosberg at the front.

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Felipe Massa
  4. Kevin Magnussen
  5. Daniel Ricciardo
  6. Sebastian Vettel
  7. Fernando Alonso
  8. Daniil Kvyat
  9. Nico Hulkenberg
  10. Sergio Perez
  11. Jenson Button
  12. Kimi Raikkonen
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne
  14. Romain Grosjean
  15. Lewis Hamilton
  16. Adrian Sutil
  17. Esteban Gutierrez*
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Pastor Maldonado
  20. Max Chilton
  21. Kamui Kobayashi
  22. Marcus Ericsson (no time)

*including a three place grid penalty

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team. 

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, Qualifying Report