Hamilton on pole as Red Bull hit trouble

2013 Chinese Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2013Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes on pole position on his third attempt for the team.

He completed a clean sweep of all three parts of qualifying and beat Kimi Raikkonen by three tenths of a second to claim his first pole for the Silver Arrows.

Team mate Nico Rosberg will start from the second row alongside Fernando Alonso.

But there were problems for Red Bull. Mark Webber dropped out in Q2 due to a fuel problem and Sebastian Vettel didn’t set a time in Q3 after going off at the hairpin.

Q1

The need to save tyres for the race was clearly weighing heavily on the minds of teams as qualifying began. Nine minutes of the first session passed before anyone took to the track.

Most drivers chose the soft tyres whose short life make them a poor proposition for the race. The two Mercedes led the running with Felipe Massa taking third ahead of Mark Webber, followed by their respective team mates.

The Toro Rosso drivers were the only ones to start the session on medium tyres but were unable to set a time fast enough for Q2 on them. Jules Bianchi’s Marussia was among those quicker than them.

A late switch to softs secured the passage of both drivers to Q2 at the expense of Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas. Bianchi had to settle for 19th and Chilton held on to 20th ahead of the Caterhams despite a water pressure problem preventing him from running again.

Both Force India drivers made it through but Adrian Sutil was unhappy at being held up. “[Kimi] Raikkonen destroyed my lap so please tell the stewards,” he said as he returned to the pits.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’37.769
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.990
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.780
20 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’39.537
21 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’39.614
22 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’39.660

Q2

The front runners returned to the track on their same tyres from Q1. But with those behind them opting for new tyres to try to reach Q3, all the drivers had to use new tyres eventually.

Hamilton remained on top with both his laps. Alonso’s last effort brought him within a tenth of a second of the Mercedes and Vettel was third.

But disaster struck Mark Webber who came to a halt at turn 14, his RB9 apparently out of fuel. He was only a few hundred metres from the pit lane entrance.

The divide between those who made the cut and those who didn’t was measured in hundredths of a second. Nico Hulkenberg was the last man into Q3, Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez missing out by less than a tenth of a second.

The Force India driver felt he could have found the missing time, “if we can keep the tyres on the ground all the way to the second corner”. Team mate Adrian Sutil also failed to make the cut.

Webber slipped out of the final ten and ended up 14th. Jean-Eric Vergne failed to make it into Q3 but his team mate did, to the surprise of Button when he was given the top ten run-down: “Ricciardo? Wow…” he said.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.287
12 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’36.314
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’36.405
14 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’36.679
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’37.139
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’37.199

Q3

Vettel left the pits the moment qualifying began but returned to the pits without setting a time. The track remained empty until three minutes before the end, none of the teams wanting to waste an extra set of tyres.

Although all the cars eventually left the pits, not all of them set times. Hulkenberg and Vettel ventured out on mediums but the latter returned to the garage after going off at the hairpin. Button also used the medium tyres and did set a time, albeit a dawdling two-minute lap to ensure he started in front of Vettel.

But not everyone was holding back. Raikkonen put in a scorching first sector time and carried his advantage through to the line, setting a 1’34.761.

It looked like that might be good enough for pole position when Nico Rosberg made an mistake in the final corner and came across the line a tenth of a second slower. But Hamilton in the other Mercedes produced a clean lap and beat Raikkonen by three tenths of a second.

Alonso demoted Rosberg a further place and Massa took fifth ahead of Grosjean. Daniel Ricciardo claimed seventh for Toro Rosso, the last of the drivers on soft tyres.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’34.484
2 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’34.761
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’34.788
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’34.864
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’34.933
6 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’35.364
7 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.998
8 Jenson Button McLaren 2’05.673
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault No time
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari No time

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

153 comments on “Hamilton on pole as Red Bull hit trouble”

  1. The FIA’s fault. Get rid of the stupid “start the race on the tyres you qualified on” regulation, then we might actually get some action in Q3.

    1. No, actually, it’s the fans’ fault.

      Everyone demands more exciting races, more exciting qualifying sessions, and more excitement all round. The teams and the FIA try to accomodate this, but as soon as they do, everyone moans about how there is too much emphasis on “improving the show”, as if those changes were not brought in to cater to you.

      The demand for constant excitement and the unabashed criticism of the sport the moment there is anything less than total excitement is the real problem here.

  2. I think that was one of the worst qualifying sessions I have seen.
    Really feel sorry for the fans at the track.

    1. Luckily there were only a handful of them judging by the arias pictures. Still – not a good advert for F1 in China.

      1. Or even aerial pictures!

        1. If F1 was gonna take off in China it would have done so in the last 10 years. What it needs is a competitive Chinese driver, and there aren’t many of those in the lower Formulas.

      2. The tyre situation is a joke do Pirrelli not realise that there global brand is becoming a laughing stock with these low quality tyres never had such nonsense with Michelin bring them back it will improve F1 also let them race bring back bigger better engines like Ferrarri F4 FIA are making this amazing sport dull.

        1. People go on about wanting qually tyres, then complain when we effectively see what having them would be like. The medium tyre is fine. The only problem here is the rule making drivers start on the tyre they started on (and also to use both compaounds).

          Cracking jobs by Kimi and Lewis and hard luck for Mark. Vettel’s strategy has confused me though. His facial expressions when he came in for weighing suggested that it wasn’t so much a planned strategy as a last minute decision that maybe Red Bull could regret.

          1. *start on the tyre they qualified on

          2. People go on about wanting qually tyres, then complain when we effectively see what having them would be like.

            That’s because these are race tyres @nick-uk and have to be used in the duration of the race! Qually tyres would be fine as long as the race tyres weren’t anything like as non-durable!

          3. Yes, the rule is a travesty.

          4. @vettel1

            If you want tyres to degrade, drivers will ALWAYS manage them.

            Even on the bridgestones drivers had to manage their tyres, lest they lock a wheel.

            The tyres make for fantastic racing.

          5. @mike *did. The drivers are unable to push now, which I say affects the racing for the worse.

            Pirelli had struck a good balance towards the middle of last season – there’s still some mixing up, but the good teams can actually use their advantage.

          6. @vettel1

            It was the same last year, give it some time, and the teams will get more life from the tyres, at the end of the year, they will be doing 1 stoppers again perhaps.

    2. Thanks for that. It helps me deal with the fact that my hard disk was full, so I couldn’t record qualifying. :-/

      1. Yeah, you missed very little.

      2. Sorry to say so, but there was plenty to see actually. Q1 was not empty for more than the regular 3-6 minutes at the strat, we saw several of them do 2 runs in Q2 and in Q3 it was a tense wait to see what everyone would do before we had a pretty close fight for the pole in the last 3 minutes @verstappen.

        Proves we at least have a good qualifying format with the 3 parts of it.

        1. No car hit the track for 8.5 minutes. Almost half the session. While Q3 was tense, nobody took to the track until 3 minutes to go.

          1. ok, so almost half. That is still better than having a whole hour waiting until the last 12 minutes before you see the first car.
            Or even better when we had 2 sessions some wouldn’t even bother with the second session. Especially if one of the sessions was rain hit.

          2. @nick-uk

            As long as you blame the FIA, and not Pirelli nor the teams then I respect your view.

            Granted those 8 minutes of waiting for me is still exciting! :D

    3. 45 minutes of qualifying now means less than 20 of cars running in. Even Marussia & Caterham don’t hit the track. Sick of these tyres, at least in qualifying.

      1. If the teams had separate tyres for qualifying the problem wouldn’t exist.

  3. Vettel is looking good on those medium tires and Kimi could be the best of the front runners if he can make that first stint last longer than his competition. Will be interesting to see how Ferrari’s do – especially if they get their flying start. Can’t wait.

    1. xKimi could be the best of the front runners if he can make that first stint last longer than his competition.”

      You could say that about anyone in the top ten …

    2. The danger Vettel and Button have is getting stuck behind Grosjean who can go very long on the softs. Vettel can’t past because he is well down on top speed and jenson just does not have fundamental performance.

      1. Yeah I think you are forgetting about the mother(s) of all DRS zones. This is all beyond a joke now.

        Huge tyre compromises, “even your Mum could pass” DRS zones. Whatever happened to it being about the best driver, car and team.

        1. @psynrg

          the best driver, car and team.

          So in your view, the winner of the race will not be that?

          1. Not with these circus tricks no.

      2. @blackmamba

        I doubt anybody will risk 15+ laps runs on those fragile tyres. I guess everybody will get rid of them before lap 11.

    3. If Vettel or Button (even with his car disadvantage) aren’t in the lead of tomorrow’s GP by lap 9 or 10 I’ll eat my hat!

      1. Antonio (@antoniocorleone)
        13th April 2013, 19:55

        I also think that Vettel and Button could be leading after lap 10 or earlier, but I think that they probably can’t make the mediums last for more than 12-13 laps because of the high fuel loads at the start. If it is so, than the top 5 are pretty safe from them as they can catch up with the new mediums. The thing will be – how will the soft tyre work at the end stint for VET and BUT.

  4. Three former McLaren drivers up there on the top 3 spots of the qualifying. Whitmarsh might be wondering what did we do to lose them all !!!!

    What is RBR up to ?

    1. Good point. They lost many great people recent years…

    2. And not only that but his new recruit still hasn’t shown any signs of top driver brilliance. Sure maybe his still settling down and stuff but Button is beating him thoroughly and we all know Button isn’t exactly the fastest out there. If Perez ends up always being a couple of tenths slower than Button and considering Button was like that against Hamilton then it would mean Perez is like a second slower in qualifying. So not a very nice prospect if you replaced a driver with another that is like a second slower than him.

      1. Completely agree. When I look at the line up of Button and Perez for Mclaren, I see a top team that is definitely struggling to get a top driver that it deserves. As of now, none of these drivers can take the team forward and none of them are quick enough to play with the big boys.

        1. Just wait one or two years to see Stoffel Vandoorne or Kevin Magnussen in one of the seats.

          1. @toiago Better wait 3-4 years and see how Vandoorne and Magnussen leave McLaren too.

          2. @klass perfecto !

      2. I think Mclaren should’ve taken Hulkenberg, because he really deserves to drive for top team, he just drives wheels off that Sauber.

        1. I don’t think we really know that. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. He has a rookie teamate that isn’t even very highly regarded so we can’t be sure how good his driving that Sauber.
          Anyway his still very early in his Sauber career.

        2. If it was me I’d have given the seat to Kovy for a year. Proven quantity, safe pair of hands, knows the team.

        3. I think Glock would have been their best bet.

          Hes got pace, intelligent, worked with a top team before.

  5. Hamilton looking very good for the win, as I don’t think Ferrari’s ability to run longer on the options is going to help them enough to compensate for their slower pace on the prime.

    The Mercedes has enough straight line speed to use the DRS zones to clear traffic, three stops looks the optimum strategy, and the prime holds up well enough to push all the way, so a very short first stint will probably not hinder them too much.

    Podium for Rosberg ?

    1. I think the presence of kimi will hinder Ferrari, and possibly Vettel too if he can make those softs work long enoigh; his pace on mediums on Friday didn’t seem good though, so it might even help Mercedes if he blocks others from usimg their mediums early on.

      1. @nigel1

        Hamilton looking very good for the win

        Come on, let’s keep it real here. This is Lewis we’re talking about. He’ll blow up on lap 50 from a 30 second lead.

        1. @kingshark

          He won’t anymore since he’s at Mercedes and not at the reliable *cough* McLaren :)

          1. Don’t underestimate Lewis bad luck. ^_^

          2. He won’t anymore since he’s at Mercedes and not at the reliable *cough* McLaren :)

            But Mercedes have suffered from a lot more reliability issues than Mclaren have the past 3 years.

        2. @kingshark
          One then wonders how Lewis managed to win all those Grands Prix. All 21 of them!

      2. I don’t think so. I think kimi will hinder the Mercedes drivers and I think that Alonso will be leading the race by the end of lap one with kimi behind as the Ferrari always have better starts and the lotus is not that bad either compared to the Mercedes. Last but not last I think that the race will be won by one of the drivers starting with the harder tire, since the top 5-7 will have to stop within the first 4-8 laps and I’m pretty sure all of them will be hindered by the traffic.

        1. Ibra @ibraf1
          13th April 2013, 12:11

          People seem to forget that also Button and kimi Will have to switch to softs!!

    2. @solo More than Luck , Hamilton should watch his back .Kimi and alonso will be raining down him .I predict Kimi to lead after the first lap .But if there are no fuel or tyre issues , Nico and Hamilton can turn up the pace and battle it out and always finger boy will be around the corner somewhere ,maybe in third or fourth . I want webber to finish better than vettel by some freak luck …please god ! some justice after all that KERS issues for Webbo .

    3. I doubt Lewis can win this. Those two behind him are really quick off the line, esp. Alonso. If there’s a drag race my money would be on him. I’m worried about the start, let alone the first stint. As a LH fan I’ll be happy if he gets on the podium. A win, I suspect, is still a few races away. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Fingers crossed..

  6. I really don’t understand those going out on the soft. In my view, even HUL is in a better position than HAM!

    1. I agree. Wouldn’t you have to get a 20 second lead in 6 or so laps if you were on softs and the guy behind was on medium tires? Or is that naive?

      1. @Ben Cochrane

        The drivers starting on Primes still have to do a stint on the Options (unless they use Inter or wet). It just means that if the drivers starting on Options can only manage say 5 laps then they will come out of the pits in traffic.

        However as someone already mentioned the Merc is very fast on long straight combined with DRS should make passing easier.

        RBR & SV knew they had no chance of pole so they have gone for a very smart plan B which could see them looking good if the option starters pit early & get held up in traffic

        1. @bobby-balboa

          Autosport live commentators were impressed by Lewis 27 laps stint on options on Friday.

          1. @jcost

            We saw last season how the Sauber drivers could draw out the option stints when everyone else was having short stints on them but I will confidently predict that NO driver will manage 27+ laps on the option in the race.

            If indeed the option will not last longer than 10 laps then Kimi & Vettel will fancy their chances.

            Vettel could have trouble getting by Button as we all know the RB has low straight line speed.

    2. Cast your mind back to the 2010 canadian GP, we have the same situation with very fragile options. The teams that got rid of it early took the podium positions, not those who started on the prime.

      1. Long time ago, not really a good comparison. If you run the options at the start, you will get dropped into traffic after your first pit stop. A lot of traffic probably because the stop will be very early. If you run the options at the end, you will be slotted into your finishing position.

        (Almost) ideal strategy is available to VET: Start on new medium, pit for new mediums around lap 22-24, then pit around lap 50-52 for new softs. Just starting from the dirty side is not ideal, so BUT is in almost the same position although his mediums are slightly worn, and his car is a bit slower.

        Now it may be necessary to make three stops, but I think the mediums will hold up well enough for 26-28 laps.

        1. @mike-dee The problem with starting on primes is the unknown tyre life of the option.

          The front-runners can juts pit when their tyres go off, or to cover their nearest competitor. However, if say Button or Vettel leave it until the last 8 or so laps, but the softs go off majorly (i.e. more so than the front runners did in the beginning of the race), then they’ll be sitting ducks since a pit stop at the stage would most likely be suicide.

          I think we’ll see them change to the options at the first stop, just to cover the possibility of higher-than-expected degredation.

    3. 54 laps and cant think of 2 stops strategy will work out, remember canada 2012.
      3 stops would be the best strategy , first 4 laps on softs, next 25 laps each on medium.

      1. @alokin
        “3 stops would be the best strategy , first 4 laps on softs, next 25 laps each on medium”, that would mean 2 stops. ;) I think it’s like 6-8 on softs and 15-17 laps on mediums.

      2. 3 stops would be the best strategy , first 4 laps on softs, next 25 laps each on medium.

        That is a two-stop strategy!!

        1. yep, a typo

  7. I could’ve sworn I saw Vettel adjusting something near the fuel pumps just before Q2…… :P

  8. It would have been better for Webber to stay on the waves in Oz. He would have had a much better chance of beating Vettel from there.

    1. He should have tried qualifying with his serf-board.

      1. Either a typo or quite a clever play on words!

        1. Traverse (@)
          13th April 2013, 19:10

          LOL! Nice spot @fieldstvl

  9. I don’t know about RedBull’s strategy call, but, looking at what they did with Sebastian Vettel’s car in Q3 starting on medium looks more like a direct consequence of him going out so early on softs in Q3. Just imagine Vettel setting his fast Q3 time on softs and coming back to pits only to find other Q3 runners are using medium?!?

    1. I think that was a ploy to convince the other teams that Vettel was going for pole on softs. If all the other teams went for mediums the strategy would be pointless, I am surprised that over teams did not go for it, at least for one of their drivers.

      1. I doubt that, if it was indeed a ploy, it wasn’t worth a fresh set of tires. Looking at Vettel’s Q2 approach, may be, they were looking to avoid late traffic with that first run, but since, no one else showed up they might have chosen to pit him to avoid becoming the odd one with the softs in the grid.

    2. Had they not even gone out, they could have well had all others starting in front (now he ended up in front of the two cars that did not even go out on any tyres).

  10. “Vettel is looking good on those medium tires”

    As long as he doesn’t get involved in a 1st lap incident which is always a greater risk if you are closer to the middle of the grid.

    It’s gonna be an exciting start & 1st stint to the race

  11. Hamilton will be pleased to know that mercedes has 100% pole to win conversion :)

    1. @gencster Actually Juan Manuel Fangio didn’t win after starting the 1954 British and 1955 Monaco Grands Prix from pole position – both were won by Ferrari.

      But all of their other seven pole positions resulted in wins for the team, including their only pole position since returning as a factory team in 2010, which I suspect is what you were referring to!

      1. @Keith Collantine

        Where can I find the topspeed list?

      2. Pole in Monaco last year…? Just didn’t start there…. :)

          1. Was just mentioning that Schumacher qualified on pole but had a 5 place grid pen leaving Webber to start on Pole.

  12. Is Vettel supposed to start with the mediums he used in Q3? I thought that if you don’t set a timed lap in Q3 you can choose your tyres at the start, but everyone says otherwise.

    1. @yobo01 – nope, he can start on whatever tyres he choses.

      1. If Vettel doesn’t start on Mediums I’ll eat my hat.

        Unless Redbull have a suicide strategy planned

        1. @bobby-balboa
          +1
          They have thrown away a top 3’ish starting position so they could start on the Mediums. They basically have to follow through with that strategy and hope that it works. Even if they aren’t required to by the regulations.

          1. Antonio (@antoniocorleone)
            13th April 2013, 20:35

            Vettel might start on the soft tyre…

        2. I think Vettel mentioned in the post quali interviews that they were almost certain to start on the mediums, yes @bobby-balboa. But they do have the option available for them.

    2. Technically, i think, he can. But, it wouldn’t make sense to start on softs now. Even with a brand new set he can only get a few more laps out of it than the front runners… and that isn’t worth the penalty of not setting a time in Q3. Had he completed his Q3 run on softs he might have slotted himself at least on 3rd or 4th in the grid at the expense of few first stint laps, that would have been better scenario than starting on sorts now.

    3. No. He will certainly use a new set of a mediums.

  13. Not Hamilton’s biggest fan but I was pleased for the guy. He looked so relieved. And KIMI, where’d you come from. I hope we wins it tomorrow although he kept talking about not having the speed during his more than usual cant-be-bothered interview.

    Looking further back, we’ll be wondering what Vettel and the other medium compounders are up to. We’ve said it before but it’s shaping up to be an exciting race…hope we’re not disappointed.

  14. Pirelli need to change their tyres drastically. We want to see competing and racing, not saving. I understand that there needs to be strategy involved too, but this aggressive tyre wear is just silly.

    It says a lot when it’s the people who are not pushing themselves in qualifying are looking better for the race than those who did.

    1. Having said that, as a Hamilton and Kimi fan, I do hope that I’m wrong.

    2. Just saying, with the rules we now have, if FIA can get rid of the rule that demands top 10 drivers to start on tires they qualified on, then, we’ll see everyone running on Q3 with the faster tires.

      1. And that would eliminate the influence of tire wear on qualifying.

      2. @mani517

        Exactly, this rule was always a bad idea. Why would you penalise the Q1 runners for going with a fast tire & it often makes the driver in 11th place have an advantage over someone that qualified higher than him

        1. This is probably to try and artificially even out the grid.

        2. @bobby-balboa I agree, this rule hardly makes any sense with the sort of speed and degradation difference between Pirelli tyre compounds we’ve now.

      3. @mani517

        if FIA can get rid of the rule that demands top 10 drivers to start on tyres they qualified on, then, we’ll see everyone running on Q3 with the faster tyres.

        Exactly.

        1. @kiethcollantine I wonder what FIA was thinking when they came up with that rule. “Guys you outclassed the rest of the grid, so, in their favor we ask you to do the first stint with the used tyre. That way they can keep up with you or even beat you… agreed?”

          1. When that rule was brought in @mani517 we still had bridgestone where people were able to sometimes go almost the full distance with the softer tyres offered and regularly go about 1/3-1/2 distance, so it was not as big a disadvantage.
            The target of it was to achieve what it did today – to get some of those who were not into the pole hunt to qualify on the harder tyres and thereby get a bit of variation with the strategies.

            But honestly, it never was a well though out rule.

  15. Ricciardo and Button could ruin Seb’s race tomorrow….

    1. @jason12

      Let’s hope so

    2. Button yes but Ricciardo no unless he want to upset Helmut Marko

    3. Ricciardo.. Naah. I think Ricciardo would quietly move over for Vette,l and then make sure he slows down cars behind him, so Seb wont have any problems. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Helmet is Ricciardo’s race engineer for tomorrow.

      I hope Button and Vettel take each other on the 1st lap… Belgium 2010 style

      1. It really doesn’t surprise me that you would hope for such a thing.

    4. Ricciardo?? You have got to be kidding! I will cut off the “family jewels” off my body if he doesn´t jump to the curb when he sees SV on his rear view mirrors.
      It´s Kimi affecting Alonso which worries me, now that he is being tipped to join RBR, he might just play along in RBR´s best interest!

      I hope Button and Vettel take each other on the 1st lap… Belgium 2010 style

      Amen to that @todfod !

    5. Traverse (@)
      13th April 2013, 18:56

      Button ruin Vettel’s race!?! That’s a good one!! You should be a comedian.

  16. I found interesting Brawn’s comment on sky. Ted asked him if he was happily surprised by the speed his new driver has shown. And brawn said: “Well NOW i am”. Which was was followed by the question. “Now? So not before?” and Brawn said that a drivers need time to settle down into a team etc and that this weekend Hamilton looked amazing.
    So i guess he wanted to see more from him in the first two races?

    1. Probably expected him to be a bit further clear of Rosberg in the first 2 races than he was.

      Nico has stepped up his game that’s for sure but I also think that whenever there is big pressure for Rosberg to pull out a lap in qualifying he tends to fail (china 2012 being the obvious exception) but look at Australia and malaysia this year, rosberg has been quicker in practice a lot of the time but when it came time to put a lap in q3 Lewis has always come out on top

  17. I think it was sad that we had to wait almost 10 minutes to see some action on track. Tyre degradation was fine for me in 2011 and 2012, but I think it has become a bit too much. It seems that Softs and Supersofts are completely useless this year.

  18. Not sure Kimi’s ability to make the soft’s last will be very important once they hit lap 3 and the Medium runners are already quicker – at that point they might as well just get off the tyres ASAP and accept it is a 3 stop race.

  19. Many were expecting Fernando to be out qualified by Massa again for the 5th race in a row but they forgot that Fernando unlike many drivers can deliver under pressure

    1. What kind of pressure was Alonso under? Because to be honest I can’t see any.

    2. @tifoso1989
      ehmm… what? He is under very little pressure now, unlike the end of last year where he was under massive pressure and failed to deliver the cars full potential. I don’t really see your logic…

    3. @toiago , @mads

      I think he is reffering to the pressure to qualify ahead of Massa. Everybody was making such a big deal of it that he had to come out and shut some mouths.
      In all honesty, I think Alonso was just letting Massa Qualify ahead so he can feel good about himself(it´s obvious he is a driver that performs on emotion) so that they can get both cars up there.

    4. Traverse (@)
      13th April 2013, 19:15

      @tifoso1989
      Your comment is a perfect example of how some people will give their favourite driver more credit for something that his teammate (Massa) has already done twice.

      1. Traverse (@)
        13th April 2013, 19:17

        @tifoso1989
        Massa is clearly under more pressure than Alonso in every respect.

  20. I have a little theory. Red Bull choosing a different strategy due to the fact that out right they wouldn’t get pole? It must have taken a large performance disadvantage to stray from the strategy of their rivals around them.
    I fully expect this to be a Ferrari-Mercedes affair with kimi being the dark horse, we haven’t seen much of him this weekend but there’s no doubting the lotus’ pace in Warm/Dry conditions. Obviously Vettel should be up there by the end of the race too but who knows? Looking like a very interesting race.

    1. RBR only seem to have a disadvantage on soft tyres, not on medium (based on FP). So yes, little chance for pole, but could still have very good race pace.

    2. I still don’t understand why they’d do it: They have a huge straight-line speed disadvantage. Starting in the middle of the pack is a huge danger.

      Vettel’s whole race depends on clearing Button at the start and hoping Ricciardo donates his position. If Vettel cannot jump Button, he won’t get past him until pit stop time and will be a target for all those sitting directly behind. Hulkenberg, Sutil & Di Resta won’t need a second invitation to have a lunge down the inside at the hairpin and they’ll also be running the prime tyre.

      1. Vettel’s whole race depends on clearing Button at the start and hoping Ricciardo donates his position.

        Ricciardo is on options so no issue. Agree that he needs to get past Button by the time the first seven pit.

      2. I’m not too sure about people passing Vettel, the only way they can attack him is if hes stuck behind Button which means he’d get DRS too. I think by the time it gets too the last sector Vettel will have a big enough gap to defend it.

  21. It’s now the second (or possibly third) time that I now hope and to a certain extent believe that Massa will take pole, this is a good sign but also a sad one :(

    1. He will at some point, I can strangely feel it coming :)

  22. Ι think that the soft tyres will last longer that we all think they will. With cooler temps expected for tomorrow, I reckon 8-10 laps for the softs. Also, some said today that the softs were almost 1.5 secs faster than the mediums and Button even said 5 secs faster. So, if Lotus and Ferrari can jump Hamilton on lap 1 (who is currently the favorite for winning tomorrow) and keep a good pace on the much faster soft tyre for as long as it last, they may end up in front of the traffic (or at least not stuck behind many cars). Also, both Ferrari and Lotus have good top speeds, so they shouldn’t have any problems passing slower cars on used mediums with their fresh mediums. The big question for tomorrow is this: 2 pit stops or 3? The evolution over the course of mere minutes that the track showed today, maybe suggests 2 stops? I honestly can’t make a prediction on that one.

  23. Nico is beginning to make a habit of choking when it counts in qualifying. This isn’t the first time he’s looked good in Q1 and Q2 but then failed to deliver in the final part.

    1. @Davef1 I think 4th undermines his actual lap though – he was effectively only a whisker away from 2nd, and a tenth covers three cars.

    2. Maybe Rosberg is not doing anything fundamentally wrong. It is also possible they use free practice sessions and Q1 and Q2 in different ways and with different aims. So Hamilton is simply able to connect all the bits and pieces together when it matters the most.

      1. @davef1 +1!! Bit of a trait of his, I posted earlier saying it too! Looks good and as fast as Hamilton in practice but cant do it in Q3 when it matters!

  24. Rosburg is P4; if Schumacher was P7 today with this same car no-one would think Merc has the fastest car.

    Ross Brawn would still be seen as a disappointment. It’s obviously very hard to determine which bit driver and which is car.

    No disrespect to Seb but a part of me also feels like there’s so much more to be extracted out of that already dominant Redbull. Guess we’ll never really know….

    1. That’s why they got a speed-nut like Ham on board – to see if they have come out with a piece of crap or a winner car. Now they know, unlike McLaren who are still wondering weather they have crappy drivers or car, or both.

      1. very true

      2. I know what you’re saying but I think it’s pretty clear that Mclaren aint’ great! There is probably a few more tenths being left on the table in Qualifying with the tyre conserving twins driving though

      3. Maybe its got to do with set up of the car to the driver’s style and vice versa….Mclaren will bounce back but the question is when ?

      4. Ha! I love your wording :)

    2. No disrespect to Seb but a part of me also feels like there’s so much more to be extracted out of that already dominant Redbull. Guess we’ll never really know….

      @jason12 – We won’t know, but going by your earlier logic, if Vettel wasn’t taking those wins, Webber would have lost to Alonso and Button in 2010/11, plus several others in 2012. We wouldn’t be able to determine that the Red Bull was the best, let alone “dominant” (and the 2010/2012 cars weren’t “dominant”, 2012 especially was a highly competitive season with numerous winning teams). It’s just very difficult to claim that more can be extracted, when SV took 21 wins and 3 titles in 3 years.

    3. Last year in China Mercedes started first and second – a better qualifying result than this year. And nobody who knew anything about F1 thought this meant that “Mercedes had the fastest car” back then.

  25. This need fixing, two easy solutions:

    No time set in Q3 > back of grid (there could be tech issues)

    Not within 107% in Q3 = No Start

    The 3 trailers ought to get a penalty for discrediting the sport.

    1. Its only qualifying what do you want next, points on a Saturday?

      Forcing Q3 runners to start on the tyres they Qualified on is a disadvantage to them.
      Having them use up more rubber then those who didn’t participate in Q3 is a disadvantage.

      when those two disadvantages are worse then starting on 10th, especially if they are not going to be able to get higher than 8th, 9th or 10th, then they don’t play ball and don’t drive to save tyres and or choose the Tyre they start on.

  26. I think the most interesting thing would have been if Merc had both Ros and Ham to do a qualifying run on the mediums at the very start of Q3, leaving enough time to run the Softs for a second run.

    That would have forced all those who were going to do untimed runs to commit to either softs or medium with proper runs.

    The run on softs by vettel at the start of Q3 made no sense if they always intended to start on the mediums. I sense Redbull are panicking i little bit.

    I don’t think the medium runners will have as clear cut run to the podium as some think. The last two races have not panned out as many had predicted with the tyres. I think the soft /med/med stratigy will work out better than expected.

    1. I think the soft /med/med stratigy will work out better than expected

      A two-stopper? That seems unlikely. The guys at the front are looking at a soft/medium/medium/medium three-stop strategy. Those who decided to start on mediums have a few different options as to when to run the softs, depending on how the race unfolds.

      I wonder if we’ll see a race this year where somebody uses up all their rubber and has to drop out?

  27. Ok , I understand that the front runners will have to pit and the mid field will be leading , however , at the end of the medium stint for the mid field , the top qualifiers will have better rubber though behind.Can it somehow end up in their ( p1,p2,p3) favour? one thing is sure , If you want to win you have got to overtake well . Shame red bull took the “medium” route . We could have seen his wheel to wheel skills earlier on in the race

  28. Checo and Pastor struggling in lackluster machines isn’t fun to watch, and as someone who doesn’t try to complain about the tyres in F1, that session was about as silly as the flap over delayed qualifying in Melbourne.

    Color me intrigued as to how the race itself will play out though, with the Mercedes and Ferrari team clearly ahead of the class on pace, Lotus’s drivers are right up there too – and on the other end, surely RBR will start both their drivers on prime tyres and try and use strategy to their advantage along with having a quick car.

  29. Disappointing performance of Gutierrez, Bottas and Chilton. These tree rookies should not be in Formula 1.

    1. Also Vergne and Grosjean by your view.
      (Comparison to team mate)
      Gutierrez: +1.729 (Hulk Q2 time)
      Bottas: +0.630
      Chilton: +0.757
      Vergne: +1.201
      Grosjean: +0.603

  30. Anyone know when the last time a Toro Rosso out qualified both Red Bulls?

    1. Brazil 2008 I bet.

  31. Traverse (@)
    13th April 2013, 20:17

    This pole position from Hamilton just goes to show how vital he was to the development of the McLaren. I’d bet big money that if Lewis had stayed put, it would be a McLaren on pole for tomorrows race.

    I’m also beginning to think that Perez’s decision to move to McLaren could be his undoing. When Kovalainen moved to McLaren he was seen as a young driver full of potential and promise. Sadly, upon his exit no top team would touch him with a barge pole, due to his perceived failure to cut the mustard at the highest level. I fear the same future lies ahead for the young Mexican.

    As for Button, well, he really has to pull his socks up and lead this team like a true No.1. McLaren appear to lack leadership at present and if Button doesn’t step up, his future could also hang in the balance. With a clear rift forming at RedBull, I could see McLaren poaching Vettel, along with another dynamic, proven driver (Sutil, Kobayashi, Maldonado) to freshen up the stale looking, uninspiring McLaren garage.

    1. This pole position from Hamilton just goes to show how vital he was to the development of the McLaren. I’d bet big money that if Lewis had stayed put, it would be a McLaren on pole for tomorrows race.

      Haha! This is quite a stretch of the imagination to say the least. Hamilton may well be the fastest driver over 1 lap in F1 but even if that is true, he doesn’t bring over a second of raw pace to a car. I also fail to comprehend how this in any way demonstrates “how vital he was to the development of the Mclaren”.

      With a clear rift forming at RedBull, I could see McLaren poaching Vettel, along with another dynamic, proven driver (Sutil, Kobayashi, Maldonado) to freshen up the stale looking, uninspiring McLaren garage.

      Hahahah I’m literally bursting into tears laughing right now. Sutil, Kobayashi and Maldonado are dynamic, proven drivers that you would favour over Button and Perez?

      I could understand an argument for Sutil to replace Perez if the latter fails to meet expectations but certainly not Kobayashi who was glaringly inconsistent throughout his tenure at Sauber and who lost to Perez as his teammate last season, nor Maldonado who shares similar traits but also crashes a lot more and that’s saying something considering Kobayashi’s antics.

      1. This is quite a stretch of the imagination to say the least. Hamilton may well be the fastest driver over 1 lap in F1 but even if that is true, he doesn’t bring over a second of raw pace to a car. I also fail to comprehend how this in any way demonstrates “how vital he was to the development of the Mclaren”.

        I beg to differ. @hellotraverse has a valid point. At least the McLaren would be further up the grid with Hamilton, im pretty certain of that. And in terms of development, we know that Hamilton likes to spend time with his mechanics and engineers. It’s only logical to assume that he has had an influence with Merc’s development. Either way, the results (so far) speaks for itself.

      2. Traverse (@)
        14th April 2013, 9:46

        @panache

        Sutil, Kobayashi and Maldonado are dynamic, proven drivers that you would favour over Button and Perez?

        Yes actually. I’d favour a pairing of Vettel with one of the aforementioned drivers over the lacklustre Button and Perez.

        Haha! This is quite a stretch of the imagination to say the least. Hamilton may well be the fastest driver over 1 lap in F1 but even if that is true, he doesn’t bring over a second of raw pace to a car. I also fail to comprehend how this in any way demonstrates “how vital he was to the development of the Mclaren”.

        It’s clear that over the last five years McLaren have developed their car around Hamilton’s driving style. With Ham’s departure they’ve been forced to develop the car around Button, with mediocre results. If Hamilton had stayed at McLaren, they would’ve honed the car for Ham’s driving style throughout the pre-season and thus would’ve had a car capable of pole.

  32. Great drive by Bianchi again. Almost a second clear from the bottom and closer than ever to the guys in front. That’s drivers effort . That guy should have a faster car. Hulk is up there again, better than Perez as Lewis is better than Button.

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