With frequent showers topping up the water levels at the circuit and the possibility of more rain to come on Sunday drivers and their race engineers had to make tough calls about which tyres to use and when.
Some, like Fernando Alonso, were anxious avoid avoid wasting tyres they might need during the race. And others simply found they couldn’t get the wet weather rubber to work for them – like the McLaren pair.
On several occasions last year Force India didn’t seem to be completely on top of their tactics for wet qualifying sessions and today Nico Hulkenberg and his engineers weren’t in sync. There was frustration from the driver over how long it took to take decisions and disagreement over where they were missing out on lap time.
Despite getting Lotus into the top ten this year Romain Grosjean felt his car was capable of much more. But Daniel Ricciardo didn’t feel the same about the lap which put hi on the front row of the grid, telling his team there was nothing more to be had from the RB10.
Here are the team radio messages that were broadcast during qualifying.
2014 Chinese Grand Prix qualifying team radio transcript
|Q1||-0:44||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||So at the moment the question is between inter and extreme. We are ready with both compounds in the garage. At the moment your setting, your switches are for type two. In case of type three you need to adjust to go to rain three.|
|Q1||Daniil Kvyat||Marco Matassa||OK in this case if the rain is increasing I think we should be first one to go out.|
|Q1||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||Yes we are discussing about that. In terms of the switches now you are diff entry four. We go out like this. Then if you are struggling mid-corner you can think about diff entry three. Hydraulic bias rearward as discussed and brake offset forward 0.5, please check.|
|Q1||15:33||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||All cars around you left the pit lane with you. That is Hamilton in front, Kevin just behind, Kevin has a large gap behind him. So let’s warm the brakes and make good gap. All but three cars are on full wets.|
|Q1||15:15||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Nico we don’t have telemetry at the moment so we’ll just try and feed back to you. So just warming the brakes up. Everyone around you is on X-wet, there’s a couple of cars on inters. We’ll go one timed on the X-wet but just confirm you’re happy with it.|
|Q1||0.625||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||What do you think of the conditions?|
|Q1||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||I’d probably stay on extreme [wet tyres] for now.|
|Q1||14:58||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||All cars around are on X-wet.|
|Q1||14:17||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso ahead of Sebastian is on inters. If he struggles he may back into you so make good space to Vettel. I imagine Vettel will back off as well.|
|Q1||14:04||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||[Unclear] ahead is on inters, he might be struggling.|
|Q1||12:39||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Disabling the fastest lap is available. Fail 21, fail two-one, fail, if you want.|
|Q1||12:05||Adrian Sutil||Marco Schupbach||I have the brake-by-wire failsafe|
|Q1||Marco Schupbach||Adrian Sutil||OK we are having a look, we have one lap to adjust it. We keep looking. It is clearly wet conditions now so we go for another lap.|
|Q1||9:20||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Nico gaining turn 13, he’s short-shifting there.|
|Q1||8:40||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||Traction’s really poor. Very poor with this tyre,|
|Q1||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK, understood.|
|Q1||5:14||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||I have no idea what to do. I’ll let you do the call.|
|Q1||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Can you do it in one lap in the wet tyre, question?|
|Q1||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Yeah I can certainly try.|
|Q1||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK|
|Q1||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Full wet.|
|Q1||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK, full wet.|
|Q1||2:25||Fernando Alonso||Andrea Stella||OK we have two more laps. Some are improving, we should be OK. Still P5.|
|Q1||1:23||Gianpiero Lambiase||Sergio Perez||You’ve got to push on this out-lap.|
|Q1||1:02||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||There are people going faster on intermediates now, midfield are all converging to intermediates.|
|Q1||0:40||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||I don’t think I will improve so if you are OK, I box.|
|Q1||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Understood. Box, box.|
|Q1||0:14||Gary Gannon||Max Chilton||So Jules is 1.6 quicker on inters, 1.6 quicker than that lap, this is your last timed lap.|
|Q1||0:00||Gianpiero Lambiase||Sergio Perez||Unfortunately Perez had already backed off thinking he hadn’t crossed the line before the chequered flag dropped.
One timed lap, Checo, one timed lap, just made it.
|Q1||0:00||Kimi Raikkonen||Antonio Spagnolo||In the high speed and low speed we are locking the rear under braking.|
|Q1||0:00||Max Chilton||Gary Gannon||That was such a mess.|
|Q1||Gary Gannon||Max Chilton||Understood, Max, understood.|
|Q1||Max Chilton||Gary Gannon||What’s the info?|
|Q1||Gary Gannon||Max Chilton||OK so Jules is P19 at one minute 59.3, Ericsson P20 at two minutes .6, and we’re P21, two minutes .8.|
|Q1||0:00||Angel Baena||Marcus Ericsson||You did a good job, you are P20, Chilton behind two-tenthsd and then Maldonado didn’t take part in the session.|
|Q1||Marcus Ericsson||Angel Baena||How far are we off Bianchi and Kobayashi.|
|Q1||Angel Baena||Marcus Ericsson||Kobayashi did 59.2 and Bianchi 59.3.|
|Q1||Paul Davison||Jules Bianchi||Very good effort, mate. Kobayashi just got us, did a 59.2 in front of us.|
|Q1||Jules Bianchi||Paul Davison||Where is Max?|
|Q1||Paul Davison||Jules Bianchi||Max is P21, two minutes .8 seconds.|
|Q1||Jules Bianchi||Paul Davison||That was tough, guys.|
|Q1||Paul Davison||Jules Bianchi||Don’t worry mate you’ve done very well anyway after FP3.|
|Q1||Jules Bianchi||Paul Davison||Good job guys, thanks.|
|Q1||Tim Wright||Kamui Kobayashi||Good job. Grosjean P16, 58.4, Gutierrez 58.9, then you 59.2, Bianchi 59.3, Ericsson, Chilton two minutes.|
|Q1||Esteban Gutierrez||Craig Gardiner||Gutierrez’s brake-by-wire system went into a safety mode and he failed to make the cut for Q2. Sutil appears to have had the same problem earlier in the session (see above).
Why did this happen with the brake?
|Q1||Craig Gardiner||Esteban Gutierrez||We’ll talk about it when you get back because I don’t know the answer to that question but… Think you lost a lot of time there.|
|Q2||12:29||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||We’re going to go for two timed on the inter. If you’re alower on the second lap, Nico, then just stay out and then we’ll box for another inter at the end of that second time.|
|Q2||11:55||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Front brakes still cold so keep working the front brakes.|
|Q2||11:45||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||They’re starting to wake up now, starting to look good.|
|Q2||11:04||Marco Schupbach||Adrian Sutil||Adrian use DRS if you get the light and keep the overtake button in.|
|Q2||9:40||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||Sector one and two very good, in line with Mercedes.|
|Q2||9:12||Marco Schupbach||Adrian Sutil||Seems off a little bit in 11 compared to ourselves so we can possibly improve there, brake 11.|
|Q2||8:34||Andrew Murdoch||Felipe Massa||We need main magnettino blend four.|
|Q2||7:00||Felipe Massa||Andrew Murdoch||[Unclear] tyres no grip at all.|
|Q2||Andrew Murdoch||Felipe Massa||Copy that, the tyres have no grip.|
|Q2||6:55||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||This slightly terse exchange between Hulkenberg and his race engineer seems to have been edited in at least one place.
Pits this lap, pit confirm
|Q2||Nico Hulkenberg||Brad Joyce||Go on the back straight?|
|Q2||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||Yeah I’m looking at what to do. It’s not instantaneous, yeah? Got to make a decision.|
|Q2||Nico Hulkenberg||Brad Joyce||Need to know whether to pit or complete this lap.|
|Q2||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||Yeah if I don’t tell you to pit, you complete the lap. But I need to look at what we need to do timing-wise, then decide. We’re pitting now. Pit now.|
|Q2||3:16||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Was I up on my last lap?|
|Q2||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||Yeah just a tenth up, just a small amount up.|
|Q2||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||We will have time for one timed lap,possibly a second one if we keep our pace up on the out-lap.|
|Q2||1:48||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Rosberg’s telemetry is apparently working again.
So brake temperatures just give them a good brake at the end, they’re pretty even but just a bit of managing at the moment. Tyre temperatures are eightfront and seven rear.
|Q2||0:46||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||So you’re currently P1, four-and-a-half tenths to Vettel, P2.|
|Q2||0:40||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Talking over each other slightly.
One more timed lap after this.
|Q2||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||OK.|
|Q2||0:00||Fernando Alonso||Andrea Stella||Another message which seems to have been edited. Alonso isn’t convinced his tyres will produce a faster lap time and he wishes to save them in case he needs them for the race.
This is slower and the next one again [unclear] the tyres so I am happy to pit in.
|Q2||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||OK we are still P5, we are P5, we have this five seconds margin to get another lap, you can even use them, try to open another lap, if it’s not quicker we box.|
|Q2||Fernando Alonso||Andrea Stella||Yeah but the race is tomorrow. I’m having the tyres go into a strange condition.|
|Q2||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||Fernando if you think you don’t improve I’m happy to box. I don’t know how the tyres are.|
|Q2||Fernando Alonso||Andrea Stella||Box, box.|
|Q2||Sergio Perez||Gianpiero Lambiase||OK box. Where did we end up?|
|Q2||Gianpiero Lambiase||Sergio Perez||That’s P16. P16 for us today. What happened on that tyre?|
|Q2||Sergio Perez||Gianpiero Lambiase||Couldn’t find any grip. The first time I had massive understeer to turn one. I don’t know why. And then I just had trouble from then on.|
|Q2||Mark Temple||Kevin Magnussen||Unforunately we didn’t get through to P3. We finished P15. Kevin, it looked like we struggled a bit more on the inter than the wet. Any thoughts on the balance of the car or the tyre condition?|
|Q2||Kevin Magnussen||Mark Temple||The balance didn’t feel too bad really. I just didn’t any the grip at all, overall grip was much lower. I actually think we would have been quicker on the wet tyre, it seemed more consistent and more stable. This tyre was really snappy. Just low grip.|
|Q2||Mark Temple||Kevin Magnussen||Yeah I wonder if we just didn’t get them working in these conditions.|
|Q2||Marco Schupbach||Adrian Sutil||OK still P14, it’s for sure P15 so… But OK, it’s for sure 14, OK. Good job Adrian. We beat Magnussen and Perez, and Kvyat was just a tenth away. Bit of a pity but that’s how it is.|
|Q2||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||OK Dany, P13 confirmed.|
|Q2||Daniil Kvyat||Marco Matassa||Don’t understand really why we lost against [unclear].|
|Q2||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||OK Dany, OK, don’t worry we are looking into that.|
|Q2||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||Everyone has completed their timed laps. We are P12. We missed out by just over a tenth.|
|Q2||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Yeah I think our biggest problem is just the front tyre juddering. I don’t think we can get the grip in the front tyres or the temperature in the front tyres. Especially… high-speed’s fine, it’s the low-speed.|
|Q2||Antonio Spagnolo||Kimi Raikkonen||OK you are P11. We saw the problem last sector so we will look into the problem of the down shifting. Sorry about that.|
|Q2||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||Hulkenberg made it into Q3 by 0.013s
The rain has intensified. I think the rain that’s intensified has managed to get us through.
|Q3||10:43||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||We are expecting light rain just continuing, nothing heavy. So just warming the brakes up.|
|Q3||9:05||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Brakes are still cold. It’s coming up, but still cold.|
|Q3||Nico Hulkenberg||Brad Joyce||Rear locking and rumbling happens more and more now.|
|Q3||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||Go +1 on the adjustment. Brakes are cold, especially the front. Tyres are cold too.|
|Q3||7:11||Valtteri Bottas||Jonathan Eddollls||We need inter.|
|Q3||Jonathan Eddollls||Valtteri Bottas||Yep, agree. So go mode two which you’ve done, so we’ll box now, we’ll have two timed on an inter.|
|Q3||7:00||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Grosjean spoiled his lap by going off at the first corner and didn’t have enough fuel to immediately do another lap.
Went out at turn one.
|Q3||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK, copy that. We haven’t got any more fuel.|
|Q3||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Yeah, box.|
|Q3||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK box.|
|Q3||5:20||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Do you want adjustment, yes or no, on front wing?|
|Q3||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||Let’s leave it.|
|Q3||5:12||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK understood.|
|Q3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So Nico you…|
|Q3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Yeah we’ve got to box now, right?|
|Q3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Negative you can stay out and get one timed lap or if you box now you’ll get two timed laps. So you’ll get less time. You call. You box now, you’ll get two timed…|
|Q3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Yeah but I’m slower, so I box?|
|Q3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Negative, if you stay out you’ll have less fuel for new tyres. You can do two timed on the next tyre. So prefer to stay out, do one timed on it.|
|Q3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Nico just call on the front wing, do you want an adjust?|
|Q3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Box, box, box no change.|
|Q3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Copy, box. So set 53, Nico. Just confirm you’re going inter tyres, you happy?|
|Q3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Affirm.|
|Q3||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||OK, we’re putting new inters now.|
|Q3||4:08||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||We expect only light rain now until the end.|
|Q3||2:55||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||You’re currently P1, six-tenths to P2. The only area you’re losing time to Nico is through turn seven, he’s just carrying a little bit more speed.|
|Q3||1:23||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Pace at the moment is very good.|
|Q3||1:19||Andrew Murdoch||Felipe Massa||Track clear, we need a hard out-lap to make sure we get the time in, get over the line in time.|
|Q3||0:52||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Keep pushing this lap, I’ll keep you updated, currently P2.|
|Q3||0:00||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||How are the times looking?|
|Q3||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Still Ricciardo to complete. You’re looking good at the moment.|
|Q3||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Currently P2 mate. I’ll keep you updated. Very good job.|
|Q3||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||That’s it, P2, nice job mate.|
|Q3||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||Alrighty. There wasn’t anything left in that.|
|Q3||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK understood.|
|Q3||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||There’s no grip. I don’t know what’s happened.|
|Q3||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Is the balance quitre different from P3?|
|Q3||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||It’s completely different, I have no rear end. Even between turn 11 and 12 I cannot go power. Third gear, 1,000rpm and the rear just spun. That’s why I asked for the diff. There’s something is not the same as this morning. Seriously.|
|Q3||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK, copy that.|
|Q3||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||P9. Again very good job from your side.|
|Q3||Jean-Eric Vergne||Xevi Pujolar||How was the gap to P8?|
|Q3||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||Four tenths.|
|Q3||Jean-Eric Vergne||Xevi Pujolar||Thanks guys for the job. Not too bad. At least we start in the points.|
|Q3||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||Yeah thanks for your drive.|
|Q3||Nico Hulkenberg||Brad Joyce||Also I had the wind change because on both laps I was losing a lot of time, more than a tenth on the long straight.|
|Q3||Brad Joyce||Nico Hulkenberg||We’ll have a look at it. I don’t believe there’s that much wind.|
|Q3||Jonathan Eddollls||Valtteri Bottas||P7 Valtteri. Really good job. Massa was P6.|
|Q3||Andrew Murdoch||Felipe Massa||Good job Felipe that was a good lap, you’re P6.|
Phase/time: Refers to point at which message was broadcast. There may be a delay between messages being said and being broadcast. PQ = pre-qualifying.
Message: Repetitive or irrelevant messages omitted. Notes in italics. Highlights in bold.
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