I’m ab-so-lute-ly sure that this qualifying session will be the longest in the World Championship’s F1′s history. It started on Saturday evening and it won’t end until Sunday morning! Even a GP won’t take as much time (well, assuming that the time between Q1 and Q2 is considered part of the qualifying session and that Friday and Saturday qualies were seperate sessions, that is).
But Vettel was sent all the way to 24th place in Abu Dhabi last year (though I believe he started 23rd in front of an HRT), and the same happened to Hamilton at Barcelona last year, so I assume that Q1, Q2, Q3, and the time between them are part of 1 Qualifying Session. I haven’t read the rulebook, though, perhaps Keith will clear it up a bit.
Thing is with the Japanese quali, it was only one session rather than 3 sessions, so really it was not ongoing in that period between when it should have been and when it was so the clock was not ticking in that sense for qualifying.
1. Suzuka 2010:The whole session was on Sunday morning.
2. “Friday+Saturday / Saturday+Sunday” era:The 2 qualies are different sessions so the time between the sessions are not counted as part of the session, I think?
3. Melbourne 2013:Q2 and Q3 are on Sunday, meaning that there’s a >12 hour gap between Q1 and Q2. In this case, I believe that the time between Q1 and Q2 are counted as part of the session, as, from what I know, the 3 “stages” of qualifying are counted as one session.
Again, though, I haven’t read the rulebook, which means that I need somebody to point to a part(s) of the book that clarifies my 2nd and 3rd point.
Either way, it is a technicality as to how it is classed. In naming terms, it is the same as years ago with split quali. In running terms, it has changed slightly. Depends how you read into it really. Its just one of those things that there are arguments for both sides without any real clear answer.