Okie dokie we are in beautiful Bahrain this evening for qualifying and the battle for pole position!
Basically Q1 blessed us with a comedy of errors. Raikkonen managed a massive lock up in his Ferrari which he later recovered from but Button’s McLaren did the thing where it forgot it was meant to be a Formula One car and decided to knock off early. No recovering for Button, just game over straight out the gate. To round it all out there was a lack of performance by Kvyat’s Red Bull which will only add more fuel to the Renault engine fire (aka the raging Red Bull anger of 2015).
Early drama aside, Q1 looked relatively normal. Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams all looking strong with Sauber and Force India keeping their drivers in the running with decent times and both Toro Rosso’s managed to carry themselves through to Q2.
Credit where credit is due – Alonso managed to get his not so broken McLaren Honda into 9th place by the end of Q1 which is kind of like the equivalent of the team conquering Mt Everest.
The participation award goes to Manor Marussia for getting both cars through another Q1 session. Albeit at the bottom of the time sheet. Gold stars for you.
So that leaves us with Maldonado, Kvyat, Stevens, Merhi and Button all getting the boot at the end of the session. Better luck next time boys.
It’s definitely windy in Bahrain! Excellent discussion between Crofty, Brundle and Ted Kravitz about just how windy it is. Is it gusty? Or just a touch breezy? Important British commentary.
The plot thickens in Q2 with the Mercedes vs. Ferrari vs. Williams three way (sadly not of the sexy kind) resulting in Hamilton besting Rosberg – SUPER SURPRISING YOU GUYS – only to have Raikkonen take 2nd away from Nico. Probably because he’s a Finn posing as a German…just a theory. Then Massa and Vettel both add insult to injury for Mercedes lesser loved son by putting their Williams and Ferrari in 4th and 5th respectively.
Grosjean in the Lotus, Ricciardo’s Red Bull, Hulkenberg’s Force India and Sainz Toro Rosso round out the top ten at the end of Q2 leaving Perez, Alonso, Verstappen, Nasir and Ericsson to get dropped from quali.
Prior to Q3 going ahead I was thinking about making up a qualifying drinking game just to spice things up a bit. It could have rules like:
- Commentators cross to Ted Kravitz – take a sip
- Team radio – take a sip
- Serious shot of Team Principle in the garage/on the pit wall – take a sip
- Rosberg is grumpy after qualifying/at Hamilton – finish your drink
I’m open to suggestions and improvements.
Thankfully Q3 managed to provide us all with some well-earned excitement. The Ferrari’s came out early on used tires and both managed a 1:34:5 only to be totally outdone by Ricciardo who on fresh tires lay down a 1:33:850. Rosberg decided to pick up what Ricciardo was putting down but only managed a 1:33:854 which has got to hurt. At this point I think Nico should legally change his name to Nico ‘hundredths of a second’ Rosberg. Hamilton trumps them all with a 1:33:5.
At this point everyone pitted on to fresh tires and then shit got real. Really real. In the course of about a minute Vettel managed to put his Ferrari on pole with Raikkonen coming through in 2nd to lockout the front row. Those dreams were then almost instantaneously dashed by Rosberg who managed to steal 2nd only for Hamilton to do what Hamilton does best – claim pole position.
So where does that leave us for tomorrow? Well the results look a little something like this…
Basically we should all get stupidly excited for the race this evening because the Ferrari boys are in with a fighting chance. I’m hoping for good old-fashioned Formula One fisty-cuffs and wheel-to-wheel racing against the Mercedes. The Williams look strong, as per usual, but Valtteri Bottas said even he doesn’t think they’ll be strong enough to take on Kimi and Seb.
Further back we can all look forward to some good scraps for points between Sauber, Force India, Lotus and Toro Rosso. Personally I’ll be keeping an eye out for Max Verstappen: Wonder Kid to fight his way up the leader board after a generally crappy qualifying. Don’t know about the Red Bull’s for this one. At this point I honestly would not be surprised if the engine literally fell out of the car.
Lets all just keep our fingers crossed that McLaren Honda and Manor Marussia can keep their cars on track until the end of the race. How depressing, I’m comparing McLaren to Manor…
Honourable mention to Niki Lauda for being Niki Lauda.