Spain Qualifying wrap up

Buenas tardes amigos!

countryball

After what felt like a somewhat tedious wait we are finally here in beautiful Barcelona to get qualifying under way.

Mark Webber has made an appearance in the paddock and graced as all with his chiselled cheekbones. The man is the Australian prince of F1 and Fernando Alonso’s biggest fan. Ultimate bromance.

The first session of qualifying gets off to a fairly average start. The Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg quickly make their way onto the front row with the Williams of Massa and Bottas close behind. Not a great start was had by Ferrari with Vettel locking up and going AWOL and Kimi encountering traffic and lacking rear grip.

Button and Alonso both manage to get their McLaren Honda’s over the line in 6th and 5th respectively, obviously owing to the 2kg paint job improvement. Excellent consumer information: when picking out the paint job for your car consider the weight of metallic flakes. It may look oh so awesome and shiny but it weighs a fucking tonne in F1 terms.

adventuretime

It’s at this point in Q1 that chaos ensues (which I’m obviously kind of stoked about) with Raikkonen putting his Ferrari neatly into second, Vettel following into third until Rosberg charges in to steal the second. Then the stampede of cars crosses the line and mixes shit up. Suddenly we have Sainz Toro Rosso in 4th, Massa in 5th, Bottas 6th, Lotus gets both driver across the line with Maldonado 7th and Grosjean in 8th, Verstappen’s Toro Rosso takes 9th pushing Vettel’s Ferrari into 10th place.

This surprising kerfuffle is rounded out by Ricciardo in the Reb Bull taking 11th, Nasr and his Sauber in 12th, the McLaren in Button in 13th followed by Kyvat’s Red Bull in 14th and home grown hero Alonso 15th.

losers

Commentating legends Crofty, Brundle and Kravitz raise the question: “Is Kimi Raikkonen being treat like the ‘number two’ driver at Ferrari?” This is due to Seb getting access to all the new parts and modifications during qualifying and Kimi being put onto a set of medium tyres that he would have preferred to keep for not only Q3 but also the race. The medium compound will be the preferred tyre for the race. Time will tell how this all plays out for Raikkonen.

After much chit-chat by the delightful British commentators we are ready for the second session.

Hamilton, both the Ferraris and Bottas all put in solid flying laps lining themselves up into the top spots surprising absolutely no one right up until Nico “hundreths-of-a-second-lesser-loved-child” Rosberg romps it into first! Well done you! That sounds condescending. Moving along…

glen coco

Verstappen puts himself into 6th and wedges himself between Bottas and Massa with Sainz managing 8th followed by the Red Bull racers of Ricciardo in 9th and Kyvat in 10th. There’s a brief break in the running of Q2 with the Ferrari and Mercedes teams deciding that’s quite enough of this qualifying business and just leave their cars to chill in the pits and run down the clock. That decision sort of backfires when Massa goes out and takes 4th from Vettel. Sainz moves himself into 8th behind his team mate.

Poor Fernando. No Q3 for his home race but yay for Sainz the Spaniard!

Onto the last round of qualifying and the business end of things. This is where shit got real. Bottas goes W I D E and Raikkonen does a crap time on used tires. They still manage 4th and 5th respectively behind Vettel. Comeback kid Rosberg one again flips the proverbial bird to Hamilton and nails his first flying lap with a 1.24.6. At this point we’ve have Sainz AND Verstappen squeeze Raikkonen out and down into 7th leaving 8th to Kvyat, 9th to Massa and 10th to Ricciardo.

Hamilton attempts to steal away with pole but he can’t get it done. Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix! Lewis is probably not feeling so #blessed right about now.

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So that wraps up qualifying. The Spanish GP is going to kick off with the line-up looking like this:

spainquali

Predictions for tomorrow? Mad battle between Rosberg and Lewis for the win. There is potential for the Mercedes to get caught up in their own scraps allowing the Williams and Ferraris to bridge the gap. That being said I am not counting the Toro Rosso lads out as they’ve proven that they are here to throw down. It should be good! Tune in tomorrow for the live blog.

lewis

Honourable mention goes to Daniil Kyvat for out qualifying his team mate for the first time (my Australian citizenship may be revoked for saying that).

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Bahrain Qualifying wrap up

Okie dokie we are in beautiful Bahrain this evening for qualifying and the battle for pole position!

bahrain

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.

you tried

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.

karen walker

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…

bahrain quali

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.

young niki