Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by seven thousandths of a second.
Hamilton was only sixth fastest on his first run in the Q3 top 10 shootout but despite a lock-up at Turn 1 on his final lap, a particularly strong run through the middle part of the lap allowed him to pip Rosberg.
Red Bull locked out the second row, with Daniel Ricciardo third ahead of Sebastian Vettel, just half-a-tenth separating the two.
Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, only a tenth behind the lead Red Bull, although Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was not able to do better than seventh after suffering a car problem on his second run.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.854s||0.173s|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.902s||0.221s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.362s||1.681s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.989s||1.308s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.308s||1.627s|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.575s||1.894s|
Kimi laments engine problem in Q3 – “We struggled a bit at the beginning of the weekend, this morning we changed the car and it was to my liking. Then we got hit by the problem, it’s a shame as we could have done a good job today. It’s racing and unfortunately it happens. We’ll just try and sort it out and keep pushing and improving things. We didn’t have any data so we think it’s electronic issue, no power and it was cutting when I went full power, hopefully it’s not a big problem.”
Software glitch cause for Raikkonen problem – “I think it was some electronic thing, so when you tried to apply power it just cut off. Hopefully it is just a small thing, but it was big enough to destroy our qualifying in the end. We’ve been struggling with the car a bit all weekend, but we kept changing it and we changed it for qualifying, which was good. It was one of the few times that we have changed it to something really good that I wanted. Unfortunately we had a problem, but there was a lot of potential today and it was nice to have a good feeling with the car. I know I kept messing up the middle sector all the time and there was a lot of potential on the other sectors. There was a good feeling with the car and I could put it where I wanted. It was feeling easier to drive, so it’s a shame what happened today, but that’s our sport. Sometimes you hope it would happen during a different weekend when you’re having difficult times.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “I’m very happy with the handling of my car. Yesterday, we made some changes to the set-up and in qualifying, I finally managed to drive the way I wanted. Unfortunately, in Q3, on my final run on new Supersoft tyres, a problem forced me to pit. It’s a real shame as I felt comfortable in the car and we had the potential to get a good result. Now I want to feel confident for the race and I hope the team manages to solve the problem without too much difficulty. Tomorrow, we will do our best to bring home as many points as possible, aware that we are going in the right direction.”
Pat Fry: “This was undoubtedly one of the closest qualifying sessions of the season, with the top six cars all within just over three tenths of one another. On this track, a good set-up and a high level of aerodynamic downforce makes the difference and at every corner you can gain or lose a lot of time. And, as is the case at all street circuits, the abilities of the drivers comes to the fore. I would like to be commenting on a better result, because both Kimi and Fernando didn’t make any mistakes. Kimi was comfortable with the car all weekend and we are sorry that he had a software problem on his final Q3 run, because he could definitely have got a better result. This incident confirms just how important is reliability, especially at this point in the season. Fernando showed what he can do on this track and it’s always a pleasure to see him at work. Like Kimi, he improved in every session, getting the most out of the package he had. In free practice, we saw a significant performance difference between the two Pirelli compounds and I’m sure that will make the race particularly absorbing. At this point of the season, reliability plays a key role and here in Singapore, an appearance from the Safety Car is almost guaranteed. Therefore we will have to keep an eye on all the variables in play and try and bring home as many points as possible for the team.”
Report – It was a complicated qualifying session for Scuderia Ferrari at Monza, the scene tomorrow at 2pm of the Italian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso managed to get his F14 T onto the seventh spot on the grid, while Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for twelfth, although he will start eleventh as Daniil Kvyat has a grid penalty in the Toro Rosso.
Both Ferrari men got through Q1 without any problems: Fernando was tenth and Kimi thirteenth. In Q2, things got more complicated: all the drivers were on the Medium tyres, going for the fastest time possible. Alonso’s first run produced a 1.25.525 which would see him safe, but with a 1.26.110, Kimi was tenth for a long time. At the flag, Fernando got into Q3 in fifth place, but Kimi was unable to improve and ended up twelfth and therefore outside the zone. In the final part, Alonso was seventh after his first run behind Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull.
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.436s||1.327s|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.709s||1.600s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.944s||1.835s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.157s||-|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.279s||-|
|21||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.070s||-|
Qualifying format: 1st-10th – Q3, 11th-16th – Q2, 17th-22nd – Q1
Kvyat has 10-place grid penalty
Raikkonen mystified by car handling change: “We changed the car a little bit, but it’s hard to believe that those small changes made it as difficult as it was. We had a good weekend on this side and we had no issues. Things were running smoothly, as they should always, and then we had difficulties to get grip in qualifying. For some reason I kept locking the fronts a bit and couldn’t find how I could make one sector good but not all of them in a row. It just got difficult for some reason. It was a bit of a surprise for me, an unpleasant surprise. We have to try to look into the details a bit and hopefully find an explanation. Obviously today our qualifying was not very good for me, but overall the weekend has maybe been a bit better than expected. We knew that qualifying would be a little bit difficult compared to some of the Mercedes people. They usually make a bigger step for that, and then it comes back a little bit for the race. We had a good long run yesterday, so I 100 per cent believe that we can do a much better race. Do we have enough speed to overtake people? We will know tomorrow. But I believe that we should be stronger than today.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a definitely positive start to the weekend, today in qualifying, I was expecting a better result. I experienced some difficulties in the afternoon, as the car was harder to drive, I was struggling to find the right grip level and I was locking the fronts. That’s why, on my last run on the Medium tyres, I made a few small mistakes which prevented me getting further than Q2. Starting eleventh is not ideal but all the same, I will give it my best shot tomorrow. We know we are up against some very strong opponents, but the long run went well and even if the race is another matter, this factor means we can be confident. It will be very important to get off the line well and choose the best strategy. It would be very nice to produce a good result for all our fans who have come to support us here in Monza.”
Pat Fry: “Compared to the morning session, we experienced a few more difficulties in qualifying, in terms of the balance of the car, especially in the fast corners and under braking, areas that are more complicated to manage on a track where you run low downforce. I don’t think Fernando could have done any more with his car. With the race pace we saw in Friday’s practice, let’s hope that tomorrow he can make up a few places and manage the Red Bulls behind him. Unfortunately, with Kimi, we didn’t make it to Q3, which is a real shame after what had been his first trouble-free free practice sessions of the season. Today he suffered a lot with locking the front wheels and at the vital moment in Q2, he lost time going into Roggia. With both compounds we experienced reasonably linear degradation, so even with the high temperatures expected tomorrow, it should not influence our strategy. If we want to score as many points as possible with both cars in the race, it will be important to manage the reliability parameter and try and get a good start.”
Report – At 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start the Belgian Grand Prix from the second and fourth rows, after the Spaniard was fourth fastest in qualifying, 69 thousandths off third placed Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull,) with the Finn in eighth spot on the grid.
Rain affected qualifying, having fallen before the start and then intermittently during the session. Neither Ferrari man had any trouble in Q1, getting through with Kimi sixth and Alonso ninth. Q2 also went smoothly, with Fernando making the cut to Q3 in third place, with Kimi fifth. In the top-ten shoot-out, the sun reappeared and the track gradually dried out.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m05.591s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m05.819s +0.228s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2m07.717s +2.126s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m07.786s +2.195s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m07.911s +2.320s 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m08.049s +2.458s 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m08.679s +3.088s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m08.780s +3.189s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m09.178s +3.587s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m09.776s +4.185s Q2 cut-off time: 2m09.272s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.377s +2.768s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.805s +3.196s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m10.084s +3.475s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m10.238s +3.629s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m11.087s +4.478s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.470s +5.861s Q1 cut-off time: 2m11.081s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m11.261s +4.131s 18. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m11.267s +4.137s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.566s +5.436s 20. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m13.414s +6.284s 21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 2m13.469s +6.339s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m14.438s +7.308s
Kimi admits mistakes made difference: “They were quite difficult conditions and I made quite a few mistakes on the last lap. I was held up on the out-lap by a few cars, which affected the way I wanted to start the whole lap and get the tyres ready, but I just made some mistakes and didn’t get a good lap on that last run. In the wet conditions, it’s a bit more tricky to say. They were difficult conditions and I was sliding a lot, so it was quite tricky. In the dry yesterday, I had so many problems that we couldn’t really do much. This morning, [in FP3], it didn’t feel too bad – the lap probably wasn’t anything good, but the car felt quite good, so everything seems to be okay. Obviously, the wet is always wet and bit tricky, but it was not a disaster. Running [on Friday] was a bit limited by the issues on my side and, this morning, there were just two or three laps [in the dry], so not many, but I think we should be okay knowing what we should do. The weather can change a lot here – and quickly, as we have seen – so we’ll try to make the right decisions at the right time and hopefully get a good result. Obviously, the weather will be the same for everyone, and sometimes it works for you and sometimes not. Hopefully, whatever the conditions are, we’ll make the right call and get a good race. It’ll be a long race and different conditions from start to finish, so let’s see how it is.”
Kimi thinks race could be different story: “You would think here and in Monza that the Mercedes [power unit] should have more advantage, like in the beginning of the year in Bahrain. But obviously we improve things all the time and small things here and there, so it’s getting better, but the race will tell the true story. You can get a good lap time but in the race, it’s very difficult to fight when the others are faster in a straight line – even if your actual lap time can be exactly the same as them. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s been surprisingly nice not to see a massive difference. In the wet Mercedes has the best grip, but in the dry it’s been okay.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “After lots of unforeseen incidents on Friday, this morning I was reasonably happy with the handling of my car. In the afternoon, the arrival of the rain made everything more unpredictable, the car was sliding all over the place and putting together a good lap wasn’t easy. On my last run in Q3, I tried my best, but some mistakes cost me a few places. Even if I’m a bit disappointed, now I want to just think about tomorrow’s race, which will be a long one, with the chance of very variable weather. I will try and make up as many places as possible and in order to do that, it will be very important to make the right decisions at the right time.”
Pat Fry: “We are reasonably pleased with the outcome, even if we cannot ignore Mercedes’ performance, given that we want to get back to being in the top positions. Fernando only just missed out on third place, having produced a fantastic lap. I hope he can have a good race from fourth on the grid. Kimi lost out a bit in all three sectors, but I believe he drove as hard as he could, even though he wound up eighth. Certainly, we can’t forget all the difficulties he experienced yesterday, because I’m sure that with a bit more track time, he could have been a bit higher up the order. Tomorrow’s race will be long and difficult: the forecast is for less chance of rain than today, but here at Spa, it’s impossible to be sure. The important thing is to be ready to adapt our strategy to whatever conditions we encounter.”
Report – When the lights go out at 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso will start from fifth on the grid, while Kimi could do no better than 17th, after taking a strategic gamble that didn’t pay off.
The sky looked threatening at the start of Q1, with the forecast claiming a 30% chance of rain. There was drama right away, as Pastor Maldonado stopped his Lotus at the side of the track and Lewis Hamilton had to park his Mercedes at the entrance to pit lane with a fire at the rear, not even having set a time.
Midway through Q1, Fernando was comfortably in a Q2 position, with Kimi 14th. The team then decided to keep the Finn in the garage, confident that the Caterhams and Marussias would not manage to beat his 1.26.792, which would have seen Kimi no lower than 16th. However, Jules Bianchi put in a great lap which meant that, by just a handful of hundredths, Raikkonen failed to make the cut to Q2. Now, the Finn has nothing to lose and will be attacking all the way in tomorrow’s race.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.715s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m23.201s +0.486s 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m23.354s +0.639s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m23.391s +0.676s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m23.909s +1.194s 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m24.223s +1.508s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.294s +1.579s 8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m24.720s +2.005s 9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m24.775s +2.060s 10. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes Q3 cut-off time: 1m24.647s 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m24.706s +1.396s** 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.136s +1.826s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m25.211s +1.901s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.260s +1.950s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.337s +2.027s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.419s +4.109s Q2 cut-off time: 1m26.728s 17. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.792s +1.851s*** 18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m27.139s +2.198s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.819s +2.878s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m28.643s +3.702s 21. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault
Raikkonen questioned Ferrari Q1 strategy – “The plan was to go out but the team said we are fine, I questioned it a few times to be 100% sure. The end result is what we can see. Yesterday afternoon [and] this morning it was a bit difficult with the hard to get grip, the soft [has] been quicker all weekend.”
“I don’t really see the point in shouting around. I’ve done mistakes in the past and will make more in the future.” (via autosport.com)
When asked if he could have over-ruled Ferrari’s decision due to his objections, Raikkonen replied: “You can, but I trust in the team, believe in the people. The plan was to go out, but the team said ‘no, you are fine, you do not need to go out’. I questioned it a few times, but they said no need and we can see the end result.
“I cannot always go against advice. We are here as a team, we make decision as a team, and today the outcome was this. As a team in Formula One, as Ferrari, we should not be doing these kind of things. None of us are in our first year. It’s not good for me or the team.”
Despite the error in judgement Raikkonen says he will not be labouring over Ferrari’s decision for too long.
“A mistake has been made. It’s already been a difficult year, so I don’t see the point to shout. The mistake is done. I’ve made mistakes in the past, I will make them in the future. People make mistakes, but there are things we have to change to improve. These are not easy times.”
Raikkonen insists qualifying does not change anything about his future.
“I have a contract, I fully believe in Ferrari, I’ve enjoyed a lot of wins and success with them. It’s been a difficult year, which is life. It’s not fun when you have hard times, it’s happened before and that’s how it goes.” (via espn.co.uk)
“As a team in Formula One, as Ferrari, we should not be doing these kind of things. None of us are in our first year. Obviously we have to improve, to do things differently because we can see there are weaknesses in the system. I have not suddenly over the winter lost a few seconds laptime. So it’s the case of putting things in the right places for me.” (via motorsport.com)
Kimi Raikkonen: “I am very disappointed with the outcome of qualifying, especially because this weekend I was going well and had a good feeling from the car. After the first run on the Medium tyres the team told me that my time should be good enough to get me through to the next part and so we decided to take a risk and not go out for a second run on the softer compound. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off and I couldn’t get past Q1.
It’s going to be difficult, because there’s not much chance of overtaking here at the Hungaroring. We definitely made a mistake, but now I only want to look ahead. Tomorrow, even if it will be tough, we will do our best to try and move up the order.”
Pat Fry: “Mixed fortunes for our team in today’s qualifying, with our drivers ending up no less than twelve places apart. In the first part, the fact that Maldonado and Hamilton were out led us to keep both cars in the garage, banking on the times set with the Medium tyres. With Fernando this worked, but unfortunately, with Kimi we were caught out by the evolution of the track. It’s very disappointing not to have got through with him because he’s been going better this weekend. Clearly tomorrow he will be on the attack: on this track, it’s not easy to move up the order because of the traffic, but our race pace is good and we will do all we can to turn things around. In the second part of qualifying, the track continued to improve and Fernando got into Q3 easily enough.
In the end, when the rain came, we decided to go out immediately, but then it was impossible to finish the lap. The hot track dried out very quickly but, concerned it might rain again, we decided to go out on track earlier than planned and Fernando ended up fifth. Rain is forecast for tomorrow which means it is even harder to make predictions, but whatever the weather we must try and get Kimi back up into the points and to get a good haul with Fernando.”