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)
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.”
Report – Fernando Alonso will start from seventh on row 4, while Kimi Raikkonen will be in twelfth place on row 6. There was drama in Q1, with the session being red flagged, after a technical problem resulted in Lewis Hamilton crashing heavily into the barriers. The session resumed for a seven minute mini-session in which both Scuderia men made it to the next part.
Alonso dealt with Q2 quite comfortably, but Kimi, after a good first timed lap, was unable to follow the majority in improving on his second, so he failed to make the cut to Q3 by a tenth.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m16.540s 2. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m16.759s +0.219s 3. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m17.078s +0.538s 4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.214s +0.674s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m17.273s +0.733s 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m17.577s +1.037s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m17.649s +1.109s 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m17.965s +1.425s 9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m18.014s +1.474s 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m18.035s +1.495s Q2 cut-off time: 1m18.161s Gap ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m18.193s +1.084s 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m18.273s +1.164s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m18.285s +1.176s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.787s +1.678s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m18.983s +1.874s 16. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes no time Q1 cut-off time: 1m18.927s Gap * 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m19.142s +1.511s 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m19.676s +2.045s 19. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m20.195s +2.564s 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m20.408s +2.777s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m20.489s +2.858s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault no time
Kimi Raikkonen: “This weekend, a few technical problems meant I spent more time in the garage than usual, but already, as from yesterday afternoon, my feeling with the car had improved. Today, in Q1 things went reasonably well, but then in Q2, when I fitted the second set of new Supersofts, my car was sliding all over the place and I lost the back end in turn 2. After that, it was impossible to put a good lap together.
I’m not happy with my grid position, but I hope things can go better in tomorrow’s race. It’s likely the weather could be different tomorrow and the temperatures will be lower. We will try and make the most of any opportunity because we want to have a nice race and bring home a good number of points.”
Raikkonen rues Q2 errors: “On the second run, for some reason I lost the rear in corner two, lost a lot of time and it was difficult to gain back the time after that,” he conceded, “I also lost time in the last sector, so I couldn’t put the lap together. It had felt pretty okay up to that point. We had a problem yesterday morning and a problem this morning, which doesn’t help, but the car was feeling pretty good yesterday morning and this morning, so it was an unfortunate thing. But it happens.”
It has happened perhaps more than most to Raikkonen since his return to Maranello, but the Finn is refusing to let things get him down.
“It’s just different things [affecting qualifying],” he admitted, “In the races, it hasn’t been that good either, so it’s just things going wrong or I’m making mistakes and haven’t been able to put a proper lap together for a long time. But it’s been feeling much better here, more like it should. It’s not exactly as I want, as it feels good for one run then, on the next, you lose the rear for no reason, but I’m not trying anything stupid. It’s so on edge that it’s difficult to predict what it’s going to do and one slip, like I had on corner two, and you lose all the speed on the straight. When it happens in moments like that, it makes a big difference.”
Shrugging off the lost of FRICS – ‘I don’t feel any difference’ – and the brake failure suffered by fellow Brembo user Lewis Hamilton – ‘they have happened to me and I know, out of 100 or 200 discs, there can be some odd issues’ – Raikkonen also played down the potential significance of having an extra set of tyres for qualifying outside the top ten.
“I’d much rather be more up in the front [rather than having an extra set of tyres], but I’ll have to see how the weather is tomorrow,” he reasoned, “It’s supposed to be a bit cooler, but who knows… I’d just like to make a good race and score good points.”
Report – The English rain delivered a bitter blow to Ferrari’s qualifying aspirations, with both drivers going out at the end of the first session, because the rain intensified just as Alonso and Raikkonen were hoping to improve their times.
At the start of qualifying the track was damp but drying. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers took to the track using Intermediates, as did everyone, and set reasonable times. Five minutes from the end, after a quick lap from Jenson Button in the McLaren, it was clear that it was now time for slicks. Both Fernando and Kimi duly fitted them, but as they started their flying laps, the rain intensified and there was no way of going quicker. Fernando might have made the cut to Q2 but he spun off the track, destroying his chances. Fernando and Kimi therefore qualified 19th and 20th respectively.
Q3 was also affected by rain and pole went to Nico Rosberg for Mercedes in 1.35.766 ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull,) Jenson Button (McLaren) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India.) The Ferrari duo will face an uphill struggle in tomorrow’s race which starts at 13h00 local time.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.766s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.386s +1.620s 3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.200s +2.434s 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.329s +2.563s 5. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.417s +2.651s 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m39.232s +3.466s 7. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m40.457s +4.691s 8. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.606s +4.840s 9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m40.707s +4.941s 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m40.855s +5.089s Q2 cut-off time: 1m38.166s Gap ** 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m38.496s +3.626s 12. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.709s +3.839s 13. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m39.800s +4.930s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.912s +6.042s 15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m44.018s +9.148s 16. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari no time Q1 cut-off time: 1m45.086s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m45.318s +4.938s 18. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m45.695s +5.315s 19. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.935s +5.555s 20. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m46.684s +6.304s 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m49.421s +9.041s 22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m49.625s +9.245s
Revised grid standings for the race (due to penalties)
Pos Driver Team 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 5. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 7. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 8. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 12. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 15. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 16. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari** 18. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari* 20. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault*** 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault**** 22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault**** *10-place grid penalty **5-place grid penalty ***Excluded from qualifying ****Allowed to start after failing to make 107 per cent cutoff
Raikkonen says Ferrari just got it wrong – “We tried to look at what the others did and try to make the right choice, but when I said in the end to put on the mediums we did it as quickly as we could but it had started to rain already. Obviously the timing was wrong, but the reason for that was … it was just wrong and we couldn’t get out early enough. Obviously we put on the slicks, went out, it started to rain and halfway after the first sector it was too wet already. That’s about it.”
However, Raikkonen said he is confident the car is not as bad as it felt during Friday practice, when he was ninth fastest, and would allow him to fight back in the race.
“Yesterday we just tried some things because obviously we don’t have much testing, so I’m happy to try thing son Friday to see what’s good and what’s not. We knew it was not very good overall, but if we found something on certain parts of the circuit then we can learn, and we put the car back today to how it was normally and I’m sure it’s okay. Yesterday’s times are nothing to do with today and unfortunately we got that wet session this morning. It will be hard tomorrow but there’s no reason why we won’t have a good race.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “We knew the changeable weather would make this qualifying very unpredictable, but I definitely didn’t expect this sort of result. On my first run, I did four laps on Intermediate tyres because the track was still wet, but then when it stopped raining we decided to switch to slicks. On the first part of the track, the conditions were acceptable, but in the second sector, it began raining again and this prevented us from setting a good enough time to get into Q2. Tomorrow, it won’t be easy moving up the order, but we will do our best to make up ground, also because today I had a better feeling than yesterday and I see no reason why I shouldn’t try and have a good race.”
Pat Fry: “Today’s qualifying result is bitterly disappointing and it means we will have an uphill struggle tomorrow, with a plan to attack right from the first to the last lap. In the opening minutes of Q1 the track conditions were mixed, which is the worst thing possible, because at some points there was a lot of water while other parts of the circuit were drying and some were even completely dry. It was impossible to improve on the Intermediates because of graining and the switch to slicks definitely complicated matters for the drivers as there was so little grip. When the lap times fell as the track began to dry, we fitted the Mediums, as in fact did everyone else, but the rain returned and that meant we were unable to make it through to the next part of qualifying. Now, our aim in tomorrow’s race is to finish in the points, trying to make the most of the new sets of tyres we have.”
BBC Kimi Raikkonen interview post-qualifying
Felipe Massa led a shock Williams one-two in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix. The Brazilian’s last-gasp effort knocked team-mate Valtteri Bottas off top spot in the final seconds of qualifying, giving him pole by just under a tenth of a second.
It was Massa’s first pole since the 2008 Brazilian GP and the first for Williams since Nico Hulkenberg at the same race four years ago.
World championship leader Nico Rosberg was third fastest after failing to improve on his final attempt, but while he missed out on top spot he will be happy to see title rival Lewis Hamilton down in ninth.
Hamilton’s first run in Q3, which would have been good enough for fifth on the grid, was disallowed for exceeding track limits at the exit of Turn 8 after the rear stepped out. His second attempt was ruined by a spin at Turn 2, meaning that he did not set a time, putting him ahead of only the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix produced a surprising front row, while the Scuderia Ferrari drivers will be starting from the second and fourth rows. Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest in 1.09.285, equaling his best result of the season in Malaysia. Kimi Raikkonen will start from eighth, with a time of 1.10.795.
Both men had a relatively smooth passage into Q2, but from then on life got harder. Fernando was on a perfect lap but made a mistake at the end of the final corner, going off on the grass, which meant he had to try again. Kimi pushed hard all the way to squeeze through in last place for the top ten shoot-out.
The final stages were action packed. Fernando posted a strong 1.09.285. Kimi never got a clean lap and could do no better than eighth.
Numerous drivers had lap times automatically disallowed during the session for running wide beyond track limits at the exit of Turn 8.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m08.759s 2. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m08.846s +0.087 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m08.944s +0.185 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m09.285s +0.526 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m09.466s +0.707 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m09.515s +0.756 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m09.619s +0.860 8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m10.795s +2.036 9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes Q2 cut-off time: 1m09.657s Gap ** 11. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m09.754s +0.780s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m09.780s +0.806s 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m09.801s +0.827s 14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m09.939s +0.965s 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m10.073s +1.099s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m10.642s +1.668s Q1 cut-off time: 1m10.821s Gap * 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m10.825s +1.311s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m11.349s +1.835s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m11.412s +1.898s 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m11.673s +2.159s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m11.775s +2.261s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m12.673s +3.159s
Kimi Raikkonen: “In these two days I have found it more difficult to put together a good lap and again today in qualifying things did not go well. In Q3, I went out for just a single run on the Supersofts, but the mistakes made at the first corner affected my lap times. On my last run I locked the wheels, damaging the left front tyre, but at that point, I decided to keep on trying to improve. Even if eighth place is not a disaster, I am disappointed because we were quicker than that today, but I was never able to be consistent in the three sectors. Race pace is good and even if I am finding it a bit hard to get the tyres up to temperature, I will try my best tomorrow.”
Pat Fry: “If you look at the results of qualifying since the start of the year, today’s is definitely unusual, but putting all other considerations aside, all my congratulations go to Felipe, because I think he really deserved pole position. Here in Spielberg, your overall power counts for a lot and so starting from the second row must be seen as a good result. It’s very easy to make mistakes here, especially in the first corner and the last two and, as it’s a very short track, traffic can also create problems. Fernando got the most out of the car and tomorrow with him we will work in two directions, attacking those in front while defending from those behind such as Hamilton. Unfortunately, Kimi didn’t get a clean lap, because of a mistake at the first corner and now we will work on improving his package so he can have greater confidence in the car, because his qualities are out of question. The race pace we had on Friday is encouraging, equal to that of the Williams and Red Bull and so we can expect the race to be as tight as qualifying.”
Raikkonen caught out by first corner: “I was struggling with the first corner a lot [and] I couldn’t get it right,” he said. “I knew I had three laps so I tried to do it again but on the last lap I just locked an outside wheel for some reason and flat-spotted the front left. It was pretty much done at that point. So it was at the first corner and after that I lost a lot of time there with a lot of vibrations in a straight line and I just did the lap to get a time. It was disappointing and difficult to get a single lap together the whole weekend. The speed wasn’t too bad if I’d put a lap together but it’s just been a big struggle to do that. In the end it wasn’t a complete disaster but not where I want to be. It’s better in the race to get the tyres working. That seems to be difficult for me [in qualifying] and it’s not just this weekend, but it seems to get a bit more easy in the race.”
Report – Not the best of qualifying sessions for Scuderia Ferrari in Canada. Fernando Alonso will start tomorrow’s race from seventh on the grid, while Kimi Raikkonen is in tenth place. Having made it to Q2 without any bother, the two F14 Ts then had a harder time. Fernando excelled himself, with a great 1.16.131 which put him through to Q3, using two sets of new tyres. Kimi had to make an additional run, which meant that when he got to the final part, he only had one set of new tyres left. On his second flying lap in Q3, Alonso did a 1.15.814, while Kimi’s single run netted him a 1.16.214.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.874s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.953s +0.079s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.548s +0.674s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m15.550s +0.676s 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m15.578s +0.704s 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m15.589s +0.715s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.814s +0.940s 8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m16.162s +1.288s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.182s +1.308s 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m16.214s +1.340s Q2 cut-off time: 1m16.255s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m16.300s +1.246s 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.310s +1.256s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m16.472s +1.418s 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.687s +1.633s 15. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m16.713s +1.659s 16. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.314s +2.260s Q1 cut-off time: 1m18.235s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m18.328s +2.578s 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m18.348s +2.598s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m18.359s +2.609s 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m19.278s +3.528s 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m19.820s +4.070s 22. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari no time
Kimi Raikkonen: “All weekend, I haven’t been completely satisfied with the handling of my car and again today in qualifying I found it difficult. On my only run in Q3, I went out on a new set of Supersofts, but my F14 T was sliding a lot and I couldn’t put together a good lap. Maybe I could have been one or two places higher up, but I don’t think it would have changed much. Even if the updates we tried yesterday worked, we knew it wouldn’t be easy: probably this is one of the tracks that least suits the characteristics of our car. I expect a very long race tomorrow, in which anything could happen. We will try and get a good start and then give it our all.”
Pat Fry: “Today we knew we’d be facing a difficult qualifying, but to be honest, we were hoping for something a bit better. We also knew that at this track, we wouldn’t just be fighting Red Bull, but other teams as well who, thanks to the few corners and long straights here, would give us a hard time and that proved to be the case. The session began in particularly high temperatures, almost 20 degrees hotter than yesterday and we struggled more than our rivals to find enough grip with both cars. From a technical point of view Red Bull, thanks to their higher level of downforce and Williams, with the better driveability of the Mercedes engine, were able to get more out of the tyres, which meant they were more competitive than us. Tomorrow, we will try and do all we can to get a good start, although this year it has not been so easy to make the most of the straights for overtaking. We will definitely have to keep an eye on tyre degradation, which has a bigger effect here, especially with the rears.”
Raikkonen bemoans edgy Ferrari: “It wasn’t a very good lap in the end, but obviously I only had one chance,” he said. “We could have improved the speed a bit if I could have another go, but then that doesn’t change an awful lot our position.
“It’s difficult to know, it’s sliding around and it’s very difficult to make one good lap. If you hit a little bit of kerb in a different way then it changes. It’s right on the edge and sliding around.”
Raikkonen said the traffic was a distraction, but that he would only have gained one or two positions on the grid with a completely clean lap.
“It didn’t help. You know they are going to move out of the way, but they are still there so it doesn’t help. I locked a wheel on one corner, but that’s how it goes. If we had a second run maybe we could go faster but it would just be by one or two places, it’s not like it would have changed the whole picture. It’s more or less where I have been the whole weekend.”
Report – Nico Rosberg claimed his second successive Monaco Grand Prix pole position despite going off on his final flying lap.
The German was the faster of the Mercedes duo on the first runs in the Q3 top 10 shootout, shading Lewis Hamilton by 59 thousandths of a second.
He then made a mistake on his final flier, locking up and sliding up the escape road at Mirabeau.
But as Hamilton, who was behind Rosberg on track, was slow in the middle sector of his final lap because of the resulting yellow flags, the Briton was unable to attempt to defeat Rosberg.
Daniel Ricciardo continued his strong weekend by beating Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel to third, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen claiming the third row.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.989s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.048s +0.059s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m16.384s +0.395s 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m16.547s +0.558s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.686s +0.697s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m17.389s +1.400s 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m17.540s +1.551s 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.555s +1.566s 9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m18.090s +2.101s 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m18.327s +2.338s Q3 cut-off time: 1m17.755s ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.846s +1.492s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.988s +1.634s 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m18.082s +1.728s 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m18.196s +1.842s 15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m18.356s +2.002s 16. Felipe Massa Williams-Renault Q2 cut-off time: 1m18.616s* 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.741s +1.184s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.745s +1.188s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.332s +1.775s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.928s +2.371s 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m20.133s +2.576s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m21.732s +4.175s
Kimi Raikkonen (6th) – “I’m not happy with this qualifying, because even though we worked hard on the set-up, making several changes, my feeling with the car didn’t improve much. Right from Thursday I had to fight to find the best solution and the time lost during the second free practice session certainly didn’t help. On top of that, we are not able to make the tyres work well here and in that situation, it’s not easy to put together a good lap, especially on a track where you don’t get a second chance. Sixth place is not ideal, but neither is it a disaster and tomorrow we will do our best to get the most out of it all.”
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director – “Finding the right window to put in the quick laps and avoid traffic is always a crucial aspect of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, especially in Q1 and Q2. Here, the tyres are taking a few more laps to be at their best and this slightly complicated the process, but luckily we didn’t have any major problems with either car. The gap has come down to the Red Bulls and also to Mercedes, but the result hasn’t changed since the previous races. In any case, both Fernando and Kimi got the most out of the F14 T, which continues to improve step by step. It will be a long and demanding race tomorrow for the whole team, with the thousands of variables this Grand Prix can throw up. The chance of rain is only slight, but nevertheless we want to be prepared to tackle both scenarios to give our drivers the best chance of bringing home as many points as possible.”
Report – Scuderia Ferrari’s F14 Ts will start tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Catalunya circuit from the third and fourth rows. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest in 1.27.104, beating team-mate Fernando Alonso by just 36 thousandths. It was a complicated, difficult session for the Scuderia. Raikkonen got through to Q2 in 16th and last place in Q1 and then Alonso suffered the same fate, getting through to the top-ten shoot-out in tenth place.
Once again, Lewis Hamilton was on pole, taking his fourth of the season and the 35th of his career. He beat his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by 168 thousandths. The second row features Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Joining Kimi on row 3 is a surprise in the shape of Frenchman Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, while Alonso has Jenson Button in the McLaren for company on row 4.
Kimi Raikkonen: “We can’t be pleased with sixth place, because naturally we want to be fighting for the top places. But compared to the last race, we have managed to solve some problems and have improved the feeling I have from the car. Yesterday, the long run went well and, in general, we did a good job, but there is still much more to do, because we are not yet as fast as we would like to be. Tomorrow, the goal is to get a good start and then have a normal race. Of course, we will also need a good strategy and we will have to keep an eye on our tyre management. It won’t be easy, but we are definitely going to fight.”
Kimi – every flying lap is a fight: The Finn outpaced team-mate Fernando Alonso in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, taking sixth place – one spot ahead of the sister car. But asked if that was a sign of progress, Raikkonen replied: “No, the morning was a disaster and we changed the car quite a bit. It was still very difficult, I had to fight a lot to get the one lap out. There are small things all the time and it’s tricky to get the one lap. You have to stay on line and try not to make a mistake, it’s always a fight to get the lap out, and obviously it’s still disappointing to be six or seventh.”
Kimi taking little satisfaction from out-qualifying Alonso: “Obviously people are interested in that side, but for me until we are in the front it does not interest me. Obviously I try to stay in front of him, but it doesn’t give me much satisfaction when we are sixth and seventh – that’s not where we want to be. It’s a much bigger picture that we have to look at and right now if I’m in front it’s nice but it doesn’t really change my life. I want to win as a team at the front and then it makes a difference, but right now it does not make that big a difference. If you looked in the morning it was a disaster and then we changed the car quite a bit, but it’s still really difficult and we have to find a lot to get the one lap out. It’s small things all the time but it’s tricky to get one lap on the line without making massive mistakes, it seems to always happen the mistakes. It’s just a big fight always to get the lap out of it. We’re still disappointed, it’s still sixth and seventh and we want to be in the front so we cannot be happy, but that’s how it goes.”
Asked if a podium was possible, he said: “That’s the aim, but is it going to happen? Hard to say. In previous races this year there has always been something happening and it’s been difficult, so hopefully we will have a normal race, but let’s wait and see.”
Pat Fry: “Today’s qualifying session was difficult for everyone. The track conditions had not improved much since yesterday and it was very difficult to put together a clean lap. We continued to work on the balance of both cars as we tried to increase the grip, but it was not enough to obtain better grid positions for Fernando and Kimi. As always here in Barcelona, it will be important to get a good understanding of the tyre degradation, because this track provides a real challenge for the two tyre compounds in terms of performance and wear. Overall, we have made a few small steps forward on improving the stability of the F14 T, both under braking and on turn-in to the corners, as well as on power delivery, so as to give the drivers more confidence in the car. But there is still lots of work to do to improve the efficiency of the car, especially on the aerodynamic front. Tomorrow’s race will be difficult, but we can count on having a pair of amazing drivers who will be trying to make up a few places.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.232s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.400s +0.168s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m26.285s +1.053s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m26.632s +1.400s 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.960s +1.728s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m27.104s +1.872s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.140s +1.908s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.335s +2.103s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m27.402s +2.170s 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault Q3 cut-off time: 1m27.602s ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m27.685s +1.597s 12. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m28.002s +1.914s 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.039s +1.951s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.280s +2.192s 15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault Q2 cut-off time: 1m28.472s * 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.563s +1.799s 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m29.586s +2.822s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.177s +3.413s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m30.312s +3.548s 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m30.375s +3.611s 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault
Watch Kimi’s Q3 lap and more here.
Kimi Raikkonen described his Chinese Grand Prix weekend as “painful” thus far, after failing to make it into the top 10 in qualifying.
The Finn lost most of Friday’s dry free practice sessions to technical problems with his Ferrari and failed to graduate to the final segment of qualifying for the second time in four races on Saturday.
He will start 11th for Sunday’s race at Shanghai, after struggling with the gearshifts on his F14 T.
“It’s been a pretty painful couple of days,” said Raikkonen.
“In the morning [free practice] it felt a bit better but obviously it didn’t turn out to be a very good day. But that’s how it goes.
“[I had] some issues upsetting things with the gearshift. It felt OK at some points but I lost quite a lot of time in the last sector.
“It’s been a pretty bad weekend so far. I didn’t get much running yesterday and it seems to get more difficult all the time. I don’t really understand why.
“There are moments it feels pretty good but then days like this.
“I’m sure there is something we can do to get things running nicely all the time, but obviously the issues we had yesterday didn’t help to start with.
“[It's] not easy with the weather to pick it up and turn it around. It looks pretty bad right now, but I have had difficult years with other teams and with Ferrari – I think 2009 was even worse.
“[It's] not ideal, but there’s only one way we can go and I’m sure we can turn it around.”
Tough time for Raikkonen: In the third wet qualifying out of four races so far this season, Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, while Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for eleventh place. The Spaniard did not have much difficulty getting through to the final part of qualifying, but in the last 12 minute session, he struggled on his first run, while on his second set of intermediates, he set a time of 1.55.637.
Raikkonen had a much tougher time, failing to make the cut to Q3 by just 13 thousandths of a second, with a time of 1.56.860. The Finn got caught up in traffic, which wiped out any advantage from having fitted new tyres. Kimi ended up in a train of cars, which is always a problem in the wet as visibility is so restricted.
Lewis Hamilton took the 34th pole of his career for Mercedes. He will share the front row with Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. Ahead of Alonso are Sebastian Vettel, third and Nico Rosberg fourth.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m53.860s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m54.455s +0.595s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m54.960s +1.100s 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m55.143s +1.283s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m55.637s +1.777s 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m56.147s +2.287s 7. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m56.282s +2.422s 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m56.366s +2.506s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m56.773s +2.913s 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m57.079s +3.219s Q3 cut-off time: 1m56.847s 11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m56.860s +2.831s* 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m56.963s +2.934s* 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m57.289s +3.260s* 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.393s +3.364s* 15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m57.675s +3.646s* 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m58.264s +4.235s* Q2 cut-off time: 1m58.411s 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m58.988s +3.472s** 18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m59.260s +3.744s** 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m59.326s +3.810s** 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m00.646s +5.130s** 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m00.865s +5.349s** 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault
Kimi Raikkonen: “The past two days have been difficult, because after yesterday’s technical problem, this morning I also only did a single run, but overall, I felt more comfortable in the car. Unfortunately, on my last run in Q2, when I was on my quick lap, I lost a lot of time in the final sector and that meant I didn’t make the cut to Q3. The car’s handling was inconsistent, as it was stable in some parts of the track and less so in others. I had some problems with the balance and this had an effect on my performance. It’s too early to say what happened, but the time lost yesterday definitely didn’t help. Now I want to concentrate on tomorrow’s race and try my best to end this weekend with a good result.”
Raikkonen – Inconsistent handling: “The car’s handling was inconsistent, as it was stable in some parts of the track and less so in others. I had some problems with the balance and this had an effect on my performance. The past two days have been difficult, because after yesterday’s technical problem, this morning I also only did a single run, but overall, I felt more comfortable in the car. Unfortunately, on my last run in Q2, when I was on my quick lap, I lost a lot of time in the final sector and that meant I didn’t make the cut to Q3. It’s too early to say what happened, but the time lost yesterday definitely didn’t help. Now I want to concentrate on tomorrow’s race and try my best to end this weekend with a good result. I have had difficult years with other teams and with Ferrari. I think 2009 was even more worse. It’s not ideal but there is only one way that we can go. I’m sure we can make things better and make me happier and make better results.”
Pat Fry: “The weather forecast for today proved to be right and a light but persistent rain had a significant effect on both sessions. In the morning, we chose to run as little as possible so as not to use up the rain tyres in order to have as many new sets as possible for qualifying and the race. Kimi unfortunately did not get past Q2. Yesterday he lost the first free practice session and today he was fighting with the balance of the car, especially in the slow corners. As for Fernando, he managed to get through the three parts of qualifying without any particular problems and fifth place on the grid tomorrow will mean he can be in the leading group. With him, we will try and exploit any opportunity to attack while with Kimi we will try and move him up the order to take as many points as he can. In both cases, the opening two laps will hold the key.”
Report: Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will start from the third and fifth rows tomorrow night in Sakhir. The Finn struggled in Q1 and Q2, but strung it together to post an encouraging 1.34.368, good enough to go sixth fastest in Q3.
As for the Spaniard, he looked on the pace in the first two session, but did not get the most out of the car in the final part and had to settle for tenth place with aq 1.34.992.
Both drivers will move up one place on the grid, although not actually changing rows, as Ricciardo, third today, takes a ten place penalty from the Malaysian Grand Prix. Pole went to Nico Rosberg, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The second row will feature Bottas in the Williams and Perez in the Force India.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.185s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.464s +0.279s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m34.051s +0.866s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m34.247s +1.062s 5. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m34.346s +1.161s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m34.368s +1.183s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.387s +1.202s 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m34.511s +1.326s 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.712s +1.527s 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.992s +1.807s Q2 cut-off time: 1m34.925s Gap ** 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.985s +1.277s 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.116s +1.408s 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.145s +1.437s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.286s +1.578s 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.891s +2.183s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.908s +2.200s Q1 cut-off time: 1m36.654s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m36.663s +1.789s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.840s +1.966s 19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m37.085s +2.211s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.310s +2.436s 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m37.875s +3.001s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.913s +3.039s
Kimi Raikkonen: “I am reasonably pleased with my qualifying, because up until this morning, I did not feel completely comfortable in the car, but the faith I put in what we had at our disposal was paid back with this result. We are improving in all areas, on the engine, data acquisition, electronics and the new parts fitted to the car have given me a better feeling from the front end. Sure, we are not yet where we want to be, but I think we are on the right path and we have the right people to give us every possibility to continue to move forward. It’s hard to say how tomorrow’s race will go, because in the simulation done yesterday, I was struggling on the Medium tyre, while the balance was better on the Soft. We know we can’t fight with Mercedes, but today’s result gives me more confidence than at the previous races and I will do my best to bring home a good result.”
Pat Fry: “The results we’ve seen so far here are not a surprise because we knew we would be racing on the defensive and that we would see a bigger gap to the Mercedes, who are currently on their own out in front. The track characteristics do not highlight the potential of our car and the long straights favour the teams that can get the highest top speed. To do a perfect lap here is always difficult and today, Fernando and Kimi found themselves fighting four teams, all within a few tenths. Qualifying was complicated for both drivers and Kimi did a good lap, confirming the improvement we’ve been looking for, while with Fernando, we didn’t manage to exploit all our potential. Because of Ricciardo’s penalty, both drivers start on the clean side of the track and we must try and make the most of it. It looks like being a tough race, fighting all the way, with reliability and fuel consumption playing a very important role.”
Kimi sees progress: “The feeling is a bit better with the car,” Raikkonen told reporters in the Sakhir paddock. “I think the parts I wanted have definitely helped. In qualifying it felt more like we expected and wanted. It’s definitely the right direction. We’re still not where we want to be but we know what we’re doing. It will just take time to get where we want.”
The 2007 world champion said there is no specific area that needs improvement on the Ferrari, as the team needs to make gains in every department.
“We need to go forward with all areas of the car,” he added. “Obviously we need more. Understanding on engines and electronics to improve those small things that make a lot of improvement. We improved a lot of things in the first three races, all areas. [And] I improved a little with the front end.”
NO BRAKE-BY-WIRE ISSUES
Raikkonen said that he has not really suffered many problems with the new brake-by-wire system in the last two race weekends, after it proved troublesome earlier in the year.
“[Brake-by-wire] wasn’t really a problem,” he said. “We had some issues in testing, there were some odd things in Australia.
“It’s all really to do with front end, and if you have a good feeling with the brake it gets easier. We’ve improved in that area.”
Car feeling better than ever: “Yesterday the long runs felt pretty difficult but suddenly on the soft tyres it felt pretty nice,” Raikkonen said. “I think we made the right changes to the car for today so I expect that it should be pretty okay, but I don’t know whether it is fast enough to be fighting with those [other cars for third] and obviously we have to get through the first corner and the first lap.
“We are only going to see [if we can do] that tomorrow, but I am more confident overall with how things have gone than at any race before this year. Hopefully we will get through the first corners, get a good start and go from there.”
Raikkonen could not explain his difficulties with the car during Friday practice, but is said new parts that the team has brought to the F14 T have helped his feeling with the front end of the car.
“The funny thing is that it’s been feeling pretty okay in one or two corners and then suddenly it was feeling very odd, so I don’t know why we had yesterday a very difficult day. This morning was a bit better already but I didn’t drive so well. Obviously we had two outlaps in the morning and then it’s very difficult to say where you are, but the feeling has been better with the car.”
Report – It was a wet qualifying in Sepang and its outcome means that the Ferraris will start from the second and third rows tomorrow. Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest in 2.00.175, with Kimi Raikkonen sixth, stopping the clocks in 2.01.218. Lewis Hamilton took the 33rd pole of his career for Mercedes with a 1.59.431. Alongside him will be Sebastian Vettel, with the Englishman’s team-mate, Nico Rosberg third.
Fernando’s fourth was an amazing achievement, due not only to the driver but also to his mechanics. Early in Q2, the Spaniard was hit by Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso and the impact broke the left steering arm on the F14 T. The guys changed it just five minutes, allowing Fernando to complete the session. As we knew, Kimi wasn’t so happy with the feeling from his car especially in the wet, but if you could see his ‘on-board’ footage, you would understand the meaning of the word ‘commitment’!
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m59.431s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m59.486s +0.055s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m00.050s +0.619s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m00.175s +0.744s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m00.541s +1.110s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m01.218s +1.787s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m01.712s +2.281s 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m02.213s +2.782s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m03.078s +3.647s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m04.053s +4.622s Q2 cut-off time: 1m36.811s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m02.351s +3.310s 12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m02.369s +3.328s 13. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m02.460s +3.419s 14. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m02.511s +3.470s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m02.756s +3.715s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m02.885s +3.844s Q1 cut-off time: 2m01.689s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m02.074s +4.891s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m02.131s +4.948s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m02.702s +5.519s 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 2m03.595s +6.412s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m04.388s +7.205s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m04.407s +7.224s
Kimi Raikkonen: “The rain made this qualifying very difficult. I knew that in the wet it would not be easy, but I didn’t expect to have so many problems. I had poor traction and on top of that, with the Extreme Wet, for some reason I was losing grip after the first lap. Now we have to find out why, as it will be useful for the coming races Clearly, I’m not happy with sixth place, but given the circumstances, I cannot say I’m surprised and now I only want to think about doing well tomorrow. It will be a tough race with particularly high temperatures, but I am reasonably confident, because we have gone better here than in Melbourne and if we don’t have any problems, we can think in terms of getting a better result. Overall, my feel for the car is improving and even if there is still a way to go, we are working in the right direction.”
Pat Fry: “We can regard this as a positive result. Qualifying was extremely close because of the weather and also because of the condition of our cars. The start positions are not really those we were aiming for, but all the same, they show the team is working in the right direction to close the gap to Mercedes. Q1 was relatively straightforward to read and then the mechanics did an amazing job on Fernando’s car, changing the steering arm in just a few minutes, after the collision with Kvyat’s Toro Rosso. He was back on track in record time and from then on, Fernando still had to fight to control the car and I think, in that situation, not many drivers could have done the lap he did in Q3. He really deserves our congratulations. Kimi’s performance was no less impressive: we know he’s not yet completely happy with the feeling of his F14 T and in the wet, he had some car balance problems, but I think he can have an attacking race from where he is on the grid. Once again here, Mercedes is setting the pace, but we will try and make the most of any opportunity, although the priority is to finish the race, because more than ever this year, you can’t take reliability for granted.”
| Source: autosport.com |
Report: Qualifying was made particularly tricky because of rain and it ended in less than brilliant circumstances for Scuderia Ferrari. Fernado Alonso was fifth fastest, leaving the impression he could have done better with a little bit of luck, while Kimi Raikkonen is twelfth on the sixth row, having hit the wall right at the end of Q2 in Albert Park.
Everyone rushed out on track in Q1 as the rain was clearly on its way, arriving four minutes from the end: Fernando was fourth fastest with a 1.31.388 on the Soft tyres, while Raikkonen was ninth in 1.32.439 on the Mediums.
In a wet Q2, the Intermediate tyres were called into service, and the Spaniard was third in 1.42.805, six tenths off Rosberg’s Mercedes. But Raikkonen was in the wall and out of proceedings, a fate he shared with two other champions, Button and Vettel.
- A five-place grid penalty for Bottas moves Kimi up to 11th for the race tomorrow (view full grid list here).
- Kimi admits traffic more costly than crash: “I didn’t have any more time to do an extra lap, so on that lap I would have come in anyway. I was playing around with the switches or something, and I got a little bit of wheelspin and touched the wall. But the car is more or less OK. It was just my mistake. I got a little bit of wheelspin, I wasn’t pushing anymore, but I couldn’t catch it. That didn’t change the fact we had traffic on the previous lap. There was a McLaren going very slowly through Turn 5, and there were some other cars in front of us, but that’s how it goes sometimes. In the wet we had the speed, it was just the traffic.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.231s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m44.548s +0.317s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.595s +0.364s 4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.745s +1.514s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.819s +1.588s 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m45.864s +1.633s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m46.030s +1.799s 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m47.360s +3.129s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m48.079s +3.848s 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m48.147s +3.916s Q3 cut-off: 1m44.331s ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.437s +2.173s 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m44.494s +2.230s 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.668s +2.404s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.655s +3.391s 15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m45.867s +3.603s 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m47.293s +5.029s Q2 cut-off: 1m34.274s *** 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.293s +4.118s 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.794s +4.619s 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.117s +4.942s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m35.157s +4.982s 21. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.993s +6.818s
Kimi Raikkonen: “Qualifying wasn’t straightforward today, especially because of traffic. When I was on a quick lap, I had a car in front of me at every corner. That stopped me getting a clean lap and at the end of Q2, I spun off damaging the front wing. I don’t think I’d have gone quicker anyway, as I had already reduced my speed at this point, because I knew already I wouldn’t make it to Q3. It’s a shame, because compared to yesterday we have made some steps forward. In the wet we were quick and I had more feeling for the car. We know we have a lot of work to do in every area, especially on car set-up, but at the same time, we are sure we are going in the right direction. Tomorrow’s race will be tough, the weather forecast is unclear and on top of that, with the new rules, it’s hard to predict how things will go. But it’s only the first race of the year and we will do our best to get a good result.”
Pat Fry: “Qualifying in the wet in Melbourne is nothing new, but today, added to the wet track, the drivers also had to deal with all the new technologies introduced in the regulations. We are not satisfied with the final result, even if the F14 T is still at the development stage and I believe the team is working in the right direction to make up ground to our rivals, especially Mercedes, who today confirmed the form they’d shown in winter testing. Our grid positions would suggest an uphill battle in the race, especially for Kimi and we can expect unknown factors linked to reliability and fuel consumption to count for a lot. As for the former factor, we are paying close attention to every little detail. At this point, we cannot allow ourselves to be distracted, because with such complicated systems, the unpredictable could come into play. In terms of race pace, we’ve seen some teams are faster than us, but I think the first race of the year could throw up some surprises, hopefully in our favour.”
Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying after his car failed a floor deflection test in Abu Dhabi. He will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.
In Hungary a similar thing happened with Romain Grosjean, but the stewards accepted that the floor was damaged.
However this time the circumstances were different – in effect it was not the first time it had happened – and thus the car was deemed to have failed to comply with the regulations.
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg is therefore elevated into the top five, while the decision also brings Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso into the top 10 after his poor qualifying result.
In last year’s Abu Dhabi GP, eventual world champion Sebastian Vettel came through from last to third after being excluded from qualifying.
“The team respects the Stewards’ decision and will do everything in its power to ensure Kimi and the team gets the best result possible after starting from the back of the grid in The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” said Team Principal, Eric Boullier. “No advantage was sought or gained in the incident and the relevant part has been replaced.
“We’ve seen what Kimi can do to work through the field when he needs to and we are going all out for the strongest result possible.”
Kimi’s engineer Mark Slade told Finnish newspaper TurunSanomat that Kimi’s car experienced a 21G impact riding over a kerb in qualifying which caused damage to the floorboard that failed FIA tests after qualifying.
Revised Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154s Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap ** 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974s Q1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap * 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s 18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s 22. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s***
Raikkonen car fails floor test post-qualifying – Lotus team members have been summoned to the stewards after Raikkonen’s car did not pass a floor deflection test after he qualified fifth for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A statement from the stewards said: “car number seven [Raikkonen] did not comply with Article 3.17.5 of the 2013 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations as the front floor deflected more than 5mm vertically when the load was applied vertically to it at the point which lies 100mm of car centre line on the [left-hand side].”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
With the shorter wheelbase E21 seeming to suit the Iceman here in Abu Dhabi, a P5 qualifying performance leaves him in a confident mood heading into the race where he scored his 2012 victory
Q: HOW WAS YOUR SATURDAY IN ABU DHABI?
KR: Today wasn’t too bad overall. In the early sessions both yesterday and today I struggled a bit to get the car working how I wanted, but in the evening when the temperature is cooler it’s been much more to my liking. This is good as the race will be in the evening so we’d prefer it that way around for sure.
Q: HOW’S PROGRESS WITH YOUR RETURN TO THE SHORT WHEELBASE CAR?
KR: The short wheelbase car seems to suit my style a bit better, so hopefully we can continue this way for tomorrow. It’s not a big change, but if you can get the front end of the car as you want it there can be a big difference in how it feels. This means I can drive normally and everything comes to me as I want it. Here today it was not too bad.
Q: CAN YOU HAVE A STRONG RACE LIKE LAST YEAR?
KR: Of course, you always want to be as far up the grid as you can and we clearly weren’t the fastest today, but you never know what might happen on Sunday. Our car is usually good in the race and as long as we don’t have any issues we should be up there fighting for a good result.
Video: SkySports interview post-qualifying with Kimi
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s 6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154s Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap ** 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s 13. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974s Q1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap * 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s 18. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s
Raikkonen car fails floor test post-qualifying – Lotus team members have been summoned to the stewards after Raikkonen’s car did not pass a floor deflection test after he qualified fifth for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A statement from the stewards said: “car number seven [Raikkonen] did not comply with Article 3.17.5 of the 2013 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations as the front floor deflected more than 5mm vertically when the load was applied vertically to it at the point which lies 100mm of car centre line on the [left-hand side].”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Q: HOW WAS QUALIFYING FOR YOU?
KR: It wasn’t an ideal qualifying session and I’m still having some problems with understeer, but the car did feel better overall than yesterday. The tyres are a challenge and have to be managed over a full lap for qualifying so we are where we are on the grid.
Q: HAVE YOU MADE CHANGES TO THE CAR SINCE YESTERDAY?
KR: Obviously we made some changes, but there are certain things we can’t change so it’s still not exactly as we want. That’s how it is.
Q: HOW LONG CAN YOU MAKE THE SOFT TYRES LAST?
KR: Let’s see tomorrow. I have no answers today.
Q: ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE RACE?
KR: We’ll see what happens and I’ll try to do as well as I can. Overall, the car feels slightly better than in the last few races; still not where we want it to be, but slightly better. Usually we do better in the race than we qualify so we’ll just have to see what happens.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.119s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.871s +0.752s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.941s +0.822s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.047s +0.928s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.201s +1.082s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.248s +1.129s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.334s +1.215s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.826s +1.707s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.153s +2.034s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.487s +2.368s Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.458s Gap ** 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.519s +0.951s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s +1.143s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s +1.172s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.798s +1.230s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.134s +1.566s 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.336s +1.768s Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.178s Gap * 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.577s +1.003s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.842s +1.268s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.970s +1.396s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.105s +1.531s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.487s +1.913s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.138s +2.564s
Kimi Raikkonen – 6th: “It wasn’t an ideal qualifying session and I’m still having some problems with understeer, but the car did feel better overall than yesterday. The tyres have to be managed over a full lap for qualifying so we are where we are on the grid. We’ll see what happens tomorrow and I’ll try to do as well as I can. Overall, the car feels slightly better than in the last few races; still not where we want it to be, but slightly better.”
Romain Grosjean – 17th: “We took a gamble once again to try just one run on the prime tyres in Q1, and although it’s been a successful tactic for us recently it didn’t pay off this time. The times were much tighter than expected and ultimately we made a miscalculation with the cut-off time. It’s easy to look back and think what might have been, but we made the decision together and unfortunately in the end it was the wrong one. It’s tough to overtake here so it’s going to be a long race from seventeenth on the grid. We’ll have to pull off something quite special with the strategy to take anything from there, but of course we’ll analyse the options overnight to see what’s possible. For sure we won’t be leading after the first corner this time, but we’ll do our best.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “In hindsight we made the wrong call with Romain. We expected him to progress quite comfortably through Q1 on the medium tyre and unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Clearly, he’s starting a long way out of position and will need a strong charge through the field to make it into the top ten, but we’re extremely confident that he’ll be able to do so. How far into the points he can progress will depend on the start and our management of the tyres. It was a reasonably straightforward session for Kimi with no real dramas. He’ll be the first to admit that qualifying hasn’t been going to plan for him recently, and he’s about where we expected him to be after free practice this morning. As always we’re confident that his race pace will be exemplary, so we’re anticipating a very strong race from him starting from sixth on the grid. We’ve taken this into account after seeing how tough overtaking can be here during last season’s race. Kimi’s car is certainly more biased towards race pace than single lap performance, and we’ll be looking at ways to help Romain carve his way up the order overnight too. Our race pace on the medium tyre looked strong during practice, so we’re hopeful of making progress. Today very much followed the pattern of the weekend so far, with the option tyre suffering from blistering and graining while the prime looks to be a very strong choice for the race. We’ve seen so far that there’s about a second per lap difference in long run pace between the two. One of the keys to the race is certainly making the front left tyre – and to a lesser extent the front right – last when using the soft compound; particularly on high fuel at the start of the race.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
He may not have clinched the ideal grid slot for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix, but the Iceman is very happy with how his car is feeling. All bodes well for tomorrow’s race…
Q: HOW WAS QUALIFYING FOR YOU?
KR: The car has felt much better here than it has in recent races; even if we don’t have a better position on the grid for tomorrow. A small mistake on my quick lap cost me a little bit of time and it’s very close here, so a small amount lost can mean quite a few positions dropped. We’ll have to see what happens in the race, but the car has certainly been more to my liking this weekend so the position on the grid is not a drama.
Q: WHERE HAVE YOU FOUND IMPROVEMENTS?
KR: There’s not so much understeer. It’s not perfect and we could still make it better, but it’s feeling good and I can pretty much do what I want with the car.
Q: WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED FROM P9?
KR: We’ll do the best that we can and see where we end up. Maybe it’s a little bit more tricky to overtake here than at some other places, but it’s a long race and if we have a good start we could have a strong result.
Mark Webber ended Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying supremacy as he beat the German to Japanese Grand Prix pole.
Vettel was hobbled by a loss of KERS on his first Q3 lap and was 0.4 seconds adrift of Webber’s provisional pole effort.
Kimi Raikkonen again struggled for qualifying speed, lapping 0.319s slower than Grosjean as he ended up five places adrift.
KR: “There were a couple of small mistakes, and we lost a few places from that, but the car is pretty much normal. I’m much happier than I was at the previous race even though the starting place is the same. We haven’t had very good qualifying lately, but we’ve still been up there in the races, so that’s what counts. Obviously I would have like to qualify higher but last time it wasn’t a disaster.”
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.915s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m31.089s +0.174s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.253s +0.338s 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m31.365s +0.450s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.378s +0.463s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.397s +0.482s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.644s +0.729s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.665s +0.750s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m31.684s +0.769s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.827s +0.912s Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.848s Gap ** 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.989s +0.699s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m31.992s +0.702s 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m32.013s +0.723s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.063s +0.773s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m32.093s +0.803s 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m32.485s +1.195s Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.875s Gap * 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m32.890s +1.066s 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.357s +1.533s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.320s +2.496s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m34.556s +2.732s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m34.879s +3.055s 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.958s +3.134s
Kimi Raikkonen – 9th: “The car has felt much better here than it has in recent races; even if we don’t have a better position on the grid for tomorrow. A small mistake on my quick lap cost me a little bit of time and it’s very close here, so a small amount lost can mean quite a few positions dropped. We’ll have to see what happens in the race, but the car has certainly been more to my liking this weekend so the position on the grid is not a drama.”
Romain Grosjean – 4th: “The Red Bulls have looked very strong and we knew it would be tight with Lewis [Hamilton] for P3, so I think we did a good job to take P4. The car feels much better than it did yesterday; especially on the hard tyres which we had been struggling with previously but were then fastest with in Q1 today. The team worked hard to address this overnight and we’ve shown great progress through the weekend once again. It’s a tight, technical circuit, the wind is still making things tricky and it should stay pretty hot, so it’ll be interesting to see what we can do in the race. I’m feeling pretty good.”
Alan Permane – trackside operations director: “Today went reasonably to plan with both drivers in the top ten for tomorrow’s race. Romain continued his good qualifying form and P4 on the grid is a good result, but agonisingly close to P3 once again. It was a very close qualifying session so to have Kimi start P9 is no big drama; especially as we know how well he can work through the field in race conditions. After missing some long runs on Friday, we spent more time on race preparation during morning practice and managed to unlock some extra pace in the car – especially on the primes – so we’re now very happy on both compounds. Yes, we did struggle with the hard tyres yesterday, but we’ve made a significant setup change which has certainly been beneficial in this area. Both drivers are much happier with their cars.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
He qualified tenth, he’ll start ninth, but what really matters to our Finn is Sunday; race day… read on as the man himself gives us the lowdown on Saturday in Yeongam.
Q: How was qualifying for you?
KR: I made a mistake on my only set of new tyres in the final qualifying session so my lap wasn’t fast enough for a better position and we ended up tenth fastest. We’ve had a bit of understeer with the car so I’ve struggled a little with the front end all weekend. Obviously, it’s not ideal, but we’ll try to do better tomorrow.
Q: Is there more to come from the car?
KR: At the moment it’s understeering a bit too much and we haven’t been able to dial it out yet, but if you look at the long run pace of the car yesterday we should have a stronger race. Obviously we have to see how the weather turns out, but for sure it should be easier to overtake here than at some other places.
Q: What’s the best that can be achieved tomorrow?
KR: We’ll try to do the best we can do, and we’ll end up where we end up.
| Source: autosport.com |
Pos Driver Team 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 8. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 10. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.202s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.420s +0.218s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.464s +0.262s 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.531s +0.329s 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.679s +0.477s 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.038s +0.836s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.223s +1.021s 8. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.237s +1.035s 9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.405s +1.203s 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m38.822s +1.620s Q2 cut-off time: 1m38.327s Gap ** 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.362s +0.793s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.365s +0.796s 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.417s +0.848s 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.431s +0.862s 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.718s +1.149s 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.781s +1.212s Q1 cut-off time: 1m39.175s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.470s +1.129s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.987s +1.646s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m40.864s +2.523s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.871s +2.530s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.169s +2.828s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.322s +2.981s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Video: post qualifying interview with Kimi by Sky Sports
Kimi Raikkonen – 10th: “I made a mistake on my only set of new tyres in the final qualifying session so my lap wasn’t fast enough for a better position, which eventually meant I ended up tenth and will start from ninth position tomorrow. We’ve had a bit of understeer in the car so I’ve struggled a little all weekend. If you look at the long run pace yesterday we should have a stronger race, but obviously we have to see how the weather turns out. We hope to do better tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean – 4th: “Our aim was to be up there fighting with the Mercedes today and that’s exactly where we were. The Red Bulls were always going to be quick, so to be reasonably close to them in terms of the times is not too bad. Gaining a place on the grid just because another driver has been penalised is not how you want to move forwards, but I’ve had to cope with it before myself and it’s part of the sport. Of course, it will be an advantage for us as it means we’ll start on the clean side of the track. Tomorrow will be interesting in terms of what effect the tyre degradation has, but our race pace looked strong yesterday so we’re aiming for a good result.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
It’s been a tough few weeks on track for our Iceman, with a niggle in his back becoming the latest piece of back luck to befall the Finn. In typical fashion however, he’s ready to fight on when the green lights go out in Singapore…
Q: A difficult day all round for you… talk us through it
KR: Unfortunately today didn’t go to plan as an issue with my back meant I couldn’t really drive properly this morning, so we didn’t get everything done like we wanted in the practice session. It’s still quite painful and there wasn’t much more I could do in qualifying when you take that combination of things into account.
Q: Will you recover in time for the race?
KR: I had some physio treatment between the sessions today which helped, so hopefully it’ll improve some more in the time between now and the race. It’s painful, but this is not the first time I’ve driven with a back problem and it probably won’t be the last time either. I’ll be on the grid tomorrow and we’ll try to get the maximum from where we are at the start.
Q: This is a tough race, even without carrying an injury; how will you hold up and what can you do from P13 on the grid?
KR: The time is quite long but it’s still about 300km like any other race, so no different really. I’ll tell you how it was after the race. The car looks ok and we made some changes between practice and qualifying which felt a bit better, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Sebastian Vettel hung on to take his fifth pole of the 2013 Formula 1 season in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying.
The Red Bull driver opted to do just one Q3 run as his initial 1m42.841s lap put him 0.6 seconds clear of his rivals. He had also outpaced the pack by nearly a second in Q2.
It emerged just before qualifying that Kimi Raikkonen was struggling with back pain and that Lotus had been sufficiently concerned to get reserve driver Davide Valsecchi prepared.
The Finn only managed to qualify 13th, lapping 0.7s slower than team-mate Grosjean in Q2. It remains unclear whether his race participation is in jeopardy.
“This morning was very bad,” Raikkonen admitted.
“It was good that we drove in qualifying in the end but not the most nice.”
Raikkonen felt the pain in practice had cost him crucial qualifying set-up time.
“This morning I couldn’t really try, so we probably didn’t get done what we wanted with the car,” he said, “but at least we got the car on the grid and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Asked if he felt he would be fit for the race, Raikkonen replied: “We will race and see what happens.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m42.841s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m42.932s +0.091s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m43.058s +0.217s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m43.152s +0.311s 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.254s +0.413s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m43.890s +1.049s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.938s +1.097s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.282s +1.441s 9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.439s +1.598s 10. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari No time set Q2 cut-off time: 1m44.555s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.555s +1.650s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.588s +1.683s 13. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m44.658s +1.753s 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.752s +1.847s 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m45.185s +2.280s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m45.388s +2.483s Q1 cut-off time: 1m45.982s Gap * 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m46.121s +1.925s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m46.619s +2.423s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m48.111s +3.915s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m48.320s +4.124s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.830s +4.634s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.930s +4.734s
Kimi Raikkonen – 13th: “Unfortunately today didn’t go to plan as the issue with my back meant I couldn’t really drive properly this morning, so we didn’t get everything done like we wanted in the practice session. It’s still quite painful and there wasn’t much more I could do in qualifying when you take that combination of things into account. It’s not the first time I’ve driven with a problem and it probably won’t be the last time either, but I’ll be on the grid tomorrow and we’ll try to get the maximum from where we are at the start.”
Romain Grosjean – 3rd: “After all the issues we had yesterday the team did a fantastic job to get the car running well and also to find a good setup despite having done so few laps. The car felt good all day; enough that we were confident in taking a risk during Q1 by not running the option tyres. It was a great strategy call that really paid off, and I think with a little more luck on the out lap we could maybe even have been one place higher. Sebastian [Vettel] looks to have a pretty clear advantage, but we’ve got lots of fresh tyres for tomorrow so a podium is definitely the target.”
Alan Permane – trackside operations director: “We have mixed feelings today. It’s unfortunate that Kimi had a problem with his back which caused him quite a bit of pain and affected his performance, whilst Romain enjoyed a pretty much perfect day after all the car troubles he had yesterday. FP3 went well for him, then qualifying went completely to plan. We’re very happy with third on the grid and looking forward to a strong race tomorrow. We knew the last two races would be difficult for our car and so they proved to be, but we were expecting better performance once we got to the higher downforce tracks such as Singapore and this has also transpired. Our long run pace was very good yesterday with Kimi second on pace only to the Red Bulls. Sebastian [Vettel] will be hard to beat as he’s in very good form, but there’s no reason why a podium for Romain is not possible and we have seen some storming drives through the field from Kimi in the past too. We could be in for an exciting and rewarding race.”
The Finn complained of back pain during Friday’s running, and his situation worsened in the final practice session, which he ended 12th overall.
Lotus had been concerned enough to start getting reserve driver Davide Valsecchi ready just in case he was needed to step in.
It is thought that Raikkonen’s issue has been caused by a trapped nerve.
Following attention from the team’s medical staff on Saturday evening, Lotus and Raikkonen have decided that he will now take part in qualifying – although it is unclear if he will be able to complete all three sessions.
It is possible that the Finn may only take part in Q1, to secure his spot in the grid, before returning to his hotel to rest ahead of the race.
If Raikkonen is unwell on Sunday, then Formula 1’s rules mean that it is too late for a replacement to be slotted in.
The Finn had a heavy testing accident at Magny-Cours in September 2001, during his rookie Formula 1 season with Sauber.
Raikkonen went off at the fast Imola chicane leading to the Chateau d’Eau corner and had a violent rearward impact.
He was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up, and though he escaped serious injury, his back trouble is a legacy of that incident.
In Singapore this weekend Lotus got reserve driver Davide Valsecchi ready in case Raikkonen could not drive in qualifying.
He was able to participate but only managed 13th on the grid.
Raikkonen has now returned to his hotel to rest before the race.
Although the back problem remained an issue in qualifying, Raikkonen felt it had eased since final practice earlier in the day.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Q: What went wrong today?
KR: We were just not fast enough. We have been suffering a bit all weekend so far and it was the same today. It just isn’t our kind of circuit and layout where we have to run small wings. The car behaved pretty okay but we just didn’t have the downforce to go fast through the corners with our low drag package. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better but I’m not expecting any big surprises. In any case we will do the best we can.
Q: Was the lack of pace a surprise?
KR: I was expecting to have a difficult time of it here as we did last year and it was the same again today. Our car does not seem to like it when you take wing off it. We were as close as we could be to Q3 but that wasn’t enough.
Q: What can be achieved tomorrow?
KR: We are usually better in the race so it should be okay. It’s going to be hard to get on to the podium and we’re quite a way from the fastest cars here. We’ll do what we can and see what happens.