Report – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will line up on the fourth row of the grid for the Russian Grand Prix in their F14 Ts. The two Scuderia drivers were closely matched for all three parts of qualifying and by the end of Q3 just 62 thousandths separated them. Pole went to Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, the Englishman’s 38th and his team’s 32nd.
Both Ferrari drivers had no problem getting through Q1, with the Finn seventh, 0.150 tenths ahead of the Spaniard. Q2 was more difficult, because as the track continued to rubber in the fight was on right to the very end of the session. Alonso got through to Q3 in eighth spot, beating Raikkonen by just 50 thousandths.
In the final part, thanks to the very low tyre degradations, almost all the drivers stayed on track from start to finish. Fernando’s eighth place came with a 1.39.709, while Kimi secured ninth with a 1.39.771. They start alongside one another on row 4 because sixth placed Kevin Magnussen gets a penalty for changing his gearbox.
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.277s||0.764s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.635s||1.122s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.020s||1.507s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.052s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.163s||-|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.058s||-|
** Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a difficult Friday, things went better today, the car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked and we had a good pace. Sure, we can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to put a quick lap together because I still have some difficulties with the front end, especially in the final sector, but tomorrow we will try our hardest to be in the game and make up some places.”
Kimi: without Mercedes engine, passing will be tricky – “It depends on the car. As we’ve seen at other circuits some of the Mercedes cars can overtake more easily than us. Probably we will make one [pit] stop or maybe two, but it’s too early to say until the beginning of the race tomorrow. At least yesterday [in practice] it was not easy to overtake; I kept following cars and getting close but there was no way to get around it. Without a Mercedes engine it will not be very easy. Obviously we have DRS but if the cars are not close behind each other then it makes no difference to anyone. We have to see. It’s obviously not where we want to be, we want to be at the front. But the speed is more or less there. The car was not ideal but much better than yesterday. We still have some difficulties trying to get the front working and a combination with the rear. It is what it is and we got more or less the most out of it. Obviously it is not a happy place to be, but at this time of the year and with the things that have been going on it is more or less the best we could have done today. Hopefully tomorrow we can improve.”
Report – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix from the third and fifth rows respectively. At the wheel of their F14 Ts, Fernando was fifth fastest, while Kimi had to settle for tenth, paying the price of lost track time because of technical glitches in Free Practice 3.
Fernando made it through Q1 in a comfortable fifth place, while Kimi had to use a set of Mediums which meant he couldn’t count on them for Q3. Everything went smoothly for both men in Q2 with Fernando fifth again and Kimi ninth. In the final shoot-out, all the drivers except Kimi did two runs on the Medium. Fernando’s first lap was a 1.33.858, which he then improved on, getting down to 1.33.740, to take yet another fifth place. On his only flying lap, Kimi did a 1.34.548.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.075s||1.569s|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.432s||1.926s|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.984s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.089s||-|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.092s||-|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.099s||-|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s performance was in line with the whole weekend so far and even if I’ve had a good feeling from the car, I was unable to resolve a few problems already encountered on Friday. In the morning’s free practice, a technical problem meant I had to stop running earlier than planned and that prevented us from testing some new components, which would have been useful for the set-up choice. The team did a great job to get my car ready for qualifying in record time. In the first sector, I had a few balance problems and that stopped me pushing as hard as I wanted. I did my best today and tomorrow we will try and make up some places and have a good race.”
Pat Fry: “Today was particularly tough, starting with the third free practice session, when we had to pit Kimi, having spotted an anomaly on his power unit. Qualifying was reasonably straightforward, especially for Fernando, who finished fifth in all three sessions. The Williams proved to have both good power and aerodynamic downforce, but that won’t stop us trying to attack them. The Red Bull performance was surprising but one cannot discount them at this track. Unfortunately, the problem on Kimi’s car meant we couldn’t optimise the balance on his car, which is so important at this track, but the mechanics did a really amazing job. In just two hours they managed to dismantle and reassemble the car, configuring a new power unit, so that he could take part in qualifying. Tomorrow, a typhoon is forecast and so we will need to adapt to whatever conditions arise, because the result of the race is not a foregone conclusion.”
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.”