Report – At 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start the Belgian Grand Prix from the second and fourth rows, after the Spaniard was fourth fastest in qualifying, 69 thousandths off third placed Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull,) with the Finn in eighth spot on the grid.
Rain affected qualifying, having fallen before the start and then intermittently during the session. Neither Ferrari man had any trouble in Q1, getting through with Kimi sixth and Alonso ninth. Q2 also went smoothly, with Fernando making the cut to Q3 in third place, with Kimi fifth. In the top-ten shoot-out, the sun reappeared and the track gradually dried out.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m05.591s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m05.819s +0.228s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2m07.717s +2.126s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m07.786s +2.195s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m07.911s +2.320s 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m08.049s +2.458s 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m08.679s +3.088s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m08.780s +3.189s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m09.178s +3.587s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m09.776s +4.185s Q2 cut-off time: 2m09.272s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.377s +2.768s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.805s +3.196s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m10.084s +3.475s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m10.238s +3.629s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m11.087s +4.478s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.470s +5.861s Q1 cut-off time: 2m11.081s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m11.261s +4.131s 18. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m11.267s +4.137s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.566s +5.436s 20. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m13.414s +6.284s 21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 2m13.469s +6.339s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m14.438s +7.308s
Kimi admits mistakes made difference: “They were quite difficult conditions and I made quite a few mistakes on the last lap. I was held up on the out-lap by a few cars, which affected the way I wanted to start the whole lap and get the tyres ready, but I just made some mistakes and didn’t get a good lap on that last run. In the wet conditions, it’s a bit more tricky to say. They were difficult conditions and I was sliding a lot, so it was quite tricky. In the dry yesterday, I had so many problems that we couldn’t really do much. This morning, [in FP3], it didn’t feel too bad – the lap probably wasn’t anything good, but the car felt quite good, so everything seems to be okay. Obviously, the wet is always wet and bit tricky, but it was not a disaster. Running [on Friday] was a bit limited by the issues on my side and, this morning, there were just two or three laps [in the dry], so not many, but I think we should be okay knowing what we should do. The weather can change a lot here – and quickly, as we have seen – so we’ll try to make the right decisions at the right time and hopefully get a good result. Obviously, the weather will be the same for everyone, and sometimes it works for you and sometimes not. Hopefully, whatever the conditions are, we’ll make the right call and get a good race. It’ll be a long race and different conditions from start to finish, so let’s see how it is.”
Kimi thinks race could be different story: “You would think here and in Monza that the Mercedes [power unit] should have more advantage, like in the beginning of the year in Bahrain. But obviously we improve things all the time and small things here and there, so it’s getting better, but the race will tell the true story. You can get a good lap time but in the race, it’s very difficult to fight when the others are faster in a straight line – even if your actual lap time can be exactly the same as them. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s been surprisingly nice not to see a massive difference. In the wet Mercedes has the best grip, but in the dry it’s been okay.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “After lots of unforeseen incidents on Friday, this morning I was reasonably happy with the handling of my car. In the afternoon, the arrival of the rain made everything more unpredictable, the car was sliding all over the place and putting together a good lap wasn’t easy. On my last run in Q3, I tried my best, but some mistakes cost me a few places. Even if I’m a bit disappointed, now I want to just think about tomorrow’s race, which will be a long one, with the chance of very variable weather. I will try and make up as many places as possible and in order to do that, it will be very important to make the right decisions at the right time.”
Pat Fry: “We are reasonably pleased with the outcome, even if we cannot ignore Mercedes’ performance, given that we want to get back to being in the top positions. Fernando only just missed out on third place, having produced a fantastic lap. I hope he can have a good race from fourth on the grid. Kimi lost out a bit in all three sectors, but I believe he drove as hard as he could, even though he wound up eighth. Certainly, we can’t forget all the difficulties he experienced yesterday, because I’m sure that with a bit more track time, he could have been a bit higher up the order. Tomorrow’s race will be long and difficult: the forecast is for less chance of rain than today, but here at Spa, it’s impossible to be sure. The important thing is to be ready to adapt our strategy to whatever conditions we encounter.”
Report – When the lights go out at 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso will start from fifth on the grid, while Kimi could do no better than 17th, after taking a strategic gamble that didn’t pay off.
The sky looked threatening at the start of Q1, with the forecast claiming a 30% chance of rain. There was drama right away, as Pastor Maldonado stopped his Lotus at the side of the track and Lewis Hamilton had to park his Mercedes at the entrance to pit lane with a fire at the rear, not even having set a time.
Midway through Q1, Fernando was comfortably in a Q2 position, with Kimi 14th. The team then decided to keep the Finn in the garage, confident that the Caterhams and Marussias would not manage to beat his 1.26.792, which would have seen Kimi no lower than 16th. However, Jules Bianchi put in a great lap which meant that, by just a handful of hundredths, Raikkonen failed to make the cut to Q2. Now, the Finn has nothing to lose and will be attacking all the way in tomorrow’s race.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.715s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m23.201s +0.486s 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m23.354s +0.639s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m23.391s +0.676s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m23.909s +1.194s 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m24.223s +1.508s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.294s +1.579s 8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m24.720s +2.005s 9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m24.775s +2.060s 10. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes Q3 cut-off time: 1m24.647s 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m24.706s +1.396s** 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.136s +1.826s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m25.211s +1.901s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.260s +1.950s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.337s +2.027s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.419s +4.109s Q2 cut-off time: 1m26.728s 17. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.792s +1.851s*** 18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m27.139s +2.198s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.819s +2.878s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m28.643s +3.702s 21. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault
Raikkonen questioned Ferrari Q1 strategy – “The plan was to go out but the team said we are fine, I questioned it a few times to be 100% sure. The end result is what we can see. Yesterday afternoon [and] this morning it was a bit difficult with the hard to get grip, the soft [has] been quicker all weekend.”
“I don’t really see the point in shouting around. I’ve done mistakes in the past and will make more in the future.” (via autosport.com)
When asked if he could have over-ruled Ferrari’s decision due to his objections, Raikkonen replied: “You can, but I trust in the team, believe in the people. The plan was to go out, but the team said ‘no, you are fine, you do not need to go out’. I questioned it a few times, but they said no need and we can see the end result.
“I cannot always go against advice. We are here as a team, we make decision as a team, and today the outcome was this. As a team in Formula One, as Ferrari, we should not be doing these kind of things. None of us are in our first year. It’s not good for me or the team.”
Despite the error in judgement Raikkonen says he will not be labouring over Ferrari’s decision for too long.
“A mistake has been made. It’s already been a difficult year, so I don’t see the point to shout. The mistake is done. I’ve made mistakes in the past, I will make them in the future. People make mistakes, but there are things we have to change to improve. These are not easy times.”
Raikkonen insists qualifying does not change anything about his future.
“I have a contract, I fully believe in Ferrari, I’ve enjoyed a lot of wins and success with them. It’s been a difficult year, which is life. It’s not fun when you have hard times, it’s happened before and that’s how it goes.” (via espn.co.uk)
“As a team in Formula One, as Ferrari, we should not be doing these kind of things. None of us are in our first year. Obviously we have to improve, to do things differently because we can see there are weaknesses in the system. I have not suddenly over the winter lost a few seconds laptime. So it’s the case of putting things in the right places for me.” (via motorsport.com)
Kimi Raikkonen: “I am very disappointed with the outcome of qualifying, especially because this weekend I was going well and had a good feeling from the car. After the first run on the Medium tyres the team told me that my time should be good enough to get me through to the next part and so we decided to take a risk and not go out for a second run on the softer compound. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off and I couldn’t get past Q1.
It’s going to be difficult, because there’s not much chance of overtaking here at the Hungaroring. We definitely made a mistake, but now I only want to look ahead. Tomorrow, even if it will be tough, we will do our best to try and move up the order.”
Pat Fry: “Mixed fortunes for our team in today’s qualifying, with our drivers ending up no less than twelve places apart. In the first part, the fact that Maldonado and Hamilton were out led us to keep both cars in the garage, banking on the times set with the Medium tyres. With Fernando this worked, but unfortunately, with Kimi we were caught out by the evolution of the track. It’s very disappointing not to have got through with him because he’s been going better this weekend. Clearly tomorrow he will be on the attack: on this track, it’s not easy to move up the order because of the traffic, but our race pace is good and we will do all we can to turn things around. In the second part of qualifying, the track continued to improve and Fernando got into Q3 easily enough.
In the end, when the rain came, we decided to go out immediately, but then it was impossible to finish the lap. The hot track dried out very quickly but, concerned it might rain again, we decided to go out on track earlier than planned and Fernando ended up fifth. Rain is forecast for tomorrow which means it is even harder to make predictions, but whatever the weather we must try and get Kimi back up into the points and to get a good haul with Fernando.”
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