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