F1 2015: Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Lewis Hamilton {1:26.327} won pole for the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, dominating the rest of the field in a display of Mercedes speed. Teammate Nico Rosberg qualified second fastest with a sloppy  first lap losing the German time in the final session of qualifying and only one run at pole. Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top six qualifiers.

Q2 proved to be a fight between sister teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso, as one driver from each moved on to Q2. Home favorite Daniel Ricciardo did so to qualify seventh, while teammate Daniil Kvyat managed only thirteenth. Carlos Sainz would qualify eighth, while Max Verstappen will start twelfth. In perhaps the most disappointing results, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen dueled between themselves for an all McLaren back row. Manor did not participate in the qualifying sessions, and appeared unlikely to compete in the Grand Prix, running into trouble on many levels.

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F1 2013: Brazilian Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Sebastian Vettel (1:26.479) won pole for the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, after driving rain delayed Q3 by multiple ten minute delays. He was entirely unbeatable, setting a pole time six tenths faster than second fastest Nico Rosberg. Though all drivers began Q3 on full wet tires, all dropped back into the garage for intermediates as the track conditions improved. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber qualified to start Sunday’s race on the second row, with Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean behind. Despite the changing conditions, only Sergio Perez crashed in the three qualifying sessions at Interlagos.

Q1 saw mostly early times set the pace as the intermittent rain increased partway through the session. Though it looked as though Toro Rosso made the wrong call on holding Jean-Eric Vergne momentarily, the track improved late in the session, and he moved on to Q2. Kovalainen had also looked set to be dropped, but he moved up to fifth fastest with a solid lap from his Lotus. He would fare less well in Q2, managing only to qualify eleventh fastest as the rain increased. Perez ended that session with a heavy crash into the wall, pushing his McLaren onto the kerb while hustling in an attempt to move on to Q3. Neither he nor teammate Jenson Button would do so, qualifying their McLarens fourteenth and fifteenth. Between the driving rain and debris from Perez’s crash, race control delayed the start of Q3 by a total of 40 minutes.

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F1 2013: United States Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Sebastian Vettel (1:36.338) snuck pole for the 2013 United States Grand Prix away from teammate Mark Webber on the last lap of qualifying, who looked impossibly dominant in Q3. Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg qualified on the second row for Sunday’s race, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on row three. Alonso had to push his Ferrari into Q3, while Sergio Perez and Heikki Kovalainen slid into sixth and seventh fastest. Though Valtteri Bottas had been impossibly quick all through the qualifying sessions, he managed only ninth, just behind countryman and Kimi Raikkonen replacement Heikki Kovalainen. Esteban Gutierrez rounded out the top ten, though he will be investigated after qualifying for possible impeding of Pastor Maldonado.

Q1 felt fairly typical, with the Red Bull drivers waiting seemingly forever to join the other drivers on the track. Both Ferraris performed terribly, only skating through to Q2 after Adrian Sutil had a right front puncture that forced him off the track at T1 and to pull to the side on his final lap after the flag. Maldonado came under pressure, weaving through traffic to find clear track, with both Gutierrez and Max Chilton to be investigated for possibly impeding him after qualifying. He was knocked out in Q1, taking his post quali press time to blame someone in the team for messing with the settings on his car, resulting in decreased speed.

Q2 saw a number of unexpected drivers knocked out, with Nico Rosberg unable to do better than fourteenth fastest. Felipe Massa also underperformed in his Ferrari, only managing fifteenth, while Button was thirteenth fastest. Button also will suffer a three place grid penalty after passing Toro Rosso Friday driver (and Daniel Ricciardo’s 2014 replacement) Daniil Kvyat while the red flags and lights were shown in the truncated first practice. Charles Pic also received a five place penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change for his Caterham.

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F1 2013: Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Qualifying Recap

Mark Webber (1:39.957) won pole for the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, beating out Sebastian Vettel in a massive final lap during Q3. They make it a Red Bull front row, with a Mercedes row two. Nico Rosberg qualified third, with a spinning Lewis Hamilton unable to complete his final lap. He would not have bested Webber’s time, in any case, with his first two sectors around two tenths off the Australian’s pace. Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten qualifiers.

Q1 saw earlier running that usual, with many drivers straight out onto the track. Neither Vettel nor Webber did so, waiting until a few minutes remained to set super fast times on soft tires. Only eight tenths separated second fastest in Q1 (Felipe Massa) from the first driver (Esteban Gutierrez) of the knockout zone. Alonso dropped out in Q2, pushing hard to keep a handle on his Ferrari, but unable to best Massa and move up to fight for Q3. Button was also disappointed as his McLaren did not improve on the weekend while other cars did. A number of drivers put all four wheels outside the white lines on the exit of the final turn, and race direction had given them a talk. Still, much like in India, it appeared that no action would be taken.

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F1 2013: Indian Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Sebastian Vettel (1:24.119) won pole for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix, continuing his domination of the weekend. He led all sessions but Q1, including all three practice sessions. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were close but not close enough, while Mark Webber qualified fourth fastest on the harder tire compound. He, Fernando Alonso, and Jenson Button (the latter two eighth and tenth fastest, respectively) will start on those medium tires. As the soft tires were blistering quite badly, tire strategy will play a large decision in the race on Sunday.

Though Q1 seemed fairly typical, it saw much interesting strategy decisions as some of the typical top ten drivers used soft tires, possibly figuring on starting on medium tires for the race. Romain Grosjean looked safe enough and pitted after some scruffy laps, but missed the cutoff and was knocked out in Q1, seventeenth fastest. Q2 saw both McLarens get through, with Button faster on the used softs than the fresh ones. Alonso looked healthy, going second fastest, three tenths off Vettel’s pace.

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F1 2013: Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Mark Webber (1:30.915) stole the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix pole from teammate Sebastian Vettel, posting a faster time during both of the Q3 runs to take his first pole position at Suzuka. Lewis Hamilton snuck through to be the best of the rest, beating Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, and his own teammate Nico Rosberg, who populate the top three starting rows for Sunday’s race. Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, and Jenson Button rounded out the top ten in what again turned out to be a single lap run for most of those still running in Q3.

Q2 felt fairly typical, though Vettel, Webber, and Grosjean all moved forward by sitting still. They left everyone else to fight over the other seven positions in the final lap shoot-out. In that, Massa set the session fastest final sector to ensure he’d be able to qualify in the top ten. Jean-Eric Vergne caused a red flag with three minutes to go in Q1, leaving much of the field to jump at a straight single lap run to move on to Q2.

Vergne’s was not the only fire of the session, as Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber caught fire in the garage. The crew quickly extinguished it, and Gutierrez soon rejoined the session. Jules Bianchi suffered a ten place grid penalty for his third reprimand of the season last weekend in Korea, as did Charles Pic, while Adrian Sutil will drop five places for a gearbox change after his crash in the final practice.

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F1 2013: Korean Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Sebastian Vettel (1:37.202) won pole for the 2013 Korean Grand Prix, despite a late charge from Lewis Hamilton. The Briton would only be able to qualify second fastest in the end, beating out Mark Webber after the Australian dipped back into the garage. Though he aborted his fast lap, Webber qualified third, but will drop down the order on a ten place grid penalty after a reprimand two weeks ago in Singapore. Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, and Fernando Alonso completed the top five starters. Though all ten drivers went out in the final minutes during and after the flag for Q3, no one could touch Vettel.

Most drivers used up a set of the supersoft tires in Q1, leaving Raikkonen fastest in that session. Neither Williams driver fared well, both dropping out in the first of the three qualifying sessions. McLaren did little better with both drivers out in Q2, and Sergio Perez continuing Jenson Button’s inability to out qualify a teammate at Mokpo. The Briton claimed impeding by a Lotus during the busy latter stages of Q2, after allowing Kimi Raikkonen ahead on his out lap.

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