June 21, 2014
Last race, we saw Mercedes dream of a clean sweep of wins go by the wayside. This time around, it's the pole position sweep gone, and from a highly surprising source no less. It's Williams with the front row lockout, and Felipe Massa taking the honors of place. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
A lot of the reason for this stunning upset was the FIA putting their foot down and saying "if you run wide at Turn 8, if all four tires cross the white line delineating the border of the track, your lap will be excluded. No arguments allowed, the track border is the track border." Reportedly half the field had at least one lap nixed during the Qual sessions today, the primary sufferer being Lewis Hamilton. His first timed lap in Q3 would have ultimately put him third on the grid, but was disallowed. His second attempt ended early after a big spin at Turn 2. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg also had his one flying lap killed by a track violation.
The big shocker, though, has to be 4Time Vettel not even making it to Q3. His final try to get up into the Top 10 at Red Bull's home race came to a swift end when he ran wide at Turn 3. Even your sleep-deprived Pond Leader knew this was quite the moment, as I managed a quiet "yay". But I'm not biased. I just enjoy knowing that Vettel is going to whine and moan some more, revealing his true colors to the world. Where's that finger now, Sebby?
But let's step back from the schadenfreude and instead celebrate Felipe Massa's first pole position since 2008. Yeah, it's not going to mean much once the race starts and the Mercedes cars start their charge, because it's clear that the Silver Arrows are still the class of the field, but there's that brief glimmer of hope, of mechanical insecurity for Mercedes. Hamilton went off due to his rear brakes locking up... another brake failure like in Montreal could take both him and Rosberg out of contention easily.
And if that happens, we suddenly get the image of Felipe Massa racing against HWMNBN for a race win, this time with no Ferrari team orders getting in the way... and who doesn't want to see THAT?
Race is Sunday, we'll be here!
During the race proper, can the stewards enforce that section of the track? If so, how? pit-lane drive-throughs?
If that's what they do, it could really mess around with the race.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 21, 2014 07:03 PM (+rSRq)
With the colder conditions and a couple comments by the announcers that Williams had come up with some way to get heat in the tires faster, it makes sense that they would see that translate into a pole. Whether that will be an advantage that holds up through the race, now... different question altogether. Remember last year how the Mercedes had the double-DRS system that gave them great qualifying times and let them grab some poles, but that the advantage didn't really help them running their races.
Posted by: Avatar at June 22, 2014 01:38 AM (zJsIy)
Now, the drivers were all saying the fastest way through Turn 8 was to leave the racing surface, so they'd be gaining an advantage anyway.
But the "gaining an advantage" thing is a standing regulation. This goes even farther.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 22, 2014 06:54 AM (pOSg3)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 22, 2014 07:29 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 22, 2014 09:21 AM (pOSg3)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 24, 2014 08:18 AM (+rSRq)
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