July 30, 2011

F1 Quals: Hungary 2011

Over the past six years, only once has the Hungarian Grand Prix been won by the polesitter.  So qualifying isn't that important, right?  Well, those other five races were won by the driver sitting second... so yeah, kinda important.  Let's see the provisional grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:21.740 1:21.095 1:19.815
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.636 1:21.105 1:19.978
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.038 1:20.578 1:20.024
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:22.130 1:21.099 1:20.350
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:21.578 1:20.262 1:20.365
6 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:22.208 1:20.890 1:20.474
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.996 1:21.243 1:21.098
8 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.237 1:22.000 1:21.445
9 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:22.876 1:21.852 1:21.907
10 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:23.067 1:22.157 No time
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.976 1:22.256
12 The Red Menace
Renault 1:23.070 1:22.284
13 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:23.278 1:22.435
14 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:23.024 1:22.470
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:23.075 1:22.684
16 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:23.285 1:22.979
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:23.847 No time

18 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:24.070

19 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Lotus-Renault 1:24.362

20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:24.534

21 Tim O'Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.294

22 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:26.323

23 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:26.479

24 Custard d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.510


Q1 107% Time
1:27.288

Yep, Vettel's back on pole, his eighth of the season.  But it wasn't until the final hot lap of Q3 that he had shown any real sort of pace, and he was still slower than #2 Lewis Hamilton in the Hungaroring's first and third timing sectors.  Then you have Jenson Button located right behind Vettel on the grid?  I'd say McLaren's back on the pace, yes. 

Meanwhile, Mark Webber has to be wondering which Elder God he's pissed off this week.  Sixth?  That's the best he could do?  When his teammate took pole?  C'mon, Mark... you're a likable guy, you're the underdog on your own team, you've got five-sixths of the world pulling for you, and this is the best you could do?  Perhaps more surprising is Felipe Massa coming home fourth... and beating HWMNBN in Quals for the first time this season.

You may notice Sergio Perez sitting there at 10th didn't set a time during Q3.  My suspicion is that he saw the true heavy hitters (McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull) out there throwing haymakers at each other and decided, "y'know, I think I'll just save my tires."  For most of the session, it looked like the two Mercedes drivers and Adrian F'n Sutil felt the same, cowering in their garages while the big boys engaged in their own private war.  It wasn't until the last minute possible that they came out, which makes me wonder why they even bothered.  Is Rosberg really going to make a difference from seventh, for example?  I don't understand exactly what they're doing there, but I'm not a F1 team strategist; it's probably something really deep and... um... strategery-like.

Race is on Sunday, and F1U! will be along sometime thereafter.  See you then!

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