October 23, 2010

F1 Quals: Korea 2010

With overcast skies casting a dull flat light over the Korea International Circuit, the track looks quite different, but will it drive any differently?  That's what we're here to find out!  The provisional grid for the first ever Grand Prix of Korea:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:37.123 1:36.074 1:35.585
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:37.373 1:36.039 1:35.659
3 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:37.144 1:36.287 1:35.766
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.113 1:36.197 1:36.062
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:37.708 1:36.791 1:36.535
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.515 1:36.169 1:36.571
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.123 1:37.064 1:36.731
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1:37.703 1:37.179 1:36.824
9 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:37.980 1:37.077 1:36.950
10 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:38.257 1:37.511 1:36.998
11 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:38.115 1:37.620
12 Gandalf Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.429 1:37.643
13 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.171 1:37.715
14 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:38.572 1:37.783
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:38.174 1:37.799
16 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:38.583 1:37.853
17 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:38.621 1:38.594
18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:38.955

19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.521

20 Timo Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 1:40.748

21 Heikki Kovalaineninninnie Lotus-Cosworth 1:41.768

22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.325

23 DJ DNF
HRT-Cosworth 1:42.444

24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:43.283


In some ways, one almost has to feel badly for HWMNBN.  The Ferrari is far and away the best balanced of the cars around this circuit.  The Red Bulls are fastest around the twisty bits, but are nearly six mph slower than the McLaren on the straights.  The McLaren is supreme in Section 1 (the three straights), but aren't quite as nimble as the Red Bulls through the rest of the layout. 

The Ferrari isn't as fast as the McLaren through the speed trap, and not as spry through the fiddlybits, but it's just behind the leaders in both categories.  Normally, that'd be more than good enough to take a pole position, but today the Red Bulls ripped off ridiculously fast laps after the Q3 timer had expired (but they still counted as the laps started with time remaining).  The crushing bit for HWMNBN had to be that Vettel and Webber set their laps just after he claimed pole with the fastest time of the weekend... at least, to that point.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was seen shaking his head in the garage... he's almost a half-second slower than Vettel and has got to be thinking his chances for the World Championship are almost completely gone now.  Button's situation is even worse now, and he pretty much needs a miracle to occur for him to repeat as Champ.  Maybe a huge pileup going into Turn 1 that claims the first three rows.

It appears that the driver's pleas did not fall on deaf ears.  Turn 16 has been modified a smidge so it isn't launching cars into the stratosphere anymore, which is a very good thing.  They did something to Turn 18 as well, so it no longer kicks a mushroom cloud of dust onto the circuit every time a car runs over the curbs.  These are good things, but the Legendary Announce Team reported that the concrete curbs at some other places around the track are beginning to collapse.  Sounds like a busy day is in store for the track crew.  At least the asphalt isn't ripping up as was predicted... supposedly they used a special quick-curing asphalt.  It only takes a few days to solidify, but is more slippery than normal.  Fair tradeoff, I think.

So we're looking at a three-horse race tomorrow, I think.  Can the Ferrari build up enough time on the straights to defeat the Red Bull advantage on the curves?  For that's what it comes down to... and that's Team McLaren's only hope as well.

We'll see you here sometime after the race with the F1U!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:57 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Great job on the qualifying recap.  :-)

Posted by: Mallory at October 23, 2010 02:00 PM (WJ2qy)

2

As if we didn't have enough to worry about, the F1 site says it's going to rain for the race!

That should be interesting!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 23, 2010 10:37 PM (+rSRq)

3 I've been tracking the weather at the track via Weather Underground, and it's been raining all day.  Even if it is doesn't rain during the race, all the rubber that's been put down on the surface is gone now.

And, considering that the track is only a few feet above sea-level, and the sea is only a few hundred feet away, and the place has miserable drainage (reportedly), flooding might be another problem.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 23, 2010 11:16 PM (vW/MM)

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