March 23, 2013

F1 Quals: Malaysia 2013

They say that there are two things that are inevitable in life: death and taxes.  I'd like to add a third entry: it rains in Malaysia during F1 time.  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2013 Grand Prix of Malaysia:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.899 1:37.245 1:49.674
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.712 1:36.874 1:50.587
3 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:37.314 1:36.877 1:50.727
4 Shiv Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.513 1:36.517 1:51.699
5 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.619 1:36.449 1:52.244
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.239 1:36.190 1:52.519
7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:36.959 1:36.640 1:52.970
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.487 1:37.117 1:53.175
9 Adrian F'nSutil Force India-Mercedes 1:36.809 1:36.834 1:53.439
10 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.702 1:37.342 1:54.136
11 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.363 1:37.636
12 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.931 1:38.125
13 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:37.722 1:38.822
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.707 1:39.221
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.493 1:44.509
16 Bob Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:37.867 No time
17 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.157

18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:38.207

19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:38.434

20 Charles ToothPic Caterham-Renault 1:39.314

21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.672

22 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:39.932

Q1 107% Time

Q1 was dry, and it became apparent that the big teams were protecting their hard tires for the race.  This trick very nearly backfired for Seb Vettel, who was 15th at the end of the session, a mere quarter-second away from being knocked out.  This being F1, however, you can pretty much expect that Red Bull planned it that way all along.  Right.

Q2, on the other hand, saw everybody lined up in the pit lane, waiting for the track to go green.  Rain was coming, and lots of it... 35 miles away, the Malaysian Open golf tournament had just been called for the day by torrential rains, and the clouds rapidly heading towards the race course promised a similar fate for the guys in the fast cars.  Thus, the plan was to get on track, put in a banker lap, then hope to get something faster in before the rains come.  This was duly accomplished by everybody... except for Paul di Resta, who never completed his first hot lap.  Instead, he drove back to the pits and the Force India mechanics started to do the usual maintenance... wipe down the car, clean the radiators, check telemetry, that sort of thing.  It was seemingly only as the rain began to fall that people realized "hey, he doesn't have a time yet."  Too late: he was five seconds off the pace of the next slowest car.

On the gripping hand, Q3 started off wet, but with little rain falling.  Intermediate tires were the way to go, and a dry line quickly began to form.  As the final session went on, one began to wonder if anybody would risk putting on a set of slick tires... it was that close to the cut-off time where the dries were as good or better.  If the session was 15 minutes long, someone surely would have tried it.  Alas, Q3 is only 10 minutes in length.  Remarkably, Seb Vettel took pole by nearly a second over Felipe Massa, despite running less rear wing than anybody in the field.  I'm not sure what that means for the race... nothing good, I expect.  It's supposed to be plagued by heavy rains... if it turns out to be dry, Vettel will run away with this.  If it does rain... well, I truly don't know.

Fortunately, we'll find out Sunday morning!  See ya there for F1Update!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:11 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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It's looking increasingly like Hamilton made a smart choice.

What's McClaren's problem?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 23, 2013 10:54 AM (+rSRq)

2 They're 2013's 2012 Ferrari.  McLaren (sic) has a not-very-good car, but being the team they are, they should be able to spend it up to being decent.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 23, 2013 12:49 PM (stmPk)

3 Raikkonen's since been assessed a 3-position grid penalty for impeding Nico Rosberg, so will start 10th.

Posted by: Ed Flinn at March 23, 2013 02:55 PM (NoFEL)

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