September 29, 2018

F1 Quals: Russia 2018

Oh look, here's a surprise, we've never seen that front row before. *eye roll*  Here's the provisonal grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Mother Russia:

Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:32.964 1:32.744 1:31.387
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.410 1:32.595 1:31.532
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.476 1:33.045 1:31.943
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:33.341 1:33.065 1:32.237
5 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:34.078 1:33.747 1:33.181
6 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:34.290 1:33.596 1:33.413
7 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:33.924 1:33.488 1:33.419
8 Lawsuit Perez Force India Mercedes 1:34.084 1:33.923 1:33.563
9 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:34.022 1:33.517 1:33.704
10 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:34.170 1:33.995 1:35.196
11 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:33.048 No Time

12 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:33.247 No Time

13 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:34.383 No Time

14 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:34.626 No Time

15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:34.655 No Time

16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso
1:35.037

17 DTM Alonso McLaren Renault 1:35.504

18 Homeboy Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:35.612

19 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:35.977

20 Veruca Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:36.437


Yeah, welcome back to Mercedes being unstoppable in Quals again.  Yes, you might be saying that the track here in Sochi is particularly well-suited to the Mercedes, and you'd be right.  I suspect, however, that's its more than that... that Mercedes has caught up to a Ferrari chassis that, to be honest, was the best in the first half of the year.  Certainly they managed to make their car and tires work today.  The Ferraris looked... clumsy... around the turns today, like more "point and squirt" than "smooth arc".  That can work at some circuits.  Not, apparently, here.

The only saving grace of Quals was that Bottas beat his teammate to pole.  The Finn apparently just loves this track, always doing well... heck, he won last year.  He's also never been outqualified by his teammate here ever.  Some drivers have tracks they love... Valterri Bottas loves Russia.

You may note a LOT of "No Time" listings there in Q2.  Renault, looking like dogmeat around here for whatever reason, decided to not waste rubber in a futile attempt to do... something.  As a bonus, they get to choose what tire they'll start with, so they've got that going for them.  Which is nice.  Both Red Bulls and Ghastly's Toro Rosso have taken new engines/power units/whatever, as since they've all gone over their season limit of three engines/power units/whatever, they all get dropped to the back of the grid.  Again, what you're seeing above is the provisional grid, the real lineup for the last 10 places will be different.

Race in the morning, F1U! sometime thereafter.  Pray for a good race.
F1

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