May 11, 2013

F1 Quals: Spain 2013

We all know that it's important to be on pole for a F1 race.  It keeps you clear of the thundering herd and all the little incidents that occur in the pack that can kill your race before it begins.  There are some circuits where it's even more important than normal to be on pole.  Monaco is the usual example, but one of those oddball stats that blindside you with its data came to light today... SPAIN, not Monaco, is the most pole-dependent race on the calendar.  Eleven of the past 12 dry races at Barcalounger have been won from the pole... and the one oddball was Hannibal Vettel winning from second in 2011.  So, yes, it's a little important to be on pole this week.  So who just shot to the top of the bookies' sheets?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2013 Grand Prix of Spain:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.913 1:21.776 1:20.718
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.728 1:21.001 1:20.972
3 Hannibal Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:22.158 1:21.602 1:21.054
4 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:22.210 1:21.676 1:21.177
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:22.264 1:21.646 1:21.218
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:22.492 1:21.978 1:21.219
7 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:22.613 1:21.998 1:21.308
8 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:22.342 1:21.718 1:21.570
9 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.116 1:21.790 1:22.069
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.663 1:22.019 1:22.233
11 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:22.905 1:22.127
12 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:22.775 1:22.166
13 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.952 1:22.346
14 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.166 1:22.355
15 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:23.058 1:22.389
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:23.218 1:22.793
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:23.260

18 Friar Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:23.318

19 Who Reads This Far Down Caterham-Renault 1:24.661

20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:24.713

21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:24.996

22 Charles ToothPic Caterham-Renault 1:25.070


Q1 107% Time
1:27.448


This is the second pole in a row for Nico Rosberg, and the third on the trot for Mercedes... which brings us a puzzling situation.  What happens when the car that's on pole is great for single laps, but not so good over race distances?  Last race, Rosberg started first and ended up ninth... not because of any strategy problems, or traffic woes, but because the car just doesn't like going more than three laps at a time.  Should prove interesting to find an answer... except if the two Mercs don't win, it'll undoubtedly be Hannibal Vettel whose lap the race will fall into.

Dammit.

In other news, one year ago, Pastor Maldonado started the Spanish Grand Prix from pole and won Williams' first race in what seemed like forever.  Tomorrow, he'll be starting 18th, with his Williams teammate in 17th.  Yeesh.  And speaking of "yeesh," McLaren's season is essentially over already; they're 86 points behind Red Bull in the Constructor's Championship... even if they start winning everything in sight, does anybody really believe that Red Bull wouldn't be right behind them?  Nope, stick a fork in 'em, they're done.  Even Force India has more points than they do (26 to 23).  One wonders if they installed the throttle correctly or something.  "Oh, silly us, we put the gas pedal on the LEFT side, not the right..."

Race in the morning, F1U! sometime thereafter.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:55 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 542 words, total size 17 kb.

1 Hamilton is looking crazy like a fox at this point.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 11, 2013 08:10 PM (+rSRq)

2 Yup, though I'm beginning to wonder just how much of McLaren's problems are because he left the team?  From all reports, he was quite good at explaining what he felt from the car... and I'm guessing that Sergio Perez just isn't that good at it at this point of his career.

But then again, it appears that this year's McLaren is a dog, too, so it doesn't matter how tightly you get the dog set up, it's still a dog.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 11, 2013 08:41 PM (Axk8h)

3 Can't be Hamilton's fault. Why has Button's performance dropped off a cliff, too? He did a lot better last year, after all.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 12, 2013 03:28 AM (+rSRq)

4 Jenson Button drives to the level of his car, which is why I'll never see him as a top driver.  Give him a good car, and he'll do great things with it.  Give him a bad car, though, and that's what you'll see.  If he was in last year's Ferrari, there's no way he would have done as well as HWMNBN.

HWMNBN is an example of someone who can take a bad car and make it look decent, and an okay car and make it a race winner.  Slappy was like that, too.  We don't really know what Vettel is, though I suspect he's more like the Spaniard than the Brit... he did get his first win in a Toro Rosso, after all.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 12, 2013 04:22 AM (Axk8h)

5 Another driver who seems to be able to find things in his car is Paul di Resta. He's been doing a lot better than Sutil.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 12, 2013 11:11 AM (+rSRq)

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