November 16, 2013

F1 Quals: United States!

It was a much nicer day than we had on Friday for practice.  Then, first practice was delayed, then shortened by a half-hour, because of fog.  It was thick enough to prevent the medical helicopter from flying.  Eventually the fog lifted, P1 started, then after about 15 minutes it was red flagged... because people noticed that the medical helicopter wasn't actually there yet.  Oops.

But that was yesterday.  Today, there were some clouds overhead, but the big thing was the wind.  The Legendary Announce Team said it was gusting up to 30mph, and it was playing hob with the cars all session.  It was bad enough that when the cars were going one direction, aero grip was boosted, but the other?  Shiv Hamilton was complaining that the front end of his Mercedes felt light and twitchy.  To be sure, the cloudy sky also meant that it was cool-ish and the track surface never warmed up... meaning the tires didn't have as much mechanical grip as they should, either.  So what does all this mean for the race tomorrow?  Well, here's the provisional grid for the 2013 United States Grand Prix:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 4Time Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:38.516 1:37.065 1:36.338
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:38.161 1:37.312 1:36.441
3 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:38.676 1:37.523 1:37.155
4 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.339 1:37.828 1:37.296
5 Shiv Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.959 1:37.854 1:37.345
6 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:38.929 1:37.368 1:37.376
7 Ta-ta Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.367 1:38.040 1:37.452
8 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Lotus-Renault 1:38.375 1:38.078 1:37.715
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:37.821 1:37.439 1:37.836
10 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.082 1:38.031 1:38.034
11 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:38.882 1:38.131
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:38.894 1:38.139
13 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.588 1:38.217
14 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.743 1:38.364
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:39.094 1:38.592
16 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.880 1:38.696
17 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:39.250

18 How Droll Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:39.351

19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:40.491

20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:40.528

21 Charles ToothPic Caterham-Renault 1:40.596

22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:41.401

Yeah, yeah, Vettel still gets the pole.  But Nico Hulkenberg ahead of Hamilton?  Valtteri Bottas as high on the grid as 3rd in Q3 until slipping down to 9th?  BOTH Saubers in Q3?  Massa 15th?  Rosberg in 14th?  Really?  Heikki Kovalainninninnie in 8th, despite not having driven the Lotus until yesterday?  What sort of weirdness IS this, anyway?  It's Austin Weird, of course, though I suspect the proprietor of that website frowns upon F1.

So we've got a... let's call it a "blended" grid, which should make for an exciting first couple of laps while the faster cars make their way up towards the front... or leave little pointy pieces of carbon fiber scattered all over the track, one of the two.

As far as penalties go, Button got a three grid-spot penalty for passing under the red flag on Friday, while ToothPic gets a five spot for a gearbox change, and thus will be starting from somewhere near the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.

So the race is on NBC at 1pm Pond Central time, but there'll be an one-hour pre-race thingy at noon, also on The Big Network.  You have no excuse to miss this one, and it should be worth watching... except for the whole "Vettel streaking off to another victory" thing.

See ya after!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:55 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 My excuse to miss it is that I don't own a TV.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 16, 2013 04:48 PM (+rSRq)


Jeese. The Red Bull cars had 7/10 of a second on the field?

This is going to be another "Vettel runs away and hides" race. About the only thing that could introduce suspense into this race would be if Webber and Vettel take each other out in the first turn.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 16, 2013 05:14 PM (+rSRq)

3 Steven, though I know you won't do it, this is for you.

Actually, if you DID watch it, I suspect I'd be disappointed... and out of a job.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 16, 2013 09:13 PM (Izt1u)

4 I'll watch it, anyway.

Considered going, but moving in a month means I gotta keep a close rein on the expenses and especially on the vacation days. I suspect I wouldn't have as fun a time actually there, though - I'm not exactly a sophisticated fan and I really appreciate the commentary.

Posted by: Avatar at November 16, 2013 11:47 PM (GJQTS)

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