April 02, 2016

F1 Quals: Bahrain 2016

The circuit changes, the names change, the positions change, but one thing stays inviolate: the new qualifying format still stinks on ice.  Here's a look at the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Bahrain:

Pos. Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.391 1:30.039 1:29.493
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.325 1:30.535 1:29.570
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.636 1:30.409 1:30.012
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.685 1:30.559 1:30.244
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:31.403 1:31.122 1:30.854
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:31.672 1:30.931 1:31.153
7 Felipe Not Nasr Massa Williams 1:32.045 1:31.374 1:31.155
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:31.987 1:31.604 1:31.620
9 Lettuce Grosjean Haas 1:32.005 1:31.756
10 Embryo Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:31.888 1:31.772
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:31.716 1:31.816
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:32.472 1:31.934
13 Esteban! Haas 1:32.118 1:31.945
14 Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.976 1:31.998
15 Kid Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:32.559 1:32.241
16 Blaise Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:32.806

17 Sony Ericsson Sauber 1:32.840

18 Sergio Perez Force India 1:32.911

19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:33.181

20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:33.438

21 Rio Rollins Tachibana Manor 1:34.190

22 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber 1:34.388

Once again we saw huge swaths of time with no or few cars on track.  The last five minutes of Q2, for example, saw one car run one lap... and the preceding four minutes was essentially a car on a FIA scale for a mandatory weigh-in.  That was all that was going on.  The last few minutes of Q3 was totally dead.  Any excitement was moved back, when Hamilton jumped himself from fourth to pole... but that happened in the middle of the session, instead of right at the end of a drama-filled Q3.  It's ridiculous.

Lewis Hamilton is on pole, and his lap is nearly a half-second faster than the race lap record set in 2004... and that was set in the V10 era, with practically unlimited aero downforce gizmos and stickier tires.

Haas continues their amazing start to the season, with Lettuce Grosjean ending up in ninth... widely considered the best spot to be if you can't be in the first couple of rows.  In ninth, you get tire choice for the race; eighth and above, you have to use the same tire compound as you had in Q2. 

The rest of Quals went more or less to script.  Renault is having difficulties figuring out the correct way to "stage" their cars for the 90second elimination thing, but otherwise?  Perez got hit by that, too.. .

The Toro Rosso twins are going to pissed at each other all season, aren't they?  That'll be fun!

Race in the mid-morning... see ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:44 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Seems significant that Haas is solidly in the second tier for their first two races.  Also, what exactly happened to Perez?

Posted by: Ben at April 02, 2016 05:33 PM (ECUyd)

2 Hopefully Grosjean will start the race on medium tires and lead some laps after the leaders pit.  Not really meaningful but it would be fun to see nonetheless.

Posted by: flatdarkmars at April 02, 2016 08:10 PM (vYV43)

3 Ben, the question is "will Haas manage to stay in the midpack as the season rolls on?"  It's often the case that a smaller team might do well in the beginning of the year, but as development costs climb during the season, they slide backwards, unable to throw as much money at the problem as the big guys.

Haas is a great story, and doing what they've done to date should make it a successful season for them (I'm sure they want more, though!), but let's see what occurs when they hit the European leg.

Perez was on a flying lap when the 90 second elimination timer ran out on him, thus rendering the lap null and void.  It's the same thing that happened to both Haas cars in Australia: they got the timing wrong.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 02, 2016 10:23 PM (KiM/Y)

4 I managed to get up this morning just in time to watch this on the F1 "Live Timing" web page, and I'm looking forward to your writeup.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 03, 2016 03:32 PM (+rSRq)

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