April 14, 2012
Nico Rosberg has long been thought to possess a surfeit of talent. For the whole of his career, however, he's hidden his light under a bushel. To be sure, he's had five podiums, including a 2nd place in 2008's GP of Singapore, but that doesn't match the predictions made for him. He's certainly never had a pole position. Until now. He turned one hot lap in Q3, then parked his car in the garage and let everybody take shots at him... and nobody really came close. So not only does Rosberg earn his first pole position, and Mercedes their first pole since St Fangio the Quick did it in the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, he earns the pole and still has a completely fresh set of soft tires for the race to boot. The past two races, the Mercedes W03 has shown great pace in Quals, but fades away during the race... are we going to see the same tomorrow? We'll find out tomorrow, obviously, but this seems... different.
With Lewis Hamilton dropping to 7th after his gearbox change penalty, Slappy Schumacher makes it a front-row lockout for the Silver Arrows. It's good to see Gandalf Kobayashi sitting in third with Mumbles Raikkonen right behind in fourth as well... unexpected, but good. Really, to be honest, the entire top 10 looks like someone just picked positions at random. How cool is that?
The big news is what happened in Q2. Two-time World Driver's Champion Seb Vettel set a time, then put his feet up in the garage and had a danish, confident it would hold up and get him through the knock-out session. As his time slowly moved down the grid, there was no panic or even reaction... save to get another danish. Then suddenly, there were a couple of minutes left and Vettel was 11th. He made it onto the track and even got to turn a hot lap, but to no avail: he'd been knocked out. He's actually been on pole here in China for three consecutive years before this.
Here's a stunning thought... if either Mercedes driver wins on Sunday, there'll be amazing reactions. Either a driver gets his first ever win... or Slappy gets his record-extending 92nd win. I'm not sure which I'd rather see. God help me.
It's gonna be a helluva race tomorrow! See ya then.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 14, 2012 12:39 PM (GJQTS)
It does indeed make sense. But does it make a half-second worth of difference? They say KERS gives a 3/10th of a second advantage over the course of a full lap over a car unequipped with it. I find it unlikely that the f-duct is making that much of a difference, plus more besides. Know what I'm sayin'?
There's every chance in the world you've got the right of it, Av. It just doesn't smell right.
Posted by: Wonderduck at April 14, 2012 01:17 PM (OS+Cr)
You're right, I'm not saying that the f-duct is the only thing that put Rosberg on the pole. Heck, Schumacher had one and he was a half-second behind Rosberg! Just a command performance out there either way.
And Kobayashi! We know that Perez has the mojo, after last week. But Kobayashi qualifying fourth, and both Saubers over both Ferraris? If they can get race performance like this, we might have five teams honestly competing for the championship this year, and that would be -fantastic-.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 14, 2012 01:57 PM (GJQTS)
I'll be honest, I'm not so surprised about who is in the top 10 as who isn't. This is like the first time Vettel didn't make it to Q3 in what, a couple of years? That's without wrecking or otherwise having the car fail on him, of course. In this case, the car worked perfectly well, he just didn't go fast enough. I wonder if the sticky brake from P3 had something to do with it?
Posted by: Wonderduck at April 14, 2012 05:03 PM (PVVuW)
Posted by: Pete at April 14, 2012 05:58 PM (5OBKC)
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