April 16, 2016

F1 Quals: China 2016

Practice 3 in China was stupidly wet, with heavy rain lasting through the first 15 minutes.  By the time Quals rolled around, the track was... mostly dry.  There were still some damp spots, though.  Would they have any role to play?  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of China:

Pos. Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.669 1:36.240 1:35.402
2 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:37.672 1:36.815 1:35.917
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:37.347 1:36.118 1:35.972
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:37.001 1:36.183 1:36.246
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:37.537 1:36.831 1:36.296
6 Kid Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:37.719 1:36.948 1:36.399
7 Sergio Perez Force India 1:38.096 1:37.149 1:36.865
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:37.656 1:37.204 1:36.881
9 Embryo Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:38.181 1:37.265 1:37.194
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.165 1:37.333 No Time
11 Felipe Not Nasr Massa Williams 1:38.016 1:37.347
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:38.451 1:38.826
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.593 1:39.093
14 Lettuce Grosjean Haas 1:38.425 1:39.830
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber 1:38.321 1:40.742
16 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber 1:38.654 1:42.430
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:38.673

18 Esteban! Haas 1:38.770

19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:39.528

20 Rio Rainbow Gate Manor 1:40.264

NC Turbo Pascal Wehrlein Manor DNF

NC Lewis Hamilton Mercedes DNF

On first glance, you might think that Lewis Hamilton was affected by the rain, but you'd be wrong.  He went out for a trial lap on Intermediates, but came right back in complaining of his engine being down on power.  I mean, every driver complains that their engine isn't powerful enough, but this time it was real: a second attempt at a lap later in the session was also a failure as his energy recovery system wasn't working right.  Since he didn't set a time, he technically races at the whims of the stewards.  No worries there, I'd say.

Manor's Turbo Pascal Wehrlein also races at the allowance of the stewards as he wrecked his car just a couple of minutes into Q1... and this is the only time that the wetness of the circuit may have had an effect. 

As you can see, there's two damp strips across the asphalt, separated (and caused) by a bump in the front straight that runs the width of the track.  Wehrlein splashed through the first damp patch, hit the bump, then nailed the second damp patch... and ended up having a tankslapper that dumped him into the outside wall.  You'll note his DRS is open, as well... the combination of water, bump, and reduced downforce ended his day.  A 20 minute red flag while the track workers recovered his car was the result.

Q2 ended early when Force India sent Nico Hulkenberg out for his final hot lap with a tire poorly attached.  He gave it the old college try, but making it all the way around the track without losing the thing proved to be too much.

Oh dear.
This, too, brought out a red flag.  The clock was stopped with about 90 seconds left in the session... nowhere near enough time to get out from the pits, get around the track, and start a flying lap.  Thus were Felipe Not Nasr Massa, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, all of whom were on or were about to start a flying lap when the flag came out, relegated to not making it to Q3.  Alonso was particularly annoyed by this, making sounds on the radio that were... um... interesting

The final session saw a surprise finish when Smiley Ricciardo cranked out a lap from out of nowhere.  Both Ferraris had a great shot at beating him, but both Vettel and Raikkonen screwed up the final hairpin, meaning they could not better the Aussie.  Which left Nico Rosberg up on top of the grid, and his biggest rival at the very far end. 

That promises fireworks.  See ya Sunday!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:37 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 652 words, total size 28 kb.

1 Hamilton seems to be having a lot of bad luck this year. Is Rosberg secretly sticking pins in a Hamilton doll?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 16, 2016 12:35 PM (+rSRq)

2 is that tire tethered?

Posted by: vaucanson's Duck at April 16, 2016 08:32 PM (G6R3M)

3 Vauc, it is.  Unfortunately, the tethers go to the wheel upright, which is part of the wheel assembly.  The wheel rim, which the tire is on, attaches to the assembly... ere they wouldn't be able to change tires!

The tethers are there to keep things from flying away during an accident, and they do a great job of it except in the very worst of wrecks.  They can't be expected to protect against mechanic failure.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 16, 2016 09:34 PM (XQ5ac)


Unfortunately, if a tire comes loose without puncturing when the car is moving fast, it will bounce and stay upright, and it can travel a ridiculously long way before stopping unless it hits something -- or someone. Loose tires like that have been known to kill people.

But as the duck says, you can't put a tether on the tire itself because pitstops would take a couple of minutes if not even longer. Besides, where would you attach it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 16, 2016 09:52 PM (+rSRq)

5 Loose tires like that have been known to kill people.

In 1998, when tethers were first introduced, the regs called for one per wheel.  In 2000, a wheel getting free killed a track worker at Monza, so the regs were changed for 2001.  Since then, two tethers per wheel have been required in F1.

You just have to hope that the team can actually fasten the tire nut.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 16, 2016 11:11 PM (XQ5ac)

6 The best "loose tire" video I've ever seen...

Posted by: Avatar at April 17, 2016 02:55 PM (v29Tn)

7 As I type this, I have not yet watched Avatar's video.  I am making a prediction right now: it's the V8 Supercar incident where the tire comes off, rolls forever, passes through race traffic, bounced on a curb and ends up stacked perfectly on top of a free-standing tire barrier... and the announcer says something to the effect of "...that's why it's called a control tire."

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 17, 2016 07:14 PM (XQ5ac)

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 17, 2016 07:17 PM (XQ5ac)

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