October 08, 2011

F1 Quals: Japan 2011

A gorgeous day at Suzuka, Japan for the Quals session for the 2011 Grand Prix of Japan.  Will the Red Bullies continue their stranglehold on the pole position for the season?  Or will McLaren, who were the fastest in every practice session so far this weekend, finally kick them out of the top slot?  Let's take a look at the provisional grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:33.051 1:31.424 1:30.466
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.947 1:31.434 1:30.475
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.843 1:31.139 1:30.617
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:33.235 1:31.909 1:30.804
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:32.817 1:31.612 1:30.886
6 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:33.135 1:31.576 1:31.156
7 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:33.748 1:32.116 No Time
8 Bruno Senna Renault 1:33.359 1:32.297 No Time
9 The Red Menace
Renault 1:32.877 1:32.245 No Time
10 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.626 1:32.380 No Time
11 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.761 1:32.463
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:33.499 1:32.746
13 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:33.921 1:33.079
14 Canon Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:33.781 1:33.224
15 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:33.064 1:33.227
16 DJ Squire
STR-Ferrari 1:35.111 1:33.427
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:34.704 No Time

18 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Lotus-Renault 1:35.454

19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:35.514

20 Custard d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.439

21 Tim O'Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 1:36.507

22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:37.846

DNQ Nico Rosberg Mercedes No Time

DNQ Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth No Time

Q1 107% Time

.009 of a second.  That's the total difference between a potential clean sweep of the season's poles for Red Bull... and a pole for someone else for the first time this year.  Seb Vettel just barely pipped McLaren's Jenson Button for first place, but could have lost it at the last moment.  Fortunately for him, Lewis Hamilton either messed up the sector (most likely) or was balked by both Slappy Schumacher and Mark Webber (Hamilton's story in the post-quals interview), meaning that he didn't get across the start/finish line in time to take a last shot at pole.  As this is being written (130am Saturday morning, just moments after the Quals session went off the air) there is nothing being said regarding penalties as of yet. 

A nice moment in Japan was Gandalf Kobayashi pulling down the fastest time in Q1 to the delighted roars of his home crowd.  He then managed to get through to Q3 for only the second time this season.  When the lights went green for Q3, Kobayashi's Sauber went out on track... alone.  For at least half a lap, his was the only car on track.  The Legendary Announce Team called it a "parade lap" for the Japanese fans, and I'm sure that's right since he turned into the pits and parked it without setting a time.  He had burned his soft tires already, so it's not like he could have done much else, but a nice gesture by the rest of the field to let him out alone... even if it was just the other teams waiting for the perfect time to get their guys out.  Particularly when Sauber rolled out their newest modifications for this race:

They may be under-funded, but they're still revolutionary as heck at the team from Switzerland.

In other news from Quals, Nico Rosberg's string of making it into Q3 at every race this year has come to an end, thanks to a hydraulic problem.  He set no time in Q1, meaning that at least in theory he could be excluded from the race.  That won't happen, but it could.  Vitantonio Liuzzi's HRT had mechanical issues as well that didn't allow him to set a time.  It's a little more likely that he'll be excluded, but still pretty much a long shot.

More if events warrant!  The race is at 1am Sunday morning, Pond Central time, so your guess is as good as mine as to when the F1U! will be up.  Sunday for sure.  See you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:50 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Just a chuckle for you:  http://www.worth1000.com/entries/378146/formula-one-fighter

Team Toro Roso has more to worry about than just the track!


Posted by: jt at October 08, 2011 11:14 AM (NmSN+)

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