September 24, 2011
Q3 was very weird. First, Seb Vettel went out, turned one hot lap then parked it, in effect saying "take your best shot, kids." Of course, nobody could touch him... or at least, nobody handicapped by their teams' mistake. Lewis Hamilton put up a decent time, good enough to put him second, was pushed into the garage for tire changes and strategy... McLaren was going to send him out at just the right time, so he'd be the last man on track.
Except... um... they forgot. As the clock ticked down to 2:00 remaining, Hamilton was sitting in his car, waiting to go back out. There was no urgency in the garage, until people realized "hey, it takes 1:44 to do a hot lap, what'll it take to do an out-lap?" Whoops. As the clock ticked past 1:50 remaining, Lewis ripped his gloves off angrily and exited his car, any chance he had to improve his time gone. Immediately, his teammate beat him for second, then Mark Webber shoved them both down to the second row.
But at least he protected his tires. Slappy Schumacher can't even say that. Mercedes sent him out for his only run, but too late. The session clock expired when he was entering sector three, with about half a lap left to go. So no time for Slappy and a set of tires with unneeded wear... good jorb, guys!
The Force India team got both their cars into Q3 for the first time this season, then promptly said "we can't really do any better than this" and kept their cars in the garage. While they were probably right, it still seems... unseemly... to do that. Still, strategery goes a long way in F1.
The part that I was surprised by, however, was the uniformity of the top 10: each row is a different team! Red Bull on row 1, McLaren on row 2, Ferrari makes up row 3, Mercedes holds row 4, and Force India row 5. While I'm sure that's happened before, I can't recall when.
Oh, and Red Bull's sweep of pole position for the season continues. That's 11 for Vettel, three for Webber, 14-for-14. If Vettel wins and HWMNBN finishes off the podium, Seb gets his second Driver's Championship.
F1 Update! will come along tomorrow afternoon sometime; see you then!
And when you look down the chart, you also see that the HRT's are together, the Virgins are together, the Lotus's are together and the Williams's are together.
It's almost as if this particular circuit minimizes the effect of driver skill and emphasizes car features almost to exclusion.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 24, 2011 05:30 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: David at September 25, 2011 12:19 AM (Kn54v)
To the first explanation, I say "bull hockey." The second one sounds like it's at least possible. I'm still going with "lost track of time."
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 25, 2011 12:48 AM (o45Mg)
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