September 24, 2011

F1 Quals: Singapore 2011

Well, that was an interesting result.  I don't know that I've ever seen this before.  Before we get into it, let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2011 Grand Prix of Singapore:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:46.397 1:44.931 1:44.381
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:47.332 1:45.651 1:44.732
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.956 1:45.472 1:44.804
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.014 1:46.829 1:44.809
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:47.054 1:45.779 1:44.874
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:47.945 1:45.955 1:45.800
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:47.688 1:46.405 1:46.013
8 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:48.819 1:46.043 No Time
9 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:47.952 1:47.093 No Time
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:48.022 1:47.486 No Time
11 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:47.717 1:47.616
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:48.061 1:48.082
13 Seventy Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:49.710 1:48.270
14 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:48.753 1:48.634
15 Bruno Senna Renault 1:48.861 1:48.662
16 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:49.588 1:49.862
17 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:48.054 No Time

18 The Red Menace
Renault 1:49.835

19 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Lotus-Renault 1:50.948

20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:51.012

21 Tim O'Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 1:52.154

22 Custard d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:52.363

23 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:52.404

29 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:52.810


Q1 107% Time
1:53.844


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!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:33 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1

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)

2 It boggles my mind that two separate high pack teams blew it on the timing for when to send a driver out for his qualifying lap.  That's not exactly rocket science, and these guys are supposed to be the best and brightest in motorsport.

Posted by: David at September 25, 2011 12:19 AM (Kn54v)

3 I've since seen reports from two other websites regarding Hamilton.  The first said it was intentional, to save tires.  The second said that a refueling rig problem prevented him from going out.

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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