September 19, 2015
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:46.166||1:45.291||1:44.428|
|4||Kid Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:45.340||1:44.979||1:44.745|
|8||Embryo Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:46.483||1:45.635||1:45.798|
|9||Felipe Not Nasr Massa||Williams||1:46.879||1:45.701||1:46.077|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:46.669||1:46.305|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:46.576||1:46.385|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:46.465||1:46.894|
|16||Felipe Not Massa Nasr||Sauber||1:46.965|
It isn't that this is the first time eight races that Lewis Hamilton isn't on pole. It isn't that this is the first time in over a year that a Mercedes isn't on pole. It's not even that this is the first Ferrari pole in three years, and their first pole in dry conditions in five. It is about just how soundly the Silver Arrows were trounced. It's not like "aw shucks, they just nipped us." This is serious "we kicked your arse" stuff.
Why did it happen? Reports are that it's all down to tires. Mercedes, for whatever reason, cannot get their rear tires to work around the Marina Bay circuit. They get too hot too quickly, then cool down too far too fast. They're never in the right temperature zone to provide any grip and as a result, they're "slow" around this turn-happy circuit. Understand, the Mercs are still the fastest through the speed trap... it's not like their new engines are letting them down. They had problems in Singapore last year, too, but still ran away with the race because their opponents were weaker. With Ferrari's improvements, there probably would have been a fight for pole regardless, but nothing like this.
In other news of note, both McLarens made it to Q2, and HWIOAKAFernando Alonso probably was ticketed for a legitimate Q3 appearance when Carlos Sainz did Bad Things to his Toro Rosso, which brought out the yellow flags, which put paid to the Spaniard's hot lap.
And finally, American Alexander Rossi was a half-second behind teammate Will Stevens in matching Manors. This doesn't sound good, until you realize that Stevens has been driving the car all season and this is really Rossi's first chance to put some serious laps in with it. The cockpit is also something of a tight fit for the American... as in, "we need lard and shoehorns, stat!" Hopefully they'll have that part fixed in time for Japan. Oh, and Rossi desperately needs to work on his speaking skills. In an interview with the Legendary Announce Team's Will Buxton right after Q1, the American Driver was less intelligible than Kimi "Mumbles" Raikkonen. He was talking waaaay too fast. Maybe adrenaline was to blame.
It would take a disaster at this point for anyone to defeat Mercedes for the constructor championship, and likewise for Hamilton winning (though that's not quite as far in the bag).
Which makes me wonder if Mercedes is starting to think about 2016 and using the rest of 2015 as experimentation.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 19, 2015 03:56 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 19, 2015 04:16 PM (+rSRq)
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