May 12, 2012

F1 Quals: Spain 2012

Well, that was unexpected... which, considering how this season is going, I probably should have expected.  Let's get the mental conundrums behind us and take a look at the provisional grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Spain:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
DSQ Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.583 1:22.465 1:21.707
2 Primate Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:23.380 1:22.105 1:22.285
3 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:23.276 1:22.862 1:22.302
4 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:23.248 1:22.667 1:22.424
5 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:23.406 1:22.856 1:22.487
6 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.261 1:22.773 1:22.533
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.370 1:22.882 1:23.005
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:23.850 1:22.884 no time
9 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:23.757 1:22.904 no time
10 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:23.386 1:22.897 no time
11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.510 1:22.944
12 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:23.592 1:22.977
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:23.852 1:23.125
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:23.720 1:23.177
15 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:24.362 1:23.265
16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:23.906 1:23.442
17 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:23.886 1:23.444
18 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:24.981

19 The Red Menace
Caterham-Renault 1:25.277

20 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Caterham-Renault 1:25.507

21 Charles ToothPic Marussia-Cosworth 1:26.582

22 Tim O'Glockenspiel Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.032

23 Pete Rose
HRT-Cosworth 1:27.555

24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:31.122


107% Time

1:28.363


We'll cover the most obvious bit first: Lewis Hamilton, who earned pole by nearly a half-second over the surprising Williams of Primate Maldonado, has a big black "DSQ" by his name.  That stands for "Disqualified," which is what he was from the Qualifying session.  After he made his final pole run, the McLaren engineering mavens told him to pull over on-track.  Y'see, there is a rule saying that a car must have a liter of fuel presented for scrutineering after Quals, and it appears that the team maybe didn't put enough gas into the MP4-27 to get him all the way around and be able to provide that liter.  However, there's another rule in Quals: a car must be able to return to the pits under its own power, except in cases of force majure.  In FIA-speak, that means if the car breaks down on the way back to the pits, it's not in violation of the rules, essentially.

McLaren immediately said to the stewards that running out of fuel was a case of force majure.  The stewards, quite rightly, laughed in their faces, stating that the amount of gas in the tank was entirely up to McLaren, and if they didn't have enough to get him around that was their problem.  They then said that he was out of Quals.  He'll still be allowed to participate in the race though, as long as he starts 24th.

So this gives Primate Maldonado his first ever pole, and Williams their first pole since the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix.  This result, however, was no surprise.  He was obviously quick all day, it was just a question if it would be fast enough to beat Hamilton.  As it turned out, it wasn't, but in a way it was.

The other surprise in Quals was that both Mark Webber and Jenson Button went out in Q2, caught in the pits with safe lap times... safe until a large cloud moved over the circuit and lowered the temperature of the asphalt around about 1°C, or just enough to make the soft tires come alive.  Heck, Seb Vettel went from 2nd to 8th in Q2 in the space of a commercial break as the track just got faster and faster.  He got away with it, Webber and Button didn't. 

We're still awaiting word as to whether or not Kittylitter will be allowed to race; when he DID get to run in practice, he was setting times well within the 107% rule.  In Quals, he had all sorts of technical issues that really prevented him from showing a representative time.  We'll see, but my guess is that he'll get to run.

Race in the morning, F1U! sometime thereafter!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:10 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1

What got into Maldonado?

Usually we see both cars from a team having nearly the same times -- and we do see that with HRT, Lotus, Force India, etc.

But the two Williams results couldn't be more different. In that case either it means the two cars were configured differently (i.e. different tires) or it means one of the drivers was having a great, or a lousy, day.

Which was it this time for Williams?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 12, 2012 07:01 PM (+rSRq)

2 Senna was having a bad day.  He was the last man out in Q1 and looked like he was going to make it into Q2.  He was in the "relegation zone," but was going quickly enough on his last-chance flying lap that he probably would have pushed Massa out... when he spun off and beached it. 

Meanwhile, Primate was loving everything about F1 today.  Indeed, if you notice, he was fastest in Q2 by over a third of a second.  That was no fluke, and it took a helluva lap by Hamilton to take pole from him in Q3.  

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 12, 2012 07:21 PM (6CHh4)

3 Another Brazilian wasn't having a great day either.

Posted by: Pete at May 12, 2012 09:11 PM (5OBKC)

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