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