October 20, 2018

F1 Quals: United States 2018

The skies above Austin were leaden and grey, and a gusty wind blew cold across the Texas landscape.  It wasn't raining, but it had been doing so off-and-on all day.  The track still had some pavement that was the darker shade such things get when it had been wet but wasn't really anymore.  Any glance at the heavens, though, would be enough to convince a racegoer that it was only a matter of time....  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 United States Grand Prix:

Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.130 1:33.480 1:32.237
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.569 1:33.079 1:32.298
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.703 1:32.884 1:32.307
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.518 1:33.702 1:32.616
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:34.755 1:34.185 1:33.494
6 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:34.876 1:34.522 1:34.145
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:34.932 1:34.564 1:34.215
8 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:34.892 1:34.419 1:34.250
9 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:35.069 1:34.255 1:34.420
10 Lawsuit Perez Force India Mercedes 1:35.193 1:34.525 1:34.594
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:34.891 1:34.566
12 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:34.972 1:34.732
13 Pierre Ghastly Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:34.850 DNS
14 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:35.206 DNS
15 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:34.766 No Time

16 ETRA Alonso McLaren Renault 1:35.294

17 Sergey Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:35.362

18 Veruca Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:35.480

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:35.536

20 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:35.735

A reminder that Vettel has received a three-grid-place penalty and will be starting fifth... which is just about as good as he could have hoped, really.  At least his teammate will be taking his place on the grid; for a while there, one could have been forgiven for thinking that Kimi Raikkonen was an actual threat for pole today.  He wasn't though... nobody was, because the Circuit of the Americas may as well be Silverstone West to Lewis Hamilton.  It's his third consecutive pole position in Austin, and at least in my eyes there was really never any doubt that he'd get it.  Oh sure, he was third in Q2, but only by a half-second or so... for a driver of his ability that's nothing.  And so it proved.  No real drama in Q3, either.

The only surprise on the day wasn't even a surprise, not in the way you think of one.  DH Verstappen broke his right-rear suspension going over a sleeping policeman in Q1... while he was fast enough to carry on into Q2, the team was unable to repair the damage in time for him to continue... which leads one to think that the damage is more than just the suspension.  A suspension change is hardly an easy task, but Red Bull had about 20 minutes to work with... an eternity in F1 terms.  No, you've got to believe that there's more damage involved, like to the gearbox or driveshaft.  I'm not going to cry any great amount of tears... particularly since, in a way, the curbs he hit were put there because of his abuse of track limits in 2017.

So, there you have it.  The race is on ABC tomorrow, keep watching the skies!

Oh, and just FYI?  It did begin to rain just after Qualifying ended.  Not heavily, not that the TV audience saw, but there were spots showing up on various cameras around the circuit as Hamilton et al. took their victory laps.  There's no rain forecast for tomorrow, but...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:31 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 579 words, total size 21 kb.

1 Yeah. It was grey, gloomy, and cold.

Posted by: Will at October 20, 2018 07:08 PM (kcx6p)

2 From here you can just about see half the track. In part due to the fact we're in nearly the top row.

Posted by: Will at October 20, 2018 07:32 PM (kcx6p)

3 It was raining pretty much non-stop all week until today. Definitely unseasonably cool, though. What happened to fall?

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at October 21, 2018 01:50 AM (v29Tn)

4 It's been raining for two months in Houston. I think we've had 4, maybe 5 days without rain in the last 8 weeks. Wettest September on record in Texas, and we haven't even had any tropical weather. 

But I am merely stating a fact, not complaining. After the multi-year drought about a decade ago that wound up costing me 5 figures in foundation repair, I vowed I would never complain about rain again. (Between the 2015 Memorial Day flood, the 2016 Tax Day flood, and Harvey last year, I've had to bite my lip a lot. But we were not directly affected by those, fortunately.)

Anyway, I'm hoping to get to see Max make some overtakes in person, since we have a good view of a big chunk of the track, as you see above :-)

Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at October 21, 2018 04:41 AM (kcx6p)

5 My hopes were answered. That was exciting! Lots of good battles going on up and down the grid. 

Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at October 21, 2018 02:17 PM (uJFtr)

6 The guy next to Will was driving him nuts. Let's just call him Cletus (not his name). 

*Kimi Räikönnen drives by*
Cletus: Go Seb Vettel!!!

*Bottas drives by*
Cletus: *starts videoing* Woo! My man Lewis! Yeah! 
*Hamilton drives by*
Cletus: Oh. 

*K-Mag is on an out/setup lap*
Cletus: Yeah! Hear that engine! Fifth gear!!

*Hamilton passes a blue-flagged Williams*
Cletus: Woo yeah, look at him go! 

Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at October 21, 2018 07:06 PM (JPRju)

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