Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 27. heinäkuuta 2014

Hungarian GP / Qualifying: Rosberg on pole, more setbacks for Hamilton!

Qualifying for the Hungarian GP surely didn´t lack dramatic turns! Already at the very start of Q1 Maldonado´s Lotus was hit with a mechanical failure and the Venezuelan´s qualifying was over. Only a short moment later Hamilton´s Mercedes caught fire and there were massive flames coming from the rear of his car! The fire was caused by a fuel leak and the poor Briton hadn´t been able to set a lap time, which meant that he has to start to the race from the very back. I don´t know if there is such thing as bad luck in Formula 1 but it´s weird how some drivers seem to be haunted by setbacks and difficulties. Technical issues have hit Hamilton´s car so many times this season and the man himself has also made some costly mistakes whilst Rosberg has faced only one DNF so far! Felipe Massa is also one of these "unlucky" drivers, who has lost loads of points due to incidents without his own fault.

 Rosberg in his Mercedes, both Red Bulls and both Ferraris decided to do only one run and they were certain that the times set on the prime tyres were enough to make it in to Q2. This decision had a dramatic consequence in Kimi´s case: in the closing moments of Q1 Marussia´s Bianchi was able to improve his lap time and bumped Kimi out of Q2! I couldn´t believe my eyes! Who makes these calls at Ferrari? I was so angry! How could they be so arrogant and not send Kimi out as the track always tends to improve at the end? Kimi had questioned the team´s decision not to go out but of course he trusted his team when they told him not to go out... What a catastrophy!

More reliability problems emerged in Q2. Perez at the wheel of his Force India had a hydraulic leak and his qualifying was over. The three fastest men Rosberg, Vettel and Ricciardo made only one run in Q2. Kvyat in his Toro Rosso span in the last minute causing yellow flags. The Russian was unable to make it through to the final session. Also both Sauber cars were knocked out of Q3.

Rain fell very unexpectedly ahead of Q3 and made the track conditions very tricky. Everyone headed out right away as there could possibly be more rain coming. The rain had, however, been so light that everyone had chosen the yellow-marked soft tyres. Turn 1 turned out to be very slippery: Rosberg went wide but managed to get his car back on track. Magnussen in his McLaren couldn´t keep his car on the track but crashed into the tyre wall and the session was red flagged when there were about 10 minutes left in the clock. After an 8-minute delay Q3 was back on and since there hadn´t been any more rain everyone headed out on the slicks. It really seemed that Vettel at the wheel of his RB10 was in striking distance and I was amazed to see Sebastian taking the provisional pole! It was, however, too good to be true and Rosberg snatched pole in the closing moments of the last session. Sebastian was finally 4 tenths of a second off Rosberg. Bottas in his Williams continued his staggering performance and made it in P3! Ricciardo in his Red Bull qualified 4th so finally Sebastian managed to outqualify his team-mate! Alonso in his Ferrari was 5th, Massa 6th, Button 7th, Vergne 8th, Hulkenberg 9th and Magnussen 10th.

Both Hamilton and Magnussen will start to the race from the pitlane. Hamilton´s Mercedes was so badly damaged in the fire that the team had to change a new chassis, a new gear box and a new engine in the car. Magnussen also had a gear box and a chassis change. In Germany Hamilton was able to storm his way through the field and make it on the podium but in Hungary it´ll be much more difficult as Hungaroring is known as a track with very few overtaking possibilities. Red Bull seem to be strong and competitive in Hungary so I´m expecting to see Sebastian on the podium! I don´t know if Red Bull´s pace is yet enough to challenge Rosberg in the lead but anything can happen. At the beginning of the season I was surprised that there were so little problems with reliability but those issues have started to emerge in the half way point of the season.

 I know Bottas will do anything to challenge the Red Bulls. In the first chapter of this blog post I wrote how Hamilton seems to be haunted with technical failures and setbacks. This implies to good things and success as well: Bottas has got an amazing boost after his first podium finish in Austria and everything seems to be working in the Finn´s favor at the moment! Bottas has unbelievable self-confidence and when you really believe in what you do, good things start to happen. It´s really like a fairy tale how Williams have managed to turn things around after the catastrophic and depressing last season!

Kimi will face a hard race I´m sure. You can´t do much starting from P17 on the grid on a track like Hungaroring! Even a points finish might be hard to achieve. But let´s see how the weather turns out... Still always believing in Kimi :)

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