Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

lauantai 22. elokuuta 2015

Belgian GP / Qualifying: Untouchable Hamilton took 6th consecutive pole!

So far the Belgian GP weekend has been exceptional as far as weather is concerned. There has been no rain in either one of the free practice sessions or in the qualifying today. Instead there have been warm temperatures and blue skies! Let´s see if we get some rain in the race, rain is kind of part of the Belgian GP weekend ;)

The start to Q1 was business as usual: all top teams started to the first session on the medium tyres. The pace of the Silver Arrows was absolutely convincing with Hamilton having the upper hand on his team-mate. Kimi didn´t have a very good first attempt but I was sure everything would go to plan this time. At the end of Q1 everyone came out on the yellow-marked soft tyres except the Mercedes duo, which had opted for another set of medium tyres. It tells a lot about Mercedes´ dominance that in spite of the tyre choice it was Hamilton and Rosberg topping the timesheets although the medium tyres were supposed to be 1,5 seconds slower than the soft ones! Perez in his Force India surprised everybody in Q1 being third fastest. The Ferrari duo made it safely into Q2 with Sebastian 6th and Kimi 7th. No surprises in the drop zone: Nasr in his Sauber, the McLaren duo and the Marussia duo were out of Q2.

Q2 got a shocking turn when there were eight minutes left in the clock. Kimi in his Ferrari became a big-name casualty of Q2, after technical issues forced to bring his very sick-sounding SF15-T to a halt approaching turn 14. I didn´t want to believe my eyes! Not again... No more unlucky incidents for Kimi this season! This oil pressure issue meant that Kimi´s qualifying was over. An utterly disappointing turn indeed! Rosberg was the fastest man on track in Q2 with his team-mate 2nd and Sebastian 3rd. I was a bit worried about Sebastian´s driving as in certain corners he exceeded the track limits with all four wheels... I definitely didn´t want to see his lap times deleted, which could have lead into him being eliminated from the decisive Q3. Luckily there was no action from the stewards in terms of this matter! I was a bit gutted for Verstappen as well: the Dutchman had complained about losing power already in Q1 but I don´t actually know what happened to him in Q2 as he didn´t set a lap time at all. He´ll also be facing a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change... Perez on the other hand kept up his good work and made it P4 in Q2.

Hamilton took provisional pole in Q3 but in their second attempts Rosberg and Hamilton had it very tight through the first sector. But over the rest of the lap the Briton was simply irresistable! So 6th consecutive pole for the British Mercedes driver. Once again Rosberg was left in his team-mate´s shadow. Finally there was almost half a second separating the team-mates. Behind the two silver cars Bottas was a distant third for Williams. Behind the Slver Arrows the battle for positions was extremely close as just two tenths of a second covered third through to eight. Sebastian paid the price for the closely-matched field as his fastest lap proved good enough only for ninth! Another disappointing turn. With penalties taken into account the grid will line up thus: 1. Hamilton 2. Rosberg 3. Bottas 4. Perez (!) 5. Ricciardo 6. Massa 7. Maldonado 8. Vettel 9. Grosjean (5-place grid drop due to a gear box change) 10. Sainz 11. Hulkenberg 12. Kvyat 13. Ericsson 14. Räikkönen 15. Nasr 16. Stevens 17. Merhi 18. Verstappen 19. Button 20. Alonso. Impressive job from Perez especially!

McLaren have been forced to change so many parts in their power units this weekend that altogether Button and Alonso would be having a 105-place grid penalty! This is absolutely ridiculous because there´s no way they can be dropped so many grid places! And this penalty isn´t converted into time penalty so it actually doesn´t change the team´s back-of-the-grid starting positions.

It´s interesting to see how the start will work out for all the drivers as there´s the new rule that denies the teams to assist the drivers at the start in terms of the clutch settings for example. There might be some poor starts tomorrow... My favorites don´t have the perfect conditions to start to the race but I´m sure Kimi will have a strong race if only there won´t be any technical issues! Let´s see how good Williams´ race pace is at Spa. And there might be some rain coming from the sky. But I´m counting on one thing especially: Kimi isn´t called "the king of Spa" without a reason!!

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