Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

lauantai 30. heinäkuuta 2016

German GP / Qualifying: Rosberg grabbed pole on home soil!

I have had a terrible headache and felt absolutely exhausted today, but knowing it was a Formula 1 weekend cheered me up a lot. Formula 1 brings so much joy into my life. Even feeling unwell doesn´t prevent me from enjoying the F1 weekend!

Right at the beginning of Q1 Mercedes fired an ominous warning to the rest of the field, as they opted to run on the yellow-marked soft tyre -all their rivals were on supersofts- and still emerged fastest. Hamilton had the upper hand on his teammate in the first segment. It was extremely tight between Ferrari and Red Bull; Ricciardo was third three tenths down on Hamilton, Kimi fourth half-a-second off the Briton, Verstappen fifth and Sebastian 6th. The most positive surprise in Q1 was Gutierrez in his Haas, who was able to make it as high as P8 in the opening session. Toro Rosso´s Kvyat was the biggest surprise casualty in Q1, exiting alongside both Saubers, both Manors and the Renault of Magnussen. I kind of feel sorry for Kvyat, he has been facing so many setbacks lately! The rumour has that he´ll be fired from Toro Rosso after this season. Formula 1 is an extremely tough world... Hopefully the Russian will get his head together during the summer break and is able to bounce back stronger in the second half of the season!

Both Mercedes switched to supersofts for Q2 and once again were the ones to set the pace. This time the flying Dutchman Verstappen got the upper hand on his teammate -being half-a-second faster than Ricciardo. Kimi was the fourth fastest again, with Ricciardo fifth and teammate Sebastian sixth. The top five sat out the second runs. Sebastian came out to make a second attempt, but the timing proved wrong; the German didn´t make the chequered flag in time to start his time-lap! Luckily Sebastian´s first time-lap was good enough to keep the German among the top ten! Worth mentioning is Williams´ Bottas, who was able to make it as high as P5 in Q2. Haas´ Gutierrez was the first man to miss out on Q3; it was still an impressive result from the Mexican. Out of the final segment were also both McLarens, Toro Rosso´s Sainz, Haas teammate Grosjean and Renault´s Palmer.

At the beginning of Q3 Rosberg was setting the fastest times in sectors 1 and 2 -until the German was forced to abandon his run due to an electrical failure! Hamilton was provisionally fastest with Red Bull´s Ricciardo second -only two tenths down on the Briton. Rosberg came out three minutes from the finish setting the fastest lap time by a tenth! Teammate Hamilton made a small mistake on his second run -locking up at the hair pin- and couldn´t beat his teammate! The pecking order was clear: Mercedes once again conquered the front row, Red Bull took the second row with Ricciardo being faster of the Red Bull teammates. Ferrari were therefore confined to the third row, Kimi this time getting the better of the home favourite Sebastian. It´s a bit worrying, that again Red Bull proved Mercedes´ closest challengers! Force India´s Hulkenberg qualified 7th, but the German has faced a one-place grid drop for a technical breach regarding the tyres they used in qualifying. Williams´ Bottas qualified 8th (but will start from P7 due to Hulkenberg´s penalty), Perez was 9th and Bottas´ teammate Massa rounded out the top ten. There have been other penalties as well. Toro Rosso´s Sainz has been given a 3-place grid penalty for impeding Massa in Turn 2 during Q2. Haas´ Grosjean, on the other hand, has been handed a 5-place grid penalty for a gearbox change between FP3 and the start of qualifying.

There has been a lot of talk about the team radio rules lately. Ahead of the German GP weekend the Strategy Group agreed to loosen team radio restrictions from this weekend onwards. With the exception of the period between the start of the formation lap and the start of the race, there will be no limitations on messages sent to their drivers either by radio or pit board. I find this the right decision, as the drivers are definitely entitled to know, if they are facing a technical failure in the race. I´m eagerly looking forward to tomorrow´s race and how this will effect the team radio communication by the teams.

Let´s see if the spark-flying battle between Kimi and Verstappen continue tomorrow. It will be tight between Red Bull and Ferrari for sure. Sebastian has been struggling with his pace in previous races, but I believe it´s only a matter of time when he will start to shine again. But will anyone be able to challenge the Mercedes duo for the victory?

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