Vettel Welcomes The Rain To Take Second Pole Of 2013 – Raikkonen penalised
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  23 Mar 2013   |  12:14 pm GMT  |  274 comments

For Sebastian Vettel the Malaysian weather played in to his hands as he took a sensational pole position in changeable conditions for the second Grand Prix of 2013, almost a second ahead of Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

It was the fourth Grand Prix in a row that Massa has outqualified his team mate Alonso, stretching back to Austin last season. Alonso bristled in the official press conference at suggestions that this is a problem for him, pointing out that Massa has always been a strong reference point for him, despite his problems of the last few years.

After barely making it out of a dry first phase of qualifying, due to nursing tyres for Q2 and the race, Vettel welcomed the rain and the opportunity to grab a second set of intermedia tyres for a pole position run. The heavens opened above the Sepang circuit and the triple World Champion and his Red Bull team timed his final run perfectly and he was able to take pole by 9/10ths of a second.

His tyre decision paid dividends as he secured his 38th career pole.

Red Bull looked to be struggling in the first two dry phases of the session as Mercedes and Force India were the pacesetters.

However, the session was massively shaken up during a short period of heavy rain before Q3 and Vettel remains the only man to take a pole position in 2013.


Massa, too, welcomed the rain in a fruitful session for Ferrari. They had also seemed to lack dry pace compared to Mercedes but turned it around in the wet conditions and crucially left it very late to cross the start/finish line for their final flying lap.

Massa’s front-row start is his first since Bahrain in 2010, where he ended the race in second place behind Alonso.

This weekend marks the 200th Grand Prix of Alonso’s career and is also the circuit where he took his first podium in 2003, decade ago.

Behind the top three in fourth place is Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes. He had held pole position with just a minute left in the top ten shoot out but with an ever evolving track he was shuffled down the order after passing the chequered flag. He had been outpaced by team mate Rosberg for much of the session, especially Q2, but he came through when the counting stopped.

The sister Mercedes of Rosberg was the fastest hard tyre runner in Q1 and went on to top the times in Q2; so the appearance of rain would not have pleased the team as the young German eded the day in sixth place.

The Mercedes pairing sandwich the Red Bull of Mark Webber, who was the first to pass the chequered flag and thus lost his chance to improve as the track continued to dry. Unclear radio communications were partly to blame, as Webber did not take a second set of intermediates like his team mate. He had previously topped the session but ended up over two and a half seconds slower than Vettel, indicating how much the track improved with new tyres.

Lotus had a disappointing qualifying session with Raikkonen suffering a hydraulic leak and failing to get heat into the intermediate tyres, after looking set for the front two rows in dry conditions. He ended the day in seventh place, but was dropped three places for blocking Rosberg.

Lotus again has plenty of race pace should tomorrow be dry and Alonso said that he expects Raikkonen to challenge him during the race.

Romain Grosjean was caught out by the rain; he was on a quick lap in Q2 when rain began to fall and he therefore could not improve and will begin the race in eleventh place.

Completing the top ten are Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez. McLaren once again looked to struggle in dry conditions but were closer to the mark in the wet.

Sutil showed very good pace in the dry and topped the times in Q1 as he continued his strong comeback to the sport.

Further down the field Jules Bianchi had another promising qualifying session for Marussia. The rookie is the only driver in the field to have never lapped the Sepang circuit prior to this weekend and he was able to end the day over a second ahead of team mate Max Chilton.

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m49.674s
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.587s + 0.913s
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m50.727s + 1.053s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.699s + 2.025s
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m52.244s + 2.570s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m52.519s + 2.845s
7. Kimi Raikkonen * Lotus 1m52.970s + 3.296s
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m53.175s + 3.501s
9. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m53.439s + 3.765s
10. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m54.136s + 4.462s

11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.636s + 1.446s
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m38.125s + 1.935s
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m38.822s + 2.632s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m39.221s + 3.031s
15. Paul di Resta Force India 1m44.509s + 8.319s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams no time

17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m38.157s + 1.348s
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m38.207s + 1.398s
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m38.434s + 1.625s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m39.314s + 2.505s
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m39.672s + 2.863s
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m39.932s + 3.123s

* Three place grid drop for blocking Rosberg

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1

What a horrible start by both Ferrari. Alonso DNF after crash with the Vettel difusser. And Massa lost many positions.

But for some miracle Webber had a great start

2

Very marginal call on Raikkonens penalty. But I don’t think it will change Raikkonens approach . This time he will be hunting down both Ferraris and Vettel for the win on Sunday. Brilliant onboard video of Sebs quali win- that RBR is epic over a lap.

By mid year no one will be saying the name Rosberg. Like I predicted Lewis is already on his pace and too many posters have forgotten that Nico has had 3 years in Mercedes and Lewis only one winter and he’s already got his measure.

3

Looks like its Ferrari for 2013 WCC.

Regards,

Hiten

4

During the BBC highlights I saw the Williams of (I think Pastor) Maldonado get in the way of Webber who was near the end of a timed lap in Q1. Was that incident investigated?

Similarly, Hulkenberg complained about Checo approaching turn 9.

Is no action taken in these cases, because neither driver failed to progress to Q2? The Maldonado/Webber incident brought an “ooh” from the commentary team, is there a safety aspect to this?

5

I think the ‘ooh’ was because the direcor cut to it just before Webber jinked to the right which made it look worse than it was.

6

Maldonado was on the left side of the track, off the racing line. Webber was just getting a slipstreaming benefit, so there was no issue as it was dry and there were no visibility concerns. The drivers generally have to maintain certain delta times to avoid driving too slowly in qualifying for safety purposes, so Maldonado was effectively avoiding what Perez ended up doing – being a slow car on the racing line near a braking zone.

7

Alonso was struggling big time against Hamilton as a rookie… the stats hide the actual beating he took in 2007.

Alonso blows his own trumpet, but does get caught with his pants down time and again.

Massa is an okay driver, but Alonso is struggling again.

It may have been the mass damper that did a lot of the winning for Alonso’s WDC… just like the double diffuser won the WDC for Brawn.

8
Val from montreal

+ 791 …. I watched today on Youtube the post race 2006 Chinese GP interview , with MSC , Alonso and Fisichella …

Schumacher said it was like a miracle for Ferrari being where they were in the standings (1st ) with only 2 races left , considering their slow start to the season and how far they had to come from to catch Renault ..,

Mass Dampers that were declared illegal by the FIA was Renault’s biggest advantage ..

9

Mass dampers were declared illegal by the FIA after Jean Todt and MSC decided that they had been legal for long enough , ie the previous 18 months.

It was similar to Michelin, had run their tyres since 2001 and yet as Ferrari were fighting Mclaren and Williams for the championship in 2003, they were told their dimensions were illegal.

And people wonder why Schumacher isn’t respected more than he is.

10

Thank you for your positive contribution to this site. You remind me a lot of a Rob Newman [mod]

0.003 second in Australia and then a strong race. A tenth of a second in Malaysia. Are we seeing much change from 2012 in Alonso? A year where the great majority of professional journalists rated Alonso as the best of the year? Are you smarter and more knowledgeable than all the journalists who attend every race and make F1 their livelihood?

Alonso was hardly flawless in 2007 – he struggled to adapt to the brakes that McLaren used, and he made ill-judged passing attempts at the start of Spain and Canada, and he aquaplaned off the road in Japan, which was particularly costly. Alonso’s races in the final two GPs were pretty poor, but the situation with the FIA was that he was forced to run parts specifically tailored to Hamilton, so that probably didn’t help his mental state.

However, if you look through the season on racing performance with equal conditions, Hamilton rarely made time on Alonso. Despite the hype, Alonso was quicker in Monaco. If you take Hamilton’s second win, Alonso was stuck right behind him all the way. In Australia, Malaysia, UK, Belgium and Italy in races where both had clear tracks, Alonso was the faster driver in the race, putting a significant amount of time on Hamilton. Hamilton had more pole positions, but a number of those came from light fueling and trying to beat the Ferraris.

Given his experience, Alonso should have done a better job, but the McLaren team clearly had a favourite driver in Hamilton.

Your okay driver in Massa did quite well in 2008 in nearly beating Hamilton in what is was generally regarded as the slower car across the season – it varied from race to race. If you are looking for Massa’s best attributes, pace would have to be up there, so for Massa to be making a return to form, and Alonso being just behind is hardly a big deal.

11

That’s the second great reply I have read of yours today. It is a revelation to read someone with unbiased facts stating them so clearly.

Regards your comment about rob Newman, +1, if Alonso or Ferrari are mentioned his thought process becomes disturbingly unhinged.

There is one thing I want to add to the 2007 season debate, many drivers were running Bridgestones for the first time in 2007. They required a very specific technique to get the best out of them at the limit. Something that Mark Hughes reckoned would take 1/2 a season.

Hamilton during testing on Michelins was nowhere near Alonso’s pace, yet when they introduced the Bridgestones he was level with Alonso.

Significant? Yes, because Hamilton used Brudgestone tyres in GP2, whereas Alonso needed to learn the subtle nuances. Kimi was similarly disadvantaged in 07 against Massa who understood the tyres far better, this being one of the main reasons why Kimi performed so much stronger in the second half of 2007.

12

Hi HWS,

Thanks. I’ll note that great has two meanings and James has encouraged me to be brief at least once.

Your point on tyres is probably valid, but it is more supposition than fact. There are arguments against it: Hamilton would have done a lot of kms on Michelins in 2005 and 2006; and the spec 2006 GP2 Bridgestone’s equivalence to a grooved tyre war developed F1 tyre is unknown to me. The reality is that it is history and has probably no effect on how Hamilton and Alonso race now. Vettel and Webber’s history might be more relevant to future races…

Cheers,

Martin

13

If only they had a mass damper for your comments..

14

Must say it’s quite amusing how readily people are calling for di Resta to be issued with a P45 off the back of one dodgy qualifying session. Lest we forget, last time out he out-qualified Sutil and in the race he would have probably finished ahead of Sutil but for Force India instructing them to hold position and secure the points (Sutil’s tyres being pretty much gone). Today’s result was down to a fairly straightforward error – namely, misjudging when the rain was going to come down. Once you get Malaysian weather doing what it does to part of the circuit, it’s pretty much a given you’re not going to improve your time. Di Resta is under pressure this year, no doubt, but I think the pitchforks could do with being put away for a bit…

Anyway, impressive lap from Vettel in the conditions – 0.9s quicker than the rest is no mean feat – and strong qualifying from Ferrari and Hamilton as well. Not sure who’s going to figure in the result mind you, given what said Malaysian weather likes to do this time of year.

15

Being in Australia, I don’t see much of di Resta being interviewed – especially compared to Webber and Ricciardo – but the impression I get from this site is that the fans haven’t found much reason to like him personally. He seems to have an excuse for everything – his crash in Suzuka practice that compromised the next two races with a damaged chassis as even blamed on something other than driver error. So while the results don’t tell the whole story, di Resta’s story seems to be to talk himself up.

Being a smooth driver who gets good results by looking after his tyres doesn’t bring back memories of Mansell charging through the field (or Hamilton).

16

Red Bull and Ferrari are in trouble if it rains. They used up two sets of intermediate tires in the fight for pole position.

17

RE james clayton bridgestones and pre 2009 spec itv coverage and real racing please

18

As a Hamilton fan I was dissapointed that the Mercedes team didn’t bring their drivers in for a fresh set of inters, I felt it was a mistake at the time, and it proved to be that way.

On a positive note, it doesn’t really matter that Hamilton is behind the Ferrari’s as they would no doubt have rocketed past him at the start regardless, their launch is usually vastly superior and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them passing Vettel before the first corner.

19

I’m not so sure it’s too bad a mistake – if tomorrow’s race is wet/dry like Q3 was then the inters will take a beating – having an extra new set could prove to make all the difference

20
Tornillo Amarillo

This year maybe is the other way around, Hamilton should be very happy if at the end of the race he can keep P4.

Webber looked fast, and also Rosberg.

Finishing in P4 and P5 for Mercedes and getting 22 points should be a very good result in race day.

21

Everyone has an unconditional free choice of tyres at start, right?

22

Everyone who is knocked out of Q1 or Q2 or qualified on inters or full wets can choose their tyres…so yes, that’s right.

23

Yep

24

yes they all asking for bridgstones(ha ha)

25

No. The top 10 must all start on inters.

Only joking, teams can use whatever they like to start the race when Q3 was officially wet.

26

Slight tangent, but I was pondering this today…

Say a driver makes an inspired decision to go out on slicks at the last minute; all the other drivers don’t have time to react and this guy puts his Williams, Sauber or whatever on pole, but destroys his tyres in doing so.

If it’s a dry race then all the others, having qualified on inters, get to start on a new set of whatever compound they like, while poor super star of quali starts from p1 but will undoubtedly get mugged by the others on the start line.

I know it’s an extreme example, and there’s more likely be a bigger split between drivers who were on inters/slicks. But it does highlight a pretty major flaw with the tyre regs.

27

You’re right. I wouldn’t call it a flaw in the tyre regs, but if a driver wants to switch to slicks to get pole, then that’s his (or the teams) choice; no one forces them to, it’s just a strategy call like any other.

28

Laughable message on the BBC saying “Mclaren are getting there”, I thought April fools day was next week?

In terms of the race, I dont see Vettel running and hiding if its dry, his car looked all over the place at some stages in qualifying. I see a Ferrari win, with Alonso taken it because Massa has a “long stop”

29

hi james, do you think mercedes is enjoying hamilton’s technical input while mclaren miss it?

i don’t think luck had anything to do with vettel’s pole as suggested by many above after all the opportunity was open to all drivers and he took it by the scruff of the neck. it’ll be an interesting race with raikkonen way down the grid. i wonder how far he can climb up this time with fewer pits tops.

30

From the commentary that I’ve seen, the suggestion has been that McLaren probably listened less to Hamilton than Button due to Hamilton still being treated as the child of the team. It is probably very difficult to judge whether Hamilton is of more benefit than Schumacher. Both drivers obviously would have a lot of feel for what a car is doing based on their ability to drive around problems. They both seem quite articulate when talking about less technical stuff in media (when they aren’t grumpy), so if they can convey what they feel and what characteristics need to change then that gives the team a lot of go on. A driver who can cope with problems is a plus and a minus – some things can get ignored but real problems get highlighted rather than the race engineers being given a long list.

Hamilton will obviously have a lot of experience from McLaren and can bring ideas across. Sauber being a smaller team, and Perez’s less experience mean that McLaren have gained less than McLaren there. Hamilton could encourage the Mercedes designers to look for performance in certain areas – especially low speed short corners as that was an area Hamilton was able to exploit at tracks such as Singapore and Abu Dhabi, although these were tracks that Rosberg has been strong at, so there may not be that much gain.

31

I’m a die hard F1 fan but I’m getting bored with the same predictable quali sessions (and probably soon to be predictable races). I’m genuinely impressed by Vettle’s skill and likeability, but daaayyyuuummm it’s getting boring now. Pulling the pole lap at the last minute, pretty soon will be running away with the lead… dangerously close to Schumacher and Ferrari. Time to find something else to do on a Saturday and Sunday soon

32

Vettel’s likeability? What? What’s that? 🙂

33

Slightly off topic…

Is there anyone out there who remembers Mansell v Senna at Adelaide?

There’s a case for managing your tyres!

34

Yes – Senna was driving pretty hard to keep up with Mansell. If we go by Berger and Patrese, McLaren was probably aiming for Senna to stop once and Williams probably not at all prior to Senna giving Vettel some inspiration for his one-finger salute.

Given those first 19 laps were the high point of the 1992 season for true racing it is more something I’d want to avoid trying recreate. The cars were so uneven that the tyres were largely irrelevant to the results.

35

Great effort by Vettel. Massa did a good job, too.

Ferrari cars always start amazingly well, so I don’t see how Vettel is going to keep his P1. He’ll be 3rd after the first turn. I hop Ferrari allows Massa to race Alonso.

36
Tornillo Amarillo

I was positively impressed by:

– Sutil in comparison with the middle field, he’s showing maturity and getting TV time for the sponsors, while teammate Di Resta cannot keep the car on the track;

– Vettel, this year he hasn’t have a clear winner car, but he is bettering his skills and in this qualy he was very impressive;

– Mercedes as a team, in 2012 they were P5 in the WCC and this year 2013 they are moving up fighting both drivers for the top 6 positions in two different track layouts.

– Ferrari’s reliability.

37

For the first 3: Early days yet, but they’re looking good.

As for Ferrari, it was their reliablity that kept them in the game in 2012 – in 2013 they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

38

James, a question: who is doing the strategy calls at Mercedes? Is it Ross?

Interesting that let the drivers in ‘inter’ tyres until they wear down to slicks resembles from Bridgestone´s era.

39

James Vowles

40

James, was it Brawn who complained about Rosberg being held up, as Rosberg himself didn’t bring it up in any interviews with the media. You would expect him to if he felt he was blocked.

41

Niki Lauda told the team to complain

42

Sutil and Bianchi were a revelation during qualifying. It was good to see Massa again on pace. Gutted for Kimi, it would be difficult for him to go for the win unless he manages exploit the changeable weather conditions which are expected.

Rest were usual suspects in usual slots.

The drivers which are expected to pull a rabbit out of their hats are Sutil, Button, Perez, Raikkonen and dare I say Hulkenberg (remember the changeable conditions in Brazil?)

For Win its Fernando’s race to lose for Massa will be wronged and Vettel will fall prey to degradation.

43

+1000

Lmao, very creative, yet very true points

44

Hi James,

What strategy will Lotus apply to give kimi a chance for a podium spot?

Thanks

45

He has great race pace, but he’ll need to make progress at the start and in undercuts on stops 1 & 2.

46

Hi James,

Are you suggesting Kimi will stop as many times as everyone else? You at times seem to have a loose use of “undercut”, for example applying it to what Kimi did in Hungary by staying out and doing fast laps on old tyres. The standard usage is where a driver who is behind stops before a driver in front to get the benefit of new tyres to get ahead.

47

Kimi probably will have to stop as many times as the others, but he can do a longer first stint, a more “ideal” strategy and make up places that way.

He’ll be on the podium today in a dry race

48

Hi all

Quick question. Was Vettel the only runner in Q3 to use 2 sets of inters?

The race is in the tropics during monsoon season – it will rain.

Was that such a bright idea?

Cheers,

K

PS Massa does it again

49

No, both Ferraris too I believe

50

Thanks for that, must have missed the stops.

51

Erm… JULES BIANCHI!!!!

Can anyone explain how Max Chilton got that drive? [mod]
Money is power I guess…

52

I think you answered your own question. His Dad is a multi millionaire and chair of insurance company Aon. I imagine that might help 🙂

53

*EDIT*

He wasn’t special in GP2 either!

54

The race is going to be brilliant. The startegy and threat of rain mean forecasting a winner is going to be very difficult.

If I had to choose it will be Alonso. However I hope Ferrari doesn’t resort to the blatant favouritism it showed last week. On here before the season I debated with someone that if Massa was fast enough they would let him race Alonso (like they did with Kimi in 07-09). I really hope I’m right but I am more frightened after the blatant favouritism shown to Alonso last race.

Just to clarify I have no problem with what Ferrari did to Massa in Austin or even in Germany in 2010. By that point it was sensible to back Alonso. This season is not clear what the picture is so I hope for a fair battle.

55

The Sky commentators said this morning before the qualy that in Melbourne it was Alonso “like a boss who asked for the early pit stop” and how right he was.

56

U obviously missed the part were alonso came into the pits and told the team to have the tyres ready. Not the team telling Fernando. Felipe could of done this also but didn’t. This is why Fernando is ahead of him. He leads and doesn’t need to be led.

57

No I didn’t miss it. The driver who is behind always has the advantage in that if he pits first he will get the undercut. Massa as he was in front should always get first option and the team should not allow him to be undercut. Ferrari did this knowing that it would compromise massa and benefit Alonso.

If you don’t understand this simple bit of strategy then you won’t understand why there is dissapointment at Ferrari’s actions.

58

@ Irish con/ Martin

I understand your arguements but you have to consider that if massa was in the same situation would he be allowed to do the undercut? We will see in the future but I doubt it.

59

It is the driver who stops first who has the advantage of the newer tyres, not the driver who is behind. Stop too early and you run out of tyres. If we believe what Massa is quoted to have said, he thought it was too early to stop, so he wasn’t considering it at that stage. Massa suggested the track rubbering in allowed Alonso to get home with three stops (38 laps on two sets) when Alonso had only done nine laps (and Massa ten) on his second set. Vettel would not have wanted to stop that early either, but the key was undercutting Sutil.

The teams have tyre temperature data and weather predictions, but the driver has the best feel for track evolution. So, if as reported, Alonso said “I want to come in early” why should Ferrari then offer it to Massa? The first pit stop situation was different as it was Ferrari reacting to Red Bull.

At lap 20, stopping that early would be regarded as a significant risk. It wasn’t too bad at that stage, but from what Massa said stopping on lap 20 would have been a Plan C option. With two cars stuck behind two rivals running both on them on a reactive strategy would have seen both of them lose to Vettel. If you are going to take a risk, it would make sense to try it with your worst placed car as there is less to lose.

Massa is not known for having a strong strategic view of races in the way Alonso is, so to me it is entirely plausible that Alonso made the call and Ferrari let the drivers race. Ferrari did exactly that a few times with Massa and Raikkonen, most notably in Malaysia in 2008 where Raikkonen was short fueled on his first stop to get track position. Massa lost the plot a bit after this even after Rob Smedley was telling him that Raikkonen’s fuel strategy would put him behind after the final stops. And this was in a year when Kimi fans accused Ferrari of favouring Massa.

Ignoring people who don’t like Alonso, the most obvious pattern in Ferrari’s behaviour is that the team is the most important thing. Alonso is the better paid driver, and if one driver is out of contention in the championship then it makes sense to favour the other.

To me your argument reads more of a bias of wanting to see a particular outcome. Ferrari has generally been very open about when it has favoured drivers, such as the occasions when the drivers have had different specification cars, or Massa’s gearbox seal change in the US last year. So why create a story about who came up with the strategy call when the FIA records all the voice traffic anyway? Massa was unlikely to be happy at the end of a race where he was ahead of his team mate for one third of the race and with equal circumstances available to him finished 21 seconds behind.

To say that Massa must stop first because he is ahead could have put him at risk of needing an additional tyre stop. At that point of the race the Mercedes were trying to do the race in two stops, so if Massa needed four stops then he could have turned fourth into sixth. If a driver thinks it is too early then it is an unusual approach to force him to in.

60

U obviously are missing the point here. Fernando drove into the pits and told Ferrari to have his tyres ready at the last second before Ferrari could do anything other than respond to his request. What did u expect Ferrari to do then? Tell him to drive on through and not change his tyres. Please open your eyes and stop bashing Ferrari any chance u get. Fernando made the call. Felipe had the same chance as fernando but didn’t make the call. It was the same as today when seb pitted for new inters and mark stayed out. It’s the extra capacity that seb and fernando have that there the 2 most successful drivers on the grid.

61

Last week Alonso was faster than Massa during the race. Alonso took a gamble and won!

62

Its not possible to assume Alonzo was Faster than Massa because Massa was never in clear air. Over the last 3 years Alonzo has had a speed advantage, but the latter part of last year and this year proves that Massa is back to the Massa Ferrari hired before his accident. He has been lacking some speed after the accident partly due to confidence issues and partly due to the accident. That doesnt mean he is in the same league as Alonzo, to do that he needs to out shine Alonzo over the course of the year.

63

I think Vettel had the pace for pole position in dry conditions as well. He was using the same set of tyres in Q1 and Q2, meaning he couldnt take maximum out of them in Q1 to save them for Q2 and then they had 3 more laps in them compared to Webbers who used fresh sets in both sessions. And Webber was second after Rosberg in Q2 so beating the Mercedes would have been doable. It was a gamble because he just made the cut to reach Q2 but reaching the next qualifying session is the name of the game, by what margin is irrelevant as long as you do it.

Dissapointing results for Webber who stayed out with the intermediates on an ever improving track (which is most of the time the smarter decision but not today) and Rosberg and Raikkonen. Sutil starting to expose DiResta right from the start of the season this year.

64

James, Noticed you (and Kimi) didn’t think much of Crofty’s blue flag question in the press conference. Or was it just clever editing? 🙂

As for qualifying, I had a hunch that worn inters might be the best rubber to be on going into the last few moments of Q3.

Do you think Lewis was anywhere near putting a lap together given he was last over the line? Or was the difference from new inters that great? Obviously grid suggests latter but wasn’t clear if Lewis had any specific issues on his last lap.

Also, I remember the Bridgestone inter having a wide working window. How does the Pirelli inter compare?

65

The last time I remember a team trying the “slick inters” trick was that famous demonstration of default English weather, Silverstone 2008. Ferrari and Renault both tried it with Raikkonen and Alonso, respectively, and I distinctly remember it resulting in disastrous times and Kimi spinning like a 45 on multiple occasions. (Not as often as Massa.)

I’m surprised anyone was stupid enough to try it again after that very failed experiment. Everyone knows only Michael Schumacher touch asinine ideas like that and turn them into gold. (Four-stopper at Magny Cours, anyone?)

66

His last lap was 3-tenths down from his prior lap, but still 5-tenths quicker than Rosberg. Don’t think he could’ve beaten Vettel’s time even with new inters on.

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