Nico Rosberg takes pole position ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as Lewis Hamilton will start last after a technical issue during Q1 and also carries a 5 place grid penalty for changing his gearbox.
Lewis Hamilton is the first car out on track as there are still some damp patches still on track from Practise 3. Under 15 minutes to go in the session, Hamilton comes on the radio to his team and says that there is a problem with his power unit. As that happens, Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein loses the rear of his car, hits the bump where the damp patch is on the start/finish straight and smacks the rear of the car of the barrier. As he go onto the main straight, he had his DRS open which also contributed for him to lose the rear of the car. He has damaged the left rear tyre and rim and pulls over which causes the Red flag. Wehrlein’s car is removed and a pick-up car goes onto the track and tries to dry the damp patch. The session gets started again with Esteban Gutierrez setting the initial pace of a 1:40:262. Lewis Hamilton has gotten out the car and does not continue for the rest of the session. A huge blow for the reigning world champion! The chequered flag falls and Marcus Ericsson is the last car over the line, he is currently in the drop out zone with team-mate Felipe Nasr just into Q2. A great time by Ericsson gets him into Q2 but pushes Renault’s Kevin Magnussen out. Sebastian Vettel ends the session quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas.
Out: Hamilton – 22nd, Wehrlein – 21st, Haryanto – 20th, Palmer – 19th, Gutierrez – 18th and Magnussen – 17th.
Felipe Nasr is the first car out on track and he posts his first time of a 1:42:430. Under 6 minutes to go Nico Rosberg currently leads on the yellow walled Soft tyres while nearly everyone else is on the Supersoft tyres. With 1 minute and 30 seconds to go, Nico Hulkenberg has stopped on track missing a tyre! The replay shows his front left tyre has come off in Sector 2. It looks like it was not put on properly and his tyres bounces down the barrier and the session is Red flagged. The FIA have have said that the session will not be restarted will 1 minute and 17 seconds to go. Huge shame for Felipe Massa and both McLaren Honda’s of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button as they had a good chance to get through to Q3 Kimi Raikkonen ends the session quickest ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.
Out: Nasr – 16th, Ericsson – 15th, Grosjean – 14th, Button – 13th, Alonso – 12th and Massa – 11th.
Q3 starts and Sergio Perez is first out on track and sets the initial pace of a 1:37:958. Sebastian Vettel is the only car not to go out for a lap at the start of the session. The final runs are in and Nico Rosberg goes quickest, knocking Kimi Raikkonen off of provisional pole position. Daniel Ricciardo improves and goes a surprising 2nd behind Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel’s only run in Q3 puts him 4th, behind Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Rosberg. Raikkonen is the final car to cross the line but running wide at the penultimate corner after the long back straight ruins his quest for pole position.
Top 10: Hulkenberg – 10th, Verstappen – 9th, Sainz – 8th, Perez – 7th, Kvyat – 6th, Bottas – 5th and Vettel – 4th.
Top 3: Raikkonen – 3rd, Ricciardo – 2nd and Rosberg 1st.
1.Rosberg 2.Ricciardo 3.Raikkonen 4.Vettel 5.Bottas 6. Kvyat 7.Perez 8.Sainz 9.Verstappen 10.Massa 11.Alonso 12.Button 13.Hulkenberg* 14.Grosjean 15.Ericsson 16.Nasr 17.Magnussen 18.Gutierrez 19.Palmer 20.Haryanto 21.Wehrlein* 22.Hamilton*
Hulkenberg* was docked 3 places for the loss of front left wheel that escaped his car during Q2 and Force India were found guilty of releasing his car from the pits in an unsafe condition. This penalty drops him from 10th – 13th.
Wehrlein* did not set a lap during Q1 as he crashed losing his car as he hit the bump on the pit straight.
Hamilton* suffered an ERS failure during Q1 and did not complete a lap. Hamilton also suffered a 5 place grid penalty coming into this race for an unscheduled gearbox change. Hamilton will start last.
Good to see it back!
I am glad to see that the 2015 style qualifying is back. Ultimately I personally like this style better than the elimination, but if the FIA can tweak the abused elimination style, I think it could be something quite good.
Horner “surprised” by Ricciardo performance
Team principal of Red Bull, Christian Horner was “shocked” to see Daniel Ricciardo on the front row of the grid alongside pole sitter, Nico Rosberg and ahead of both Ferrari cars. Ricciardo, so far this year has been very consistent having finished 4th twice in Australia and Bahrain. Can we see the Red Bull driver lead into turn 1 on Sunday?