Japanese Qualifying Round 17

Nico Rosberg takes pole position ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen as Haas get both cars into Q3 for the first time.

08/10/16

Q1

Esteban Ocon is the first car on track and the first driver to set a lap time of a 1:33:992. Nico Rosberg sets his first lap of the session on the Medium tyre with a 1:31:858. Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo follow on a 1:32:218 and a 1:32:538 on the Medium tyre as well. Max Verstappen is next with a 1:32:487 on the Medium tyre before Kimi Raikkonen sets the quickest time of a 1:31:674 on a set of Soft tyres. Sebastian Vettel comes round with 7 minutes to go and goes quickest on a 1:31:659 on the Soft tyre.

With 3 minutes to go, cars head back onto the track for their final runs in this session. At the moment, Carlos Sainz, Jenson Button, Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon, Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson are in the drop-zone. Button’s final lap puts him 13th but will we see him in Q2? Palmer and Sainz are safe with good laps and a great lap by Valterri Bottas pushes Button out of qualifying. Q1 ends with Vettel quickest ahead of Raikkonen and Rosberg.

Out: Wehrlein – 22nd, Ocon – 21st, Nasr – 20th, Ericsson – 19th, Magnussen 18th and Button – 17th.

Q2

Nico Rosberg is the first car out on track and is the first driver to set a lap of a 1:30:714! The benchmark has been laid for the rest to beat. Lewis Hamilton can’t beat it on a 1:31:129 with Daniel Ricciardo even further back on a 1:31:719. Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel are next on a 1:31:406, 1:31:489 and a 1:31:227. Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa for Williams have done their one and only flying lap and its put them on the cusp of not getting through to Q3 in 8th and in 10th.

Fernando Alonso can’t improve while Nico Hulkenberg is safely through to Q3. Carlos Sainz spins at turn 14 and brings the yellow flags. He coasts back to the pits while Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean make it though to Q3. Q2 ends with Rosberg quickest ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.

Out: Palmer – 16th, Alonso – 15th, Sainz – 14th, Kvyat – 13th, Massa – 12th and Bottas – 11th.

Q3

Daniel Ricciardo is the first car out on track and is the first driver to set a lap of a 1:31:240. Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen are next on a 1:31:229 and a 1:31:184. Nico Rosberg comes round and its a good but not great lap of a 1:30:953. Lewis Hamilton, on a 1:30:758, goes to provisional pole position and for the first time during this qualifying session, he beats Rosberg. With Sebastian Vettel on a 1:31:225, only half a second separates Hamilton in 1st and Ricciardo in 6th.

With 3 minutes to go, the cars head back out for their final laps. Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen improve but Nico Rosberg improves the most and goes to the top of timing sheets on a 1:30:647. What can Lewis Hamilton do? He gets close, but loses out by less than a tenth of a second.

Top 10: Gutierrez – 10th, Hulkenberg – 9th, Grosjean – 8th, Perez – 7th, Ricciardo – 6th, Verstappen – 5th, Vettel – 4th.

Top 3: Raikkonen – 3rd, Hamilton – 2nd and Rosberg – 1st.

Qualifying results

1.Rosberg  2.Hamilton  3.Raikkonen  4.Verstappen  5.Ricciardo  6.Perez  7.Vettel*  8.Grosjean  9.Hulkenberg  10.Gutierrez  11.Bottas  12.Massa  13.Kvyat  14.Sainz  15.Alonso  16.Palmer  17.Button  18.Magnussen  20.Ericsson  21.Nasr  22.Ocon  22.Wehrlein

Vettel* carries over his 3 place gird penalty for the incident at of the Malaysian GP with Nico Rosberg.

 

 

 

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