British GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report

The Germans in Britain



The Germans In Britain

German drivers Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) filled the front row of the grid after a wet and wild qualifying session for the British Grand Prix.

Qualifying 1

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade.)

It had rained during the lunch break, and a light drizzle fell as Max Chilton (Marussia) headed out to get the session going. He like the other drivers was on Pirelli’s intermediate rain tire with the green sidewalls.

Everybody except Williams teammates Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas was soon on track and anxious to set a lap time in case the rain increased.

5 minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton laid down a marker time of 1:43.676 in his Mercedes. Most of the rest of the drivers quickly posted times as the news spread more rain was on the way. Yet the track was also drying in places.

9 minutes into the session, Massa finally set a time and jumped up to fifth place. Then Bottas did a faster lap and took over fifth.

With 6 minutes left in the session, Pastor Maldonado was in 16th place and on the bubble of failing to make the cut to Q2 in his Lotus. His teammate Romain Grosjean was 17th at the time.

The order at the top was: Hamilton, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

With 3 minutes left in the session, it was Jenson Button on the bubble, but he burst up to first in his McLaren.

With 2 minutes left in the session, everybody was on track, and nine drivers had yet to set a time quick enough to qualify.

But now the drivers were on slicks and the times were tumbling down. Daniil Kvyat did a 1:41.032 in his Toro Rosso. Fernando Alonso spun his Ferrari. Adrian Sutil stuck his Sauber into a sand trap.

The changing conditions threw a wildcard into the final minute as the track dried

The top six at the end of Q1 were: Rosberg, Kvyat, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) and Chilton.

The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Bottas, Massa, Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), and Caterham teammates Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi. Vettel was 16th and just barely made it into Q2.

Qualifying 2

Mr. Chilton was also the first out as the 15-minute Q2 session began.

The drivers were back on the intermediate rain tires. And everybody was running a new set of those tires.

With 11 minutes remaining in the session, Daniel Ricciardo turned a 1:47.980 in his Red Bull. Maldonado beat that with a 1:47.955, and Jean-Eric Vergne posted a 1:47.173 in his Toro Rosso

With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg turned a 1:45.292 and his teammate Lewis Hamilton beat that with a 1:44.639.

With 8 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel topped the times with a 1:44.085 as the track dried. Hamilton pitted for slick dry weather tires.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel had his time deleted by the officials because he ran wide at Turn 9.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, the track was dry enough for slicks.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, Esteban Gutierrez jumped up front with a 1:40.913 on slicks, but Vergne slammed in a 1:38.310.

Then Rosberg got down to a 1:35.179 as the track continued to dry.

With less than one minute remaining in the session, Hamilton did a 1:35.000. Then Gutierrez spun into the barriers at Turn.

Those drivers who were out latest and did not go off the track set the fastest times right at the end of the session.

The top 10 at the end of Q2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Button, Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez (Force India), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Vergne and Ricciardo.

The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Grosjean, Bianchi, Chilton, Gutierrez, Pastor Maldonado and Sutil.

Qualifying 3

Slicks were the tires to use in Q3

Kvyat posted the first time: 1:40.707 but Perez beat that with a 1:40.457.

It was now raining lightly on some parts of the track.

With 7 minutes remaining in the 12 minute session, Hamilton turned a 1:39.232 while Rosberg posted a 1:39.426.

Perez was third ahead of Ricciardo, Kvyat, Vergne, Button, Hulkenberg, Magnussen and Vettel.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, everybody was in the pits preparing for one final run.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, some the drivers starting heading out on track.

But the track was slippery so the chances of the drivers improving their times were minimal. Or was it?

Vettel slammed in a time of 1:37.386 to take pole, but Rosberg beat it with a 1:35.766. Button jumped up to third ahead of Hulkenberg and Magnussen. Hamilton wound up sixth and Perez seventh. Ricciardo, Kvyat and Vergne gambled by staying in the pits and lost as they fell down the order to round out the top 10.

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