Chinese GP 2015
APRIL 11, 2015
Qualifying Report - Who Else
Lewis Hamilton - who else? - won the pole for the Chinese Grand Prix as he and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg easily outpaced the opposition. Still, Hamilton did not have it all his own way as he beat Rosberg buy just 0.042 of a second.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Renault - Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren Honda - Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Toro Rosso Renault - Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Lotus Mercedes - Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Marussia Ferrari - Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. Sauber - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Centigrade).
Merhi was the first out on track, and Raikkonen set the marker time of 1:340.917 which Vettel quickly beat with a 1:39.912.
But it didn't take long for Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Rosberg to move into the top spots with times of 1:38.285 and 1:38.496.
9 minutes into the session, the Williams drivers had yet to venture out. Kvyat was also still in the pits.
11 minutes into the session, Ricciardo was 15th and on the bubble with Stevens in 16th.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Bottas topped the times, and then Raikkonen topped Bottas. And Vettel beat Raikkonen.
With less than a minute remaining, Alonso was 15th and on the bubble. Verstappen was 16th and Button 14th.
The top six at the end of Q1 were: Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Grosjean, Hamilton and Verstappen.
The five drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Hulkenberg, Button, Alonso, Stevens and Merhi.
First out for the 15 minute Q2 session was Ericsson. He clocked a time of 1:39.240 on the soft Pirelli tires.
The cut-off time to make it into Q3 was a 1:38.0.
With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Bottas turned a 1:38.475.
Hamilton and Rosberg easily beat that with times of 1:36.423 and 1:36.747.
With 5 minutes remaining in the session, the Ferrari drivers headed out for the first time in the session. Ericcson was 10th and on the bubble.
With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Sainz was 10th and Massa 11th.
With less than a minute a number of drivers were on flying laps. When it was all over, Maldonado, Kvyat, Verstappen, Sainz and Perez had failed to make it to Q3.
The top six at the end of Q2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Massa and Bottas.
The question now was who would qualify third because the Mercedes drivers would surely lock out the front row.
With 6 minutes remaining in the 10-minute session, Bottas set a 1:37.903 to take first place for now. Then Hamilton slammed in a 1:35.782. Rosberg could only do a 1:36.062.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session, the top eight were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Grosjean.
Everybody was on track in the final minutes.
Massa, Raikkonen, Bottas and Massa all took turns at being third, but it was Vettel who claimed the spot in the final seconds.
The top 10 qualifiers at the end of Q3 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Massa, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Nasr and Ericsson.