Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have confirmed that the McLaren is at the moment the best car in F1, putting their cars on the front row. Romain Grosjean meanwhile surprised many, but showed that the test pace of the Lotus was not a joke.
20 second after the green light went on, Timo Glock's engine started up, making sure he got out on the track first. 3 and a half minutes later, the first time is on the sheets as Glock set a 1:32.997. It is hardly competitive as the German missed the apex of several corners, start early on in his lap in turn 2.
Pic quickly followed suit and was 6 tenths faster.
Moments later the track is absolutely crowded and several drivers are already caught up in traffic. Alonso for instance got blocked by an HRT in the final corner before the straight, and 2 subsequent corners as well. The HRT was obviously on a flying lap itself, but clearly a lot slower than the Ferrari. 2 minutes later Vettel is also annoyed by the same HRT car.
Halfway through the session, Button is on top with a 1:26.986. Kobayashi is second fastest, ahead of Hamilton, Schumacher, Senna and Vettel.
Another 4 minutes later, Hamilton moved up to second, marginally behind Nico Rosberg.
In the initial phase, all major contenders were running the medium tyre and were all on very similar strategies. This results in a nearly empty track 5 minutes from the end.
3 minutes from the end, the drop zone contains Kovalainen, Massa, Petrov, Glock, Pic, De La Rosa and Karthikeyan.
In the end, only Massa managed to improve enough to get away from the danger zone, leaving Raikkonen in 18th position and out of qualifying. The Finn was on course to improve but went slightly off track in the quickest corner of the circuit.
Q2 starts, es predicted, with all cars going on on the softer tyres. Di Resta, Senna and Hulkbenberg are the first out on track, but it's Hamilton who takes the lead early on, 0.04 ahead of his teammate Jenson Button. Vettel is third fastest, WEbber fourth and Alonso fifth.
The Spanish Ferrari driver however found himself stuck in the gravel trap at turn 1 moment later, right when starting another flying lap. He voilently lost rear grip under braking and spun off. Alonso was clearly angry when getting out of the car, but unfortunately that is not going to help anyone.
In order to get the car out of the way, the session was subsequently stopped for 2 minutes, and later kicked off again with Felipe Massa being the first to take the track, closely followed by Nico Rosberg.
4 minutes from the end of Q2, the Mercedes cars are on top of the timesheets, with Rosberg slightly faster than his teammate Michael Schumacher. Contrary to earlier statements by the team, the Mercedes AMG cars seems to be very much on the pace.
One minute later Grosjean gets in the spotlights as well as he set the fifth fastest time, the first man at the time behind Mercedes and McLaren.
In the final stages of Q2, Massa was unable to improve and even didn't manage to beat his teammate, who by then was obviously out of qualifying. The fight around the cut-off was mainly between Sauber, Toro Rosso and Force India, where in the end Hulkenberg and Ricciardo managed to get through to Q3.
Out are therefore Vergne, Alonso, Kobayashi, Senna, Di Resta, Massa and Pérez.
Q3 start without any action on track for more than a minute, until Nico Rosberg makes his way out of the pits. Lewis Hamilton is quick to follow a few seconds later, followed by Jenson Button and then Michael Schumacher.
From these four, Hamilton is the fastest, 6 tenths ahead of the closest competitor.
Halfway through the session, there's only 6 times on the sheet. Hamilton's 1:24.922, faster than Vettel, Schumacher Button, Grosjean and Rosberg.
Mark Webber is meanwhile trying another strategy and gets to the track when the others return to the pits. The Australian sets a lap 7 tenths slower than Hamilton, but due to the difference to the McLaren driver, he is still second.
The last minute attempts start with Rosberg, but he quickly found out he wasn't doing all that well. Blocking a wheel in turn 3 immediately put him 3 tenths behind on S1.
Hamilton quickly saw enough and returned to the pits as soon as it turned out he would be easily on pole. Jenson Button came closest and pit his McLaren aside Hamilton on the front row of tomorrow's grid.
Romain Grosjean comfirmed the potential of the Lotus and puts his car in third position, ahead of Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
|4||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||1:26.586||1:25.571||1:25.336||18|
|5||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:27.117||1:26.297||1:25.651||17|
|6||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:26.773||1:25.982||1:25.668||18|
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:26.763||1:25.469||1:25.686||16|
|9||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.464||1:26.314||1:26.451||18|
|10||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||1:27.024||1:26.319||No time||16|
|15||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.469||1:27.086||-||16|
|DNQ||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:33.495||-||-||6|