Nico Rosberg edged ahead of the competition in the closing seconds of a very intense and incident filled session that started on an extremely wet track. As many crashed out, the Mercedes emerged ahead as the track dried, with Hamilton taking second place on the grid. Daniel Ricciardo went third fastest.
Qualifying only got underway 20 minutes later than scheduled, with the safety car busy lapping around the very wet track to see and judge if conditions were good enough to get qualifying going. At 15 past 2 o'clock, the decision was made that the track was good enough to allow the cars on the circuit.
That obviously triggered many to queue up at the end of the pitlane, with Massa leading the pack, ahead of Bottas. Everybody followed in the next minute, causing a lot of traffic problems in the next laps. Still, it mattered, as intensified rain soon saw the session stopped again, less than 5 minutes after the initial green flag.
Before the stoppage, Sergio Perez had set the fastest time, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso. Felipe Nasr was fourth fastest in the Sauber, followed by Ricciardo, Bottas, Verstappen, Grosjean, Vettel and Palmer. Raikkonen was just 18th, Rosberg 20th and Hamilton 21st, the latter being especially slow as he was following Kvyat throughout his lap while the Russian was struggling to keep his Toro Rosso on track.
Another 15 minutes later, the track was green again, this time with Ricciardo, Verstappen, Rosberg and Hamilton the first men out on track. 4 minutes later, running came to an end once again, this time because Ericsson planted his Sauber into the tyre barriers. Meanwhile, Ricciardo had gone fastest, ahead of Verstappen. Raikkonen 6th behind Alonso, Rosberg 7th and Hamilton 9th.
Once the car was cleared, rain eased off, and completely stopped by the time running commenced again. This predictably triggered some to switch to intermediates quickly, with Massa and Hamilton among the risk takers. While Nasr recorded the fastest time on full wets still, Massa found out it was still rather slippery, losing traction on the exit of turn 7, and hitting the barriers on the inside of the turn, leaving his team with a lot off work to fix the completely ruined front suspension.
With 5 minutes 20 seconds left on the clock, running got underway again 10 minutes later. All drivers opted for the intermediate tyres this time, resulting in a fastest time for Rosberg, ahead of Hamilton and another impressive lap from Alonso. Vettel, Grosjean, Sainz, Kvyat, Raikkonen and Nasr popped up next on the timing screen before the session was stopped again due to Haryanto getting stuck in the gravel. This meant things immediately moved on to Q2.
By the start of Q2, the sun was out and times tumbled quickly as the session progressed. In fact, as a dry line quickly appeared on track, Bottas fitted super softs 4 minutes into the session. Two minutes later, Hamilton did the same after Alonso followed Williams' example just before that. Hamilton by then had set the fastest time on intermediates, ahead of Verstappen, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Button, Sainz, Grosjean, Raikkonen and Kvyat.
Bottas immediately shot to the top of the timesheet on his slicks, with Alonso following suit, topping Bottas by a full second. Times further improved lap by lap, with in the end Verstappen going fastest of all in Q2, ahead of Rosberg, Ricciardo and Alonso. Lewis Hamilton only just passed into Q3 with 10th place, having been fortunate to still make if after locking up his front wheels and going wide into turn 1 on his final flying lap.
As drivers pushed ever harder in Q3, some were almost caught out by the wet patches on the kerbs on the exit of the final corner. Ricciardo and Vettel most notably only just managed to recover their cars, nearly entering into a spin and possibly the wall.
The first string of laps were generally very tightly matched, with Hamilton just ahead of Rosberg and Ricciardo.
The second laps were somewhat disrupted by Alonso spinning off and coming to a halt on the kerbs of turn 11. This caused a yellow flag that forced everybody else to slow down in that sector. Nobody improved as a consequence, except Rosberg, whose time was investigated by the stewards, without a resulting penalty.
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:39.968||1:23.234||1:20.280||27|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:40.424||1:22.660||1:20.557||27|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:36.115||1:24.734||1:21.131||28|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||1:35.165||1:23.816||1:21.211||28|
|8||22||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||1:37.983||1:24.456||1:21.597||25|
|9||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India Mercedes||1:41.471||1:23.901||1:21.823||24|
|10||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Mercedes||1:42.758||1:24.506||1:22.182||26|
|11||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:35.906||1:24.941||-||18|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:36.714||1:25.301||-||21|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:41.411||1:25.416||-||16|
|15||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas Ferrari||1:38.959||1:26.189||-||18|
|16||12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber Ferrari||1:37.772||1:27.063||-||21|
|NC||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:43.999||-||-||7|
|NC||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:46.984||-||-||5|
|NC||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mrt Mercedes||1:47.343||-||-||9|
|NC||88||Rio Haryanto||Mrt Mercedes||1:50.189||-||-||9|