Bahrain GP: Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole as Mercedes dominates
Nico Rosberg claimed his first pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season, leading a Mercedes front row lockout.
Lewis Hamilton had set the pace throughout practice and headed into the session as favourite for pole position, but after being outpaced by Rosberg on their first runs in Q3 had a big lockup on his second lap at Turn 1 and ran wide, preventing him from mounting a challenge for pole.
Rosberg aborted his final run having been informed Hamilton made a mistake, earning the fifth pole position of his F1 career.
Daniel Ricciardo was one of the few drivers to improve on his second run in Q3, jumping to third on the grid.
This relegated Valtteri Bottas to fourth, the Finn proving that the Williams team’s pace during pre-season testing here was no fluke with a place on the second row.
Force India driver Sergio Perez has been strong all weekend and was fifth fastest, only a tenth slower than Bottas.
He shaded Kimi Raikkonen, who had only one run in Q3 because he had only one set of fresh rubber remaining, by 22 thousandths of a second.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen ended up seventh and eight, split by the second Williams of Felipe Massa, with both making late improvements as they also had only one set of new softs for the session.
Fernando Alonso was slowest in Q3 after a disappointing final lap, ending up six tenths slower than team-mate Raikkonen.
World champion Sebastian Vettel failed to make Q3 for the second time in three races.
Red Bull opted to complete just one run in Q2 and Vettel complained about downshift problems after missing the cut by six-hundredths of a second.
Nico Hulkenberg, who has struggled to match Force India team-mate Perez all weekend, also failed to hook up a good enough lap to make Q3 after running wide onto the kerb at Turn 11, ending up 12th ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez shaded Lotus driver Romain Grosjean for 15th place by just 17 thousandths of a second.
Pastor Maldonado was the fastest driver to fall in Q1 in 17th place. He was pipped by Grosjean, who set a time just nine thousandths of a second faster than his team-mate in the dying moments of the first part of qualifying.
Grosjean was impeded by Adrian Sutil’s Sauber late in the session, an incident which will be investigated by the stewards tonight.
The German was also knocked out in Q1, while Caterham continued its recent upward curve in terms of performance, with Kamui Kobayashi 19th fastest, lapping within a quarter of a second of Sutil, and Marcus Ericsson 21st.
Jules Bianchi split the two Caterhams, with Max Chilton slowest.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.185s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.464s +0.279s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m34.051s +0.866s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m34.247s +1.062s 5. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m34.346s +1.161s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m34.368s +1.183s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.387s +1.202s 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m34.511s +1.326s 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.712s +1.527s 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.992s +1.807s Q2 cut-off time: 1m34.925s Gap ** 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.985s +1.277s 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.116s +1.408s 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.145s +1.437s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.286s +1.578s 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.891s +2.183s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.908s +2.200s Q1 cut-off time: 1m36.654s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m36.663s +1.789s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.840s +1.966s 19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m37.085s +2.211s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.310s +2.436s 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m37.875s +3.001s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.913s +3.039s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton completes practice sweep for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes’ domination as he set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1′s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Briton, who was fastest in both Friday sessions at the Sakhir circuit, headed his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.115 seconds.
They finished ahead of Sergio Perez, who was half a second adrift of Hamilton’s best lap, but the pace of the Force India indicates that it is looking good for a strong qualifying performance later on Saturday.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest in his Williams ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa.
Like Friday, Williams chose to save mileage by sitting out much of the practice period. But when both they first appeared on the medium compound tyre they were the second fastest runners behind the Mercedes pair at the mid-way stage of the hour.
Sebastian Vettel sat out the final 20 minutes of the session after he spun his Red Bull off the track. The world champion seemingly lost control of his car on the exit of Turn 2 and looped his car around into the gravel trap. He had only completed eight laps when he spun off.
Jenson Button was sixth fastest in his McLaren, just ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and the other Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to head the timesheets, putting in a 1m37.340s lap halfway through the session on the medium compound tyre.
A few minutes later his team-mate beat him by less than a tenth of a second. At that stage they were quicker than Jenson Button’s McLaren by over a second.
A number of drivers were caught out at the end of the back straight and ran wide entering Turn 11 – including the Mercedes runners – thanks to the gusty tail wind at the Sakhir circuit.
There was further problems for Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson, who complained that his Renault was not delivering full power in the opening minutes of the hour.
Qualifying takes place under floodlights at 6pm local time.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.324s 12 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.439s +0.115s 12 3. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m35.868s +0.544s 10 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m36.116s +0.792s 10 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m36.364s +1.040s 8 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.394s +1.070s 8 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.454s +1.130s 12 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m36.455s +1.131s 11 9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m36.680s +1.356s 16 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.772s +1.448s 13 11. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.822s +1.498s 8 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m37.030s +1.706s 11 13. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m37.119s +1.795s 11 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.325s +2.001s 18 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.089s +2.765s 24 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m38.400s +3.076s 17 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.736s +3.412s 15 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m38.880s +3.556s 21 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m38.971s +3.647s 18 20. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m39.208s +3.884s 17 21. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.225s +3.901s 8 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m39.597s +4.273s 14
Kimi Raikkonen: “A difficult Friday”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, this was a difficult day, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the car in either session. In the first one, I damaged the floor on the kerb at turn 4 and this meant I had to pit. The team did a super job, because they got me back out on track in a short time, but then, because of a problem with the brakes, I was unable to complete the programme. In the second session we concentrated on looking at the two Pirelli compounds and with the Soft it was definitely better than the Medium. Now we will get down to analysing all today’s data, especially regarding the immediate change in the track from day to night and we will try and improve for qualifying and the race.”
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton stays ahead in second practice
Mercedes continued to set the outright pace in Formula 1 as Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets at the end of the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton was 0.365 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Held in warm, dry conditions – five degrees cooler than this afternoon’s first practice – this was the first ever Formula 1 practice session in Bahrain to be held under floodlights.
Third quickest was Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari, significantly more than a second slower than Hamilton, pointing to the continued superiority of the Mercedes team.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa, who had a nervy moment as he was seemingly baulked by Esteban Gutierrez on the back straight a few moments before the session ended.
In sixth place was Jenson Button’s McLaren, one position ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel.
This second session of the day was all about the Mercedes pair. Rosberg was the first of the two silver machines to switch onto the soft tyre and his first run on the new rubber was two seconds faster than his pace on the medium tyres.
Soon afterwards Hamilton upped the ante and his first run on the soft tyre was immediately 0.365 seconds faster than his team-mate.
It was another eventual period for Lotus as first Romain Grosjean complained of a misfire with his Renault, while his team-mate Pastor Maldonado enjoyed a spectacular moment as he got all four wheels airborne after hitting the kerbs at Turn 4.
Briton Max Chilton retired from the session with 35 minutes remaining after he suffered a high-speed spin at Turn 4. He complained on his team radio that he lost drive then the rear axle locked and pitched his Marussia into a spin.
A few minutes later Adrian Sutil climbed out of the cockpit of his Sauber at Turn 6 following a problem with his car. Another retiree was Marcus Ericsson, who stopped his Caterham at the side of the track just five minutes from the flag.
Early on there was a dramatic moment as Sergio Perez narrowly avoided a slow-moving Rosberg as they headed towards the final corner.
The German initially moved to his right to get out of the Force India driver’s way, and Perez had to take action to avoid hitting the Mercedes. The stewards said they would look at the incident after the session.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.325s 28 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.690s +0.365 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.360s +1.035 28 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m35.433s +1.108 28 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m35.442s +1.117 13 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.528s +1.203 21 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m35.606s +1.281 29 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.640s +1.315 31 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.662s +1.337 22 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m35.802s +1.477 40 11. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m35.920s +1.595 9 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.972s +1.647 32 13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.998s +1.673 18 14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.366s +2.041 32 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.962s +2.637 13 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.975s +2.650 35 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m37.259s +2.934 24 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.599s +3.274 23 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.800s +3.475 15 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.247s +3.922 10 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m38.257s +3.932 33 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m39.136s +4.811 30
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP1
Lewis Hamilton continued the Mercedes team’s dominance of the 2014 Formula 1 season by topping first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Malaysian GP winner was fastest during the opening half-hour of the 90-minute session, during which drivers are permitted to use their extra set of medium-compound Pirellis, lapping 0.113s faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Both Mercedes waited until the final 20 minutes of the session to head out on their second set of mediums, by which time Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had taken top spot after setting a time four tenths of a second faster than Hamilton’s first run despite a brief lock-up at Turn 10.
Hamilton then set the fastest time of the session in all three sectors to reclaim top spot, the second time he has been quickest during FP1 in three 2014 races.
Rosberg retained second place, although he was around a tenth slower than Hamilton had been on the first runs, ending up 0.231s off the pace.
Alonso ended the session third fastest, four-and-a-half tenths slower than Hamilton and 0.169s ahead of Nico Hulkenberg as the Ferrari and Force India drivers continued the battle that has raged throughout the season so far.
The German looked to have the potential to outpace the Ferrari after lapping a quarter-of-a-second faster than Alonso in sector one but lost time over the rest of the lap.
Alonso endured an abortive start to his running on his second set of rubber, Ferrari inadvertently sending him out of the garage with one soft tyre and three mediums. He stopped in the pitlane and was dragged back to the garage to replace the soft.
Jenson Button’s McLaren was fifth fastest, just ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who had a big lock-up at Turn 1 and ran off the track while on his long-run on his second set of mediums.
The second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen was seventh fastest, ahead of Daniil Kvyat’s Scuderia Toro Rosso, the 19-year-old Russian ended up 1.5s off the fastest time.
World champion Sebastian Vettel was only 10th fastest behind the second Force India of Sergio Perez, 1.887s slower than Hamilton, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo a second slower in 14th.
Felipe Massa was the quickest Williams, setting the 11th fastest time after completing only one installation lap on his first set of tyres.
Three reserve drivers made their first appearances of the season during the session, with Felipe Nasr, driving Valtteri Bottas’s Williams, the quickest of them in 13th place.
Sauber’s Giedo van der Garde, who took over Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, was 18th fastest, with Caterham’s Robin Frijns 21st quickest in Kamui Kobayashi’s car.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.502s 14 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.733s +0.231s 13 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.953s +0.451s 17 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.122s +0.620s 10 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.636s +1.134s 16 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m38.783s +1.281s 12 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.949s +1.447s 15 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.056s +1.554s 24 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m39.102s +1.600s 21 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.389s +1.887s 16 11. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m39.533s +2.031s 11 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.862s +2.360s 26 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m40.078s +2.576s 14 14. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.406s +2.904s 19 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.652s +3.150s 20 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.793s +3.291s 31 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.$89s +3.387s 20 18. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.913s +3.411s 20 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.036s +3.534s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m41.794s +4.292s 20 21. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault 1m42.417s +4.915s 35 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m42.711s +5.209s 2
Malaysian GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole at wet Sepang
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix in a rain-delayed qualifying session for the second round of the 2014 Formula 1 season.
After a 50-minute delay, track conditions were still best-suited to full wet tyres in Q3 and Hamilton’s first flying lap of 1m59.431s was good enough to secure pole position.
But his advantage was a small one, as he ended up just 55 thousandths of a second faster than Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel.
Nico Rosberg showed disappointing pace on his first flier, ending up only fourth fastest, but with track conditions a little worse in the closing stages did enough to improve to third.
Fernando Alonso was the man he bumped down to fourth, although the Spaniard was fortunate to make Q3 after surviving a collision with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat at Turn 9 during Q2.
The Spaniard suffered front-left suspension damage in the clash, which happened when he was struggling back to the pits on intermediate rubber while most were on full wets.
The Russian had closed rapidly on Alonso and dived to the inside of the slow left-hander, but Alonso turned in and Kvyat slid into him.
The incident will be investigated by stewards after the session.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in the second Red Bull ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who was the only driver other than Hamilton to head the times during Q3, with Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg seventh.
Behind him was Kevin Magnussen, who started Q3 on intermediates but pitted to change to wets, salvaging eighth place while team-mate Jenson Button stuck with the inferior tyre and ended up slowest in 10th.
Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne was the other driver to reach the top 10 shootout, ending up ninth.
Williams pairing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were the big-name casualties during Q2.
With everyone setting their times using wet Pirellis during the middle segment of the session, the Williams FW36 again struggled for traction in the low-grip conditions. And the pair ended up 13th and 14th respectively.
Vergne prevailed in a tense battle for the final Q3 slot, bumping Toro Rosso team-mate Kvyat from the position in the dying seconds of the session.
Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez ended up 12th fastest ahead of the Williams pairing, with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean suffering a late spin and unable to do better than 16th after making Q2 for the first time this year.
Pastor Maldonado was unable to join his Lotus team-mate in the second phase of qualifying, ending up the fastest of those to miss the Q2 cut 0.385s slower than Vergne.
After the delayed start, every team apart from McLaren opted to send their drivers out on intermediate rubber in wet conditions, with the majority of the order dictated by pace during the first half of the session.
Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, Marussia pairing Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton and the Caterhams of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were the others to fall in Q1.
The session was brought to a premature close when Ericsson lost it on a wet kerb at the exit of Turn 3 after what the Swede described as a "silly mistake" and spun into the barrier, rebounding and coming to rest on the track.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m59.431s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m59.486s +0.055s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m00.050s +0.619s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m00.175s +0.744s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m00.541s +1.110s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m01.218s +1.787s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m01.712s +2.281s 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m02.213s +2.782s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m03.078s +3.647s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m04.053s +4.622s Q2 cut-off time: 1m36.811s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m02.351s +3.310s 12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m02.369s +3.328s 13. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m02.460s +3.419s 14. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m02.511s +3.470s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m02.756s +3.715s 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m02.885s +3.844s Q1 cut-off time: 2m01.689s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m02.074s +4.891s 18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m02.131s +4.948s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m02.702s +5.519s 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 2m03.595s +6.412s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m04.388s +7.205s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m04.407s +7.224s 107% time: 2m05.385s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Malaysian GP: Nico Rosberg fastest as Mercedes dominates
Nico Rosberg enters qualifying as a favourite for pole position after setting the fastest time in final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Rosberg finished ahead of his Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the team was the class of the field in Saturday lunchtime’s period.
The duo topped the timesheets throughout the hour when they were running on both the hard and medium compound tyres.
The Mercedes pair were a whole second ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at a hot and overcast Sepang International Circuit.
The Ferraris were the first to switch to the medium compound tyre with just over 20 minutes of the session remaining. But their positions at the top of timing screens were shortlived once the Mercedes switched to the softer compound rubber.
Both the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo sat out most of the beginning of the session, only coming out halfway through the hour. Vettel’s late lap gave him the fourth quickest time, two positions ahead of his team-mate.
German Nico Hulkenberg impressed with the fifth fastest time on the medium compound tyres in his Force India.
It was a problematic session for McLaren, which completed the least of amount of running.
Early in the session Kevin Magnussen complained on the team radio he had suffered a loss of power with his engine. Reports suggest it was a repeat of the exhaust sensor problem he suffered on Friday morning.
And team-mate Jenson Button also spent the majority of the session in the garage, save for a couple of early installation laps.
Lotus finally got some mileage this weekend as Pastor Maldonado managed a total of 20 laps across the hour, although he and his team-mate Romain Grosjean suffered a number of off-track excursions as they struggled to dial the set-up into the car.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.008s 13 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m39.240s +0.232s 13 3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.156s +1.148s 13 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.387s +1.379s 14 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.523s +1.515s 15 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.686s +1.678s 14 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.736s +1.728s 14 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m40.781s +1.773s 20 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m40.891s +1.883s 20 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m41.029s +2.021s 15 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.182s +2.174s 18 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.441s +2.433s 18 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.552s +2.544s 15 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.041s +3.033s 17 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.749s +3.741s 16 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m43.539s +4.531s 20 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.977s +4.969s 16 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.170s +5.162s 18 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m44.457s +5.449s 12 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m46.015s +7.007s 7 21. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m05.555s +26.547s 4 22. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 5
Malaysian GP: Raikkonen sees progress with F1 car issues
Kimi Raikkonen suggested that he might have made a breakthrough with his Ferrari Formula 1 car after an encouraging Malaysian Grand Prix practice day.
The 2007 F1 champion was uncomfortable with aspects of the Ferrari F14 T’s characteristics throughout testing and the season-opening Australian GP.
But Raikkonen was second fastest in both Friday practice sessions at Sepang.
Although he continued to play down his prospects, he acknowledged that the timesheets reflected a genuine improvement since Australia.
"This was definitely a positive day and I had a better feeling compared to Friday in Melbourne," he said.
"I was more comfortable with the F14 T today.
"Even if we had no problems whatsoever, we know there’s still a long way to go and a lot to do."
Both Ferraris showed promise on longer runs in particular, with Fernando Alonso fifth in practice two.
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Malaysian GP: Nico Rosberg ends Friday on top for Mercedes
Nico Rosberg ended the first day of Malaysian Grand Prix practice fastest for Mercedes, continuing his strong run of form at the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season.
The Australian Grand Prix winner was among the first of the frontrunners to switch onto the faster medium-compound tyre.
He knocked Felipe Massa’s Williams, which had been the first to top the timesheets on the quicker rubber, off top spot shortly after the 30-minute mark.
Rosberg’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton went second fastest, a tenth-and-a-half slower than Rosberg, shortly afterwards but appeared to have the pace to go quicker but for a slow middle sector.
The Mercedes were then split by the back-on-form Kimi Raikkonen, who was only 0.035s slower than Rosberg as he went second for Ferrari.
This was just enough to retain second ahead of Sebastian Vettel, whose Red Bull set its fastest time on his second flying lap on medium rubber, which suggests the RB10 is proving to be kind on its tyres in the heat of Malaysia.
Fernando Alonso ended up fifth fastest, half a tenth slower than Hamilton and just eight thousandths of a second quicker than Massa.
Alonso had earlier set the pace when the field was running on fresh hard rubber, his earlier lap of 1m40.737s good enough to shade Hamilton on the Mercedes driver’s best mark on the slower Pirellis.
Jenson Button, driving the upgraded McLaren that includes a modified nose as part of a significant update package, was eighth fastest behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, which suffered a brief off late in the session, and ahead of Bottas in the second Williams.
But Button’s team-mate had a more difficult day. Kevin Magnussen was forced to stop during the morning session when an exhaust temperature sensor warning kicked in and he completed only a couple of installation laps early on in practice two before going straight into his medium-tyre running and ending up 12th fastest.
The session was characterised by plenty of spectacular moments as drivers struggled for rear-end grip.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a spin at the final corner and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg locked up and ran through the gravel at the exit of the same turn, later setting a time good enough to beat the Frenchman into the top 10.
Marussia driver Max Chilton also suffered a spin at Turn 3 early in the session. He was unable to get the car going again, but was recovered to the pits and returned to the track later on.
Lotus endured another difficult session. Pastor Maldonado did not run at all because of what is believed to be a turbo problem that developed in morning practice.
Team-mate Romain Grosjean did take to the track, but his running was first interrupted and then ended prematurely by a gearbox problem.
Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi was unable to run because of an energy store problem that cropped up during morning practice and a subsequent gearbox issue, although team-mate Marcus Ericsson was able to complete a full programme.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.909s 30 2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m39.944s +0.035s 30 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.970s +0.061s 30 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.051s +0.142s 32 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.103s +0.194s 29 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m40.112s +0.203s 34 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.276s +0.367s 29 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.628s +0.719s 28 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m40.638s +0.729s 35 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.691s +0.782s 34 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m40.777s +0.868s 33 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.014s +1.105s 20 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.257s +1.348s 28 14. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.325s +1.416s 32 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.407s +1.498s 34 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m41.671s +1.762s 25 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.531s +2.622s 14 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.638s +3.729s 20 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.752s +3.843s 29 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m45.703s +5.794s 31 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 0 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 0
Malaysian GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest for Mercedes in practice one
Lewis Hamilton set the early pace in the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend with the quickest time in the opening free practice session for Mercedes.
The Briton recorded his fastest time, a 1m40.691s lap, 0.152 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, an hour into the session, at the hot and humid Sepang International Circuit.
The first Formula 1 running early on Friday morning was characterised by a number of drivers struggling with rear grip and locking brakes on the dry and dusty circuit.
Fernando Alonso spun his Ferrari at the high-speed Turn 8 – a mistake repeated at the same corner by Williams’s Felipe Massa. Hamilton went off at Turn 11 in the closing stages and the errors pointed to the general lack of grip at the tricky Sepang track.
A few teams suffered reliability problems in the blistering heat as they continued to adjust to their new 1.6-litre V6 power units.
McLaren’s Keven Magnussen had just set the fastest time before the hour mark when his car came to a halt after losing engine power at the pitlane entrance. He set the fifth fastest time overall, just one place behind team-mate Jenson Button.
World champion Sebastian Vettel ended practice one in seventh place – 0.832s off Hamilton’s quickest lap.
Lotus hit the most trouble as Romain Grosjean stopped out on track after just two laps of running with a problem with his MGU-H, while team-mate Pastor Maldonado spent most of the session in the garage.
He emerged from the pits less than 20 minutes from the end of practice only to suffer a smoky end to his first lap back out of the pits.
Rosberg ended up third fastest in his Mercedes, but the Australian Grand Prix winner radioed into his team with an early concern with his car after he locked the rear brakes and nearly spun while entering the pitlane after his installation lap right at the beginning of the practice period.
Practice benefited from the use of the additional bonus tyre in the first half and hour and during that time Alonso was initially fastest ahead of Magnussen.
Among other incidents, Caterham’s Marcus Ericssion and Sauber’s Adrian Sutil both looped their cars under braking for the final corner but continued unharmed.
Sergio Perez suffered problems with his Force India and after his installation lap failed to complete another lap of the session.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.691s 19 2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.843s +0.152s 20 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.028s +0.337s 19 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.111s +0.420s 20 5. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.274s +0.583s 18 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.402s +0.711s 15 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.523s +0.832s 9 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m41.642s +0.951s 19 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m41.686s +0.995s 23 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m41.830s +1.139s 22 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.923s +1.232s 14 12. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m42.117s +1.426s 20 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.365s +1.674s 21 14. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m42.869s +2.178s 21 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.904s +2.213s 23 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.825s +3.134s 18 17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m45.775s +5.084s 24 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m46.911s +6.220s 10 19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m51.180s +10.489s 5 20. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4
Australian GP: Hamilton denies Ricciardo pole in damp, Vettel 13th
Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, while world champion Sebastian Vettel failed even to make Q3.
The Mercedes driver, on wet tyres, knocked Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was on intermediate rubber, off top spot by three tenths of a second in the final seconds of a rain-hit session.
Nico Rosberg, who had briefly taken first place before Hamilton and Ricciardo improved late on, was third ahead of McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen.
Both drivers, as well as fifth-placed Ferrari man Fernando Alonso, set their times on wet rubber with opinion split among the 10 runners as to which tyre compound was preferable.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne showed his wet weather prowess with a superb sixth place ahead of Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, both setting their times on intermediates.
Behind the pair was debutant Daniil Kvyat, who impressed despite an off in Q3 on the run between Turns 10 and 11.
He took eighth place on wet rubber, ahead of Williams drivers Felipe Massa (intermediates) and Valtteri Bottas (wets), although the latter must serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change before qualifying.
Several of the drivers who failed to advance from Q2 to Q3 were unable to improve thanks to yellow flags caused by Kimi Raikkonen’s late crash as rain returned in intermediate conditions.
The Ferrari driver lost the rear at the exit of Turn 3 and spun into the wall, with Vettel among those who were attempting to jump into the top 10 at the time.
With both failing to make the cut in 12th and 13th, Jenson Button made it three world champions to fail to make the top 10 shootout in 11th.
Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi and Force India driver Sergio Perez, who ran through the gravel at Turn 2 on his final flying lap, also fell in Q2.
Marussia driver Max Chilton was the fastest of the drivers to be knocked out in Q1, which was effectively ended at a point when most had managed only one run thanks to rain at the halfway mark.
Chilton was just 19 thousandths of a second slower than Kobayashi, who did make the cut but was unable to do better than 15th in the second stage of qualifying.
Chilton’s eam-mate Jules Bianchi, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez (who will be hit with a five-place penalty for a gearbox change) and Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson were also eliminated in Q1.
Joining them were the two Lotus E22s of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, the latter not able to attempt a lap until the damp conditions late on and having two off-track excursions before aborting his run.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.231s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m44.548s +0.317s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.595s +0.364s 4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.745s +1.514s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.819s +1.588s 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m45.864s +1.633s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m46.030s +1.799s 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m47.360s +3.129s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m48.079s +3.848s 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m48.147s +3.916s Q3 cut-off: 1m44.331s ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.437s +2.173s 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m44.494s +2.230s 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.668s +2.404s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.655s +3.391s 15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m45.867s +3.603s 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m47.293s +5.029s Q2 cut-off: 1m34.274s *** 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.293s +4.118s 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.794s +4.619s 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.117s +4.942s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m35.157s +4.982s 21. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.993s +6.818s 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 107 per cent: 1m37.129s ** Gap to 1st in Q2 *** Gap to 1st in Q3
Australian GP: Rosberg dominates final practice in Melbourne
Nico Rosberg was comfortably quickest for Mercedes in third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, eclipsing second-placed Jenson Button by 1.391s.
The Mercedes W05 was clearly the fastest car on both of the available tyre compounds as both Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton led the times during early running on mediums.
Rosberg was the first to lap under 1m30s after swapping to softs, lowering the bar to 1m29.375s, and while Hamilton was fastest of all in the first sector in response, he lost time in the middle sector to end the session fourth quickest, 1.501s off Rosberg’s best.
Even though there were spots of rain before the green flag and it was generally cloudier than yesterday, with a gusting wind, the top runners quickly got into the groove and began to improve their times.
Button reported a litany of imperfections in his McLaren’s performance, from locking rear brakes to poor balance on corner entry and exit. But on soft tyres at the end he found enough speed to go second fastest overall, just over a tenth of a second quicker than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard was the most assured of the Scuderia’s drivers, lapping comfortably while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ran off-track more than once as he struggled with his car’s balance and finished the session 1.7s off the ultimate pace.
Daniel Ricciardo was quickest of the Red Bulls with 1m30.970s, accomplished on the soft tyres, but Sebastian Vettel was a full 2.880s off Rosberg’s best and finished final practice complaining of a lack of acceleration.
Williams had a less positive session than yesterday, with Felipe Massa propping up the top 10 and Valtteri Bottas completing just two untimed laps before parking his FW36. He will incur a five-place grid penalty after the team confirmed it would have to change his car’s gearbox.
Those teams whose new cars are in a less mature state of development continued to struggle. Esteban Gutierrez returned to the Sauber garage after reporting a gearbox problem and sat out the remainder of the session.
Both Lotus and Marussia had to use one of their six permitted ‘jokers’ to break the curfew on garage working hours, but they, along with Caterham, at least ran more laps than yesterday.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.375s 15 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.766s +1.391s 20 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.876s +1.501s 11 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.919s +1.544s 13 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.970s +1.595s 13 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m30.978s +1.603s 16 7. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1m31.156s +1.781s 12 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.251s +1.876s 22 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.665s +2.290s 17 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.723s +2.348s 20 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.925s +2.550s 17 12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.255s +2.880s 14 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.417s +3.042s 16 14. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.184s +4.809s 15 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m34.188s +4.813s 16 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m34.413s +5.038s 19 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.717s +5.342s 15 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m34.754s +5.379s 15 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m36.159s +6.784s 21 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2 21. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4
Australian GP: Ferrari says sorting Raikkonen problems a priority
Ferrari says that sorting out the problems that are stopping Kimi Raikkonen getting the best out of his Formula 1 car is a priority.
Raikkonen had a difficult first day of practice in Australia on Friday, ending the second session eight tenths of a second behind team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said the team needed to move swiftly to help Raikkonen.
When asked about the Finn’s performances, he said: "We need to make sure that all the things that are still not solved – not only on Kimi’s side – have to be solved or addressed very quickly because the competition is very strong and the time that we have available is not a lot.
"For me, the most important thing is to address and to solve the issue very quickly.
"The driver is not really the problem because I’m sure that both drivers will be able to manage the situation in the best way that they can, but there is still a lot of work to do."
Domenicali accepts that Ferrari is not the quickest team at the moment, but feels there are plenty of possibilities for the team to recover over the next few races.
"What we have to do is keep working on the things we know," he said.
"We need to improve and that’s the way it is.
"For sure there were different things to test and to try between the drivers, but that’s part of the normal programme we do.
"In my view today maybe you will see that some teams were a little bit hiding or having some issues for the day.
"Tomorrow the situation will be different again."
Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in practice two
Lewis Hamilton recovered from a disastrous morning to top the first day of practice for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix in his Mercedes.
The 2008 world champion stopped on only his second lap of the first session thanks to a sensor calibration problem, meaning he had not completed a flying lap heading into the afternoon.
Hamilton was one of the last of the frontrunners to set a time on fresh Pirelli soft tyres in practice two, waiting until the second half of the session before setting his time.
A stunning final sector allowed him to depose Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets by 0.157 seconds.
Nobody else was able to get close to Rosberg, who had underlined the strength of Mercedes by setting the fastest time achieved on medium-compound Pirellis earlier in the afternoon.
Rosberg looked set to retain his position on the faster rubber after knocking Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was among the earliest drivers to bolt on the softs and briefly went fastest, off top spot at around the halfway mark of the 90-minute session, only for Hamilton to show his pace.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was Rosberg’s closest rival on the medium rubber, ended up third fastest, half-a-second off Hamilton.
While the Spaniard was unable to match the Mercedes over the full lap, he was the quickest of all in the first sector at Albert Park.
Sebastian Vettel rounded out an encouraging first day of the season for Red Bull in fourth overall despite an off-track moment at Turn 1 early in the session having dropped a wheel onto the grass at corner entry.
He ended up three-quarters of a second down in fourth place, with team-mate Ricciardo sixth fastest, 0.157s slower than Vettel.
Splitting the Red Bulls was three times Australian GP winner Jenson Button, who was fastest in sector two but struggled with understeer.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest, although his session was interrupted by what is believed to have been a gearbox glitch when he was preparing for a practice start.
The lead Williams of Valtteri Bottas was eighth overall, 1.3s down, although on medium rubber the deficit to the Mercedes had been around half that.
Several drivers had off-track moments during the session, with Kevin Magnussen enduring a bumpy ride after running wide exiting Turn 12 early on and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne going straight on at Turn 3 and through the gravel trap.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also had a grassy moment exiting Turn 2 while scrapping for territory with Vettel.
Late in the session, Nico Hulkenberg locked the rears under braking for Turn 9 and spun into the gravel.
Almost simultaneously, Romain Grosjean buried his Lotus in the gravel at Turn 6 after losing the rear under braking and slapping the wall with the left-rear corner.
Only 19 drivers were able to set a time, with Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham unable to run thanks to a "power unit-related fuel system issue" that struck in morning practice.
Team-mate Marcus Ericsson was at least able to get onto the circuit, but a hydraulics problem on his installation lap forced him to return to the pits and the team was unable to get him back out again.
Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado did leave the garage, but was unable to make it out of the pitlane after stopping with a suspected ERS problem that the team did not have time to resolve.
This rounded off a dismal day for Lotus, with Grosjean the second slowest of the drivers who did set a time before his late off.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.381s +0.756s 41 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.510s +0.885s 33 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.538s +0.913s 38 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m30.920s +1.295s 38 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.031s +1.406s 34 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m31.054s +1.429s 33 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.060s +1.435s 35 12. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.119s +1.494s 31 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.283s +1.658s 36 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.355s +2.730s 36 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.468s +2.843s 26 16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.495s +2.870s 36 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m33.486s +3.861s 29 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m33.646s +4.021s 12 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.757s +5.132s 29 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault
Australian GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari fastest in practice one
Fernando Alonso prevailed over Jenson Button as McLaren and Ferrari traded places up front in the first Formula 1 practice session of 2014 at the Australian Grand Prix.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were just hundredths of a second off Button’s pace.
But there was disappointment for pre-season favourite Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg only sixth fastest behind Daniel Ricciardo’s much-improved Red Bull, and Lewis Hamilton stopping on track on his out-lap.
Ferrari was first to break the silence as Alonso’s F14 T rumbled out of the pitlane and on to the track to complete a historic, if uneventful, installation lap.
Quite against the pre-season run of form, though, it was Mercedes that claimed the unfortunate accolade of being first to suffer a breakdown during a race weekend.
The session was but five minutes old when Hamilton came to a halt at the exit of Turn 8, a wisp of smoke curling from the rear of his W05 as its engine shut down in response to an oil pressure warning.
Hamilton returned to the pits with his helmet in place, visor down, cold-shouldering an official who requested sight of his pass at the paddock gate.
In contrast, four times world champion Sebastian Vettel lounged on the pitwall with his overalls tied around his waist as his team-mate Ricciardo became the first driver of the weekend to complete a flying lap.
Sergio Perez was the first to spin and Daniil Kvyat the first to explore the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 1, followed in short order by Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, with the team having numerous excursions through the session amid braking system issues.
Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso were busiest in the first half of the session, each running multiple-lap stints with both of their cars, although Kimi Raikkonen’s programme was interrupted by an ERS-K failure that Ferrari fixed within 25 minutes.
As in testing, Mercedes-powered cars covered the bulk of the mileage, but Red Bull has clearly made some progress on reliability; Ricciardo amassed 26 laps and Vettel, after sitting out most of the first hour, ran one installation lap followed by a five-lap timed run, and then another four in the final minutes to go seventh fastest overall.
Both Williams drivers embarked on multiple stints, making good use of the extra set of Pirelli tyres permitted during this session.
Bottas did the most running in the first hour before Massa took to the track, and while the Brazilian veteran was initially faster, Bottas subsequently eclipsed his time and was quickest of all in the middle sector.
Plenty of teams reported teething troubles: McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen alluded to engine problems over the team-radio and Button was not getting lap time readouts on his steering wheel.
Marussia had a low-key session, with Jules Bianchi completing two three-lap stints while team-mate Max Chilton set a time on just one of his four laps.
Besides Hamilton, four other drivers failed to set a time. Both Caterhams completed just one installation lap before returning to the garage for attention to problems with the electrics on Marcus Ericsson’s car and the fuel system on Kamui Kobayashi’s.
Neither Lotus emerged until the final quarter-hour, and Pastor Maldonado promptly deposited his E22 in the gravel at Turn 13 on his installation lap before cruising back to the pits.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.840s 20 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.357s +0.517s 23 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m32.403s +0.563s 27 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m32.431s +0.591s 19 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m32.599s +0.759s 26 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.604s +0.764s 17 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.793s +0.953s 10 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.847s +1.007s 28 9. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m32.977s +1.137s 18 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m33.446s +1.606s 30 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m33.533s +1.693s 23 12. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m33.855s +2.015s 24 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m34.272s +2.432s 27 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.578s +3.738s 7 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.445s +4.605s 13 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.859s +9.019s 6 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m46.922s +15.082s 4 18. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 19. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
Abu Dhabi GP: Mark Webber beats Sebastian Vettel to pole
Mark Webber qualified on pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, pipping Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel with a late run.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg topped a qualifying segment for Mercedes before Q3, but Red Bull’s pace at the crucial moment was too much, leaving the silver cars on row two.
Vettel recorded a 1m40.091s on his first run of Q3, ahead of the two Mercedes, with Webber apparently struggling.
But a great final effort helped the Australian to 1m39.957s and even a late improvement from his four-time world champion team-mate was not enough to deny Webber the top spot.
Rosberg outqualified Hamilton, who spun off on his final run, while Kimi Raikkonen was the top Lotus in fifth.
Nico Hulkenberg continued his fine form for Sauber to take sixth, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.
The times in Q2 were again tight and two big names fell. Ferrari’s Abu Dhabi struggles continued, particularly in the final sector, and Fernando Alonso could only qualify 11th, not helped by a minor error.
A similar charge from Jenson Button also failed to get the McLaren driver into the top 10 after what the Briton described as a "very strange" loss of grip since final practice.
With the circuit getting faster and faster in Q1, the last soft-tyred runs proved crucial and it was Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil’s Force India who were the midfielders to fall.
Giedo van der Garde topped the Caterham/Marussia battle, while Jules Bianchi (20th fastest) has a five-place grid penalty after his gearbox needed changing thanks to his crash in practice three.
The results remain provisional, with several drivers apparently setting their best laps after running all four wheels over the white lines, which they had specifically been warned not to do.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s 6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154s Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap ** 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s 13. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974s Q1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap * 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s 18. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s 107% time: 1m47.741s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Abu Dhabi GP: Sebastian Vettel leads final practice Red Bull one-two
Sebastian Vettel topped the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading another Red Bull one-two.
Vettel and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen took it in turns to top the times in the early going on the harder tyre.
Raikkonen was the first to dip under 1m44s, then Vettel moved ahead with a 1m43.795s.
Mark Webber went second fastest before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg moved to challenge the Red Bulls for Mercedes.
As track conditions improved, the duo moved ahead of Vettel just after the halfway mark, with Rosberg ahead.
Vettel and Rosberg then alternated in front, with Rosberg recording 1m43.465s with around 20 minutes to go.
Webber also moved ahead of Vettel, but the newly crowned world champion was set to improve before hitting traffic in the final sector.
Marussia driver Jules Bianchi then spun exiting Turn 1 and hit the barriers, preventing further improvements for several minutes.
Everyone subsequently switched to the softer Pirelli tyre for their low-fuel runs.
Button was the first to strike, with a lap in 1m41.956s. He was soon surpassed by Hamilton, but still ended up sixth as McLaren continued its decent Abu Dhabi form.
Vettel finally took the honours with a 1m41.349s lap, all but matching his best from free practice two, in the final three minutes.
Hamilton had a big moment at the last corner as he tried to improve, and ended up being pipped by a late charge from Webber.
Behind Rosberg, Romain Grosjean’s Lotus was fifth fastest, while both Saubers proved competitive, Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh, one spot ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.
Raikkonen had a minor moment in the final 20 minutes and ended up ninth.
Ferrari continued to struggle on both the hard and soft tyres, Fernando Alonso ending up 11th, Felipe Massa 14th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.349s 19 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m41.571s +0.222s 17 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.580s +0.231s 18 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.721s +0.372s 19 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.832s +0.483s 19 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.956s +0.607s 19 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.055s +0.706s 19 8. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.282s +0.933s 19 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m42.387s +1.038s 18 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.457s +1.108s 21 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m42.516s +1.167s 15 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m42.681s +1.332s 23 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m42.698s +1.349s 19 14. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m42.702s +1.353s 16 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.727s +1.378s 18 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m42.798s +1.449s 18 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.989s +1.640s 22 18. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m43.142s +1.793s 15 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m44.472s +3.123s 20 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m44.728s +3.379s 21 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.621s +4.272s 20 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m47.506s +6.157s 15
Back to Basics for Kimi Räikkönen in Abu Dhabi
After making the call to revert on the team’s longer wheelbase E21 configuration this weekend, our Iceman was satisfied with initial progress as his quest for a repeat Yas Marina masterclass began earlier today…
How was your day?
The car feels okay and we had a pretty normal Friday. The shorter chassis feels okay here>, but I didn’t drive it back to back with the longer one so it’s difficult to say which is better. We’re still trying to get rid of some understeer, but on this circuit the car feels better so far.
How are you approaching qualifying tomorrow?
As always, there are some improvements we can make to the car so hopefully we can get it as we want it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Abu Dhabi GP: Raikkonen to switch to short wheelbase car
Kimi Raikkonen will switch back to Lotus’s short-wheelbase configuration for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The team felt its long-wheelbase upgrade had been a key part of its return to form in recent races.
But team boss Eric Boullier said Raikkonen felt more comfortable with the previous specification.
"He is trying because the last two races he was not 100 per cent happy with his balance and he is just trying something different," said Boullier."
"The first thing is to know where you are so you obviously go back to back what you were doing."
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said that Raikkonen would stick with the short-wheelbase car for qualifying and the race as the change had paid off in practice.
"He wanted to try the short wheelbase car again as he felt its characteristics would suit this circuit," said Permane.
"So far it all looks good and this configuration will be kept on his car for the remainder of the weekend.
"His long-run pace looks very encouraging on both [compounds of] tyres."
Raikkonen was sixth quickest in Friday practice.
The Finn is the centre of attention in Abu Dhabi this weekend, having admitted that he had considered skipping the race due to his ongoing pay dispute with Lotus and could yet walk away from the final races of the 2013 Formula 1 season if the issue continued.
Abu Dhabi GP: Sebastian Vettel takes charge in second practice
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber returned Red Bull to the top in the second Friday practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After being shaded by Lotus and Mercedes in the afternoon session, Red Bull regained its habitual top spot as darkness fell over Yas Marina.
Vettel had been fastest on the harder tyres in the opening quarter of an hour, and then left his switch to softs relatively late.
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen was first to make that move and found a big time gain to go fastest.
He was eventually usurped by first Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, then Mark Webber’s Red Bull.
Vettel then came through with a 1m41.335s to head Webber in a Red Bull one-two that held until the finish.
Hamilton and Raikkonen retained third and fourth places, followed by the former’s team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Practice one pacesetter Romain Grosjean was only 12th fastest, having been sidelined by a front brake failure.
Several drivers had incidents and issues, with both Force India’s Paul di Resta and McLaren’s Jenson Button having to slow with punctures.
Button was still seventh, one place behind team-mate Sergio Perez, in a strong session for McLaren.
Ferrari improved on its quiet opening practice and at least got both cars into the top 10, albeit only eighth and 10th, either side of Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.
Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde both had spins, but rejoining without finding the barriers.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.335s 33 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m41.490s +0.155s 32 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.690s +0.355s 37 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m41.726s +0.391s 40 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.758s +0.423s 39 6. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m42.006s +0.671s 35 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m42.010s +0.675s 30 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m42.171s +0.836s 30 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.324s +0.989s 40 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m42.440s +1.105s 35 11. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.509s +1.174s 37 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.607s +1.272s 18 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m42.806s +1.471s 26 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m42.952s +1.617s 35 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.998s +1.663s 25 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m43.152s +1.817s 28 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m43.271s +1.936s 35 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m43.565s +2.230s 34 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m44.138s +2.803s 34 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.459s +3.124s 34 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m44.525s +3.190s 37 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.565s +4.230s 26
Abu Dhabi GP: Romain Grosjean quickest in opening practice
Romain Grosjean thrust Lotus to the top of the times with a late charge in opening practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Amid all the focus on his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s relationship with the squad, Grosjean bucked the usual Friday morning trend by waiting until the closing moments to set his best time.
Grosjean’s 1m44.241s lap put him 0.192 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton, who would normally have expected to stay up front after winning the traditional mid-session dice for top spot.
No one set a flying lap for the first half hour, and it was near the hour mark before the Mercedes and Red Bulls really raised the bar.
Hamilton emerged on top for Mercedes at that stage, 0.066s ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.
The world champion had a slight scare at the end of the session, when he misjudged his entry to the Red Bull pit stall and required some evasive action from his crew as he locked up.
Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber beat Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes to fifth, with the in-the-spotlight Raikkonen seventh.
Paul di Resta put Force India in an encouraging seventh place. His team-mate Adrian Sutil moved aside for James Calado this time. The GP2 title contender was 14th.
Other ‘Friday drivers’ in action were Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen and Marussia’s Rodolfo Gonzalez, who were 20th and 22nd.
The McLarens ended up eighth and 10th, split by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.
Ferrari had a low-key start, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa 12th and 17th.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m44.241s 20 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.433s +0.192s 22 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.499s +0.258s 18 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m44.712s +0.471s 18 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.741s +0.500s 23 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m44.929s +0.688s 21 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m45.040s +0.799s 19 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.099s +0.858s 19 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m45.150s +0.909s 23 10. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.331s +1.090s 19 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.378s +1.137s 21 12. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.440s +1.199s 17 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m45.823s +1.582s 21 14. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m45.924s +1.683s 19 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m46.068s +1.827s 17 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.114s +1.873s 21 17. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m46.124s +1.883s 17 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.126s +1.885s 20 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m47.600s +3.359s 21 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m47.670s +3.429s 21 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m47.723s +3.482s 22 22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m49.565s +5.324s 21
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel flies to pole ahead of Nico Rosberg
Sebastian Vettel produced one of his most commanding qualifying performances of an already-dominant 2013 Formula 1 campaign to take Indian Grand Prix pole.
The Red Bull driver, who is poised to clinch a fourth straight world championship this weekend, was 1.7 seconds faster than his rivals when he first put in the 1m24.119s that became pole.
That statistic was skewed by the fact that all those out on that stage were using medium tyres whereas Vettel was on softs.
But even the soft-shod Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were seven tenths off Vettel as they took second and third.
The shock of qualifying was Romain Grosjean’s Q1 exit.
The man who fought for victory at Suzuka a fortnight ago will be fighting to get through the field at Buddh having chosen to use medium tyres in Q1.
Vettel was the only other man who went for that strategy, but while he had no problem getting through in 11th, Grosjean could only manage 17th.
Mark Webber used mediums successfully in Q3 to take fourth on the grid. He was 0.928s slower than Red Bull team-mate Vettel, but 0.8s and four places ahead of next-best medium user Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard’s Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa took fifth, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg for Lotus and Sauber respectively.
McLaren used mediums for both its drivers as Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top 10.
There were no surprises in Q2, with the Toro Rossos and Force India intermingling on rows six and seven, ahead of Valtteri Bottas’s Williams and Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber.
Pastor Maldonado joined Grosjean among the Q1 departures, and was only 0.128s clear of Jules Bianchi’s Marussia and 0.265s ahead of Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.119s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.871s +0.752s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.941s +0.822s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.047s +0.928s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.201s +1.082s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.248s +1.129s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.334s +1.215s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.826s +1.707s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.153s +2.034s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.487s +2.368s Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.458s Gap ** 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.519s +0.951s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s +1.143s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s +1.172s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.798s +1.230s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.134s +1.566s 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.336s +1.768s Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.178s Gap * 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.577s +1.003s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.842s +1.268s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.970s +1.396s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.105s +1.531s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.487s +1.913s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.138s +2.564s 107% time: 1m31.564s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull complete practice sweep
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull remained untouchable in Indian Grand Prix practice, the Formula 1 world champion leading team-mate Mark Webber in a shortened final session ahead of qualifying.
Vettel, quickest in both of Friday’s sessions, needed just one lap on the softer tyres to elevate himself to first place with a time of 1m25.332s. He then focused on longer runs with the soft rubber, which he seemed to struggle on as the blistering issues continued.
The German driver did not even complete a run using the harder compound.
Webber finished second, but over 0.5 seconds behind his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso the first of the non-Red Bull drivers in third, albeit over seven tenths off Vettel.
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg showed strong pace once more, the Sauber driver finishing in fourth ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, who completed the top five.
The start of the session was initially delayed by 15 minutes because of visibility problems.
Race control announced a further 15-minute delay moments later, only to then shorten that to five minutes, with the session finally getting underway 20 minutes later than scheduled and the running restricted to 40 minutes.
The decision to shorten the session meant the action was frantic from the start, with most drivers taking to the track right away.
Webber was the initial pacesetter in the Red Bull before Felipe Massa and then team-mate Alonso moved to the top of the times, before the Australian driver regained the top spot moments later.
Twelve minutes in, it was McLaren’s Sergio Perez who went quickest by just 0.044s as the top four were covered by less than a tenth of a second.
Alonso then regained first place before Vettel completed his first soft-tyre run with a time that was over 1.5s quicker than anybody else and also the best lap of the weekend so far, a 1m25.332s.
Webber also tried the soft tyres before the halfway point, but the Australian was over half a second off his team-mate’s pace.
Red Bull, struggling with the degradation of the soft tyres this weekend, seemed to focus mainly on solutions to extend the life of the rubber.
Despite everyone trying the soft tyres as the session progress, no one could get close to Vettel’s time.
The only significant incident of the session involved Hulkenberg hitting one of his Sauber mechanics when returning to the pits. The mechanic took a tumble but got up on his own and seemed to suffer no serious injuries.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.332s 16 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.892s +0.560s 14 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.105s +0.773s 19 4. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.306s +0.974s 17 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.350s +1.018s 16 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.435s +1.103s 20 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.438s +1.106s 15 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.441s +1.109s 19 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.489s +1.157s 15 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.557s +1.225s 17 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.635s +1.303s 14 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.641s +1.309s 13 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.737s +1.405s 13 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.847s +1.515s 17 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.876s +1.544s 17 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.883s +1.551s 15 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.259s +1.927s 18 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.941s +2.609s 18 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.019s +2.687s 15 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.498s +3.166s 16 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.094s +3.762s 11 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.169s +3.837s 13
Kimi Räikkönen Encouraged by Setup Improvements in India
A day of setup improvement seeking for our Finn at the Buddh International Circuit resulted in a much more satisfied Iceman heading into tomorrow’s qualifying lottery; here’s his view on events…
How would you sum up your day?
It was a pretty normal Friday for us. We kept trying to find improvements in the car. We had some problems in the morning, and I flat spotted a hard tyre on my first run in the afternoon so I couldn’t really use it much as I couldn’t see when running in a straight line after that. Just normal Friday things really; we’ll look at everything and try to make the car better for tomorrow now.
Did you find any improvements today?
Yes, the car’s better than it started the day but it’s still not completely the way we want it and I have a few issues with the front end. We’d like to change a few things that you can’t now because of the latest rules for how you can use the tyres with camber and pressures, so we’re looking at different ways of changing the set-up to get what I want from the car. I’m not too worried about it today and I’m sure I could have gone faster; if I can’t get it as I want I’ll just try and live with it.
There’s been quite a bit of talk about tyre blistering today – any dramas for you?
We had some blistering on the soft tyres but we changed the set-up and it made things better.
How well do you think you can qualify tomorrow?
I’m sure we can do better than in the last few races where I made a few mistakes; some of those because the car’s not easy to drive as it’s not exactly as I want it. Let’s see tomorrow.
Raikkonen says revised tyres hampering qualifying progress
Kimi Raikkonen says the chances of curing his qualifying issues are being hampered by the tyre usage restrictions that have been imposed over the second half of the campaign.
As reported by AUTOSPORT, Raikkonen has suffered a drop in qualifying form because the new Pirelli tyres used since the Hungarian Grand Prix do not suit his driving style.
Although he has made some progress on the issue in recent races, he revealed ahead of the Indian GP that he is being limited in what he can do by the camber and pressure restrictions that Pirelli have imposed on safety grounds.
"The limits on the cambers and pressures, they add up to a lot," he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about how he was coping with the matter.
"There are not many things you can do, and unfortunately we are a bit stuck. If we were free to do with the cambers what we want, it would be a much easier thing.
"But that is how it is. I think for one lap it is an issue – but in the race it is not so much because you don’t push as much in certain places
"Hopefully we can try to do other things, but then you start hurting in places that you were fine before.
"It is a never ending story and we are not really getting anywhere – so we have to try to figure it out. It is what it is, but we are not worried by it.
"In certain places yes I could go faster, but we have to try to live with it."
Despite fearing that the usage limits will prevent a total cure for his problems he thinks that some progress is being made.
"We have some plans and hopefully we can improve it a bit," he said. "I am sure we can do better than the last few races."
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel stays ahead in second practice
Red Bull claimed another one-two in second Indian Grand Prix practice, as Sebastian Vettel again led Mark Webber.
As had been the case in the morning, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg offered a plucky challenge to the Red Bulls.
On the medium compound tyre, Rosberg emerged with the honours, beating Webber by just 0.001 seconds.
Times were over a second faster on softs, and Vettel’s early 1m25.722s secured the top spot with an hour to spare, as teams then switched to long-stint tyre work.
Webber repeated the practice one Red Bull symmetry by grabbing second, 0.289s slower than his team-mate, who is poised to secure a fourth consecutive Formula 1 title this weekend.
Rosberg was only sixth on soft tyres, behind Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Following his morning gearbox issues, Alonso made up for lost time with 37 laps of running. His team-mate Felipe Massa was seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen got into the top 10 this time in eighth, but was half a second down on team-mate Grosjean.
The McLarens completed the top 10 spots.
Pastor Maldonado provided the most notable incident when his Williams shed a wheelnut on track. He managed to coax the loose-wheeled car back as far as the pitlane entry before having to park.
Paul di Resta was back in action for Force India after his earlier illness and took 15th place, 0.2s and three spots behind his team-mate Adrian Sutil.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.722s 35 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.011s +0.289s 38 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.220s +0.498s 36 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.399s +0.677s 36 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.430s +0.708s 39 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.582s +0.860s 40 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.601s +0.879s 41 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.632s +0.910s 32 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.857s +1.135s 40 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.972s +1.250s 39 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.304s +1.582s 17 12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.375s +1.653s 36 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m27.429s +1.707s 31 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.491s +1.769s 40 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.608s +1.886s 38 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m27.720s +1.998s 23 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.949s +2.227s 34 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.431s +2.709s 30 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.692s +2.970s 39 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.799s +3.077s 32 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m29.366s +3.644s 37 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.164s +4.442s 27 Da Autosport.com
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel on top in first practice session
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber held off the Mercedes and Lotus challenge to give Red Bull a one-two in opening practice for the Indian Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg ensured that Vettel did not have things all his own way during the mid-session short runs when most of the quick laps were set.
Rosberg did a 1m27.937s then a 1m27.217s in quick succession to remove the McLarens from their early position on top.
Vettel then beat his compatriot by 0.021 seconds, but within a minute Rosberg went quicker again and produced a 1m26.899s on the 10th lap of his run.
After a slower lap, Vettel got back up to speed again with a 1m26.683s that would keep him ahead for the rest of the morning.
Webber then snuck his Red Bull between the two Germans in the closing minutes.
Romain Grosjean was fourth for Lotus, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen never attempted a lower-fuel run and was 1.7s slower in 17th.
Lewis Hamilton had also languished in the midfield for much of the session, before jumping to fifth late on, just ahead of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez’s McLarens.
It was a tough start for Ferrari, with Felipe Massa eighth and Fernando Alonso sidelined by a gearbox problem after six laps.
Williams got itself into the top 10 with Valtteri Bottas just behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber in 10th. Bottas’s team-mate Pastor Maldonado also had a spell in the top half of the field, though he also had a spin.
James Calado was the session’s other spinner, as he stood in for the unwell Paul di Resta at Force India.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m26.683s 24 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.871s +0.188s 17 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.899s +0.216s 23 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.990s +0.307s 20 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.227s +0.544s 21 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.335s +0.652s 23 7. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.416s +0.733s 23 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.692s +1.009s 21 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.770s +1.087s 19 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m27.800s +1.117s 23 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.035s +1.352s 25 12. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m28.214s +1.531s 6 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.336s +1.653s 18 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m28.342s +1.659s 21 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.468s +1.785s 20 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.538s +1.855s 18 17. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m28.730s +2.047s 18 18. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m29.197s +2.514s 22 19. Giedgo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m29.413s +2.730s 24 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.560s +2.877s 20 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.026s +3.343s 23 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.471s +3.788s 17
Japanese GP: Mark Webber ends Sebastian Vettel’s pole run
Mark Webber ended Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying supremacy as he beat the German to Japanese Grand Prix pole.
Vettel was hobbled by a loss of KERS on his first Q3 lap and was 0.4 seconds adrift of Webber’s provisional pole effort.
The system was successfully reset for Vettel’s second run but he could not improve enough to depose Webber, who then improved his pole time to 1m30.915s.
The result was not only Webber’s first pole of 2013, but the first time he had outqualified Vettel all year.
Lewis Hamilton won a very tight battle for third in his Mercedes, edging out Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.
Nico Rosberg was 0.144s slower than team-mate Hamilton in sixth place.
Fernando Alonso was only eighth quickest, 0.3s off Massa and pushed back a further place by Nico Hulkenberg’s flying Sauber.
Kimi Raikkonen again struggled for qualifying speed, lapping 0.319s slower than Grosjean as he ended up five places adrift.
Jenson Button’s McLaren rounded off the top 10.
Q2 was extraordinarily close, with barely half a second covering second to 14th places.
Sergio Perez ended up on the wrong side of the cut-off in 11th, just ahead of Paul di Resta.
The Scot had a much better qualifying session than Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil, who picked up a gearbox-change penalty following his morning crash and then struggled for speed. He was only 17th fastest and was eliminated in Q1.
The main piece of Q1 drama was a bizarre fire on both rear brakes of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. The Frenchman had to park on the exit of the hairpin and the session was briefly red-flagged so marshals could deal with the fire safely.
That left Vergne 18th, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo only managed two places higher as he trailed the Q2 pack.
Those dramas helped Williams to an encouraging 13th and 15th with Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado.
They were split by Esteban Gutierrez, whose Sauber fleetingly caught fire in the pit garage halfway through Q1. There was no damage and he was able to continue qualifying.
Marussia’s Max Chilton produced the best qualifying performance of his F1 career so far to beat the Caterhams and his team-mate Jules Bianchi to 19th place.
Both Charles Pic and Bianchi have 10-place grid penalties for Korean GP incidents so should share the back row.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.915s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m31.089s +0.174s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.253s +0.338s 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m31.365s +0.450s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.378s +0.463s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.397s +0.482s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.644s +0.729s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.665s +0.750s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m31.684s +0.769s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.827s +0.912s Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.848s Gap ** 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.989s +0.699s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m31.992s +0.702s 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m32.013s +0.723s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.063s +0.773s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m32.093s +0.803s 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m32.485s +1.195s Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.875s Gap * 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m32.890s +1.066s 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.357s +1.533s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.320s +2.496s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m34.556s +2.732s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m34.879s +3.055s 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.958s +3.134s 107% time: 1m38.251s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Japanese GP: Mark Webber fastest as Sebastian Vettel hits trouble
Mark Webber kept Red Bull ahead in final Japanese Grand Prix practice at Suzuka, as his team-mate Sebastian Vettel ran into mechanical problems.
It was a commanding morning for Webber, who put himself on top during the early part of the session when everyone was on hard tyres.
He was deposed by an early medium-tyre run from Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, but once Webber was on the softer rubber as well, he burst clear with a 1m32.053s, 0.643s in front of the field.
Vettel had been second to Webber on hard tyres, 0.314s off his team-mate’s pace after what he admitted had been a scruffy lap.
That ended up being Vettel’s best run as a KERS problem then left him watching the final quarter of an hour from the pits.
Webber looked set to keep his six-tenth advantage until late runs from the two Mercedes.
First Nico Rosberg got to within 0.302s of the Red Bull, then Lewis Hamilton put in a 1m32.187s after the flag to take second from his team-mate, 0.134s behind Webber.
Grosjean was pushed back to fourth, ahead of Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Jenson Button took an encouraging seventh place for McLaren, within a tenth of the Ferraris.
Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.
Adrian Sutil provided the only crash of the session when he ran wide on the exit of Spoon and put his Force India into the barriers, sustaining relatively minor damage.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m32.053s 17 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.187s +0.134s 18 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.355s +0.302s 18 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m32.707s +0.654s 26 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m32.800s +0.747s 14 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m32.815s +0.762s 14 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.869s +0.816s 17 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m32.946s +0.893s 25 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m33.036s +0.983s 8 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.076s +1.023s 12 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.158s +1.105s 15 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.260s +1.207s 15 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.490s +1.437s 16 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m33.638s +1.585s 17 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m33.660s +1.607s 19 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.732s +1.679s 15 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m33.955s +1.902s 18 18. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m34.773s +2.720s 8 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m35.473s +3.420s 20 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m35.518s +3.465s 18 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m35.844s +3.791s 16 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.378s +7.325s 20
Japanese GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull go top in practice two
Sebastian Vettel beat Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber to top spot in an incident-strewn second Formula 1 practice session at Suzuka.
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both had moments at the Degners – the latter doing well to save a spin without damage – while Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado all suffered early exits after accidents.
Perez’s off was the most dramatic: the Mexican clipped the Astroturf on the entry to Spoon with his McLaren’s rear right and was pitched sideways into a heavy collision with the barriers.
Williams driver Maldonado also hit the tyres – this time at Degner, just 12 minutes into the session – while Raikkonen lost the rear of his Lotus and ended up beached in the gravel at Dunlop 30 minutes from the session’s end.
The Finn still ended the session fourth fastest, as the field collectively switched to long runs for the final third of the afternoon.
That put him just behind the lead Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, who was little more than a quarter of a second down on Vettel in third.
Raikkonen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean was fifth fastest, fractions ahead of Hamilton, whose best lap on the medium compounds was spoiled when he ran wide exiting the Degners.
Alonso’s spin was one of several lurid moments for the Spaniard, who must finish inside the top eight on Sunday if he is to prevent Vettel from clinching a fourth straight world championship crown this weekend.
The Spaniard could only manage 10th at the flag, behind Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Esteban Gutierrez beat Jean-Eric Vergne and Sauber team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to 11th, with the trio covered by less than one tenth of a second.
Perez was 16th, while Maldonado hung on to 18th despite completing just six laps.
Charles Pic claimed rear-quartet honours, although Jules Bianchi’s morning crash meant he was unable to participate in the session.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m33.852s 35 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m34.020s +0.168s 35 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.114s +0.262s 36 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m34.202s +0.350s 17 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m34.411s +0.559s 30 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.442s +0.590s 36 7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.473s +0.621s 30 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m34.698s +0.846s 35 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.912s +1.060s 34 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.087s +1.235s 32 11. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.089s +1.237s 36 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.109s +1.257s 34 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.182s +1.330s 34 14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m35.275s +1.423s 35 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m35.341s +1.489s 25 16. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.709s +1.857s 8 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m36.136s +2.284s 41 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.722s +2.870s 6 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m37.630s +3.778s 31 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m37.905s +4.053s 36 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m38.121s +4.269s 33
Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in FP1
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg gave Mercedes the early advantage in Japanese Grand Prix Friday practice.
In a ‘two by two’ top eight in which the driver pairings from Formula 1′s leading four teams lined up next to each other, Mercedes secured a one-two ahead of the Red Bulls.
Rosberg put in his quick lap, a 1m34.487s, first but it was usurped shortly afterwards when Hamilton went 0.330 seconds quicker.
Sebastian Vettel was the fastest Red Bull in third, albeit 0.611s off the pace.
His team-mate Mark Webber took fourth, followed by the Ferraris, and Lotuses, with Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean outpacing their respective team-mates.
The symmetry was broken at the foot of the top 10, where Daniel Ricciardo put his Toro Rosso between the McLarens of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button late on.
Several drivers further down the order ran into trouble.
Pastor Maldonado had to park his Williams at Spoon after spinning when his left rear wheel flew off.
Both Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde crashed at Degner. While the Caterham only just nudged the tyres, Bianchi’s Marussia will need a more substantial rebuild following his early crash.
Despite only managing eight laps on his Suzuka debut, Bianchi was a second clear of Marussia team-mate Max Chilton and was only narrowly pipped to rear quartet honours by Caterham’s returnee practice driver Heikki Kovalainen.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.157s 19 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.487s +0.330s 19 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.768s +0.611s 24 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m34.787s +0.630s 20 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m35.126s +0.969s 14 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.154s +0.997s 16 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.179s +1.022s 15 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m35.364s +1.207s 17 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.450s +1.293s 27 10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.635s +1.478s 19 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.868s +1.711s 22 12. Nico Hülkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.900s +1.743s 18 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.066s +1.909s 20 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m36.165s +2.008s 19 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.178s +2.021s 12 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m36.340s +2.183s 23 17. Paul Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.399s +2.242s 18 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.760s +2.603s 22 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m37.595s +3.438s 22 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m37.629s +3.472s 8 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m38.025s +3.868s 15 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m38.763s +4.606s 18
Korean GP: Sebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton to pole position
Sebastian Vettel took his third straight Formula 1 pole as he beat Lewis Hamilton in Korean Grand Prix qualifying.
Practice had suggested that Mercedes would be able to give Red Bull a much harder time in qualifying at least at Yeongam.
But in the event Sebastian Vettel’s initial Q3 lap of 1m37.202s put him 0.308 seconds clear of the leading Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
That lap had put Hamilton in third behind the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Although Hamilton was able to get ahead of the Australian on his final pole shot, he was still 0.218s adrift of Vettel, who was able to back off his own last lap, confident pole was secure.
Webber also abandoned his final lap and stayed third in the times, which will become 13th on the grid when his 10-place grid penalty for accumulating three driving reprimands is applied.
That will elevate Romain Grosjean to third, the Lotus driver having outpaced the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Grosjean’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 10th, 1.3s slower.
For the first time this year, Sauber got both cars into Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez eighth and ninth quickest.
Sauber’s qualifying breakthrough came at McLaren’s expense.
Despite encouraging signs in practice, the silver cars found themselves back in 11th and 12th, with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button missing Q3 by just 0.035s and 0.038s respectively.
The Toro Rossos and Force Indias were also eliminated in Q2, while neither Williams made it beyond Q1, although Valtteri Bottas could at least be pleased to outqualify Pastor Maldonado by half a second.
Charles Pic squeezed ahead of Caterham team-mate Giedo van der Garde by 0.007s to lead the rear quartet.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.202s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.420s +0.218s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.464s +0.262s 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.531s +0.329s 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.679s +0.477s 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.038s +0.836s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.223s +1.021s 8. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.237s +1.035s 9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.405s +1.203s 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m38.822s +1.620s Q2 cut-off time: 1m38.327s Gap ** 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.362s +0.793s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.365s +0.796s 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.417s +0.848s 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.431s +0.862s 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.718s +1.149s 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.781s +1.212s Q1 cut-off time: 1m39.175s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.470s +1.129s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.987s +1.646s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m40.864s +2.523s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.871s +2.530s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.169s +2.828s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.322s +2.981s 107% time: 1m45.224s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Korean GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull on top in final practice
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull moved to the front in the final practice session before Korean Grand Prix qualifying.
The champion driver and currently dominant team had been shaded by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton on Friday.
But with Hamilton not getting a clear run on super-softs at the end of practice three, Vettel led team-mate Mark Webber in a Red Bull one-two.
The duo had been up front for most of the morning, swapping first position in the opening half of the session.
Hamilton eventually pipped them to the quickest time on harder tyres, slipping in a late 1m38.860s.
Drivers then gained anything from half a second to just over a second on super-softs.
Webber started the rush of qualifying simulations with a 1m38.132s, before improving to a 1m38.018s after backing off for a lap.
That was then deposed by Vettel becoming the only man in the 1m37s with a 1m37.881s lap, 0.137 seconds quicker than Webber managed.
Mercedes had to settle for third and fourth this time, with Nico Rosberg ahead of Hamilton, who had traffic early in his super-soft run.
Ferrari and Lotus continued to battle just behind Red Bull and Mercedes. Fernando Alonso was fifth, followed by Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.
Nico Hulkenberg got Sauber into the top 10 with ninth place in front of Jenson Button’s McLaren in a very close upper midfield pack.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.881s 17 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m38.018s +0.137s 17 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.318s +0.437s 16 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m38.332s +0.451s 15 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.486s +0.605s 13 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m38.701s +0.820s 19 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.816s +0.935s 14 8. Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1m38.857s +0.976s 17 9. Nico Hülkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.961s +1.080s 16 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.114s +1.233s 14 11. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.128s +1.247s 15 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.196s +1.315s 16 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m39.204s +1.323s 17 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.274s +1.393s 15 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.327s +1.446s 17 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m39.371s +1.490s 19 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.665s +1.784s 15 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m40.128s +2.247s 17 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m41.360s +3.479s 19 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m41.614s +3.733s 20 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.646s +3.765s 14 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.267s +4.386s 17
Rare Off-Track Excursion for Kimi Räikkönen Countered by Strong Pace
After an uncharacteristic excursion into the barriers left his crew busy repairing the car over lunch, our Finn went on to post some impressive long run lap times around the Yeongam circuit; boding well for the weekend ahead
How was your day?
Obviously it didn’t help that I destroyed part of the car this morning; maybe I ran out of talent there! It didn’t cause too much damage and the car was fine for the second practice, even if the guys had quite a hurry to fix it. They did a good job and we managed to complete everything we wanted today.
How does the E21 feel here?
The car feels quite strong – especially on the long runs – so that’s good news for the race. On the short runs it wasn’t exactly as I wanted, but we still have some time to make improvements there.
Can you remember the last time you had a crash in a practice session?
It was a pretty long time ago… maybe 2007?
How’s the back?
It’s pretty okay, no dramas there.
Korean GP: Lotus to stick with long wheelbase F1 car
Lotus will stick with its long wheelbase car for the remainder of the Korean Grand Prix weekend after an encouraging opening day of practice.
Although Kimi Raikkonen’s day was interrupted by a high-speed crash at the end of first practice, Romain Grosjean ended the second session with the sixth fastest time.
The team has faith that the tweaks to the car – which were tried for the first time at the Italian Grand Prix – deliver enough of a boost for it to be worth committing to for now.
Grosjean said that he could not feel where the car was a step forward, but that was probably due to the fact that there was no opportunity to conduct a proper back-to-back test.
"To be honest, I don’t feel any difference so we should be alright," said Grosjean. "It is on paper supposed to be more stable on high speed and the entry of slow speed – but it is hard to say when you get in the car and drive it.
"It is not like we could have done a back-to-back to see exactly what the differences are. In general, we don’t have to complain about the car too much."
Raikkonen believes that things were heading in the right direction for the team, despite his crash.
"It didn’t help that I destroyed the car this morning, so there was a hurry to fix it," he said.
"I think it was okay. The long run seems to be fine, but on the short run it is not exactly how I wanted. But I think I made in the end a good car, just a bit faster."
Da Sky 04/10/2013
Raikkonen denies crash due to fading motivation
Kimi Raikkonen has denied his motivation is fading as he sees out his last few races at Lotus.
The laconic Finn is returning to his former team Ferrari next year, and on Friday in Korea he made an ultra-rare mistake and crashed heavily.
In fact, it was Raikkonen’s first significant incident since his return to F1: "It must have been about 2008," the 33-year-old is quoted by Speed Week.
He is out of the running for this year’s world championship, and reportedly racing without pay for the time being.
Is Raikkonen’s motivation on the wane?
"For me, nothing changes," he insisted. "The title is gone but I still fight for wins and podiums.
"The fact that I have signed for another team changes nothing, as I’m not interested in just rolling around."
When asked about his back injury, Raikkonen said it feels "ok" in Korea, even though he admitted he is deliberately dodging some of the harshest kerbs.
Korean GP: Lewis Hamilton stays on top in second F1 practice
Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of fastest times in Korean Grand Prix Friday practice as Mercedes again took the fight to Red Bull.
In another strong hint that the champion team will face tougher opposition this weekend than of late, Hamilton not only set the outright pace with a 1m38.673s, but was also very positive about tyre life over later long runs.
Sebastian Vettel was 0.108 seconds down on Hamilton in second place.
The runaway world championship leader, chasing a fourth consecutive Formula 1 race win this weekend, waited much longer than anyone else to move to super-soft tyres, jumping to second when he did so.
That denied Mercedes a one-two, with Vettel edging Nico Rosberg by 0.016s.
Mark Webber had been Hamilton’s main rival early on, as the pair swapped first place several times. The second Red Bull ended up back in fourth, but was within 0.063s of its sister car.
Felipe Massa was Ferrari’s pacesetter in fifth, two places ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso. Romain Grosjean’s Lotus was in between them.
The second Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen got straight back out after its morning crash and went eighth.
Despite a cockpit niggle, Jenson Button was ninth for McLaren, ahead of very-closely matched Force India duo Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, who were just 0.001s apart.
No one repeated Raikkonen’s trip into the wall, but both Caterham’s Charles Pic and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez had spins during the afternoon while Alonso visited the grass on his final lap.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m38.673s 31 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m38.781s +0.108s 30 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.797s +0.124s 32 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m38.844s +0.171s 35 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m39.114s +0.441s 30 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m39.226s +0.553s 34 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m39.444s +0.771s 31 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m39.757s +1.084s 33 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.774s +1.101s 29 10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m40.006s +1.333s 34 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m40.007s +1.334s 34 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.152s +1.479s 31 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.186s +1.513s 33 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.210s +1.537s 34 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.446s +1.773s 30 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.552s +1.879s 26 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.117s +2.444s 35 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.289s +2.616s 34 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m42.461s +3.788s 36 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m42.798s +4.125s 35 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.108s +4.435s 31 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.441s +4.768s 29
Korean GP: Lewis Hamilton sets FP1 pace as Raikkonen crashes
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in opening practice for the Korean Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen suffered a big crash at the end of the session.
Mercedes driver Hamilton posted a lap of 1m39.630s to beat championship leader Sebastian Vettel by 0.037s, although the Red Bull driver had all the fastest sectors of the session.
Team-mate Mark Webber was third quickest and the only other man to lap in the 1m39s.
Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes was fourth ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. Romain Grosjean was seventh ahead of Raikkonen, who ended the session with a heavy crash.
As the session was coming to a close, Raikkonen lost control of his Lotus and crashed heavily at the final corner, causing substantial damage to his car.
The Finn was able to walk away from the crash, but the team faces a race against the time to have the car ready for second practice.
Although perfect weather conditions welcomed the drivers at the start of the session, it took over 15 minutes before the first lap time was set by Rodolfo Gonzalez.
The Marussia driver had the track basically to himself for the first half hour, but that did not stop him from enduring drama, the Venezuelan losing control of his car and crashing against the barriers at Turn 13.
He lost his front wing and returned to the pits, leaving the circuit empty for several more minutes.
McLaren’s Sergio Perez and Button joined Gonzalez in the timesheets with over 35 minutes of the session gone as the action finally began to pick up. Perez was the pacesetter for several minutes as most of the frontrunners continues to wait in their garages for the track conditions to improve.
Mercedes’ Rosberg relegated Perez to second at the 50-minute mark, the German posting a 1m41.498s that was soon bettered by less than a tenth by Alonso.
Rosberg fought back seconds later to regain the top spot, the Mercedes driver followed by Vettel and Raikkonen, all of them lapping in the 1m40s.
Hamilton became the first man to lap in the 1m39s with half an hour left, the Briton outpacing his team-mate by nearly half a second as Webber jumped up to second behind the Briton.
Hamilton’s time would remain unbeaten until the end, although Vettel moved up to second with a minute of the session left.
Apart from Gonzalez’s and Raikkonen’s crashes, the session included spins from James Calado and Hamilton, as well as several offs without further consequences.
Felipe Massa’s session was curtailed by a puncture that meant the Brazilian spent most of the 90 minutes in the pits, the Ferrari driver completing his first timed lap with just 12 minutes to go.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m39.630s 20
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.667s +0.037s 20
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.816s +0.186s 19
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.117s +0.487s 20
5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.215s +0.585s 22
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.374s +0.744s 18
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.396s +0.766s 19
8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.677s +1.047s 15
9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.860s +1.230s 20
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m40.880s +1.250s 13
11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.899s +1.269s 20
12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m41.432s +1.802s 18
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.482s +1.852s 22
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.626s +1.996s 21
15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.924s +2.294s 19
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m42.002s +2.372s 20
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.043s +2.413s 18
18. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m43.008s +3.378s 21
19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.660s +4.030s 20
20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.883s +4.253s 19
21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.100s +4.470s 14
22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m46.810s +7.180s 10
Singapore GP: Sebastian Vettel escapes late scares to take pole
Sebastian Vettel hung on to take his fifth pole of the 2013 Formula 1 season in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying.
The Red Bull driver opted to do just one Q3 run as his initial 1m42.841s lap put him 0.6 seconds clear of his rivals. He had also outpaced the pack by nearly a second in Q2.
Vettel’s casual approach to the pole shootout almost proved costly, as first Mark Webber, then Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean all hinted at pole pace on their second shots.
In the end, they all fell short. Rosberg’s Mercedes came closest, 0.091 seconds down on Vettel, who is separated from team-mate Webber by Grosjean’s Lotus.
Lewis Hamilton was only fifth in the second McLaren, while the Ferraris were down in sixth and seventh, with the departing Felipe Massa ahead of team leader Fernando Alonso again.
Massa had earlier only just made it beyond Q1 having encountered traffic at the wrong moment.
It emerged just before qualifying that Kimi Raikkonen was struggling with back pain and that Lotus had been sufficiently concerned to get reserve driver Davide Valsecchi prepared.
The Finn only managed to qualify 13th, lapping 0.7s slower than team-mate Grosjean in Q2. It remains unclear whether his race participation is in jeopardy.
Esteban Gutierrez was among the stars of qualifying as he put aside recent Saturday woes to reach Q3 for the first time, having first hauled himself out of Q1 at the last moment.
His Sauber team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was overshadowed for once and is only 11th on the grid.
Sauber was not the only team to have one driver either side of the Q2/Q3 divide.
Jenson Button sneaked into the top 10 for McLaren by just 0.058s and took eighth, while the under-pressure Sergio Perez was down in 14th.
Jean-Eric Vergne was within 0.091s of joining Toro Rosso team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in Q3 but will start 12th, three places behind the Australian.
Gutierrez and Massa’s late jumps in Q1 caught out Paul di Resta, who was already in the pits and pushed back to 17th. Team-mate Adrian Sutil only managed two places better.
Williams’s Pastor Malonado was also knocked out in Q1, though team-mate Valtteri Bottas made it to Q2.
Caterham was again quicker than Marussia, Charles Pic coming out in front among the tail-end pack.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m42.841s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m42.932s +0.091s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m43.058s +0.217s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m43.152s +0.311s 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.254s +0.413s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m43.890s +1.049s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.938s +1.097s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.282s +1.441s 9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.439s +1.598s 10. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari No time set Q2 cut-off time: 1m44.555s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.555s +1.650s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.588s +1.683s 13. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m44.658s +1.753s 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.752s +1.847s 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m45.185s +2.280s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m45.388s +2.483s Q1 cut-off time: 1m45.982s Gap * 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m46.121s +1.925s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m46.619s +2.423s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m48.111s +3.915s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m48.320s +4.124s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.830s +4.634s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.930s +4.734s 107% time: 1m51.489s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Singapore GP: Sebastian Vettel holds off Romain Grosjean in FP3
Sebastian Vettel was fastest again in final practice ahead of Singapore Grand Prix qualifying, but Romain Grosjean and Lotus stepped up to pressure Red Bull.
There were hints throughout the session that Red Bull’s rivals had reduced the advantage it held at the end of Friday.
Red Bull again held a one-two during the main running on the harder Pirellis.
This time Mark Webber turned the tables on Vettel after their Friday battle as his 1m46.220s lap beat the German by 0.079 seconds.
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was just 0.2s slower, a notable improvement on practice two.
Again there were substantial pace improvements on the super-soft tyre, with a massive leap from Grosjean putting the Lotus on top with a 1m44.364s.
Vettel managed to still pip that with a 1m44.173s, 0.191s faster, while Webber hit traffic on super-softs and was only fourth behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton ended the hour in fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
Alonso was followed by the man McLaren would perhaps like to oust in his favour next year: Sergio Perez.
Nico Hulkenberg gave Sauber another boost with eighth place, with Jenson Button and Felipe Massa completing the top 10.
While Grosjean starred, his Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 12th with a disappointing super-soft attempt.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.173s 15 2. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m44.364s + 0.191s 16 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.741s + 0.568s 18 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m44.906s + 0.733s 14 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.921s + 0.748s 14 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m44.257s + 0.084s 13 7. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.500s + 1.327s 12 8. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.876s + 1.703s 19 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.890s + 1.717s 13 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m45.935s + 1.762s 13 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.084s + 1.911s 15 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m46.147s + 1.974s 13 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m46.338s + 2.165s 17 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.358s + 2.185s 16 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m46.660s + 2.487s 17 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m46.879s + 2.706s 16 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m46.893s + 2.720s 13 18. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m47.249s + 3.076s 19 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m48.931s + 4.758s 17 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m49.037s + 4.864s 18 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m49.182s + 5.009s 21 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m49.982s + 5.809s 20
Italian GP: Vettel leads all-Red Bull front row at Monza
Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix as all his Formula 1 championship rivals made a mess of their qualifying sessions.
Fernando Alonso could only qualify fifth amid failed attempts at slipstreaming tactics by Ferrari, while neither Lewis Hamilton nor Kimi Raikkonen made it into the top 10.
Mark Webber, meanwhile, made it a Red Bull one-two, while an astounding effort from Nico Hulkenberg gave the struggling Sauber team a shock third place on the grid.
Ferrari had experimented with its drivers giving each other slipstreams in final practice, but its efforts to orchestrate the same strategy in Q3 fell apart.
The cars were never close enough to make the tactic work and appeared to end up spoiling each other’s laps. Felipe Massa eventually found himself fourth ahead of Alonso.
Webber looked to have a shot at pipping Vettel right at the end, but was first on the scene as Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso ploughed through the Parabolica gravel.
That left Vettel clearly on pole with a 1m23.755s lap, 0.2 seconds quicker than his team-mate.
Although Adrian Sutil is being investigated for impeding Hamilton’s Mercedes at the Parabolica at the end of Q2, the Briton blamed poor driving on his part for the qualifying result.
Lotus appeared to be simply short of pace, with Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean only 11th and 13th.
While they all underperformed, Hulkenberg starred with a Q3 lap just 0.037s off Webber’s Red Bull and ahead of the Ferraris and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.
Toro Rosso got two cars in Q3, with Daniel Ricciardo seventh but Vergne’s mistake leaving him 10th.
The two McLarens start behind them, Sergio Perez outqualifying Jenson Button.
Sutil is currently 14th, pending any penalty. Force India looked in jeopardy of a Q1 exit until late improvements for both drivers, but there was little progress in Q2.
Paul di Resta ended up 16th, just behind fellow late Q1 escapee Pastor Maldonado.
Rookies Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas were ultimately the drivers who joined the Caterhams and Marussias at the back.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m23.755s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m23.968s +0.213s 3. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.065s +0.310s 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.132s +0.377s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.142s +0.387s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.192s +0.437s 7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.209s +0.454s 8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.502s +0.747s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.515s +0.760s 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.050s +4.295s Q2 cut-off time: 1m24.776s Gap ** 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m24.610s +0.633s 12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.803s +0.826s 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m24.848s +0.871s 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m24.932s +0.955s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.011s +1.034s 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.077s +1.100s Q1 cut-off time: 1m25.030s Gap * 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.226s +0.907s 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m25.291s +0.972s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m26.406s +2.087s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m26.563s +2.244s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.085s +2.766s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.480s +3.161s 107% time: 1m30.221s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Italian GP: Vettel keeps Red Bull on top in FP3
Sebastian Vettel kept his Red Bull out of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari’s reach in final practice ahead of Italian Grand Prix qualifying.
The session was a battle between Alonso and Red Bull duo Vettel and Mark Webber throughout.
Vettel repeated his Friday afternoon performance at first with a 1m24.551s lap that was six tenths of a second clear of his two rivals.
Alonso could feel there was more speed to come though, having abandoned a better lap due to yellow flags for Paul di Resta crashing at the Parabolica.
Ferrari had previously tried slipstreaming tactics, with Alonso and Felipe Massa taking turns to tow each other round on their first runs.
When they switched to softer tyres for the final laps, Vettel improved first to a 1m24.478s, then a 1m24.360s.
Alonso took second from Webber as both also improved on each of their last runs.
But the order remained the same, with Alonso in a Red Bull sandwich and the trio covered by 0.317s.
Lewis Hamilton ultimately got within 0.035s of Webber in his Mercedes.
His team-mate Nico Rosberg will go into qualifying somewhat compromised as a technical problem limited him to only five laps in the session.
McLaren had an encouraging morning as Sergio Perez took fifth and Jenson Button eighth after a long top-five spell.
Toro Rosso, which won at Monza with Vettel in 2008, also showed great promise as Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo blasted in two rapid laps on his final run to earn sixth ahead of Massa.
Pastor Maldonado put Williams in the top 10 in ninth, as Lotus slumped to 10th and 14th with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
Aside from di Resta’s Parabolica accident, which he put down to a technical breakage on his Force India, there were also incidents at the Ascaris for Adrian Sutil and Jean-Eric Vergne. Both continued unscathed.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.360s 18 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.643s +0.283 13 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m24.677s +0.317 22 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.712s +0.352 17 5. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.864s +0.504 19 6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.865s +0.505 19 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.995s +0.635 14 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.103s +0.743 15 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.116s +0.756 20 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.120s +0.760 18 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.136s +0.776 16 12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.273s +0.913 21 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.324s +0.964 22 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.499s +1.139 17 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m25.660s +1.300 21 16. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m25.702s +1.342 19 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.120s +1.760 11 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m26.607s +2.247 21 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.172s +2.812 20 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.605s +3.245 18 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.665s +3.305 18 22. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.822s +3.462 5
Italian GP: Vettel flies in second Monza practice
Sebastian Vettel claimed first place in second practice for the Italian Grand Prix by a commanding 0.6-second margin in his Red Bull.
The world champion was barely headed during the session, pulling clear of his rivals with an early 1m24.7s lap before improving to his final benchmark 1m24.453s after half an hour.
Vettel’s long-run times also proved comfortably quicker than the pack in the latter half of the session.
Underlining Red Bull’s ominous form, Mark Webber completed a one-two in the second car.
The times were much closer in Webber’s region, though, as Lotus pair Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were equal on 1m25.116s just 0.040s behind.
Their identical times came despite Raikkonen using the upgraded long-wheelbase version of the car while Grosjean remained in the standard specification Lotus.
Fernando Alonso was fifth in the best of the Ferraris. Like Grosjean, the Spaniard had a brief trip through the gravel during the session.
Felipe Massa put the second Ferrari eighth behind Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but had to park in the pits early with a gearbox issue.
The McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez filled the final top-10 places.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.453s 39
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.076s +0.623s 39
3. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.116s +0.663s 36
4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.116s +0.663s 40
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.330s +0.877s 38
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.340s +0.887s 39
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.367s +0.914s 42
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.519s +1.066s 29
9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.532s +1.079s 42
10. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.627s +1.174s 39
11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.830s +1.377s 40
12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.888s +1.435s 40
13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.028s +1.575s 37
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.138s +1.685s 36
15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.224s +1.771s 32
16. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.385s +1.932s 43
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.599s +2.146s 39
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m27.198s +2.745s 44
19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.548s +3.095s 30
20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.696s +3.243s 37
21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.771s +3.318s 38
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.057s +3.604s 32
Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton leads opening Monza practice
Lewis Hamilton topped the opening free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver, running a revised low-downforce package after the team was disappointed with its form at Spa two weeks ago, was the last of the leading drivers to start setting flying laps.
He knocked Ferrari’s Alonso from top spot by 0.298 seconds five minutes before the one-hour mark.
Alonso looked set to reclaim top spot three minutes later, setting the fastest times in both the first and second sector, only to run a little wide at the exit of the Parabolica, kicking up dust, and end up 35-thousandths of a second slower.
Hamilton’s 13th lap suggested he would have been able to go quicker again even if Alonso improved, going fastest in both the first and second sectors before backing off in the final part of the lap and not improving his time.
The first half-hour of the session was predictably quiet, with only four drivers setting lap times and Sergio Perez heading Jenson Button at the top of the timesheets by over a second.
During this early running, Button’s car developed a problem with the DRS not shutting as quickly as expected, triggering a stewards’ investigation into unauthorised use of the device.
McLaren fixed the problem and the 2009 world champion later returned to the track to end up seventh fastest.
With all drivers running the orange-banded Pirelli hard compound rubber, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel knocked Perez out of top spot just before the halfway point of the 90-minute session.
He was eventually relegated to third by Hamilton, Alonso and Nico Rosberg, the second Mercedes driver improving to third relatively late in the session.
Kimi Raikkonen ended the session fifth fastest driving the new long-wheelbase specification Lotus E21, believed to be around 100mm longer than the previous car, for the first time.
Team-mate Romain Grosjean drove the regular version of the car to allow the team to back-to-back the two. He ended the morning 12th.
Force India’s new third driver, James Calado, made his grand prix session debut after previously testing for the Silverstone squad. He completed 24 laps, ending up within half-a-second of team-mate Paul di Resta’s pace and will now turn his attention to GP2 action for the rest of the weekend.
Both Caterham and Marussia also ran their reserve drivers. Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen was the faster of the two, while Rodolfo Gonzalez was the first driver to complete a flying lap to top the times after 21 minutes but ended the session slowest.
As is typical for Monza, numerous drivers were forced to short-cut chicanes after a mistake, with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado having the most dramatic moment when he bounced through the gravel at Ascari.
The top 14 cars were all within nine tenths of a second of each other.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.565s 24 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.600s +0.035s 25 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.704s +0.139s 25 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.753s +0.188s 26 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.941s +0.376s 22 6. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.007s +0.442s 24 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.035s +0.470s 23 8. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.103s +0.538s 27 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.149s +0.584s 21 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.155s +0.590s 25 11. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.194s +0.629s 25 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.295s +0.730s 23 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.387s +0.822s 21 14. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.449s +0.884s 16 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.594s +1.029s 13 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.802s +1.237s 21 17. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m27.041s +1.476s 24 18. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.224s +1.659s 16 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.818s +2.253s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.869s +2.304s 20 21. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m28.192s +2.627s 21 22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.526s +3.961s 26 Da Autosport.com
Belgian GP: Lewis Hamilton claims pole in breathtaking qualifying
Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth consecutive Formula 1 pole position in a breathtaking end to the Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session.
A rain shower at the start of Q3 made it look like Paul di Resta would snatch a sensational pole position for Force India.
But as the track dried up again, the Mercedes and Red Bulls blasted through to demote the Scot to fifth.
Di Resta was the only man to start Q3 on intermediates, and while the other nine drivers slithered helplessly and had to pit again to abandon their slicks, the Force India flew to the top.
It seemed that no one else would have a chance, although Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg hinted at a challenge when he got within half a second of the Force India in much worse weather.
While di Resta pitted with pole apparently in the bag, the rain eased completely, and those able to squeeze in a lap at the end were back in pole contention.
It was Rosberg who first deposed the Force India, but he was quickly beaten by first Red Bull’s Mark Webber, then Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel came through 0.2 seconds slower than Hamilton to claim the second front row spot, followed by Webber, Rosberg and di Resta.
Jenson Button put the lead McLaren an encouraging sixth.
Lotus and Ferrari had to settle for rows four and five, with title contenders Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso back in eighth and ninth positions.
The biggest upset of the wet-but-drying first part of qualifying was Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton plus Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde all making it through to Q2.
The trio were the only drivers to try slicks at the end of the session and all jumped up the order, all the way to third in van der Garde’s case.
As they progressed, both Williams, both Toro Rossos and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez were left to rue more conservative tactics as they failed to reach Q2.
With Q2 dry, van der Garde, Bianchi and Chilton lined up in 14th to 16th places.
That still means Caterham will share row seven with a McLaren, as Sergio Perez was the highest-profile driver to fall in Q2.
He starts behind the all-German row six pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m01.012s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2m01.200s + 0.188s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2m01.325s + 0.313s 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m02.251s + 1.239s 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2m02.332s + 1.320s 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m03.075s + 2.063s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m03.081s + 2.069s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 2m03.390s + 2.378s 9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m03.482s + 2.470s 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 2m04.059s + 3.047s Q2 cut-off time: 1m49.088s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m49.088s + 0.792s 12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m49.103s + 0.807s 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m49.304s + 1.008s 14. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m52.036s + 3.740s 15. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m52.563s + 4.267s 16. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m52.762s + 4.466s Q1 cut-off time: 2m02.948s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2m03.072s + 2.882s 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2m03.300s + 3.110s 19. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2m03.317s + 3.127s 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 2m03.432s + 3.242s 21. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m04.324s + 4.134s 22. Charles Pic 107% time: 2m08.603s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Belgian GP: Sebastian Vettel keeps Red Bull on top in practice three
Sebastian Vettel kept Red Bull on top at Spa with a late flyer in a dry final Belgian Grand Prix practice session.
Fernando Alonso put Ferrari in second place, ahead of Mark Webber and an impressive run from Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Much of the session had been conducted on Pirelli’s hard compound, but with 15 minutes left on the clock the entire field pitted to bolt on the medium option.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil was the first man to set a time on the new compound and instantly went quickest, but his time was soon eclipsed by Alonso’s 1m48.432s.
That stood as the session’s benchmark until the final two minutes, when Vettel found just over one tenth of a second to keep Red Bull in the ascendancy.
Felipe Massa and Jenson Button rounded out the top six, while Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez was a surprise seventh, fractions ahead of the lead Lotus of Romain Grosjean.
That meant no ostensible overnight cure to Mercedes’ struggles, with Nico Rosberg ninth and Lewis Hamilton 12th, more than 0.7s down on Vettel.
As had been the case in Friday’s opening practice, drivers had the early challenge of coping with a circuit that was damp in patches and completely dry in others.
That meant several moments of wild understeer or oversteer – the latter effect almost pitching Paul di Resta and Felipe Massa into the Turn 9 barriers early on – and a spin for Lewis Hamilton at the final chicane.
In such conditions it was Jean-Eric Vergne who was the early pacesetter, working his way down to a 1m49.479s on Pirelli’s hard compound.
That put the Frenchman almost a quarter of a second clear and disrupted what had been an incredibly tight fight at the top of the timesheets, with the top seven at one stage covered by less than two tenths of a second.
Kimi Raikkonen had held top spot until Vergne’s flyer, but struggled to translate his form on the medium compound and wound up 10th overall.
Bottas, who like Raikkonen had enjoyed early spells at the head of the field, sank to 14th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m48.327s 16 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m48.432s +0.105s 14 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m48.533s +0.206s 16 4. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.776s +0.449s 15 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m48.788s +0.461s 15 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.882s +0.555s 13 7. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m48.930s +0.603s 18 8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m48.967s +0.640s 14 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m48.993s +0.666s 16 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m49.008s +0.681s 17 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m49.035s +0.708s 15 12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.046s +0.719s 17 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m49.122s +0.795s 15 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m49.177s +0.850s 15 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m49.226s +0.899s 14 16. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m49.471s +1.144s 14 17. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m49.478s +1.151s 19 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m50.418s +2.091s 14 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m51.416s +3.089s 15 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m51.800s +3.473s 18 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m52.221s +3.894s 17 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m53.507s +5.180s 18