Singapore GP: Hamilton beats Rosberg to pole by 0.007s
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by seven thousandths of a second.
Hamilton was only sixth fastest on his first run in the Q3 top 10 shootout but despite a lock-up at Turn 1 on his final lap, a particularly strong run through the middle part of the lap allowed him to pip Rosberg.
Red Bull locked out the second row, with Daniel Ricciardo third ahead of Sebastian Vettel, just half-a-tenth separating the two.
Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, only a tenth behind the lead Red Bull, although Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was not able to do better than seventh after suffering a car problem on his second run.
Splitting the Ferraris was Felipe Massa, the Williams driver putting in an impressive lap to go fastest in Q3 on first-run times, but only able to make a tiny improvement on his second lap.
Valtteri Bottas was eighth in the second Williams, the Finn unable to improve on his second run.
Kevin Magnussen was ninth, only 0.569s off Hamilton’s pole position time, while Daniil Kvyat was slowest in Q3 after having only one set on super-soft rubber available for the final session.
Jenson Button and Jean-Eric Vergne were in the top 10 in Q2 on their first runs, but with both Williams drivers setting slow times after choosing to run used super-softs for their first run, were always in danger of missing the cut.
They were bumped down to 11th and 12th when Massa and Bottas improved on fresh rubber.
Button was able to improve on his second run, but a lock-up at the hairpin cost him time and he missed the cut by 23 thousandths of a second, ending up 11th.
Vergne was unable to improve on his second run, complaining about front-end grip and suffering a costly lock-up, meaning he qualified 11th.
Force India pairing Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez also both failed to improve on their second runs, ending up 13th and 15th respectively.
They were split by Esteban Gutierrez, showing a strong turn of pace in the upgraded Sauber.
Romain Grosjean was slowest of those who made it to Q2, complaining vociferously over the radio about an engine problem that cost him time.
Adrian Sutil came close to escaping Q1, but failed to relegate Perez into the dropzone with his final lap in the first segment of qualifying and ended up 17th.
Pastor Maldonado blamed a power unit problem on his final run for failing to reach Q2.
He was unable to fully recharge the battery, meaning he was lacking full power on his final lap, ending up 18th, behind Jules Bianchi.
The Frenchman put in a superb lap on his final effort to jump ahead of team-mate Max Chilton, who ended up 21st, with Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi doing a good job to separate the pair.
Marcus Ericsson joined the session late after the Caterham team had to work flat out to solve an electrical problem that had struck in free practice, ending up last.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.854s||0.173s|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.902s||0.221s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.362s||1.681s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.989s||1.308s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.308s||1.627s|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.575s||1.894s|
Singapore GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari back on top in practice
Fernando Alonso was quickest again for Ferrari in third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, edging Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by 0.051 seconds.
Nico Rosberg was third fastest for Mercedes, 0.189s off Alonso’s time, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton sixth and 0.439s off the leader.
Most teams ran a typical Saturday programme of long runs on the harder of the two available tyre choices, followed by qualifying simulations on the softer one.
There was a flurry of rain at 1pm local time and it remained cloudy throughout the afternoon, with the ambient temperature steady at around 28C – 10C lower than Friday’s twilight session. Thus it was no surprise to hear drivers complaining of a lack of grip early on.
Ferrari appeared to be the fastest of Mercedes’ rivals based on AUTOSPORT’s analysis of raw pace on Friday, but it was Red Bull’s Ricciardo – whose average long-run pace on super-soft rubber was so impressive on day one – who was quickest early on with a five-lap run on softs.
Rosberg soon beat that benchmark by a full second, though, closely followed by Hamilton, who had a half-spin into Turn 5 that he attributed to an engine glitch.
Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, who required an engine change during Friday, then split the Mercedes on their second runs.
Alonso waited until half the session had elapsed before setting out for a long run on softs – and, while his fastest laps were good enough to put him fifth at that point, he was a second off Rosberg’s long-run pace.
Rosberg was among the first to bolt on super-softs and run a qualifying simulation, setting a 1m47.488s lap that looked impressive until both Alonso and Ricciardo edged him out by over a tenth of a second. Rosberg exited his car and was observed in animated conversation with engineer Andrew Shovlin.
Jean Eric Vergne was again impressive on super-soft rubber in the final moments, logging a 1m47.693s lap in his Toro Rosso that was good for fourth place ahead of Vettel, who switched to super-softs very late in the session.
Williams – as usual – waited until Saturday to show its hand. On their long runs on soft tyres Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh, splitting the Ferraris.
Massa reversed their order on super-soft rubber, three tenths faster than Bottas, and with Vergne’s arrival ahead they ended the session seventh and eighth, still faster than Kimi Raikkonen.
McLaren barely troubled the top 10 throughout, on both tyre choices, and both its drivers were outpointed on their qualifying simulations by Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg.
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.350s||0.051s||15|
|4||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.693s||0.394s||17|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.711s||0.412s||17|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.450s||1.151s||11|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.637s||1.338s||18|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.078s||1.779s||15|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Room for improvement”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall this was a positive day, even if, as usual, there is room for improvement. In the first session we concentrated on looking at different set-up solutions and on my first set of Soft tyres I managed to do a good lap, then unfortunately some technical niggles prevented me from getting the most out of the second set. At the end of the session I had a problem with the brakes overheating, but the team managed to sort it out quickly and prepare the car for the second session. The changes we made to the set-up improved the handling of the car and with the Supersoft tyres there was plenty of grip.”
Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton ends Friday on top for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton ended the opening day of practice for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on top of the timesheets in his Mercedes.
The 2014 F1 title contender was only fourth fastest in the early stages of the session, when the field ran on the slower soft-compound Pirelli tyres.
But after leaving his qualifying simulation run on super-softs later than most, Hamilton was able to take to the track when it reopened after a mid-session red flag.
This was caused by Pastor Maldonado, who lost the rear of his Lotus exiting the Turn 10 left-hander and, in correcting, ran out of road and slid heavily into the exit barrier.
Hamilton, who complained about a vibration in his brakes at the start of the run, then set a lap good enough to relegate Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo to second place by three tenths of a second.
While the vast majority of drivers had completed their qualifying simulations before the red flag, of the frontrunners only Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg had yet to do so.
Alonso got to within 0.133s of Hamilton on his performance run, ending the session second ahead of Ricciardo.
But Rosberg, who had already started his qualifying simulation when the red flag came out, then went straight into a long-run after the restart.
This meant that his fastest lap on the soft Pirellis stood as his best, the significant performance difference between the two compounds leaving him down in 13th, just over a second-and-a-half off Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen completed a promising day for Ferrari in fourth, four tenths slower than his team-mate.
Remarkably, Sebastian Vettel ended the session fifth having only taken to the track with seven minutes remaining.
He had suffered an engine problem at the end of the day’s first session, with Red Bull doing a superb job to get his car ready for a run on super-softs in the closing minutes.
This relegated McLaren pairing Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button to sixth and seventh.
The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who had held first and second on the timesheets after being among the earliest to bolt on super-softs, ended up eighth and ninth ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Romain Grosjean coaxed a good lap out of a Lotus that looked very difficult to drive to end up 12th, ahead of Rosberg, with Maldonado also setting a good pace on his qualifying simulation prior to his shunt.
With the Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez 15th and 16th, it was a difficult day for the Williams team.
Although it had expected to struggle here, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas ended up right down in 17th and 18th.
The Marussia drivers won the battle at the back, with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, the latter of which suffered with a turbo problem late on, outpacing Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.790s||0.300s||28|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.041s||0.551s||5|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.653s||1.163s||30|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.751s||1.261s||30|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.770s||1.280s||31|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.800s||1.310s||33|
Singapore GP: Fernando Alonso leads practice one for Ferrari
Fernando Alonso scored a coup for Ferrari in the first practice session of the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, edging out Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Alonso’s flying lap of 1m49.056s beat Hamilton by 0.122 seconds, with Nico Rosberg 0.027s further back in third.
The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who had been expected to go well here on account of the RB9’s prodigious downforce, were fourth and fifth fastest, but were much more active than Alonso on track, completing 27 and 21 laps to the Spaniard’s 16.
Rosberg led much of the early running in spite of reporting gear selection problems, and having to remove a loose mirror.
Kimi Raikkonen was the first of the Ferrari drivers to dial in to the circuit, lapping more neatly than Alonso and even briefly topping the timesheets before Rosberg ended his tenure there.
Alonso soon restored the normal Ferrari order, though, and Raikkonen would close out the session seventh fastest with his front brakes on fire in the pits.
At the end of the first half hour, when the teams have to give back their extra set of soft-compound Pirelli tyres, it was Vettel and Alonso who were fastest by a half-second margin from Rosberg.
But with the tyre exchange completed, Rosberg was among the first drivers to head back out on track, once again on the soft-compound tyres, setting a new benchmark nearly two seconds faster then his previous best.
Hamilton responded with a lap 0.027s quicker to ‘win’ this run, and that was how the Mercedes order remained until the chequered flag.
As Hamilton and Rosberg moved on to race simulation runs with 30 minutes of the session remaining, Alonso found space on track to nail a flying lap 0.122s faster than Hamilton’s best.
Vettel made productive use of his new Red Bull chassis to set a time faster than team-mate Ricciardo, though he had a close encounter with the wall at the exit of Turn 21.
Ricciardo moved on to a full-tank race simulation run in the final half hour, undercutting his previous best but also touching the wall while doing so.
It was not all good news for Vettel, though; he suffered a suspected engine failure at the end of the session and stopped in the pitlane.
Toro Rosso showed well on headline times, with Jean-Eric Vergne sixth fastest and Daniil Kvyat ninth, but this was an eventful 90 minutes for the Faenza team.
Vergne required a battery change that put him out of action during the first hour; then, having set his flying lap, he had an ERS failure that ended his session.
Kvyat, for his part, claimed to be being blocked by several other drivers on-track.
McLaren had a new front wing but neither Jenson Button nor Kevin Magnussen were able to make an impression up front, closing the session eighth and 11th.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.874s||0.818s||27|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.122s||1.066s||21|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.539s||1.483s||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.990s||1.934s||26|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.131s||2.075s||23|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.604s||2.548s||23|
Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes commanding Monza pole for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton claimed his first Formula 1 pole position since May’s Spanish Grand Prix by setting the pace in qualifying in Italy.
The Mercedes driver outpaced team-mate and world championship rival Nico Rosberg in all three segments of qualifying at Monza.
After establishing himself at the top of the timesheets in the Q3 top 10 shootout on his first run, over four tenths faster than Rosberg, Hamilton had already done enough to be sure of pole.
Rosberg started his second Q3 run before Hamilton, improving his laptime by just under two tenths, which was not enough to knock his team-mate off top spot.
This meant that Hamilton did not need to improve on his final attempt, with the relative position of Rosberg on the track meaning that he knew he had secured pole while on a lap that fell short of his earlier mark of 1m24.109s.
Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa locked out the second row for Williams, both drivers unable to improve on their second runs.
But behind them was the big winner of the final seconds of qualifying, Kevin Magnussen, who leaped from eighth to fifth with his final attempt.
Jenson Button, in the second McLaren, was sixth after failing to improve on his final run, just ahead of Fernando Alonso.
The Ferrari driver had made a slight improvement on his final attempt to relegate Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel to eighth.
Daniel Ricciardo and Force India driver Sergio Perez completed the top 10.
Daniil Kvyat was the quickest of those eliminated in Q2 despite a valiant attempt to snatch a top 10 place on the last lap.
The Russian, who will be given a 10-place grid penalty for using his sixth engine of the season, bumped Kimi Raikkonen out of the top in the dying seconds, only for Magnussen to jump from 13th from 10th.
Raikkonen ended up 12th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, with Nico Hulkenberg unable to match Force India team-mate Perez and down in 14th place.
Adrian Sutil prevailed in the intra-Sauber battle with Esteban Gutierrez by improving on his final run having looked to be fractionally slower than the Mexican earlier in qualifying.
There were no surprises in Q1, with the three slowest teams in the field populating the dropzone.
Pastor Maldonado was the fastest of those in 17th, just ahead of Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean was only able to complete five laps thanks to the team having to fix a fluid leak detected in the build-up to the session, ending up a tenth slower than the Venezuelan after missing the first 13 minutes of the 18-minute session.
Kamui Kobayashi, reinstated in the lead Caterham after sitting out the Belgian GP, was a superb 19th ahead of Jules Bianchi thanks to a combination of an excellent lap and a tow from team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
Ericsson himself ended up 22nd, three tenths behind the second Marussia of Max Chilton.
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.436s||1.327s|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.709s||1.600s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.944s||1.835s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.157s||-|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.279s||-|
|21||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.070s||-|
Qualifying format: 1st-10th – Q3, 11th-16th – Q2, 17th-22nd – Q1
Kvyat has 10-place grid penalty
Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton tops practice, problems for Nico Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton dominated third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, while his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg completed just three laps after encountering a gearbox problem.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was 0.412 seconds adrift of Hamilton as he took second place, with Valtteri Bottas just over a tenth further back in third.
Conditions were warmer and sunnier on Saturday with the ambient temperature steady at 23C and the track temperature building slowly from 32C to 36C.
Jenson Button’s early flyer, a 1m26.845s set on the hard-compound Pirelli tyres during his first six-lap run, kept him on top of the timesheets until Bottas undercut him by 0.152s.
Alonso and Massa also managed to edge the lead McLaren on pace during similar-length runs, with Alonso matching the 1m26.693 set by Bottas.
Mercedes did not offer a challenge at this point; Hamilton’s fastest over a 10-lap first run was 1m27.996s.
A gearbox glitch had caused Rosberg to abort his first eight-lap run early, and a recurrence of the problem when he next went out meant that he only completed three laps before abandoning the session.
Button and Hamilton improved on their second runs, still on the hard tyres, but it was Hamilton who blitzed every sector to return Mercedes to its customary first place with a 1m25.742s.
It was not a flawless run, though; after going quickest he over-ran the first chicane and radioed the pits to inform them that “The brakes don’t feel like they’re working too well and the DRS isn’t working”.
Alonso bolted on a set of mediums for his second run and went fastest in the first sector but could not beat Hamilton over the whole lap.
Neither could Hamilton eclipse his own hard-tyre time with his first flyer on mediums during his final stint, as he continued to complain about poor braking performance. Ultimately he improved to 1m25.519s.
Other frontrunners did improve their times on the medium compound by a decent margin in the final minutes, including both the Williams cars – Bottas and Massa jumped to third and fourth, displacing Button to fifth – and the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
The Red Bulls were split by the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who ran strongly early on completed just 15 laps overall, and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso.
Kvyat’s pace augurs well for a good qualifying performance, which the team needs in order for him to avoid carrying forward a portion of his gearbox penalty to the Singapore Grand Prix.
Nico Hulkenberg enjoyed better form in three practice and was sixth fastest for much of the session, closing it out 10th fastest, but his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez lost drive as he accelerated out of the first chicane and came to a halt at the Curva Grande.
Kevin Magnussen struggled with the brakes on his McLaren throughout and finished outside the top 10, over a second off the frontrunning pace.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.519s 23 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.931s +0.412s 13 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m26.090s +0.571s 19 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m26.114s +0.595s 18 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.242s +0.723s 21 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m26.290s +0.771s 17 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.327s +0.808s 15 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m26.437s +0.918s 21 9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m26.482s +0.963s 16 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.608s +1.089s 17 11. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.829s +1.310s 20 12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.207s +1.688s 18 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m27.312s +1.793s 10 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m27.479s +1.960s 22 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.498s +1.979s 12 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m28.025s +2.506s 19 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m28.137s +2.618s 20 18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m28.265s +2.746s 21 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m28.459s +2.940s 14 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m28.579s +3.060s 19 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m29.251s +3.732s 22 22. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time 3
Kimi Raikkonen: “A positive day”
Kimi Raikkonen: “That was a very busy day, but a positive one. We made the most of every minute available to us in both sessions, managing to try everything we had on our programme. In the morning, we concentrated on assessing different aero configurations, in search of the best level of downforce. Then in the afternoon, we opted for an intermediate solution that seemed to produce the best results on both compounds. The difference between the Medium and the Hard is more or less what we expected; the softer one behaves well, but in terms of driveability, I found the Hard wasn’t bad either.”
Italian GP practice: Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in FP2
Nico Rosberg topped Friday afternoon practice for the Italian Grand Prix, but Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton pushed him hard despite car problems.
Rosberg set the pace during the early stages of the session on the slower hard-compound Pirelli, shading Fernando Alonso by four thousandths of a second.
The Mercedes driver then switched to the medium Pirellis, improving his fastest time by just over half a second, setting a best of 1m26.225s.
While Rosberg was completing a normal programme, Hamilton spent the first hour of the session in the garage while the Mercedes team chased an electronic problem that prevented the car from firing up.
Hamilton then completed a brief three-lap run on the hard Pirellis before bolting on the faster mediums.
He managed to set a time just 61 thousandths of a second slower than Rosberg, posting the fastest time in the middle sector in the process.
With the tyre degradation mild, Hamilton was able to have another serious attempt at improving, but was unable to do so.
This relegated Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen to third, 0.106s off Rosberg.
The Finn out-paced team-mate Alonso, who might have set a better time but for a small error under braking.
Raikkonen, too, showed he potentially had even more pace, setting the fastest time of all in the first sector before an error meant he had no chance of improving on that lap.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest, just ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who lost time with a mistake in the Parabolica on his quickest lap.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were seventh and eighth fastest, the former setting an identical time to Vettel but being classified behind him as the reigning world champion set his lap first.
Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10, which was covered by just three quarters of a second.
Force India pairing Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg just missed out on the top 10, in 11th and 12th, ahead of the best of the Toro Rossos, driven by Daniil Kvyat.
The top 16 were covered by just 1.804s, with Esteban Gutierrez, Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil all in that group.
That left a pack of six cars cast adrift at the back, with Jules Bianchi’s Marussia the quickest of those, 2.424s off the pace.
The group also included the Lotus-Renaults of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, the latter having missed the morning session to allow Charles Pic to take over and then having a wild trip through the gravel while on his first run on hards early in the session.
Caterham pairing Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were 21st and 22nd.
A number of drivers had off-track moments during the session and were forced to cut chicanes, with Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Button among those who did so.
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m26.762s||0.537s||27|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m26.992s||0.767s||37|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.079s||0.854s||42|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.227s||1.002s||39|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m27.476s||1.251s||37|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m27.929s||1.704s||33|
Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton leads Jenson Button in first practice
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in opening practice for Formula 1’s 2014 Italian Grand Prix at Monza by 0.623 seconds from McLaren’s Jenson Button, with Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg third.
It was not a hotly contested session at the sharp end as the majority of the frontrunners swapped to race simulation runs after setting their quick laps.
As is usual in practice one, there was a brief flurry of activity towards the end of the first half hour while teams took advantage of the extra set of tyres they are permitted to use before handing back to Pirelli at the 30-minute mark.
Several drivers observed that the orange-striped hard-compound tyres were taking longer than expected to reach a working temperature.
Max Chilton was the first to benefit from the Parabolica’s controversially revised run-off area, running wide and brushing the astroturf 15 minutes into the session.
Kevin Magnussen and Button provided demonstrated that the MP4-29 is not lacking straightline speed, setting the early pace on the hard-compound tyres before being overhauled by the ‘works’ Mercedes.
Button then sliced three tenths of a second off his previous best during the course of his second run, but his tenure at the top of the timesheets lasted just eight minutes before Hamilton went top.
McLaren did not attempt to respond, switching Button on to a used set of tyres to complete his programme.
Fernando Alonso brought his Ferrari to within a second of the Mercedes with a late effort, lapping in 1m27.169s.
Kimi Raikkonen was nearly four tenths off, having flirted with the Parabolica run-off on his flying lap.
Sebastian Vettel was the fastest of the two Red Bulls in sixth, behind Magnussen, but Daniel Ricciardo completed just 12 laps and had to retire to his garage with a power unit issue with 30 minutes to go.
Both Williams were outside the top 10 in spite of being among the quickest through the speed trap, and Valtteri Bottas was noticeably on the edge of the FW36’s envelope in several places on the track.
There was disappointment, too for Lotus; it took most of the session for Pastor Maldonado to summon a lap clean enough to overhaul both Marussias.
A handful of teams ran test drivers in addition to or in place of their regulars: Daniel Juncadella sat in for Sergio Perez at Force India initially, Charles Pic for Romain Grosjean at Lotus, Giedo van der Garde for Adrian Sutil at Sauber, and Roberto Merhi for Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham.
Perez took over from Juncadella with 20 minutes to go and was straight on the pace on his first run, slotting into the top 10 and outpacing Nico Hulkenberg by nearly half a second. He was also fastest of all through the speed trap.
F1 debutant Merhi (pictured) completed 29 laps to Caterham team-mate Marcus Ericsson’s 16 and rounded out the session two tenths faster.
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m27.271s||1.084s||27|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.687s||1.500s||13|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m27.741s||1.554s||33|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m28.112s||1.925s||23|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m28.300s||2.113s||30|
|15||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber/Ferrari||1m28.429s||2.242s||19|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m28.487s||2.300s||12|
|17||Daniel Juncadella||Force India/Mercedes||1m29.192s||3.005s||10|
Belgian GP: Nico Rosberg takes pole position at wet Spa
Nico Rosberg claimed his fourth consecutive Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Rain meant that the majority of qualifying was run using intermediate tyres and Rosberg’s first flying lap at the start of Q3, a 2m05.591s, proved to be good enough for pole position.
Although Rosberg did switch to a fresh set of intermediates and made a small improvement, he had already done enough to be sure of top spot. He ended up just over two tenths clear of world championship rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton, who set a slow time on his first flier, which was compromised by sliding wide at the first corner, leading him to ease off, before improving on his second.
He then pitted for fresh intermediates and got down to a 2m05.819s on his final flier, but it was only enough for second.
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, over two seconds slower than Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso fourth.
The pair had held third and fourth after the first runs, but improvements later on served only to defend their positions with the Mercedes pairing out of reach.
Daniel Ricciardo, who had an off-track moment on his final attempt, was fifth fastest ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the best of the Williams cars.
Kevin Magnussen outqualified McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, the duo ending up seventh and 10th.
In between them were Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, with the Finn the biggest loser after the first runs and being bumped from fifth down to eighth.
Scuderia Toro Rosso pairing Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne were the fastest of those eliminated in Q2.
Kvyat put in a lap that temporarily put him eighth in the closing stages of the session, but he was shuffled down the order by improvements by Magnussen, Button and Vettel, all of which were in the drop zone at times late on.
Sergio Perez was 13th ahead of Sauber driver Adrian Sutil, with Romain Grosjean 15th.
Although Jules Bianchi was slowest in the middle part of qualifying, the Marussia driver was one of the stars of the afternoon after reaching Q2 at Spa for the second consecutive year.
Pastor Maldonado appeared to have made it through to Q2 by improving his time on his final flying lap in a Q1 session that started off wet but improved throughout.
But the Lotus driver was bumped back down to 17th when Sutil also improved in the dying moments, with all the runners by then using intermediate rubber.
This also led to Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg being eliminated as he slipped down to 18th ahead of Marussia’s Max Chilton having been ahead of both Maldonado and Sutil as they started their final laps.
Hulkenberg admitted to making a mistake at the end of his final lap, which cost him a couple of tenths, also complaining of a lack of braking feel.
Esteban Gutierrez did not have the chance for a proper qualifying attempt as his Sauber stopped on his fifth lap while he was still on wet tyres.
This meant that the Mexican did not get to run in the best of the conditions, ending up ahead of only the two Caterhams.
Remarkably, Andre Lotterer outpaced Caterham team-mate Marcus Ericsson to avoid starting his debut grand prix last, with the gap between the two almost one second.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2m05.591s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2m05.819s +0.228s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2m07.717s +2.126s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2m07.786s +2.195s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 2m07.911s +2.320s 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2m08.049s +2.458s 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 2m08.679s +3.088s 8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2m08.780s +3.189s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 2m09.178s +3.587s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m09.776s +4.185s Q2 cut-off time: 2m09.272s Gap ** 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.377s +2.768s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 2m09.805s +3.196s 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2m10.084s +3.475s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 2m10.238s +3.629s 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2m11.087s +4.478s 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.470s +5.861s Q1 cut-off time: 2m11.081s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2m11.261s +4.131s 18. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2m11.267s +4.137s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 2m12.566s +5.436s 20. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2m13.414s +6.284s 21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 2m13.469s +6.339s 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 2m14.438s +7.308s 107% time: 2m16.029s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Belgian GP: Valtteri Bottas tops final practice for Williams
Valtteri Bottas went quickest for Williams in a frenzied final few minutes of third practice for Formula 1’s 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, outpacing Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by 0.268 seconds.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was the best of the title contenders in third.
Many drivers only had the opportunity to run one or two flying laps on the soft Pirelli tyre at the end of the session, and were thwarted by traffic.
After overnight rain a dry line had already formed in some places, thanks to the preceding GP3 qualifying session, as the F1 cars took to the circuit for their installation laps.
With the track temperature still hovering around the 16C mark and the surface still mostly wet, there was little activity for the first 30 minutes as most teams – apart from the tail-enders – elected not to risk their machinery.
Thus Marussia annexed the top two positions for half the session as Jules Bianchi (2m01.823s), Max Chilton (2m05.120s) and Andre Lotterer (2m07.529s) each essayed a tentative lap before reporting back to the pits.
Esteban Gutierrez was the first driver out on slick tyres, half an hour into the session. He instantly took 1.581s out of Bianchi’s time, then improved again by over four seconds as his medium-compound Pirellis came up to temperature, and this provided the cue for others to join the fray.
The track evolved quickly over the final 20 minutes as increased activity broadened the dry line, and Ferrari fans will have been heartened by the sight of Kimi Raikkonen bolting on a set of soft tyres and briefly topping the timesheets with five minutes to go.
Bottas, Ricciardo and Rosberg then went faster using the same tyre choice, but Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were unable to eclipse their team-mates and finished fifth and sixth fastest.
Sebastian Vettel finished the session outside the top 10 having done all his running on the medium compound.
He has reverted to an older engine after an ignition problem in one cylinder set in motion a failure of his nominated power unit on Friday.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m49.465s 12 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m49.733s +0.268s 9 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m49.739s +0.274s 13 4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m49.817s +0.352s 9 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.817s +0.352s 13 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m49.890s +0.425s 9 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m49.893s +0.428s 11 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.203s +0.738s 11 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m50.423s +0.958s 11 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m50.535s +1.070s 10 11. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m50.592s +1.127s 12 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.748s +1.283s 11 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m50.814s +1.349s 10 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m50.866s +1.401s 11 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.962s +1.497s 12 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m51.509s +2.044s 9 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m51.610s +2.145s 10 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.898s +2.433s 15 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.457s +2.992s 14 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.984s +3.519s 14 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m54.294s +3.829s 11 22. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m55.008s +5.543s 13