Bahrain GP: Raikkonen now more comfortable with Ferrari’s car
Kimi Raikkonen believes that the changes Ferrari has made to its 2014 Formula 1 challenger have helped him feel more comfortable on track.
The Finn will start Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from fifth place on the grid, having qualified sixth with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo taking a 10-place grid penalty.
Raikkonen has struggled to feel at home with the Ferrari F14 T this season, but after outqualifying team-mate Fernando Alonso for the first time this season, he said he was happier in the cockpit.
"The feeling is a bit better with the car," Raikkonen told reporters in the Sakhir paddock.
"I think the parts I wanted have definitely helped.
"In qualifying it felt more like we expected and wanted. It’s definitely the right direction.
"We’re still not where we want to be but we know what we’re doing. It will just take time to get where we want."
The 2007 world champion said there is no specific area that needs improvement on the Ferrari, as the team needs to make gains in every department.
"We need to go forward with all areas of the car," he added. "Obviously we need more.
"Understanding on engines and electronics to improve those small things that make a lot of improvement.
"We improved a lot of things in the first three races, all areas. [And] I improved a little with the front end."
Raikkonen said that he has not really suffered many problems with the new brake-by-wire system in the last two race weekends, after it proved troublesome earlier in the year.
"[Brake-by-wire] wasn’t really a problem," he said. "We had some issues in testing, there were some odd things in Australia.
"It’s all really to do with front end, and if you have a good feeling with the brake it gets easier. We’ve improved in that area."
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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
Raikkonen: “A question of feeling”
Kimi Raikkonen: “The rain made this qualifying very difficult. I knew that in the wet it would not be easy, but I didn’t expect to have so many problems. I had poor traction and on top of that, with the Extreme Wet, for some reason I was losing grip after the first lap. Now we have to find out why, as it will be useful for the coming races. Cleary, I’m not happy with sixth place, but given the circumstances, I cannot say I’m surprised and now I only want to think about doing well tomorrow. It will be a tough race with particularly high temperatures, but I am reasonably confident, because we have gone better here than in Melbourne and if we don’t have any problems, we can think in terms of getting a better result. Overall, my feel for the car is improving and even if there is still a way to go, we are working in the right direction.”
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
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Australian GP: Kimi Raikkonen says traffic more costly than crash
Kimi Raikkonen says it was traffic, and not his trip into the wall, that cost him a chance of progressing into the final part of Australian Grand Prix qualifying.
The Finn sparked chaos in the closing stages of Q2 when he spun on the exit of Turn 3, nosing his Ferrari into the wall and bringing out the yellow flags.
The crash ended Raikkonen’s first Formula 1 qualifying session of 2014 on the spot, ensuring that he had no chance of improving beyond 12th position.
However, Raikkonen says traffic had already ruined his chances of going through to Q3, and that he was actually heading back to the pits when he spun.
"I didn’t have any more time to do an extra lap, so on that lap I would have come in anyway," he said.
"I was playing around with the switches or something, and I got a little bit of wheelspin and touched the wall. But the car is more or less OK.
"It was just my mistake. I got a little bit of wheelspin, I wasn’t pushing anymore, but I couldn’t catch it.
"That didn’t change the fact we had traffic on the previous lap. There was a McLaren going very slowly through Turn 5, and there were some other cars in front of us, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
"In the wet we had the speed, it was just the traffic."
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
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
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
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
Korean GP: Kimi Raikkonen admits driving mistake cost him
Kimi Raikkonen admits an error he made during qualifying compromised his chances of starting higher than 10th for the Korean Grand Prix.
The Finn embarked on his hot lap during the final moments of Q3 and looked poised to set a good time after posting personal bests in the first two sectors before things went awry.
Raikkonen’s problems began when he locked up on entry to Turn 10, which caused him to run wide and miss the apex. That was also the case at Turn 12 at which point he decided to abort his lap.
"I made a mistake so I knew the the lap was gone," he admitted. "That’s the way it goes sometimes."
Both Lotus cars have shown good pace all weekend which has been attributed to the longer-wheelbase car being kinder to the tyres over a long run, something Raikkonen sees as a positive heading into Sunday’s race.
"I expect we will be a bit better tomorrow, better than the last race anyway, where I was struggling with the front-end the whole weekend."
Team-mate Romain Grosjean posted a time 1.3s quicker and lines up third for the race after benefiting from Mark Webber’s 10-place grid penalty.
"It was very good to be P4," said the Frenchman. "Obviously gaining a position is not the way you would like it, but rules are rules and it is positive to start from the clean side of the track."
He too feels the recent alterations to the E21 will pay dividends in the grand prix.
"The race is going to be long and it will be interesting with the tyre degradation, but we’ll try and go for the best result we can, which I think is possible with the car at the moment."
Qualifying struggles related to Pirelli changes – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen believes his lack of qualifying pace at recent races is related to the change in tyre constructions midway through the year.
After a scrappy middle and final sector in qualifying for this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix, Raikkonen will line up 10th on the grid. Asked whether it was a missed opportunity, Raikkonen said he had been struggling to get the front end of his car working over a single lap since Pirelli changed the tyre construction at the Hungarian Grand Prix for safety reasons.
"Since we changed the tyres it’s been more like it was last year and for me it was definitely better qualifying with the other tyres and a bit more sharp in the front end," he said. "We’ve got to find a way to get it back where we want to be because it’s hit us quite hard in qualifying lately. But I’m pretty sure we can find something and it usually turns out to be more normal in race conditions."
But Raikkonen, whose Q2 time was 0.7s faster than his Q3 time on Saturday, admitted his lacklustre performance in Korea was down to mistakes he made on his hot lap.
"I made some mistakes, and with the lap I had already done we ended up P10," he said. "Yesterday it was okay. Over one lap it’s been a bit difficult with the front end – I haven’t had enough front end. We might know the reason why that happened, but yesterday it was more how I like it. But it’s been difficult over one lap to get it how I want it when I push hard."
On the plus side, Raikkonen is confident he will be able to overtake in Korea on Sunday.
"For sure it should be much easier than many other places. Yesterday I was able to overtake, which is a good thing, but obviously it depends on different times in the race and where we are with the tyres. It should be okay."
Kimi Räikkönen Confident of Stronger Race Performance in Korea
He qualified tenth, he’ll start ninth, but what really matters to our Finn is Sunday; race day… read on as the man himself gives us the lowdown on Saturday in Yeongam
How was qualifying for you?
I made a mistake on my only set of new tyres in the final qualifying session so my lap wasn’t fast enough for a better position and we ended up tenth fastest. We’ve had a bit of understeer with the car so I’ve struggled a little with the front end all weekend. Obviously, it’s not ideal, but we’ll try to do better tomorrow.
Is there more pace to come from the car?
At the moment it’s understeering a bit too much and we haven’t been able to dial it out yet, but if you look at the long run pace of the car yesterday we should have a stronger race. Obviously we have to see how the weather turns out, but for sure it should be easier to overtake here than at some other places.
What’s the best that can be achieved tomorrow?
We’ll try to do the best we can do, and we’ll end up where we end up.
Kimi Raikkonen says F1 tyre change has hurt his qualifying form
Kimi Raikkonen believes the change in Pirelli’s Formula 1 tyres is to blame for his recent downturn in qualifying form.
The Finn has been outqualified four times in the six races since Pirelli first changed
its rubber at July’s German Grand Prix ahead of the final switch to 2013 compounds combined with 2012 construction in Hungary.
Raikkonen believes that the lack of front-end bite does not suit his driving style.
"Since we changed the tyres, it is more like it was last year," said Raikkonen.
"For me, it was definitely better qualifying on the other tyres, they were a bit more sharp on the front end.
"We have got to try to find a way to get it back where we want to be as it has hit us quite hard in qualifying lately.
"I’m sure we can find something. Usually it seems to turn out to be more normal in race conditions."
By contrast, Romain Grosjean believes the balance of the modified rubber has helped his qualifying performances.
The Franco-Swiss driver has twice qualified third in the last four races, and also believes his improving Saturday form is down to the natural improvement that has been going on since his early-season struggles.
"I hate the first [tyres] this year," he said.
"Plus since we put the car back on track from Bahrain onwards, the qualifying has always been better and better.
"The first races were like my first testing of the year and after that we found our proper speed and are looking quite good."
RAIKKONEN vs GROSJEAN QUALIFYING POSITIONS Raikkonen Grosjean Germany 4th 5th Hungary 6th 3rd Belgium 8th 7th Italy 11th 13th Singapore 13th 3rd Korean 10th 4th Da Autosport.com
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
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
Need For Speed: Kimi Raikkonen Q&A
Qualifying outside of the top ten for the Italian Grand Prix certainly wasn’t in the game plan for our Finn, who quickly gets to the root of the problem.
What went wrong today?
We were just not fast enough. We have been suffering a bit all weekend so far and it was the same today. It just isn’t our kind of circuit and layout where we have to run small wings. The car behaved pretty okay but we just didn’t have the downforce to go fast through the corners with our low drag package. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better but I’m not expecting any big surprises. In any case we will do the best we can.
Was the lack of pace a surprise?
I was expecting to have a difficult time of it here as we did last year and it was the same again today. Our car does not seem to like it when you take wing off it. We were as close as we could be to Q3 but that wasn’t enough.
What can be achieved tomorrow?
We are usually better in the race so it should be okay. It’s going to be hard to get on to the podium and we’re quite a way from the fastest cars here. We’ll do what we can and see what happens.
Italian GP: Raikkonen admits Lotus just too slow
Kimi Raikkonen said his Italian Grand Prix qualifying disappointment was a simple matter of Lotus being too slow in low-downforce trim.
The team failed to get a car into Q3 for the first time this year as Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean ended up only 11th and 13th.
"This is our speed," said Raikkonen. "I was expecting to have a difficult weekend because it was last year.
"It seems to be when you have to take a lot of wing out and run in this configuration, it’s not very good for us.
"We were close to getting into Q3 but I think the end result would’ve been very similar.
"We cannot run lower wings without suffering. The balance was not bad but we just did not have the grip.
"I think we are usually better in race conditions. But the others won’t have suddenly slowed down."
The Monza qualifying result follows Raikkonen’s first retirement of the year at Spa two weeks ago. That dropped him to fourth in the standings, 63 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel.
Raikkonen admitted that with Vettel on pole, his own title hopes were now fading.
"It looks like it. He’s far away again. We have not exactly been the fastest lately," said Raikkonen.
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
Kimi Räikkönen Confident of Sunday Progress at Spa
How was today for you?
We seemed to have good pace in the dry and we weren’t too bad in the wet in Q1. We were maybe a little unlucky with the timing and had we done one more lap we could have been a bit higher up as we were on Friday afternoon.
What are you hoping for in the race?
I don’t know how the weather will be but usually we go a bit better on Sundays, so let’s see what we can do in the race.
Any preference for the weather?
Dry is certainly better for our car and we see it every time, but we cannot choose the weather. If it’s mixed conditions, sometimes you get the timing right and you choose the correct tyre at the right time, but this can be luck also.
What’s possible tomorrow?
We’ve been in worse starting positions and here you’re able to overtake if you have the speed, so maybe we can do something. Tomorrow is another day so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Belgian GP: Kimi Raikkonen ‘unlucky’ to qualify eighth at Spa
Kimi Raikkonen reckons he was simply ‘unlucky’ not to have made it across the line at the end of qualifying for a final lap when the track was at its best.
The Finn was pretty upbeat about the performance of his Lotus, but could manage no better than eighth after many of his rivals got a final lap in when conditions were drying up.
Raikkonen dropped down to eighth at the end – and he was in no doubt that his car could have done much better than that.
"Obviously we seem to have pretty good speed in the dry, and we are not too bad in the wet in Q1, but we were maybe unlucky with the timing," said Raikkonen.
"If we could have done one more lap we should have been a bit higher up."
When asked by AUTOSPORT about how close it was to making it across the line, Raikkonen said: "Not far.
"When I came out of the last corner I saw the lights went red – so it was maybe five seconds maximum.
"When it starts raining, you cannot plan those things. You either get it or not, and this time we didn’t. It was a shame as we had pretty good speed."
Despite starting on the fourth row, Raikkonen thinks that Lotus can set its sights on a strong performance in the race – and he does not believe that Mercedes and Red Bull are out of reach.
"If we look purely in the dry, and even Q2, we were fastest in second qualifying, so we could be up there," he said.
"In the wet we were not as fast, but in the first qualifying when the timing was right it wasn’t too bad.
"We improved for today quite a bit the car, since yesterday."
He added: "We have been in much worse starting positions and had good results, and here usually you are able to overtake if you have the speed. So everything is possible."
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
Kimi Räikkönen Confident Places to be Gained at the Hungaroring
How was qualifying for you?
It hasn’t been the easiest weekend for me so far. Maybe the new tyres are a bit different – especially on the front – so it’s been hard to find a good setup. We’re getting there little by little and the car was definitely better in qualifying than at any other point this weekend. Obviously P6 is not ideal, but it’s better than we have seen sometimes this season so we’ll try and see what we can do tomorrow. It’s not so easy to overtake here, but we have seen in past years that if you can run with the tyres well you can make a lot of places, so let’s see what we can do.
How far forwards do you think you can move from sixth?
You can see a lot of places won or lost during a race; even at a track where overtaking is not easy. We’ll do our best and if we can make the car work well with the tyres then we could move forwards. We made up a lot of places here last year so there always could be chances to improve our position.
Will the car’s tendency for strong performance in the heat – and in race conditions – help you?
We have new tyres so no-one knows how they will work in the race. It’s too early to say now, but we’ll know afterwards for sure.
Hungarian GP: Kimi Raikkonen says new Pirelli F1 tyre hurting form
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen believes his form has been harmed by Formula 1′s switch to new Pirelli tyres from this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Finn has been unhappy with his car throughout the Hungaroring weekend and qualified back in sixth.
"I think it is a combination of the new tyres, the front tyres, they are a bit like last year and they are not as strong as the last ones we ran – that is not ideal for me," said Raikkonen.
"We’ll try to work on that. In qualifying it was not too bad, we should have probably run a bit more front wing and been up there at the front.
"But I am much happier now than I was earlier in the weekend.
"It is not a disaster, but it is not as we want."
Asked if he was concerned that Lotus was now going to struggle more in the coming races, Raikkonen said he was optimistic it could adapt.
"We just have to do some changes and improve it," he said.
"We have some ideas but we didn’t have much time to do different things over a race weekend so we have to make some plans."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean qualified third behind Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.
The Frenchman was more upbeat about his race chances.
"The option [soft] is quite tough tyre to make last but medium was OK on our car," said Grosjean.
"It can change things a bit – hopefully tomorrow I can have a go.
"It has been a pretty good weekend so far. There will be different strategies and we will try and get the best from the car when we get some clean air."
Da Sky, pre qualifiche:
Hungarian GP: Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel to pole
Lewis Hamilton denied Sebastian Vettel Hungarian Grand Prix pole in a superb battle at the end of qualifying.
Vettel seemed to have put himself out of reach with an incredible first flying lap in Q3 that was 0.8 seconds clear of the rest of the field.
But Red Bull had the advantage of still having fresh soft tyres for both Q3 runs, whereas its rivals were all saving their rubber for their final lap.
At first, Vettel remained too fast to catch, with final practice pacesetter Romain Grosjean getting closest in his Lotus.
Then Mercedes driver Hamilton produced a 1m19.388s to depose Vettel, and although the world champion was also improving his pace, he fell 0.038 seconds short.
That was far better off than his team-mate Mark Webber. Vettel’s closest rival on Friday had a KERS failure early in qualifying.
Webber struggled through to Q3 but did not run in the final segment so will start 10th in the second Red Bull.
Grosjean held on to third, joined on row two by Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Ferrari was not a factor in the pole fight, with Fernando Alonso fifth and Felipe Massa seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen was briefly on the provisional front row as he completed an early final run, but his Lotus ultimately fell to sixth.
Raikkonen’s rival for a 2014 Red Bull seat Daniel Ricciardo maintained his strong recent form to put his Toro Rosso eighth, six places ahead of team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Sergio Perez was the other Q3 contender in ninth, sticking to medium tyres rather than going for pole. His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button understeered to 13th.
Given his practice three engine problems, Esteban Gutierrez’s Q1 departure was little surprise.
But Paul di Resta ending up 18th was a shock to both the Scot and Force India, left baffled by the performance of his final set of tyres.
Di Resta’s team-mate Adrian Sutil missed out on the top 10 by just 0.042s and joins Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber on row six.
Caterham proved comfortably quicker than Marussia in the tail-end fight, while brief late-Q2 top-10 appearances by both Williams drivers proved deceptive as they were shuffled back to 16th and 17th.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.388s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m19.426s +0.038s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m19.595s +0.207s 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.720s +0.332s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m19.791s +0.403s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m19.851s +0.463s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m19.929s +0.541s 8. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m20.641s +1.253s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.398s +3.010s 10. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault no time set Q2 cut-off time: 1m20.545s Gap ** 11. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m20.569s +0.791s 12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m20.580s +0.802s 13. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.777s +0.999s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m21.029s +1.251s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m21.133s +1.355s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m21.219s +1.441s Q1 cut-off time: 1m21.612s Gap * 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.724s +1.374s 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.043s +1.693s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m23.007s +2.657s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m23.333s +2.983s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m23.787s +3.437s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m23.997s +3.647s 107% time: 1m25.974s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Hungarian GP: Romain Grosjean fastest in final practice for Lotus
Romain Grosjean set the pace in the final practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Lotus driver surged to the top of the times six minutes from the end of the session, his best of 1m20.730s coming during a flurry of quick times set on the soft tyre inside the final 10 minutes.
Fernando Alonso was second for Ferrari, ahead of McLaren’s Sergio Perez, who ended up in the barriers with just minutes remaining after spinning at speed on the approach to Turn 11.
Having set the pace during the first two practice sessions, Sebastian Vettel was just fourth fastest in free practice three.
The Red Bull driver spent the majority of the session working on a long run on the medium tyre, and was sitting 19th before improving with a soft tyre run right at the end.
Felipe Massa was fifth, slotting in ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Adrian Sutil.
Kimi Raikkonen missed out on a top 10 spot, finishing 11th after complaining about a lack of rear grip.
Grosjean’s pace was not limited to the soft tyre. Earlier in the session, he was one of the pacesetters on the medium tyre, going fastest 18 minutes into the session.
But in the end it was Hamilton who led the way on the medium tyre.
He first jumped to the top 26 minutes into the session with a 1m22.266s, before lowering his best time to a 1m21.942s, the fastest that was set on the harder of the two compounds.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m20.730s 20 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.898s +0.168s 13 3. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.052s +0.322s 10 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.125s +0.395s 27 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.151s +0.421s 14 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m21.158s +0.428s 19 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.254s +0.524s 17 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.356s +0.626s 23 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.499s +0.769s 15 10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m21.519s +0.789s 20 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.589s +0.859s 17 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m21.646s +0.916s 19 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m21.963s +1.233s 21 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.964s +1.234s 21 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.180s +1.450s 18 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.423s +1.693s 19 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m23.028s +2.298s 16 18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m23.975s +3.245s 21 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m23.987s +3.257s 19 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.298s +3.568s 20 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.122s +4.392s 20 22. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari no time set 2
German GP: Kimi Raikkonen thinks heat helped Lotus resurgence
Kimi Raikkonen believes the relatively high track temperatures in Germany helped Lotus to produce its best Formula 1 qualifying performance since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Raikkonen qualified fourth at the Nurburgring, 0.494 seconds off Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time, and suspects that he could have ended up third but for losing time in the first sector thanks to a lack of tyre temperature.
"It has been good," said Raikkonen when asked about Lotus’s form. "It helped that it was a bit more hot.
"I think we had the chance to be in third place but I had some traffic on the out-lap and didn’t really get their [the tyres] performance to work as we wanted to."
Even though the 2007 world champion is happy with the performance of the car, he stressed that there are no guarantees this strong form will continue on Sunday.
But he did concede that Lotus is traditionally stronger in the race than in qualifying.
"It is better than the last couple of races, but it’s not so easy that now we should be more close to the others [in the race] than before because we are further up," said Raikkonen.
"That [performing stronger in the race] is what normally happens, but it can be a different story."
Missed Opportunity for Kimi Räikkönen in Qualifying
How was qualifying for you?
My car was okay today, but in my Q3 lap on the new tyres I struggled to get the fronts up to temperature which meant I lost quite a bit of time in the first sector; probably because there was traffic on my out lap meaning I couldn’t push as much as I wanted. For sure it didn’t help and we probably should have been P3 today, but P4 is still a pretty good place to be for the race.
How much time do you think you lost in the first sector?
We reckon about three tenths so it would have made a difference, but there’s no point saying ‘what if’. Anything can happen in the race tomorrow…
Fourth on the grid given the E21’s usual race pace shcould be a strong place to start?
Certainly, it’s better than we’ve been for the last few races, but it doesn’t really mean anything. We could have a good race tomorrow, but there’s every chance that things could go wrong for us too. That’s motor racing. Let’s see what happens.
Kimi Räikkönen Hopeful of Sunday Progress at Silverstone
Did you expect a bit more from today?
Yes, but I think today’s performance reflects our speed in these conditions. It was a close qualifying session between both of the team’s cars so I think we both got pretty much all there was from the car today. It’s not ideal as we’d like to be nearer the front of the grid, but it is what it is.
How do you feel about the tyres this weekend?
They’re not so much of a problem here; the car doesn’t behave too badly. We don’t lack pace because of the tyres, we just don’t have enough downforce and if you don’t have the downforce you won’t go faster. The car’s not a disaster in any one place; we just need a little more pace overall.
How is the Device working?
We hoped for a little bit more from it, but let’s see how it behaves in the race tomorrow. Hopefully it will help us to make progress…
What is possible in the race?
Usually we go better in the race and hopefully that is the case again tomorrow. Obviously, some of the cars ahead have been too fast for us so far this weekend, but the weather should be hotter tomorrow so let’s hope we can pick up some places.
Raikkonen to race passive DRS in the British Grand Prix
Lotus’s passive drag reduction system will make its race debut in tomorrow’s British Grand Prix on Kimi Raikkonen’s car.
The team has been trying to make the system work since first trialling it in practice for last year’s German GP.
But despite being confident in its potential at the launch of this year’s car, this is the first time it has run on a race weekend in 2013.
Raikkonen used the system – reckoned to have the potential to increase top speed to allow more wing to be run for the corners without compromising pace on the straights – during qualifying, meaning it must run tomorrow
The Finn, who was ninth fastest in qualifying, admitted that he had hoped for more from the design, but that there was nothing to be lost by running it.
"We hoped for a bit more from it but let’s see how it behaves tomorrow and hopefully it helps us with the race pace.
"You always want more from new parts, but I guess we are where we are right now and hopefully we can go forward.
"If we never try things, we will never learn anything and we will never start using it.
"I don’t really see that we have much to lose because without trying something new and finding a chunk of time we will not catch the guys in front of us."
Silverstone is an obvious choice for trialling the passive DRS because of the number of high-speed straights.
The design uses a fluid switch to redirect airflow to stall the rear wing once the car hits a specific speed.
But the team has struggled to consistently get the switch to de-activate when the car decelerates, leading to the potential problem that a car could lack rear downforce when a driver first hits the brakes for a corner.
Talking to AUTOSPORT at the launch of the Lotus E21, then-technical director James Allison, explained that it was easier to make the design work at certain track configurations.
"It all depends on how good we are engineering it," said Allison of how often the device could be used.
"It’s possible to imagine it being useful at every circuit. If we do a less good job than that, then it will only be at certain circuits, like Spa, where even a relatively crudely placed switch can bludgeon its way to a decent gain."
British GP: Hamilton storms to pole ahead of Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for his home grand prix in Britain by a commanding 0.4-second margin.
Hamilton won a huge battle with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as the silver cars monopolised the qualifying contest again.
A 1m30.096s early in Q3 gave Hamilton the initial advantage by a tenth and a half.
Rosberg beat that with a 1m30.059s on his second run, but Hamilton was already responding.
He came through to set a 1m29.607s and take a comfortable pole, his first at Silverstone since 2007.
Red Bull was Mercedes’ main rival, but Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had to be content with the second row. They were just 0.009s apart.
Hamilton was not the only Briton to star, as Paul di Resta added to the home crowd’s excitement with fifth on the grid for Force India.
His team-mate Adrian Sutil was up in seventh, behind the sensational Daniel Ricciardo. His Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne was way back in 13th.
Ferrari struggled badly. Fernando Alonso was only 10th fastest, beaten by the muted Lotuses as well as the flying underdogs, while Felipe Massa failed to get out of Q2 and will start 12th.
Despite predicting on Friday that Q3 would be impossible for McLaren, a mighty late-Q2 lap from Jenson Button almost got him into the top 10.
Unfortunately for the Woking team, Raikkonen squeezed ahead by 0.057s, leaving Button 11th. His team-mate Sergio Perez was 0.4s and three places further back.
One race on from his incredible Montreal qualifying result, it was back to reality for Valtteri Bottas. He was eliminated in Q1 and will start one place behind Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado in 17th.
Sauber’s year continued in the same disappointing vein too, with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez 15th and 18th.
Max Chilton was troubled to end up slowest in his first Formula 1 qualifying session at home, especially with Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi 1.7s faster (although he was behind Caterham’s Charles Pic in the backmarker shootout).
But Chilton will not start last as Giedo van der Garde will drop back due to his penalty for tangling with Mark Webber in Montreal.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.607s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m30.059s + 0.452s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.211s + 0.604s
4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.220s + 0.613s
5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m30.736s + 1.129s
6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.757s + 1.150s
7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m30.908s + 1.301s
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m30.955s + 1.348s
9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m30.962s + 1.355s
10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.979s + 1.372s
Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.592s Gap ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.649s + 0.659s 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.779s + 0.789s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m31.785s + 0.795s 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.082s + 1.092s 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.211s + 1.221s 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m32.359s + 1.369s Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.512s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m32.664s + 1.669s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.666s + 1.671s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m33.866s + 2.871s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.108s + 3.113s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m35.481s + 4.486s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m35.858s + 4.863s 107% time: 1m37.364s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
British GP: Nico Rosberg pips Lewis Hamilton in final practice
Nico Rosberg snatched the top spot from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the final seconds of British Grand Prix practice three at Silverstone.
Hamilton had established himself as the fastest man by the end of the hard-tyre runs with a 1m31.750s lap.
He looked set to improve on that when on mediums late on, but slid over the run-off at Brooklands.
While Hamilton gathered himeself up for another go, Rosberg came through with a 1m31.487s to grab first place.
Hamilton also improved on his last lap but had to settle for second on a 1m31.633s, 0.146 seconds off his team-mate.
Mercedes enjoyed a half-second cushion over the rest of the field.
Sebastian Vettel secured third with his last lap, just ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.
Romain Grosjean was fifth for Lotus, while Toro Rosso’s impressive weekend continued as Daniel Ricciardo took sixth.
The session had to be red-flagged early on after Sergio Perez’s left rear tyre blew.
The incident will be a concern to Pirelli on the weekend when it introduces its new bonding process, designed to prevent delaminations.
A brief stoppage was required to remove tyre debris from the circuit.
Perez’s McLaren sustained quite a lot of damage at its rear end, but was able to rejoin for the final minutes, only for the Mexican to slide off at Becketts.
Fernando Alonso also had a moment at the same spot before putting his Ferrari seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus and the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta completed the top 10.
Home driver Jenson Button was back in 12th for McLaren.
Felipe Massa spent the final minutes parked in the Ferrari garage with an apparent problem and was only 15th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.487s 18 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.633s +0.146s 20 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.037s +0.550s 20 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m32.078s +0.591s 17 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m32.391s +0.904s 18 6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m32.440s +0.953s 19 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m32.454s +0.967s 18 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m32.459s +0.972s 22 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m32.536s +1.049s 17 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m32.571s +1.084s 17 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m32.580s +1.093s 15 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.926s +1.439s 18 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m33.133s +1.646s 17 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.225s +1.738s 16 15. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m33.273s +1.786s 16 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m33.309s +1.822s 25 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.370s +1.883s 19 18. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.607s +2.120s 9 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m34.971s +3.484s 18 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.990s +3.503s 17 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.694s +5.207s 16 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m37.443s +5.956s 18
Canadian GP: Raikkonen, Ricciardo given two-place grid penalties
Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo have been give two-place grid penalties for not lining up correctly at the pit exit when Q2 restarted in Montreal.
Canadian Grand Prix qualifying had been red-flagged due to Felipe Massa’s crash at Turn 3, and as the session resumed with less than two minutes to go, all 15 remaining drivers queued at the pit exit.
But several chose to spread out rather than sticking in line, and after the sessions the stewards summoned Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado over the incident.
Only Raikkonen and Ricciardo were penalised for not starting from the designated ‘fast lane’.
Both will lose two places on the grid, dropping the Lotus and Toro Rosso from ninth and 10th to 11th and 12th.
Raikkonen had been investigated over a similar potential transgression in Q3, but was not given any penalty for that instance.
His team-mate Romain Grosjean, who only qualified 19th, is already carrying a 10-place penalty for crashing into Ricciardo in Monaco.
Kimi Räikkönen Hoping for Dry Race in Montréal
It’s been a tough weekend for the Iceman, who heads into tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix seeking a change in both fortunes and the skies…
How was your qualifying session?
We didn’t have grip in these conditions so we did pretty much all we could do, but if there’s no grip you can’t go faster. In this weather it’s difficult as sometimes the rain gets harder and sometimes the track is drying, so you have to try to be out there when the circuit’s at its best. P9 on the grid is not what we want so we’ll have to see what we can do in the race tomorrow.
Was getting tyre temperature the reason for the struggle for pace?
This kind of weather doesn’t seem to be that good for us. We don’t seem to be able to get the tyres working as well as we should be which makes it very difficult to get a quick lap out of the car.
Do you think there are better prospects for the race?
We’ll have to see how the weather is. Some forecasts say it’s going to be dry, some say that it’s going to be wet. If it’s dry, we’ll have a better opportunity and we’ll see what we can do. If the weather’s like it is today then it’ll be a harder race for us, but you never know what could happen.
How does the car feel in the dry?
It was okay, not too bad. This morning we only had a few laps on the dry tyres and it was better than yesterday for sure. It’s hard to say how it will be with a full fuel load but hopefully we’ll be a bit stronger than the opposition. I’m sure the car will be much better if it’s dry than it was today in the wet.
Any further predictions?
It’s probably not going to be one of our strongest weekends, but we’ll do the best we can.
Canadian GP: Vettel claims pole in rain-hit session
Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to Canadian Grand Prix pole in a wet qualifying session, as Valtteri Bottas starred to put Williams third.
The rain level fluctuated throughout each segment, and in Q3 the best shot at pole came in the opening moments before track conditions deteriorated further.
Vettel judged it best and put in a 1m25.425s for Red Bull.
It still looked vulnerable as driver after driver improved in the first two sectors, but the rain was heavier in the final part of the track and no one could make an overall gain.
Hamilton tried his utmost to continue Mercedes’ pole streak but fell 0.087 seconds short, sliding over the chicane on a dramatic final bid.
Bottas was the hero of qualifying. Williams had not made it into Q3 at all in 2013 until Canada, where the Finnish rookie flew throughout the session.
He beat Nico Rosberg, dominant in qualifying for Mercedes for the last three races, to third place.
Friday pacesetter Fernando Alonso could only manage sixth for Ferrari, behind Mark Webber’s Red Bull.
Toro Rosso got both cars into Q3. Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo claimed seventh and 10th, split by Adrian Sutil’s Force India and Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus.
The second Ferrari will start down in 16th due to Felipe Massa spinning into the Turn 3 barriers in Q2 and causing a red flag.
That triggered a two-minute scramble on an improving track to try to secure the final Q3 places.
It was Sutil and Ricciardo who succeeded, but it proved painful for McLaren, winner of the last three Canadian GPs.
Jenson Button was outside the cut at the time and mistimed his attempt to find clear track position, not making it past the flag in time.
That left him 14th, while team-mate Sergio Perez’s failure to improve meant he was pushed back to 12th, alongside Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.
Pastor Maldonado’s Williams and the second Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez were the other Q2 casualties.
Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean did not get that far. Both were denied chances to progress when the rain intensified in the closing minutes of Q1.
Grosjean, who already faces a 10-place grid penalty for running into Ricciardo in Monaco, had made a mistake on an earlier run, while di Resta lost time in the garage with gearbox issues.
Charles Pic looked like he might just replicate Caterham team-mate Giedo van der Garde’s Q2 heroics from Monaco as he sat 11th near the end of Q1. But after a spin at Turn 6, he slipped to 18th.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.425s
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.512s + 0.087s
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m25.897s + 0.472s
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.008s + 0.583s
5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.208s + 0.783s
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.504s + 1.079s
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.543s + 1.118s
8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.348s + 1.923s
9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.432s + 2.007s
10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.946s + 2.521s Q2 cut-off time: 1m36.811s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m29.435s + 1.786s 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m29.761s + 2.112s 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m29.917s + 2.268s 14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.068s + 2.419s 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.315s + 2.666s 16. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m30.354s + 2.705s Q1 cut-off time: 1m24.776s Gap * 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m24.908s + 2.590 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m25.626s + 3.308 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.716s + 3.398 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.508s + 4.190 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.062s + 4.744 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.110s + 4.792
Canadian GP: Mark Webber tops shortened, drying final practice
Mark Webber grabbed the fastest time in a crazy final Montreal Formula 1 practice, as barrier damage halved the session and the track dried with moments remaining.
Half the session was lost to barrier repairs, required following a heavy crash at Turn 11 in a Ferrari support race.
With Formula 1 regulations stipulating a minimum two-hour gap between practice and qualifying, and television schedules precluding a delayed start to qualifying, the morning session had to be truncated.
Adding to that frustration were the fluctuating track conditions. Although the wait meant some of the moisture from earlier rain had gone, the circuit was still too treacherous for slicks when practice finally got underway.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez emerged quickest of the 14 drivers who went out on wet or intermediate rubber, but many preferred to sit it out until there was a dry line.
That was not the case until the closing moments, which effectively turned the session into a single-lap shootout with all 22 drivers out at once dodging through traffic on slicks.
The top spot changed hands a head-spinning 11 times in three minutes, as quicker times were set with every moment on the ever-improving track.
It was Webber who finally emerged on top for Red Bull, 0.353 seconds faster than Adrian Sutil’s Force India.
Friday pacesetter Fernando Alonso was back in fourth in the top Ferrari, between Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.
Inevitably the chaos offered an opportunity for an underdog surprise, and Max Chilton provided one as he put his Marussia 14th.
Despite the congestion on the circuit and the slippery surface, the only minor incidents were spins for Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m17.895s 7 2. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m18.248s + 0.353s 8 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.732s + 0.837s 7 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m18.977s + 1.082s 10 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m19.131s + 1.236s 6 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.457s + 1.562s 7 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m19.496s + 1.601s 6 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m19.750s + 1.855s 9 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m19.790s + 1.895s 9 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m20.316s + 2.421s 8 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m20.596s + 2.701s 9 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m21.035s + 3.140s 12 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m21.364s + 3.469s 7 14. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m21.652s + 3.757s 9 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.021s + 4.126s 14 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.720s + 4.825s 15 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m23.058s + 5.163s 7 18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m23.132s + 5.237s 14 19. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.309s + 5.414s 8 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m23.620s + 5.725s 12 21. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m24.317s + 6.422s 12 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.195s + 8.300s 9
Kimi Räikkönen Feels P5 the Best Possible Outcome in Qualifying
How was qualifying for you?
It was difficult because of the weather, but it was the same for all of the drivers. Obviously, it’s never the easiest with the traffic and the barriers and you’d always prefer it to be dry as it’s so slippery when it’s wet. I’m happy we made it through to the top ten and P5 was more or less the best we could do with seven tenths to the next fastest car.
It was a bit close getting through Q1?
Q1 was a bit tricky. We stopped a bit early to change the tyres so they weren’t quite up to temperature when the track was at its driest, but we made it through so no problem there.
What’s the plan for tomorrow from P5?
I’m not sure what we’ll do in the race; we don’t have a clear picture yet as you never know exactly what the strategies from everyone else will be, but for sure we’ll find out tomorrow. I do know that today the car was the best it’s been so far this weekend so I expect it’ll be pretty good in the race.
How can you move forwards up the order when it’s so difficult to pass here?
We’ll have to see what happens. You don’t know what the weather will be like and maybe another team will have issues getting their tyres to work in the race which could help us. Whatever happens, hopefully we can pick up some places and get some more championship points.