Bahrain GP qualifying: Valtteri Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton to pole
Valtteri Bottas claimed his first Formula 1 pole position by edging out Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in a tight Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying battle.
Hamilton had taken pole for each of the first two F1 races of 2017 and led the way again through Q1, Q2 and the initial runs in Q3 at Sakhir, but Bottas hit top spot on his final run with a lap of 1m28.769s.
Hamilton dropped a chunk of time in the second sector of his final lap, and also had an oversteer moment at the final corner, so failed to improve. He ended up second fastest by just 0.023 seconds.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was almost half a second further back in third, suggesting he "tried a bit too hard" on his final Q3 run, which was slower than his first.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull split the two Ferraris by setting the fourth fastest time on his final run, just 0.022s clear of Kimi Raikkonen.
Max Verstappen was a tenth further back in the second Red Bull, while works Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg beat Felipe Massa’s Williams to the seventh fastest time, with a lap that was within two tenths of Verstappen’s.
Romain Grosjean again got the Haas team into Q3, ending up eighth fastest, well down on Massa and three tenths clear of Jolyon Palmer’s Renault.
Palmer made Q3 for the first time in his F1 career, but eventually qualified over 1.2s down on Renault team-mate Hulkenberg.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat missed out on making the top-10 shootout by less than half a tenth of a second, running wide at the final corner and failing to improve on his final Q2 run.
Lance Stroll made only one run after his Williams spent a long period receiving adjustments in the garage and he ended up only 12th fastest.
Returnee Pascal Wehrlein qualified a brilliant 13th in the Sauber, on a track he starred at last season for Manor, ahead of the Force India of fellow Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon, and the McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso, who didn’t set a time in Q2 after "we broke the power unit".
Alonso scraped his McLaren-Honda into Q2 thanks to the Toro Rosso of fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr stopping at the final corner in the dying moments of Q1.
This relegated Sainz to 16th thanks to rivals earlier improving their times, and it also forced Sergio Perez to back off while on a hot lap in his Force India.
Perez still improved by nearly four tenths of a second, but this still left him down in 18th place, 0.005s behind the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, who had outpaced Alonso fractionally during the initial runs in Q1.
Marcus Ericsson was only 19th quickest, over half a second slower than Sauber team-mate Wehrlein, while Haas’s Kevin Magnussen qualified slowest of all after aborting his final flying lap for the yellow flags displayed for Sainz’s stricken Toro Rosso.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.545s||0.776s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.687s||0.918s|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m30.923s||–|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.684s||–|
|16||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.118s||–|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.318s||–|
Bahrain Grand Prix: Max Verstappen sets practice pace for Red Bull
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen set the pace in the final free practice session for Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Verstappen left it late to put in the fastest time of 1m32.194s using super-soft Pirellis and ended the session 0.110 seconds ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
With the track temperature at the start of the session so high, most opted to hang back for potentially slightly cooler conditions that would be closer to those for the evening qualifying session.
At the halfway mark of the 60-minute session, Toro Rosso pairing Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr held first and second place.
Valtteri Bottas was set to knock Kvyat off top spot when he headed out on super-softs, but he locked up and ran off the circuit at the last corner, ruining his lap.
Instead, Felipe Massa put his Williams fastest with a 1m32.801s, only to be relegated to second by soft-shod Verstappen.
Romain Grosjean then lost the rear of his Haas through Turn 4, spinning into the barrier and losing his nose.
The session was red-flagged, but the delay was only five minutes as Grosjean recovered to the pits without assistance.
Shortly after the restart, Kimi Raikkonen went fastest with a 1m32.785s, despite running wide at the final corner, before being relegated to second by Bottas.
Vettel was also out on super-softs, but his first lap was only good enough for fourth after he ran wide exiting Turn 7 before setting what was then the fastest time of the session at his second attempt.
Red Bull held back for much of the session and completed few laps, but both Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo headed out again in the closing stages.
This allowed Verstappen to go fastest with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, albeit with Hamilton behind him on track and showing strong pace.
But Hamilton ran a little wide at the final corner and could not beat Verstappen despite showing good pace in the first two sectors.
Ricciardo was 0.615s slower than Verstappen’s pace, slotting into seventh place behind Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen and Massa.
Nico Hulkenberg again showed well in the Renault, lapping 0.739s off the pace to take eighth ahead of Sainz and Kvyat.
Fernando Alonso was the faster of the McLarens in 12th, 1.550s from Vettel and just six thousandths slower than Force India driver Sergio Perez, with Sauber returnee Pascal Wehrlein just behind them.
Grosjean did manage to return to the track after his crash, but ended up 18th and seven thousandths slower than team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.194s||–||8|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.809s||0.615s||8|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m33.604s||1.410s||18|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m33.744s||1.550s||11|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.916s||1.722s||14|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.064s||1.870s||17|
Kimi Raikkonen hit by F1 understeer problems again at Chinese GP
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he continues to struggle with understeer in his Ferrari, after qualifying fourth for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was a distant fourth in qualifying for the season opener in Melbourne, lapping 0.845s off the pace and going on to finish 22 seconds behind race-winning team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
He conceded then that he suffered with understeer during the Australian GP weekend and that repeated itself in qualifying at Shanghai.
The Finn led the way in Q2 with a late run, but he made only a marginal improvement on his best time in the final segment and ended up almost three tenths down on Vettel.
"The first run in last qualifying was just pretty poor overall, and then we struggled a bit with Turn 3 the whole qualifying – just a little bit still understeering," Raikkonen explained.
"We gave up way too much laptime there, never really got it back. Disappointed, but feeling-wise it was a lot better."
Raikkonen asked on the radio in Q3 if his set up had been changed, but he later explained that his problems were just magnified when it counted.
"There were the same issues, when you push harder and harder, when there’s an issue, it just highlights it," he said.
"You need [grip at] the front in certain places to go fast, and it’s not big, but it’s enough to delay you going on power or carrying speed through tight places.
"It makes enough of a difference to be on the back foot."
Raikkonen said he was running a slightly different set-up to teammate Vettel and lamented the fact that he didn’t get to work on it on Friday, with FP1 run in wet conditions and FP2 cancelled.
"It really probably is the worst time to have a day like yesterday," he said.
"If yesterday we could’ve run, we would’ve made a much clearer [set up] decision. But this is how it is sometimes.
"It’s taking a little while [to solve the problems] and obviously not ideal, but we know the issue and we just need some clear Fridays.
"I’m sure next race we can be a bit more happy.
"Overall it’s not too bad, it’s just the small things, and small things make a big difference in the laptime."
Chinese GP qualifying: Lewis Hamilton takes pole position
Lewis Hamilton emerged from another tight Formula 1 qualifying battle with Sebastian Vettel to claim pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Barely more than two tenths of a second covered the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers after the first runs in Q2, with Vettel fractionally ahead of Hamilton, followed by Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen – who eventually went fastest in that segment by doing a second run when the others didn’t.
But Hamilton moved into the ascendency at the start of Q3, leading Vettel by almost two tenths of a second after the first runs despite running wide out of Turn 3 and suffering a snap of oversteer at the exit of Turn 11.
The Mercedes driver improved to a 1m31.678s best on his final run with a cleaner lap, claiming pole by just 0.186 seconds.
Vettel joined Hamilton in the 1m31s on his own final flying lap, but he failed to improve in sector one and lost out. When informed by Ferrari he had missed pole by two tenths, Vettel reckoned "I didn’t have that" time in the car.
Bottas put in an excellent final lap in Q3, but missed out on beating Vettel to the front row by just one thousandth of a second.
Raikkonen fell away in Q3, ending up fourth complaining of understeer, nearly three tenths back from Bottas.
Red Bull reckoned Daniel Ricciardo got everything out of his car in posting the fifth quickest time, nearly 1.5s away from pole but almost half a second clear of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Nico Hulkenberg was sixth fastest in Q2 and chose to complete his solitary Q3 run at the start of that session instead of the end, but this was still good enough for seventh place for Renault.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was eighth, just ahead of Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, while rookie Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10 in the second Williams on his first Q3 appearance.
The battle to make it into the top-10 shootout was extremely tight between Stroll, Perez, the two Toro Rossos, and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
Carlos Sainz Jr missed the top 10 cut by just 0.060s after failing to improve on his second Q2 run, while Magnussen was only 0.014s further back in 12th.
Fernando Alonso wrung the neck of the McLaren-Honda to make the top-10 in Q1 and eventually qualify 13th fastest, just over two tenths down on the Haas and almost seven tenths clear of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
Sauber unexpectedly got both cars through to Q2, thanks to Antonio Giovinazzi crashing heavily at the final corner just as the chequered flag came out at the end of Q1 – which delayed other drivers who were yet to complete their laps.
The Ferrari third driver took no part in Q2 so was classified 16th, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Haas, Jolyon Palmer’s Renault, and Esteban Ocon’s Force India, which all had to abort their final flying laps in Q1.
The second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne was unaffected, but his best lap was not good enough to displace Giovinazzi, so Vandoorne missed the cut by just 0.060s.
Melbourne qualifying star Grosjean had earlier spun exiting the final corner, ruining his first Q1 run, so he wound up only 17th fastest, two tenths behind Vandoorne.
Palmer was 18th fastest and Ocon last, both sandwiching the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who struggled with a suspected engine problem throughout the session.
Both Grosjean and Palmer are also under investigation by the FIA, for allegedly failing to slow sufficiently under yellow flags at the end of Q1.
CHINESE GP GRID
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.033s||1.355s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.706s||2.028s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m33.719s||2.041s|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.150s||2.472s|
|17||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.433s||3.755s|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.496s||3.818s|
F1 Chinese Grand Prix: Vettel fastest for Ferrari in free practice 3
Sebastien Vettel set the pace during final Formula 1 practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, heading a Ferrari one-two after Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on his final run.
Vettel ended up just five-hundredths clear of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, setting his benchmark 1m33.336s during a super-soft run midway through the hour-long session.
Hamilton wasted his opportunity to knock Vettel off top spot when he ran wide at the hairpin on his final super-soft run, having set the best first sector time of all and been just two-thousandths of a second slower than the Ferrari driver in the second.
Daniel Ricciardo led the early running, initially on softs before improving to a 1m35.647s using super-softs. This left him the best part of two seconds clear of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
Raikkonen moved the benchmark into the 1m34s bracket right on the halfway point of the session with a 1m34.519s, despite complaining over the radio about a lack of front grip.
At almost the same time Sebastian Vettel made the move to the super-softs, taking more than a second out of Raikkonen’s time to go fastest with a 1m33.336s.
Williams driver Felipe Massa also made gains on the softer rubber around the same time, jumping into third with a 1m35.092s, while Ricciardo improved to an identical time to the thousandth.
Valtteri Bottas, who lost his T-wing when it snapped off early in the session, made his move with 17 minutes to go, splitting the Ferraris with a 1m34.333s.
He was quickly displaced by team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who went second with a 1m34.093s.
But they were both shuffled back a spot several minutes later when Raikkonen restored the Ferrari one-two by improving to a 1m33.389s.
Hamilton then returned to the track with a few minutes to go to have one more crack at the Ferraris, but the error at the hairpin meant he only improved to a 1m33.879s.
This also gave Bottas the opportunity to sneak into third, jumping his team-mate with a 1m33.707s on his final run.
Massa was best of the rest in fifth after improving to a 1m34.773s, while Max Verstappen got ahead of Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo with a 1m34.946s set inside the last 10 minutes.
Lance Stroll and Jolyon Palmer were next in line, while Carlos Sainz was 10th quickest in the Toro Rosso.
All drivers set their best times on super-softs, except for Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat in 15th place.
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.946s||1.610s||20|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.092s||1.756s||23|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.223s||1.887s||24|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.626s||2.290s||20|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.804s||2.468s||23|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.811s||2.475s||24|
F1 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, after winning a tense qualifying battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton was three tenths up on Vettel after the first runs in Q3, with Bottas just two thousandths of a second slower in third, before Daniel Ricciardo crashed his Red Bull heavily at Turn 14 and caused the session to be stopped.
Hamilton went even faster on his final run once the session resumed, sealing pole position with a 1m22.188s lap – the fastest ever recorded by an F1 car around Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
Bottas momentarily held top stop before Hamilton’s improvement despite a scruffy final flying lap, with Vettel then denying Mercedes a front row lockout by posting the second fastest time on his final run.
Despite setting the pace in final practice, Ferrari ultimately didn’t quite have the speed to challenge the best of the Mercedes drivers, with Vettel 0.268s down on Hamilton, but fractionally quicker than Bottas.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, more than half a second further back, while the remaining Red Bull of Max Verstappen claimed fifth.
Romain Grosjean produced a stunning effort to qualify his Haas inside the top six, nearly four tenths clear of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Massa was just 0.044s clear of Carlos Sainz Jr, who in turn narrowly beat Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat to eighth on the grid.
Ricciardo wound up 10th after failing to set a time before his crash.
Neither Force India made it through to Q3. Sergio Perez, who complained of a gearshift problem, missed the cut by just 0.074s despite improving by nearly four tenths on his final flying lap, while Esteban Ocon failed to find time on his final run and wound up 14th.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified 12th fastest on his debut for the works Renault team, only 0.010s down on Perez, while Fernando Alonso manhandled the troubled McLaren-Honda to the 13th best time, ahead of Ocon and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
Last-minute Sauber stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi was 16th fastest, after replacing the unfit Pascal Wehrlein ahead of final practice.
The Ferrari reserve was quicker than Ericsson after the first runs in Q1, but went off at the penultimate corner on his final effort, so wound up 0.183s down and failed to make the Q2 cut.
Kevin Magnussen’s difficult first weekend racing for Haas continued, the Dane running off track on his final Q1 flier and failing to improve his time.
He was fractionally faster than the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, who completed only one flying lap in qualifying after a fuel-flow problem forced him to return to the pits for most of the session.
Williams repaired rookie Lance Stroll’s car in time to make a late appearance in Q1, following his heavy crash at the end of FP3.
The Canadian was 19th fastest, though faces a grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the session, while Renault’s Jolyon Palmer qualified slowest of the 20 runners, more than a second down on Stroll and over three adrift of Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m23.485s||1.297s|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.487s||2.299s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.512s||2.324s|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.081s||2.893s|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.568s||3.380s|
F1 Australian GP: Ferrari driver Vettel fastest in final practice
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel broke the unofficial Albert Park lap record on his way to top spot in third practice, ahead of qualifying for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel was the early pace-setter as Ferrari decided to complete a burst of swift laps on ultra-softs in the opening minutes of the session, with he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen setting the early pace.
German Vettel subsequently improved his time midway through the hour-long session, recording a session’s best of 1m23.380s – again set on a set of ultra-soft tyres.
That was enough for him to trump Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, the pair ending up second and third respectively.
Unlike Ferrari, Mercedes decided to wait until later in the session to complete its runs on the ultra-soft tyre.
Bottas and Hamilton both headed to the track with a little under 20 minutes remaining, with Bottas jumping into second with a 1m23.859s and ending the session the faster of the two Silver Arrows.
Hamilton wasn’t far behind in third and tucked in with a 1m23.870s – although he did go fastest of all in the first sector on his flying lap, only to lose time by running slightly wide at Turn 13.
That wound up being the last of the significant improvements in the top order, as a Lance Stroll crash sparked the first red flag of the day when he hit the wall at the exit of Turn 10.
The Williams driver had just started an ultra-soft run with 10 minutes to go when he side-swiped the wall and rolled to a stop half way down to Turn 11.
The stoppage was long enough for the session not to be restarted.
Raikkonen ended up fourth in the second Ferrari, the Finn having suffered a puncture early on in the session – while his engine also cut out on the approach to Turn 13 as he ran up the escape road.
His best time was a 1m23.988s, with that effort more than a second faster than the next best car of Nico Hulkenberg.
Behind the Ferraris and Mercedes, Renault driver Hulkenberg was the best of the rest as he jumped from 10th to fifth late on with a best effort of 1m25.063s, also set on ultra-soft tyres.
That was enough for him to displace Daniel Ricciardo, who was the fastest Red Bull in sixth – the Australian and his team-mate Max Verstappen, who ended the session in 12th, both struggling to find time on their ultra-soft runs.
Ricciardo finished half a second clear of Romain Grosjean who was seventh in the leading Haas.
Toro Rosso pair Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were next, while Grosjean’s team-mate Kevin Magnussen was finally able to complete finally sufficient running and completed the top 10.
The McLarens were 14th and 15th, with Fernando Alonso finishing ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Antonio Giovinazzi – who was confirmed as a late stand-in for Pascal Wehrlein before the session – completed 18 laps to end up just over a second behind Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.092s||1.712s||15|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m25.948s||2.568s||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.049s||2.669s||11|
|12||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m26.269s||2.889s||7|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.457s||3.077s||12|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.103s||3.723s||16|
Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who lines up fourth, said he hasn’t focused too much on set-up changes or getting distracted by the unrepresentative practice sessions.
"We know from every year here there’s always a bit of a difference with the weather," said Raikkonen.
"It’s hot during the daytime so it’s a bit of a waste of time, those sessions.
"We know what will happen for the evening, to make the right choices and make it work when it actually matters.
"I hardly changed my car – I changed a little bit for FP3 just to get a better feeling.
"It was not ideal at that time of day but you know the pace is going to improve, so we pretty much kept the car the same."
Kimi: car good for 3rd, lap just wasn’t perfect
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty good qualifying, the car has behaved well all day. Today we went a lot faster than we had been in practice, we did our best and it was almost enough for third place, but my last lap was not perfect in some places. It’s hard to say if we’ll be able to fight with the Mercedes tomorrow: usually in race conditions we are a bit closer, but I’m sure they will also be very strong. Tomorrow we can only do our best, we’ll try to make a good start and then we’ll see.”
Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to Abu Dhabi GP F1 pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for his Formula 1 world championship showdown with Nico Rosberg, with a commanding performance in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton held provisional pole after the initial runs in Q3, just over three tenths quicker than Rosberg, and eventually completed two laps good enough for pole by breaking into the 1m38s on his final run.
Championship leader Rosberg also improved on his second Q3 run, but ended up more than three tenths behind Hamilton.
If Hamilton wins Sunday’s race, Rosberg only needs to finish third to clinch his first F1 world title.
Daniel Ricciardo qualified his Red Bull third fastest, nicking ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari by just 0.015 seconds on his final Q3 run.
Ricciardo and his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, who qualified sixth fastest, will both start the race on the super-soft tyre, after progressing through Q2 without the ultra-soft favoured by Mercedes and Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest in the second Ferrari, less than a tenth slower than Raikkonen.
Vettel suggested he lost time in Turns 16, 17 and 18, and that he went the wrong way on set-up for qualifying.
The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez locked out row four, just 0.018s apart, while Fernando Alonso qualified his McLaren a tenth faster than Felipe Massa’s Williams, which rounded out the top 10.
Massa’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas just missed out on making Q3 in the second Williams, finding time on his final Q2 lap but narrowly losing out to Alonso, who was quicker than Bottas by just 0.040s.
Jenson Button qualified 12th in the sister McLaren, dropping two tenths to Alonso in the middle sector and suggesting his car picked up understeer in the cool conditions.
Esteban Gutierrez beat Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean to 13th on the grid by just under a tenth of a second, while Jolyon Palmer was 15th in the best of the Renaults, 0.175s clear of Pascal Wehrlein, who put his Manor into Q2 for the fifth time this season.
Both Toro Rosso drivers fell in Q1, after losing most of Friday’s second practice to FIA safety checks to its cars, following punctures suffered on Daniil Kvyat’s car.
Kvyat was only 17th quickest, a tenth slower than Wehrlein, while Kvyat’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr qualified on the last row of the grid.
Renault apologised to Kevin Magnussen after he failed to go quicker on his final Q1 run and wound up 18th, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who complained of an ERS problem exiting Turn 14.
Esteban Ocon was 20th in the second Manor, after a slow first sector, while the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson qualified last, the Swede apologising to the team for locking up under braking for Turn 17 and ruining his final flying lap in Q1.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.589s||0.834s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.818s||1.063s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.501s||1.746s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.519s||1.764s|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m42.003s||3.248s|
|21||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m42.393s||3.638s|
Abu Dhabi GP FP3: Sebastian Vettel tops F1 final practice
Sebastian Vettel was a surprise fastest in the final Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace with just over half of the one-hour session completed having been among a group of drivers to set times on ultra-soft Pirellis early on, which included Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel.
With just over forty minutes to go, Nico Rosberg, who had been fifth fastest behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with both using the slower super-soft Pirellis early on, went fastest after bolting on the fastest tyre.
Seconds after Rosberg knocked Raikkonen off top spot, Hamilton posted a time 0.103s quicker to take top spot.
But Vettel, on a fresh set of ultra-softs, then went 0.137s faster than Hamilton with 11 minutes remaining to secure top spot.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Raikkonen slotted in second and third on their late runs on ultra-softs, which left Hamilton and Rosberg, who remain favourite to qualify on the front row, down in fourth and fifth after completing their qualifying simulation runs before everyone else.
Ricciardo ended the session a distant sixth, a second off the pace, after failing to exploit the potential of his ultra-soft tyres.
Force India driver Sergio Perez was seventh fastest, less than a tenth off Ricciardo, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth after missing half of the session with a fuel system problem.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas and Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez, who took a fresh Ferrari engine ahead of this session, rounded out the top 10, ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was 12th fastest ahead of Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa didn’t get the best out of his final set of tyres after a spin at Turn 6 right at the start of his run.
Toro Rosso returned to the track after stopping running in yesterday’s session amid concerns it and the FIA had about safety following two punctures believed to be car-related.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat completed only 23 laps between them, with Sainz best placed in 18th place.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.137s||21|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.056s||20|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.110s||19|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1.292s||13|
|18||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||2.526s||10|
|21||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||3.330s||13|
Q: Thank you for that you two. And Kimi, nice to see you here. Max Verstappen had that third place bought and paid for for most of the qualifying session but you pulled it right out at the end. Where did that come from?
Kimi Raikkonen: I struggled the whole qualifying in a few places, in a few corners in the middle sector. To be honest the last lap it was pretty average from my viewpoint. Obviously it was enough to be in third place. The Mercedes seems to be a bit too far. I struggled the first two corners with the tyre warm-up a bit. Even in the middle I wasn’t really happy but I don’t mind, it was good enough for this and we’ll see what we can do.
Q: Kimi, just looking at the way you’ve performed today in particular, you were quickest in practice in Sector One and Sector Three, which was interesting. And then obviously it took a little while to get it all together but what is it about Sector Two that was causing you problems and Ferrari problems today that you managed, I guess, to finally put right.
KR: I think we’re lacking a bit of downforce overall there, comparing maybe to the guys in front of us – but you know the car’s been behaving today, pretty good and just been struggling on the tight corners to turn around the car and a bit of front-locking so obviously it’s been a bit guessing whether we can turn or not. As I said, it was not ideal, the lap, but it was good enough for third place and even making a perfect lap it wouldn’t be fast enough for Mercedes today. But, y’know, tomorrow is another day and we try to improve.
KR: For me, it’s another race. I’ve had some good memories here but also some not so good. It will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow and obviously with Felipe, he’s made his decision to do something else with his life and I’m sure he will enjoy it and all the best for whatever he does.
KR: Obviously it’s not up to us. I think if it was up to the drivers we would come back but this is how it seems to be in many places. The drivers like the places but there’s always a question mark whether we’re coming back or not. Sadly, it’s all about money unfortunately. The best amount gets the race.
Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Kimi, congratulations for this position. We are used to seeing Red Bull in this position. I would love to know what difference has been the factor that has made Ferrari much better this weekend, because so far it’s really good?
KR: Yeah, but it’s been very close. I think it’s been very close most of the year and obviously sometimes we’ve been a bit behind, sometimes in front but I think we’ve done a very good job in the recent races as a team and improved in certain areas and trying new things. We’ve learned some positive things and as a team we’ve worked very well in recent months and I think it’s helping us to get back to where we were at the start of the year so hopefully we can have a good strong race tomorrow. It’s all about learning from what we’ve done and improving things. All of us have been pushing in the same direction and it seems to start paying off a little bit.
Kimi Raikkonen surprised ‘average’ lap put him third on Brazil grid
Kimi Raikkonen called the qualifying lap that put him third on the Brazilian Grand Prix grid "pretty average", despite beating Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel and both Red Bulls.
Raikkonen was the only one of that quartet to improve during their final runs in Q3 at Interlagos, which vaulted him from sixth to third in the final classification, behind only the dominant Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Raikkonen has shown improved form on Saturdays recently in F1, and has now outqualified Vettel at the last four races in succession.
Ferrari congratulated the Finn on a job well done after the session, but Raikkonen admitted over team radio to being surprised the lap was good enough for third on the grid.
"I struggled the whole qualifying with a few corners in the middle sector," he explained.
"We’re lacking downforce compared to the guys in front.
"I struggle in the first two corners with tyre warm up. In the middle, I wasn’t happy either, but I don’t mind, it was good enough for this.
"The car has been behaving today pretty good, just struggling a bit in the right corners to turnaround the car, and [with] front locking. It’s been a bit of guessing.
"To be honest, the last lap was pretty average in my view, but it was enough to be third.
"Mercedes seem to be a bit too far [in front] – even if we made the perfect lap it wouldn’t be fast enough."