Saturday, 19 April 2014

Chinese Qualifying: Rain on our parade...

After the excitement of the Bahrain Grand Prix hopes for the rest of the season are running high, so the Chinese Grand Prix has a lot to live up to. However, despite the session starting with a wet track and the rain continuing to fall even as the cars began posting their quick laps, the order was relatively predictable. Once again, Mercedes and Red Bull were at the top of the time sheets.

There were plenty of cars leaving the circuit and driving across grass and tarmac, but none of the incidents were anywhere near heart-in-mouth moments. In fact, the most exciting moment in Q1 came when Gutierrez failed to make it in to Q2, which officially becomes the most depressing sentence I've had to write in one of my post-qualifying blogs. The most depressing sentence to be 'spoken' was probably from the BBC's Tom Clarkson who said "[...] we're getting a bit more drizzle coming down now, and it's, as I say, only drizzle, I don't know if its going to affect the conditions out on the track that much [...]". I can tell you Tom, that no it didn't.

It was the usual suspects that were caught underachieving in Q2, with both McLarens failing to make it in to the final top ten shoot out, along with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikonnen. Williams picked up where they left off in Bahrain, bagging a satisfying sixth and seventh. The only real moment of excitement came in the closing seconds of the Q3 shoot out, when Rosberg had a speculative spin through the final corner. It was an easy mistake to make, since a number of drivers had previously experienced hairy moments through there. However, its interesting to note that his teammate was already on pole and his spin resulted in yellow flags, which slowed their competitors down on their final fast laps. I don't think I need to say anymore.

I suppose that on a positive note, the qualifying wasn't abandoned or postponed because of the 'drizzle', but that said it really was a hellishly boring event. Maybe we should all recall that qualifying in Bahrain was relatively tedious as well, and yet it set us up for a fabulous spectacle. Fingers crossed.

The Grid:
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:55.5161:54.0291:53.86021
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:56.6411:55.3021:54.45523
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:55.9261:54.4991:54.96023
46Nico RosbergMercedes1:56.0581:55.2941:55.14322
514Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:56.9611:55.7651:55.63721
619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:56.8501:56.7571:56.14724
777Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:56.5011:56.2531:56.28224
827Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:55.9131:56.8471:56.36623
925Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:57.4771:56.5841:56.77323
108Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:58.4111:56.4071:57.07922
117Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:58.2791:56.86017
1222Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:57.7831:56.96317
1326Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:57.2611:57.28918
1499Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:58.1381:57.39317
1520Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:57.3691:57.67517
1611Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:58.3621:58.26417
1721Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:58.98810
1810Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:59.26010
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:59.32610
209Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault2:00.64610
214Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari2:00.86510
DNQ13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-RenaultNo time0