Saturday, 5 July 2014

British Qualifying: Bad decisions all round.

The biggest mistake in qualifying, punctuated by the typically petulant post-session interview, came from Lewis Hamilton. He certainly had every reason to be sulky, having just thrown away, not only pole but the second, third, fourth and fifth places on the grid. Most drivers would display a facade of professional diplomacy, but not Hamilton. Hamilton, once again, discarded all notions of professionalism and turned in to a diva. He's obviously been spending too much time with his popstar girlfriend. However, he wasn't the only person to make a mistake and the other massive mistakes came at the very start of the session.

Qualifying was difficult for everyone, since the track was continuously changing, from wet to dry and from quick to slow. Each of the three sessions appeared to be a carbon copy of the last, at least regarding track conditions. As the cars went out on to the circuit, at the start of each session, the track was relatively dry, providing quick lap times. Towards the middle of each session, the rain started to fall and drivers dove in to the pits, to sit and wait. The pressure was on in the final minutes of all three sessions, as the track dried out and adrenaline-fuelled drivers piled out of the pits to secure their places.

With such complex conditions, it was inevitable that somebody was going to get caught out. It was just a bit of a surprise to find that four of the six drivers that went out in Q1 were both of the Ferrari drivers and both of the Williams drivers. So much for my praise for Williams. They literally couldn't have made a bigger mistake, with timing being so crucial. Achieving anything from the back of the grid will be virtually impossible and, as for Ferrari? To be honest, these days they struggle to achieve much from within the top ten qualifying positions.

It was a bit like role reversal to see Button's McLaren, right up at the front, whilst Alonso, Raikonnen, Bottas and Massa, languish at the back. And where do we start with Marussia? The minnows are celebrating again, as both Bianchi and Chilton qualified well above their usual positions. Purists will argue that the only reason they qualified up in twelfth and thirteenth was because of the conditions, however, the decision making part of Formula One is a skill in itself, and for that reason Marussia deserved their relative success today.

Rosberg continues to prove he's the number one Mercedes driver, since Lewis Hamilton seems unable to scupper his team mate's final fast lap, as efficiently as Nico can. Slowing down and backing up Rosberg and Perez, through the final corners of the penultimate lap of Q3, he only succeeded in ruining Sergio Perez's chance of bettering his time. He was heard complaining that the surface was "very slippery", before slowing down like he was driving on ice. Did karma ruin Hamilton's final lap? Maybe, but then, I guess you could argue, where was karma when Rosberg was employing his dirty tricks, in China and Monaco?

The Grid:
16Nico RosbergMercedes1:40.3801:35.1791:35.76621
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:45.0861:36.4101:37.38619
322Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:44.4251:36.5791:38.20024
427Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:41.2711:37.1121:38.32919
520Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:42.5071:37.3701:38.41723
644Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:41.0581:34.8701:39.23219
711Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:42.1461:37.3501:40.45720
83Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:44.7101:38.1661:40.60618
926Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:41.0321:36.8131:40.70721
1025Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:43.0401:37.8001:40.85521
118Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:43.1211:38.49617
1217Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:41.1691:38.70917
134Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:42.0821:39.80014
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:43.2851:40.91216
DSQ13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:43.8921:44.01815
1699Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:42.603No time8
1777Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:45.3185
1819Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:45.6955
1914Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:45.9356
207Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:46.6847
219Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:49.4217
2210Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:49.6258