#F1 Qualifying Review: Formula 1 2015 Grosser Preiss Von Osterreich

QualiReview

Ambient 12° Track 20° Humidity 71% Wind 1-2 kmh

Prelude
Cold and Rainy would be the way to describe the lead up to Qualifying at the Osterreichring With clouds overhead and a commentators in jackets . McLaren decided to up their driver penalties by adding a gearbox to the fun making it a grand total of 50 for the event between the 2 drivers. With the pavement still wet it was looking to be anyone’s game and it was likely on the minds of Mercedes as last year’s loss of pole spoiled their Total Dominance campaign. Winning today would give them 12 straight months atop the grid and make up for the singular blot on their otherwise pristine record

Summary

Well, complain about how boring F1 is at your peril as this week’s Quali, helped by a generous dose of uncertainty brought on by rapidly changing conditions, delivered high on the entertainment scale with the result hanging in the air until literally the last turn of Q3

Q1
The early runners were all out on Inters and it wasn’t until about the 10th minute when crossover times started popping up and Nasr decided he had nothing to lose and jumped onto the Option tyre to see what would happen.

Turned out faster times was the answer and that was when it began to get interesting, as it quickly became apparent that Hamilton was suffering in S2, running 0.4s slower than his teammate.

Lewis was not the only surprise as both Toro Rosso’s were continually circulating to the top, with Sainz having the better of it in the wetter conditions. Even Button made a surprise appearance at the top of the timesheets around the 5th minutes, though that was yet again a fairy tale and not reality as the minutes dwindled in the session.

With the Checkers approaching, both Rosberg and Vettel found themselves in the relegation zone, but not in serious danger as both hauled themselves up the ladder to P1 first Vettel, then Rosberg displacing him. Raikkonen was in more serious bother, seeming to be slow for no apparent reason, and being virtually invisible on the telly. He rapidly slid to the bottom as time waned along with Alonso, Nasr, Merhi, Kvyat and Stevens who were on the outs at the moment.

Coming round on the final laps it was sheer madness, but when the dust settled it was Alonso going P15 but sadly his teammate could not match him, winding up P17. In between was a thoroughly miserable Perez for P16, and the first of many surprises, Raikkonen P18 followed by the completely expected Merhi and Stevens. No words from Kimi or the team about that other than to say that the car had fuel and tyres. Clearly Kimi was the biggest loser of the drying track lottery, but the patchy condition were far from done upsetting the apple cart.

Q2
Rosberg started strong in this session, continuing where he left off lopping seconds off his best times and generally looking in charge of his own destiny. Hamilton meanwhile continued his personal battle with S2, where he was losing chunks of time that left him struggling to keep up, going P3 or P4 to Nico’s metronomic P1’s.

None of it mattered of course, as the conditions improved so did the times and the top step was phenomenally busy throughout the first half of Q2. At the 7 minute mark most of the runners were in for fresh tyres and it was Alonso left alone to chase his destiny, which he did with some aplomb, managing a respectable P10 for his solo effort. Ricciardo added to the drama with unspecified car problems for which he had to box, leaving him under great pressure as the field trickled out on the tyres that would be the race set for the top 10.

Massa took the early lead as Hamilton purpled the middle sector, but again failed to deliver as Rosberg serenely sailed to the top of the order and the first set of laps ultimately delivered a Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton trifecta, with Ricciardo suffering an off, the new chassis not really helping with the rest of the assorted gearbox issues he seemed to be struggling with.

With under 2 minutes to go it was Maldonado, Sainz, Alonso, Ricciardo, and Grosjean, who had suffered from brake by wire issues at the start of the session. Looking to improve as the checkers fell it was Grosjean the big winner as he managed a P9. Ricciardo was the big loser, going P14 and slow enough to have his teammate complain over the radio about his pace, Kvyat being stuck behind him on his last lap which was good enough for P10.

Maldonado, Ericsson, and Sainz were P11-13 and no surprise Alonso had drifted into P15 by the end of the session. Hamilton managed to neaten it up enough to go P2, but he was 0.4s off of Rosberg and clearly not playing the same game, though the culprit was apparently an understeer he’d been trying to sort all weekend.

Q3
AS the final qualifying session got underway there was no denying it, Lewis was definitely under pressure though Mercedes looked virtually assured to complete their campaign of total dominance, a race year straight of pole positions.

The first round of times confirmed this opinion, as Rosberg was again 0.4s up on his teammate, and it had been umpty-doodle races since Lewis had failed to lead at least one session at a Grand Prix. His engineers hadn’t given up and suggested to him a new differential setting as everyone came round to set a second time before coming in to change tyres.

It turned out to be the magic setting as Hamilton for the first time, managed an S2 that was faster than his teammate and as the track cleared, it was Lewis on provisional pole, but with it all to play for as the track continued to rubber in and dry.

With the final charge to glory at hand, Massa was first to throw down a marker, putting in an elegant lap ahead of the heavy hitters, followed by a resurgent Verstappen. Over the radio, Bonnington told Lewis that his second lap would be his only shot at glory and one he would barely make, having been released very close behind the Williams of Bottas.

With the checkers about to fly Rosberg was on his fast lap and Hamilton was getting ready to line up his effort with Vettel, Massa and Verstappen rounding out the top 5.

Hamilton charged into T1 with about 4 seconds left, pulling wide to get a better line through T1 and touching with his right rear the white line. AS he stepped on the brakes, the car snapped into a spin that left him sitting in the runoff of T1 whilst his teammate was already well into S2 and virtually dead even with what turned out to be Hamilton’s fastest lap.

Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg, who clearly benefited from an extra 24 hours worth of driving in the off week at Le Mans, rocketed into 5th place, displacing Bottas to P6 and shaming his teammate Perez who was knocked out in Q1.

Rosberg continued to push and a he came into the T8-T9 complex right on Hamilton’s time and with pole position in his grasp, he let the car slide wide onto the Astro Turf, which was still soaked with moisture from the earlier rains and as he went to turn into T9 the car was full of nopes and he locked it up. ploughed a deep furrow into the gravel and just manged to avoid wrecking his entire front end on the tyre barrier.

Surprise! No one saw that coming but it stands as evidence of not only how difficult the track is under those conditions, but also just how hard the two teammates are pushing to come out triumphant in Quali. Great results for Force India running some updates as well and it is terrifying to consider that in improving conditions Hamilton’s pole lap from early in the session still bested the Ferrari of Vettel by nearly 0.4s set after the checkers fell.

Still, it was clear that Ferrari had good race pace and with neither Mercedes man above the odd mistake, we may yet have a race tomorrow, particularly if the weather decides to lend a helping hand.

Happy Race Watching everyone!

*************Preliminary Classification**************
Austria15GridNotCon

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27 responses to “#F1 Qualifying Review: Formula 1 2015 Grosser Preiss Von Osterreich

  1. Kimi, We hardcore, battle hardened and fanatical fans of your will be with you to the glorious end battle, but we need Baghdad Bob as spokesperson.

  2. I’m sorry but that was just a rookie mistake by hamilton. Not the way a (almost) triple world champion must drive.and then Rosberg made a huge mistake too, showing the world why he never be a champion. (And before you get overly defensive fortis, I made the same remark for vettel last year when he made that 360 in the race for driving on a wet paint line.)

    • Herbert thought it was a BBW or ERS issue. Last year HAM has issues with brake glazing, but didn’t hear anything. Personally I am thinking letting the tyre hit that white line which is slipperier than the asphalt and way slipperier in the wet may have done him in. ROS hit the astro turf and that was it for him. Problem there was if he didn’t push he was defo P2 but he just got a little pear shaped out of T8 and it was all over.

      • But Herbert highlighted the right rear tire locking up rather than the left, so I don’t think that was it.

        He had the same spin last year and WTF formerly known as SIS 😜😜, noted that it looked like a BBW issue or something to do with how they’re using the MGU-K to harvest power.

        Please no conspiracy theories, his spin only affected him and no one else on track.

      • Agreed with that one, he was a tad far left when he started his slide, just shows how important it is to get a banker lap in,Nico missed an open goal on that one,it seems that once pressure is applied then Britney folds. Now Kimi..what happened there? Something was def not right,maybe tyre temp or a niggle somewhere in the car.

    • Don´t keep us waiting bruznic, tell us ignoranuses who this true, only and superduper champion is who never ever make a mistake driving on the edge of what man and machine is capable of on a partly wet surface.

      • The surface wasn’t wet anymore. The painted lines where. Everybody knows that… so he should.

    • I’m sure Hamilton-Vettel-Rosberg will all cry themselves to sleep tonight. Why don’t you people try to structure less hyperbolic statements.

    • Your certainty does you credit, but looking at the replays, I’m not entirely sure.
      He was definitely on the white line on his pole lap, too…

      The other thing clear from the replays is just how difficult an on-the-limit lap is on this track – there’s quite a lot of bouncing on the approach to very fast corners which have little margin for error.

  3. My thoughts on qualifying, for me, can be boiled down to this…

    http://s2.postimg.org/3sr7sl5w9/image.jpg

    Aside from that; a few records.

    1: Hamilton equalled Vettel’s total career F1 pole positions of 45.

    All time record:
    https://twitter.com/wtf_f1/status/612250835318239232

    It’s worth noting that Vettel and Hamilton both need 23 more F1 pole positions to equal Schumacher, which is MORE than half their current career tally to go. Loooong way yet, if at all.

    2: Hamilton set a new qualifying record of having the most F1 pole positions at different GP’s; now 21.

    All time record:
    https://twitter.com/wtf_f1/status/612262114539913216

    Of course, as time rolls on and F1 expands / continually changes the calendar, the below stats will favour the most recent star-drivers as they’ve driven more different GP’s, more often, over their careers compared to their predecessors.

    Peace,

    WTF

    #BlameRenault
    #SayWhatYouThink
    #JeSuisFortis

  4. Interesting to see the reactions of Toto Wolff and Nikki Lauder when their drivers went off in Q3. Frowns and concern when LH spun, but smiles and, dare I say, relief at NR’s trip to the gravel trap.

    • Re: Hamilton’s ‘mistake’. Getting a bit fed up of how people are blaming it on him going on the white line. Pretty much every driver was going on that same line when braking if you watch qualifying again. Even when it was wet people were braking on that line. My guess is that it is something to do with the way the car is harvesting energy under braking and maybe at times when it shouldn’t be. Certainly a bizare spin for such an experienced driver to be in though

      • Why are you getting “a bit fed up” and upset? If you know the truth, what difference does it make what anyone else says, especially in an online comments section.

        I think I just realised the core definition of ‘Hamfosi’. It’s not simply a Hamilton fan – as we already know – it’s that everybody else must submit, ala IS, to the will and opinion of a person (or persons) whom happens to have Hamilton as their favoured driver.

        The narrative always consists of the following, or derivatives of such:

        1: “I can’t see how any of that was Hamilton’s fault…”

        2: “Well it’s clear WHY you don’t like Hamilton. INTERESTING view point there. Please explain.” (hint hint, ‘you racist’, finger pointing type stuff.)

        3: “You’re all making me so mad right now, why can’t you see it as I do, and why do you persist with your own opinions thus avoiding the truth of Hamilton’s glory.”

        Or a variation of all three.

        The question is, why does Hamilton’s fan base seem to have a high ‘fosi proportion?

          • Simples Indeed… and yet they are still 1-2 on the grid, that’s the disheartening part about it all.

            There has been a whole year now of uninterrupted Mercedes pole positions, not to mention the seven poles they had before Massa capitalised on Mercedes’ Austria ’14 qualifying poleus interruptus.

            This sort of one team qualifying domination didn’t even happen in the Schumacher-Ferrari days, even in their most extremly dominant seasons of 2002 and 2004. Even then, Schumacher was racing to the lead often enough fighting off various and regular Williams, McLaren, BAR and Renault poles throughout their domination.

            The last time I can think of such domination over such a long period might be Mansell 92, but that’s contained to one single season, and McLaren 1988-89, but at least we were treated to Senna and Prost actually racing each other hard each season, and for the whole season, in extreme cars.

            I can see Cav’s stats clearly in my head now and how we’ve reduced over a few decades to this one-car point that’s unlike anything prior.

          • “can’t see how any of that was Hamilton’s fault…”

            😂😂😂

          • Your honour, you must be mistaken. That’s almost blasphemous, God doesn’t make mistakes.

  5. This weekend hasn’t been straight-forward for Hamilton, though he somehow got pole. Let’s see if he can follow up with victory tomorrow.

    McLaren-Honda keep failing, just to keep us entertained.

  6. Another great effort from the Hulk while Bottas also behind established benchmark Massa, please pay attention Ferrari!!!! Great effort from Max in qualy, now is the time to praise him (not when behind teammate or over Grosjean!!!).

  7. When you look at the grid after all penalties have been applied you’d almost think F1 has applied a reversed grid rule ;-P

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