Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

Ambient 22° Track 24° Humidity 80% Wind 2.3 m/s

Despite buckets of rain hammering down in FP3, the edge of qualifying saw the words changeable conditions dominating the badinage of the commentariat with a brutal wind the dominant variable. Lewis Hamilton in for a 5 grid spot penalty and a return to the 2015 format also worth considering, not to mention the FP2 pace of Ferrari. The story behind the story was tyre pressure, with several teams and drivers less than happy with the uber pressures demanded by Pirelli.

Well well well. From the frying pan into the fire for last year’s WDC as an ERS problem in Q1 doomed him to dead last for tomorrow’s race. Not the only excitement as flash driver Wehrleinen (LOL) hit a bump on the front straight and managed a tank slapper into the Armco on the front straight which red flagged the session for a rather long time for those watching in the dead of night, but not long enough for Mercedes to sort Hamilton’s problem.

As the minutes ticked down the usual suspects queued up to try and make Q2 and when the dust had settled Hamilton, Wehrlein, Haryanto, Palmer, Guttierez and Magnussen were going no further.

Q2 continued to surprise as Rosberg audaciously jumped out on a pair of Softs, compared to the rest of the field on the SuperSofts and immediately set what looked to be an untouchable time. True enough until Ferrari came out to play and were able to best him by a tenth, but with Raikkonen edging Vettel. Once again, as those who set their first times on the used Supers got ready to shootout after the checkers, Hulkenberg’s front left wheel decided to go it’s own way as he headed into T7 and T8 red flagging the session without enough time for a second time to be set.

Hopelessly scuppered by this were Massa, Alonso, Button, Grosjean Ericsson and Nasr, with the rest being rather grateful they threw down at the top of the session. And Force India will likely get more than a slap on the wrist for sending the car out in an unsafe condition.

Q3 was all to play for and Raikkonen made it vastly interesting by taking provisional pole after the first runs, with Rosberg and Ricciardo trailing. Vettel elected to sit out the first bite of the apple and as the the drivers hit the track for their last shot it was Rosberg on his outlap actually passing Ricciardo to get the space he wanted. His first sector wasn’t brilliant but he lit up the last 2 sectors to get 0.5s up and Ricciardo snuck in when the telly wasn’t looking to take P2 away from Raikkonen. Vettel’s lap wasn’t the best and he came P4 after missing the hairpin and Raikkonen made exactly the same mistake, setting Ferrari on the second row, with Raikkonen ahead of Vettel.

What’s truly hella interesting is the tyre strategy tomorrow, with Rosberg on Softs and Ferrari with their blinding starts on the Super Softs and Kimi having run a fairly long stint on them just to see what would happen. Ricciardo’s a fairly unknown quantity as it’s been a while since we’ve seen RB starting this far up the grid and, oh yes, Hamilton barnstorming from the back likely to be a fairly fun ride as well.

Thanks for stopping by and play nice in the comments!


12 responses to “#F1 Qualifying Review: 2016 FORMULA 1 PIRELLI CHINESE GRAND PRIX

    • He had previously set a time good enough to make the cut for Q3, then lost a wheel. Since he didn’t take part in Q3, by default he got P10, now relegated to P13 for unsafe release.

  1. Not only did mercedes rob the fans of their expensive track time, they shot themselfs in the foot. By not driving Fp3. Things like that kill f1 even more than some shoot out quali pr decision to forget about classic tracks. Why would someone spend 500€ to not see cars. And they’d seen something was wrong on Lewis his car. Fixed it and should have started 6th anyway. Then he’d have a shot at P1 tomorrow. Now it’ll only be p2.
    And then there is the farce at mclaren. A sedated driver in pain is a better choice than a talented rookie? I hope he doesn’t get to the end of the race because of the pain.

  2. Wehrlein going sideways in that puddle was crazy scary. I have to say that that track surface, support equipment is scary bad! The delay during Wehrlein’s off was like a “Chinese Firedrill” . Using homemade brooms to clean the track while Home Depot is filled with Chinese made lawn blowers? I’m not a big fan of China right now to begin with. Criticizing their ineptness at the Shanghai International circuit is almost too easy, and can possibly be categorized as whining… I don’t like their time zone either! lol…

    • Above all else, there should not have been a 4×4/Jeep/SUV at the edge of the track, on the outside of a corner, no less!!!
      I presume that the radio message from Button was, as is usual, delayed. Why, then, were we still seeing the feed of the vehicle STILL THERE?
      In the wake of the Japanese gp fiasco, and Bianchi’s subsequent death, and in the absence of any clear or meaningful changes to steward/driver safety procedures following the risible ‘investigation’ conducted by FIA, there should have been an immediate red-flag to allow the debris to be cleared without any UNNECESSARY risk.
      This is exactly the kind of complacency and procrastination – with regards to any decisive action – that led to the criminally neglectful mismanagement at Suzuka.
      The constant rule-fuckery should be at the bottom of the drivers’ list of things to shout about whilst the vested interests that steer the sport continue to drive it, blindly, into territory that has led to the first driver death in 20+ years.

      • More rule-fuckery: pit lane jumping – slow side, fast side that has a concrete rule but is eschewed at the steward’s convenience. Even after listening to a conversation with Ron Meadows and Nico Rosberg we witness this illegal move in real time with no consequence. In other races drivers engaging in this illegal move have been given grid place penalties. The obvious danger is in two cars starting simultaneously with the car arriving first knowing the car pulling up along side it must wait.

        All of this, plus the teams being resolute in not wanting to remove those ridiculously complex front wings and create more downforce which would allow for actual racing, is truly making F1 a must not-see sporting event.

      • Fully agreed, I was shouting at the screen,waking the dog then the wife,not a good combo. When will F1 learn that machines not behind a barrier are a damn risk.

  3. is Ferrari’s tyre strategy the results of Grosjeans success on super softs in Bahrain? I think Riccardo pounces and finds something special! It’s setting up to be a great race if the Ferrari’s can keep Nico close and he does not run away with it. Good article Matt! as usual!!!

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