Hamilton and Maldonado share the front row in Spain

2012 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton claimed his third pole position of the year and his first ever at the Circuit de Catalunya.

He will share the front row of the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix will Wiliams driver Pastor Maldonado.

Fernando Alonso took third at home in front of the two Lotuses.


With the soft tyre offering an improvement of over a second per lap over the hard tyre, and the top 14 cars covered by a second in practice, it was clear that none of the front runners would be able to get away with not running the soft tyre in Q1.

Red Bull accepted the inevitable and didn’t even bother to send Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber out for a run on hard tyres at the beginning of the session, holding back until the final six minutes, then heading out on softs.

Even Lewis Hamilton, who was fastest to begin with, decided to use a set of softs to guarantee his place in Q2. His lap of 1’22.583 was seven-tenths faster than anyone else could manage.

The contest to escape Q1 was as close and fraught as usual. Jean-Eric Vergne looked on course to drop out early again when he failed to improve with his last effort.

But he still had Bruno Senna behind him, and the Williams driver had a scruffy middle sector on his final lap. He never made it to the finishing line, spinning off at turn 12, letting Vergne off the hook.

Narain Karthikeyan only completed four laps and his best effort was outside of the 107% time by 1.8 seconds.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’24.981
19Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’25.277
20Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’25.507
21Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’26.582
22Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’27.022
23Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’27.555
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’31.122


Hamilton avoided having to make a second run in Q2 – his first effort of 1’22.465 was good enough to secure him a place in the final ten.

Webber also tried to do a single run but paid the price – he was shuffled down to 12th as the others improved. Jenson Button was another surprise eliminated despite doing a pair of runs, as he continued to struggle with understeer in his car.

Lotus and Toro Rosso only did single runs, coming out late in the session. The Lotus pair made it through but both Toro Rossos were eliminated.

Neither Force India driver made it through to Q3 and Felipe Massa was also eliminated – his lap 0.6s slower than team mate Alonso’s.

Pastor Maldonado was the only driver to beat Hamilton’s time, ending Q2 fastest after his team mate had been knocked out in Q1.

Kamui Kobayashi grabbed a place in Q3 but wasn’t able to make use of it – a hydraulic problem forced him to stop at turn three on his way back to the pits.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’22.944
12Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’22.977
13Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’23.125
14Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’23.177
15Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’23.265
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’23.442
17Felipe MassaFerrari1’23.444


Vettel queued up at the exit of the pits as he waited for the final ten minutes of qualifiyng to begin. But after taking to the track he returned to his garage without setting a time, apparently expecting many other drivers would also not set times.

Hamilton went out next and did set a time. He was followed by the two Mercedes drivers – Rosberg taking second place, Schumacher also pitting without setting a time.

Now the session started to liven up. Fernando Alonso headed out in the Ferrari and produced a superb lap to beat Hamilton’s time. Neither of the Lotuses could beat it, Grosjean edging Raikkonen.

But Maldonado could, and for a few seconds the Williams driver was on pole position with a lap of 1’22.285.

However Hamilton had returned to the circuit, and produced a blistering lap of 1’21.707 to claim pole position by half a second.

Hamilton hit trouble on his return to the pits, his engineer telling him to stop on his in-lap due to an unspecified problem with the car.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.707
2Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’22.285
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’22.302
4Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’22.424
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’22.497
6Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’22.533
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’23.005
8Sebastian VettelRed Bull-RenaultNo time
9Michael SchumacherMercedesNo time
10Kamui KobayashiSauberNo time

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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155 comments on “Hamilton and Maldonado share the front row in Spain”

  1. What an unusual, but exciting session. I can’t wait for the race tomorrow. I have a feeling the guys who held back in Q3 are going to have the last laugh…

    1. Me too. If anything it’s gonna be an interesting Spanish Grand Prix…!

      Now that’s unusual!

      1. I am not sure if Seb n Redbull ve made a mistake by not setting a time in Q3. Sure they have a new set of soft rubber and a choice of starting in either Option or Prime.. but such advantage will be (what should i say..) washed out? if it rains tomo.. when it rains the mandatory option/prime rule doesnt apply right?

    2. @magnificent-geoffrey Reading between the lines in the radio message, I wonder if Hamilton had insufficient fuel at the end of the session.

      Martin Whitmarsh didn’t look “we’ve just won pole position” happy after the session, he looked “I wonder if we’re going to lose pole position” concerned.

      A similar thing happened to Hamilton in Canada two years ago. On that occasion Charlie Whiting issued a bulletin saying:

      Any team whose car stops on the slowing down lap after the race will be asked by the stewards to explain why this happened. If they [the stewards] are not satisfied that the reasons were beyond the control of the driver or team and feel that this has been done deliberately to gain a competitive advantage, appropriate action will be taken.

      Obviously that only refers to the race – it remains to be seen if the same action might be taken after qualifying.

      To the best of my knowledge the sporting regulations do not automatically penalise a driver for stopping after a qualifying lap after running out of fuel. Article 33.2 says:

      Any driver whose car stops on the circuit during the qualifying session will not be permitted to take any further part in the session. Any car which stops on the circuit during the qualifying session, and which is returned to the pits before the end of the session, will be held in parc ferme until the end of the session.

      More on Canada 2010:

      Hamilton beats Red Bulls for third pole in Canada
      Hamilton gets reprimand but keeps pole
      Did running low on fuel give Lewis Hamilton pole position? No.

      1. my thoughts exactly, rather then carrying on, blatently running out of fuel, and definitely not being able to produce a sample at the end of quali…they might as well of just covered it up as a ‘technical issue’ and told lewis to stop out on track to save the last dregs there were in his car…….

        1. By not telling HAM, maybe they also cover the “force majeur for the driver” bit, ie. at least HAM can say it’s not his fault?

      2. Why would Mclaren make such a silly error as not putting enough fuel in the car, particularly considering the clear pace advantage he had throughout quali. In Canada 2010, the reason he ran out of fuel was that he messed up his quali lap, so did a 2nd when it wasn’t planned. There’s no such reason for such an error here.

        Regarding MW, maybe he was a little worried as he wasn’t sure what was wrong with the car, or was a little despondent because of Button’s poor performance?

        1. because they probably thought it was going to be closer, in q2 maldonado in a williams was faster then him, so they deliberatly underfueled the car.

      3. Keith, small error re Red Bulls in Q1, they went out on softs, not hards .

      4. How come drivers weren’t penalised or reprimanded after running out of fuel in the race in Bahrain? I remember at least 2 drivers pulling up straight after the line. How come that’s okay?

        1. Yep, one of them the race winner.

      5. I thought Withmarsh’s reaction was more like “on darn, we just missed another 1-2, mistakes like these will lose us the championship”

        Any idea when a decision on whether Lewis will be penalised will be made?

        1. Correction

          I thought Withmarsh’s reaction was more like “on oh darn, we just missed another 1-2, mistakes like these will lose us the championship”

      6. Andrew Benson just Tweeted the following:

        Little bird tells me McLaren have admitted Lewis Hamilton stopped on track cos no fuel. Not allowed. May well get sporting penalty

        1. That would be unfortunate for someone who has 0.5 second in hand. These mistakes from Mclaren are unfortunate to say the least….

      7. And a bit more:

        McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh admits fuel shortage caused stop. Says a “technical problem led to that situation”. Hoping for force majeure


        1. Thanks for timely updates Keith! Is there a way that links can be opened in a new window rather than taking me away from f1fanatic?

          1. Click your mouse wheel down when you click the link. Or shift+left click.

          2. When you click the link hold the ctrl button on your keyboard (cmd on mac)

          3. or middle click

          4. Thanks to @ajokay & @danbrown180. I can do it now :)

      8. More info from Ted Kravitz:

        Hamilton’s car had 1.3 litres of fuel remaining in tank after he stopped. You need 1lt for FIA sample and approx 2lt for in lap.


        1. So would he of been able to still get pole with 1.7 litres more fuel given his 0.6 advantage

          1. Considering 1 lap is apparently only worth 0.1 or 0.2 seconds- yes.

          2. Yes what @matt99 said. That might not save him though. He has either violated the regs or he hasn’t. If they allow him to keep P1, everyone can then start doing the same thing and blame equipment malfunction.

          3. Very easily so.

        2. To provide more clarity Keith, it was the FIA taking a sample of 1.3L of fuel, not the McLaren having 1.3L remaining when Hamilton stopped out on track.

          1. Source?

            Kravitz clearly said that Hamilton had 1.3L left in the tank when he stopped.

      9. The problem is Keith, they’re more likely to use Article 6.6.2 of technical regulations which state:

        “Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the event.

        “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”

        1. According to the BBC, it was “an operational error in the pits” that caused the car to be underfuelled.

          I think McLaren will have a hard time claiming force majeure over that, since they had plenty of time to act (i.e. by bringing the car in before it ran out of fuel).

          1. Hamilton will start in last place.
            Congrats Mclaren.
            I think it’s time to Ron Dennis come back.

      10. kowalsky is back
        12th May 2012, 19:20

        good catch keith, on witmarsh face. i think dennis must have a different face alltogether. Could anybody describe how it looks like?

  2. Oh yes correct prediction for Pole! And I think Jenson will do well fro 11th, gives him the angle for the alternate strategy!

    1. If Raikk from 11, finished 2, this not mean that every driver who quali 11 will finish 2.

      1. yeah but i hardly believe Button is just “any driver”….. and to be honest nobody, who is familiar with this sport, would say otherwise…

    2. let’s not forget that this is Barcelona…a track in which overtaking is hard! drivers starting from middle of the grid will get stuck in traffic in every stint, damaging their tyres in dirty air!

      1. and also Jenson has been struggling with understeer and balance issues all through the weekend. Now with perc ferme imposed, I doubt he will make a lot of positions. He can aim for some good points but I’ll be surprised if he is anywhere near the top 3.

        1. Not necessarily true, track & air temperatures & the effect they have on tyre temperatures as well as how the car being set up for both qualifying & the race could all have major influences, so the issues Button has had throughout the weekend may be minimized in the race.

          As for his strategy, well historically Barcelona is a track quite difficult to make some overtaking plus given the competitiveness of the cars he’s got out in front of him, don’t expect JB & Webbo (and Vettel) to be able to make full use of their strategies but who really knows how the race is going to pan out, especially how the Pirelli tyres have contributed to the variation in strategies and the amount of overtaking done without the use of DRS. Don’t need to mention the intensity of the race.

          1. I hope it rains so the dry tyre stategy games have less effect on the racing. It’s becoming all about tyres now, don’t like it.

    3. I think Mark and Jenson are in a good position to make a 4 stopper, and it just might work.

  3. Wasn’t there a rule introduced in 2011 stipulating that drivers should get back to the pits after qualifying in a certain time frame, in order to prevent them from deliberately running out of fuel on the in-lap? I won’t be surprised if Hamilton is penalized (although I don’t hope so, as I’m not looking forward to the drama such a penalty would unleash)

    1. After Lewis ran out of fuel in Canada 2010:

      The situation was discussed on Sunday during a meeting of team bosses and race director Charlie Whiting. Whiting reportedly clarified that, in future, any car that runs out of fuel at the end of qualifying will be summoned to the stewards, risking penalties if the reason for the stoppage is not ‘force majeure’.

    2. I thought the same but many cars have stopped both last season and I think every race this year,so clearly that rule got dropped.

      1. No . Don’t write lies. During the race ,after the race is ok to stop but not after qualifying. He is the only one I have seen has done it , and coincidentally in both of those he has gotten the pole.

        1. Any team whose car stops on the slowing down lap after the race will be asked by the stewards to explain why this happened. If they [the stewards] are not satisfied that the reasons were beyond the control of the driver or team and feel that this has been done deliberately to gain a competitive advantage, appropriate action will be taken.

          that rule is actually about the race and not quali…

          1. Race is a completely separate situation.

        2. Calm down Faca, you sound like you are going to pop a vein if lewis does not get a penalty. Goodness gracious, how do you even enjoy F1 if you hate Lewis,s successes so much?

          1. Wasn’t I asking for fairness. The real fan just got fairness. If he wouldn’t have done it cheating, I would have congratulated him.

        3. Well asas far as I know the rule applies to the race and also the race is not over until the last car on the lap has finished

  4. Great lap time, Lewis (sorry about JB). Hopefully Lewis’s car does not have a serious problem. What a breathtaking end of qualifying.

    PS: I don’t mean to offend/hate anyone because of my avatar. Thanks

    1. @zicasso why do u think that ur avatar will offend anybody?

  5. Classical Front 2 Rows:
    Mclaren Williams
    Ferrari Lotus

    1. Classic back 2 rows – 2010 present style.
      Caterham – Caterham
      Marussia – Marussia
      HRT – HRT

      I did not see that comming…

  6. And there I was playing tenis with my “no-f1-fans” mates, telling them practice pace means nothing and Maldonado wouldn’t qualify 2nd.

    1. Ha, Maldonado got you there!

  7. Maldanado’s starts have been traditionally been very poor indeed. So could be interesting to see the front of the field bunch up towards the braking zone to Turn 1, swarming around him, or whatever may take place.

    1. Hopefully he gets a good start and makes it a good race to turn 1, he’ll get past evenetually, through DRS if necessary
      BTW. This is my first ever comment!!!!

        1. Thank You f1alex

      1. Welcome!

        Maldanado’s Q3 time was slower than his Q2 time so maybe he does have a little in hand. Hoping for a good showing from the williams tomorrow.

    2. With Maldonado’s track record it’ll be him taking out either HAM or ALO first corner… Raikkonen for the win, with Webber storming through to take 2nd after benefiting from the extra tyres

  8. These crappy tyres are not only ruining the racing in the races but they have also killed qualifying.

    Once again all you ever hear is tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres.
    Im sick of hearing about these stupid, artificial crappy tyres!

    1. And I’m getting sick of people moaning about it.

      Great to see Maldonado up there, I put a cheeky £5 on him to get a podium here at 100/1! Can’t say I’m really expecting that to pan out but it would be pretty amazing.

      I’m guessing that particular headline isn’t one you had ready in your stockpile though Keith!

      1. @skett Hey, you never know. If that rain shows up it could be Malaysia all over again

      2. Me too. Tyres are always fundamental in racing. Simply because it’s the connection between track and car.

        I rather have challenging tyres than consistent rubber than only drops its pace after 50000 laps, thus giving no chance to the others to catch the best car on the grid, like in 2007.

        Back in the day, managing the tyres was also one of the skills needed to win. I remember people trying to do a whole race without stopping, chosing the harder compound instead of the softer one.

        People always complain…

        1. LOL I don’t think many people want tyres that last 50,000 laps!

          Shock horror, there might actually be a happy medium between what we have now and your extreme example. ;)

      3. Success with that bet @skett, would love to see him pull it off. I agree this session wasn’t boring, it looked like it could have been but then the others came out and put real laps in, and HAM kept going for pole, and made it interesting. Spain with ALO, MAL on podium would be great.

        In fact, even if VET,WEB,BUT are on podium, they have a hell of a race ahead to make it happen, so I think I’d love to see that race tomorrow too!

    2. I think that’s a complete overreaction. We had an exciting qualifiyng session with pole position in doubt until the end. It’s not great seeing some drivers not set times but that is as much a product of the rules forcing those in Q3 to start on the tyres they qualifying on, which is something Pirelli have no control over.

      1. Well Keith, lets get a campaign going to change the rules, giving the teams the choice of which tyres to use and when to use them would cure most of my complaints.

      2. Exactly. Actually i found it quite an interesting session, seeing how Red Bull got Vettel doing 2 runs but not setting a time, and a couple of others doing laps but seeming not really to push. Hamilton in the middle of it doing his thing and focusing on pole. Then the mad dash in the end getting Maldonado on the front row and Alonso right behind in his home race.

        Interesting to see the different approaches, makes for a fascinating race tomorrow and we had a surprise top 3. Not bad for an often predictable and boring Barcelona, I would say.

      3. While I enjoyed the qualifying session, it is disappointing to see teams skip Q3 to save tires. That’s not good for the F1 sport.

        Proposed favomodo rule: Unless there is a technical reason not to drive, teams must do a complete run in Q3 (within 107% of pole time). Penalty: back at the grid.

    3. Do like I do, draw drivers out of a hat, it’s really exciting, results are varied and you get extra time for other things.

    4. There has been way too much emphasis on tyres. In my opinion, it has completely taken away the drivers ability to display their talent. Tyres are all you hear about this year’s season. What happened to drivers not driving to their best ability because of talent, not tyres?……….

      Hamilton was very good on the soft but not so much on the hard tyres whereas Button was doing worse on the soft……

      1. I’m not sure sure. On Friday Button struggled to get enough heat into the hards. Either way, if it rains, it makes no difference.

    5. i for one am not sick of 1 second seperating like 12 drivers or more during q2 each race, its brilliant, and the only thing the tyres are hurting are the drivers who are not 100% in form for a whole lap in qualifying.

    6. and I’m sick of people praising the tyres for the teams being so close together when it is the regulations NOT the tyres that are causing the closeness.

  9. Awesome pace from Hamilton. It looked to me like he managed to switch on the tyres much better than other people today, but unfortunately with the way F1 is at the moment that could mean he then shreds them tomorrow.
    It was encouraging to hear Martin Whitmarsh just say on Sky F1 that it does not sound like an engine or gearbox problem that made Hamilton stop on his in lap.
    Maldonado?!?! Where the hell did that come from?
    Where did Red Bull’s pace disappear to?!?!
    Have Ferrari made that big of a step?!?!
    So many questions in F1 at the moment, love it! Watch out for Button, Webber and Vettel tomorrow though I reckon.

    1. Mclaren’s race pace has been suspect thus far this season so Lewis on pole doesn’t mean much. Let’s see if those upgrades work as well in race conditions.

      I am with you on there being more questions than answers in F1 at the moment. How can Vettel be winning from pole 3 weeks ago and not being competitive in Q3 today.

      Should be fun tomorrow. My vote is for a 5th winner out of 5.

    2. actually Mclaren’s race pace on options was very good on friday.

  10. Wow, I missed qualifying because of a gig but wow, I didn’t see that coming?!?

  11. Hamilton needs to be penilized if they run out of fuel. The rule was introduced after he and that cheater team did it a few years back in Canada. Impressed by Maldonado and Alonso who didn’t have new tyres and did his best lap with a set of used. Last but not least the mclaren in race pace goes backwards while the Ferrari is better.

    1. Don’t think they ran out of fuel. They had some other sort of problem that Whitmarsh claims isn’t a gearbox/engine.

    2. Sounds like a problem and not fuel. But if it was fuel then it would be harsh to penalise him due to others running out of fuel at other recent quali’s and not getting any penalty

    3. agree with Faca 100%. They can’t use the same trick twice. if this goes on, who knows, maybe every team to have their car stop right after the fastest lap. and as we all know, less fuel = faster time. might as well park the car right at the pit exit. do hope mclaren gets a penalty

      1. to pull such as stunt on purpose would be beyond idiotic, given the inevitable penalty and relatively minimal advantage from half a laps less fuel….I think its likely, that if he was under fueled it was a mistake, which is becoming quite characteristic of Mclaren in recent races!

        1. I am with you on that assessment. Mclaren do seem to be able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory so it was likely an error if it is related to low fuel.

      2. It wasn’t fuel though so what on earth are you going on about!

        1. It wasn’t fuel though

          According to who?

          1. Could it have been tire management? Half a lap less of wear could make a difference in the first stint.

          2. According to someone who now appears to lie, like most people in F1 lol

      3. What about all the other cars that have stopped this season and last season?

      4. Really? it is really that big of a problem it now every car do a fastest lap and ran out of fuel? please… I understand it is illegal, but c’mon, that “who knows what will happen now” is just ridiculous.
        Your are all overreacting.
        Beside of all that, great to see Maldonado grab a P2, now maybe people will stop trashing him as “just” a pay driver

      5. and as we all know, less fuel = faster time.

        And if you know that, then you should know that 1lap of fuel = 0.1s.
        So, supposing the average driver uses an extra 1 lap for an “in” lap, and 1 extra laps worth of fuel for scrutineering, that would imply that either Hamilton is still fastest by 3 tenths, or the other teams put in an extra 3 laps worth of fuel – which only an idiot would do.

    4. Don’t you get that they are also conserving tyres like the guys who went out and just drove into the pit like Vettel?

    5. According to the images and the broadcast on Spanish TV ALO used a new set of tyres for his amazing lap on Q3.

      1. all drivers who posted a time in Q3 did it with new set i think

  12. I must say that I AM normally not really into giving penalties for things like running out of fuel. But when I think about having Maldonado on pole tomorrow and Alonso completing the first row, in Spain … Just imagine Maldonado being that fifth driver and team to win!
    I am sure the action behind him would still make it a thrilling race and to have Williams winning again, would be just incredible.

  13. Stunning!! Fantastic return of Alonso and an amazing lap from Maldonado!

  14. Can’t help wondering when ferrari is finally going to sack Massa.

    1. @txizzle – I’ve heard that he has been guaranteed ten races. Which, if true, would mean being replaced after Hockenheim.

      And given Bruno Senna’s performances, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are two Brazilians at the employment centre later this year (which would mean no Brazilians in Formula 1 …).

      1. I think Senna’s drives at Malaysia and China were satisfying enough to let him be himself for at least a couple of more races. In other words, slow and erratic.

      2. If you compare Senna’s performance to Maldonado’s, you just might be right (never thought I say that).

        Either way, something has to be done about Massa. I’ve never been a fan, but this is just getting painfull to watch!

        1. And if you compare Senna’s performance to Massa’s so far, you might even offer one Brazilian the role of replacing the other. Or take Maldonado to Ferrari instead?

          Just joking there guys.

    2. massas performance isnt that great at the moment, but exagerated by how close the field is during qualifying 2 these days, and needing to be out on track in the last minute of q2. if he can make a tiny step up, he will be back in the top 10s, especially with ferrari improving.

  15. Don’t want to jump to conclusions, but it seems like Ferrari are back in the game. At least with Alonso. I won’t be surprised if he wins it tomorrow.

    1. I remember his brilliant start last year…and now Ferrari don’t look like struggling with the prime tyres.

      1. Yup,they have cured that problem and I think they are 1 of the fastest on the Prime tyre if not the fastest.look at Fernando’s lap in FP1 and FP2 for evidance.He was the fastest man on Prime tyres before every1 changed to options

  16. The tyres are the what connects the car to the race track. They are the most important part of most categories of racing.

    1. Yes and you don’t even need anything but the tyre to have a race, exciting isn’t it.

      1. Without tyres, a car is just a useless, non-moving fuel burning machine.

        1. how insightful, very deep thought went into that analogy indeed!!!!!!!!

        2. and without an engine, a car with tyres is just a sitting duck

  17. Ken (@myxomatosis)
    12th May 2012, 14:45

    He has a point, he just didn’t articulate it well. When top drivers are doing sight-seeing laps in what is supposed to be the most intense qualifying session because they want to preserve tyres then surely that’s something that should be looked into, right?

    The tyres could be better, that’s all.

    1. As someone else mentioned though, thats about the rules not the tyres

  18. What an excellent quali session – I thought it would be awful after the first few minutes of Q3.
    Awesome pace from Hamilton and Maldonado, as long as the pit crew don’t mess up I wouldn’t doubt Lewis for the win tomorrow, he certainly has the pace to do it.
    And as for Massa… I won’t say anything.

    1. Poor Massa, I cannot even imagine what’s on his head at the moment. I totally agree, Hamilton has been unlucky with his pit stops this season. If that goes well he is in with a good chance. BUT, Alonso has a strong race pace, is motivated and will have the crowd inciting in his home circuit. Tomorrow’s race promises excitement.

  19. Raikkonen for Win:)

    1. Maybe it’s my own wishful thinking but I’m going to agree with you! C’mon Kimi!

  20. This race could be chaotic, especially considering the chance of rain. I predict Maldonado causes a big accident at turn one (hopefully not taking out Hamilton)

  21. Does anyone know if Massa has all the upgrades as well as Alonso? There must be something more than just driver performance causing that big of a gap.

    1. I believe there is a different nut behind the steering wheel.

    2. Actually Massa was just 0.6 sec off from Alonso in Q2 which is quite usual thing but tightened grid means Alonso made into Q3 but Massa failed. That’s it. not a big deal huh?

  22. Looking on the bright side Webber has 5 sets of new softs and 6 sets of new hards for the race. Tyres being the most important thing in racing ( so I have been told ) we might as well give him the trophy now.

    1. Well you never really do know WHICH race might require you to make 11 mandatory pitstops. Can you really trust the FIA or Bernie?

  23. All you Hamilton jokers –imagine what would happen if it was Alonso that stopped on the track & they penalised him!!! Tyres have already ruined F1 – it has become a “tyre saving” exercise in both qualy & race. Depending how far back you go – definately NOT- back in the day- of F1 being the pinnicle of racing!

  24. Things to take away from qualifying:
    A) If that Ferrari can manage P3 all season, Alonso will take the title.
    B) Massa… very very seriously needs to be looked at.
    C) Button is probably regretting not testing in Mugello. Since Australia, he’s failed to get a hang of the car. Although tomorrow is another day.
    D) The Lotuses are surprisingly consistent and are keeping up in terms of development. Kimi cannot be ruled out as a title contender.
    E) Mercedes, despite the double DRS have fallen massively off-pace. Their race pace wasn’t exactly anything to write about home earlier either.
    F) Red Bull is just confusing the heck out of me! Their proper race pace (and not from the front of the grid!) remains to be seen.
    G) This season is turning out to be better than 2010! I shall dub thee – “The Silly Season”

    1. Regarding Mercedes, I don’t think they were expecting to be fast this weekend. Their DDRS is only really effective on the main straight, and Rosberg was saying last week that they were still struggling in the fast corners.

  25. There’s no much technology around F1, but all of that seems to just get nullified by pirelli’s crapy tyres.
    Speed and that ‘do or die’ attitude is being lost to nursing the tyres home.
    Sport should be about giving all you’ve got all the time!

  26. There’s so much technology around F1, but all of that seems to just get nullified by pirelli’s crapy tyres.
    Speed and that ‘do or die’ attitude is being lost to nursing the tyres home.
    Sport should be about giving all you’ve got all the time!

  27. I was watching with BBC today. ~ Alonso goes P2…Ferrari are going to struggle to make Q3…Kimi goes P4…nice time for Kimi. The British commentators are ridiculous.

  28. I wonder what Vettel will be able to do starting possibly on the hard tyres, well done Maldonado for the 2nd (sadly I can only see him dropping back though). Fantastic from Alonso as well to get that Ferrari on the 2nd row infront of his home crowd, and I’ve got to hand it to Lewis he was fantastic throughout qualifying.
    As for Webber & Button, if they can pull off a Räikkonen then it may well make up for a disappointing qualifying, and the disappointment of the day has to be Senna, is that the lowest position on the grid the Senna name has ever been in F1?

    1. No. Ayrton has qualified lower, and Bruno certainly has when driving for HRT.

    2. You forgot his HRT days:) I think he has more to offer than Maldonado, atleast in the races.

      Also Massa said he ran into some traffic during the lap and lost some time in it. in FP1 he was much closer to Alonso and given the tightness of the grid, I can understand his relative low position. But he can make up a good number of places if Ferrari come up with a good strategy since on Prime tires, the Ferrari is on fire.

  29. Massa was on an average 0.6 sec slower than Alonso in qualifying. Although I was surprised with how much steering input he was putting in corners but he is clearly getting worse by every season. I would have been happier if Felipe left rather than Rubens.

    Mercedes were to struggle on this track anyways. It seems like a one time wonder for me this season as all positives came into one for them in China.

  30. Hamilton-Maldonado front row, that will be interesting given their run ins during the Monaco and Belgian Grand Prix weekends last year.

    1. True enough. I wouldn’t want to be Hamilton with Maldonado beside me. Maldonado has nothing to lose going balls out for the first corner. Fernando may well be in the box seat if it turns to cr@p at the first corner, especially if it’s wet.

  31. it sure will be a great race. Hamilton has got everything to lose and Alonso look great on hard tires My $ is on alonso because he will give everything then some since it’s his home gp. I CAN T WAIT.

  32. Seems there may be the chance of rain sunday. That would be the end for all the different tyre strategies that were going to unfold. I’m still interested to see what RBR can take away from the weekend. Very strange qualifying strategy indeed…

  33. MASSA Vs. HAMILTON 2011:
    Seeing Massa today and his problems and the call for him to relinquish his seat, whose “race should be destroyed now?” I still cannot forgive Smedley for that egregious attempt to ruin a driver’s race!

    Now, as PM already wrote:”Massa could line up collecting unemployment benefit from Rio” (not really how he wrote it but there you go ;-))

    Whiplash is not happy because his “intelligent and smooth driver” could not make Q3 thereby making him look useless.

  34. Lewis may lose pole for not having enough fuel in the car at the end. Lets hope thats not the case. But most likely he will.

  35. I’m sorry, Massa, but your days are numbered. Holy ****, Alonso P3.

    However, Massa being 17th is the only thing that stops this from being a sweet, sweet dream. Alonso P3? Button P11? Webber P12? MALDONADO P2?! Oh my goodness.

  36. @keithcollantine Just out of curiosity, If Hamilton is penalised how will it affect the predictions of this race? If Lewis gets the penalty will he still be counted as the polesitter in terms of the predictions championship? :)

  37. what kind of joke McLaren had become?, terrible pit stops, jeopardizing lewis pole not adding enough fuel, weird strategies, I’m losing the few respect I had for M. Witshmarh, just talk , talk and talk and no results.

  38. Regarding Hamilton & the possibility of him losing pole, Here is the exact wording of the regulation regarding fuel samples & getting back to the pits.

    Article 6.6.2 of the 2012 Technical regulations:

    Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.

    Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.

    James Allen has said that Lewis had 1.3Ltrs of fuel left in the car when he stopped which wasn’t enough to have driven back to the pits & still had the required 1ltr of fuel left in the car.

    Seems fairly clear that unless there was a genuine technical problem with the car they have failed to comply with the above regulation & they will be lucky to avoid some form of penalty (Deletion of his fastest Q3 time under the rules I believe).

  39. Jake Humphrey

    I’m hearing Williams are on pole and Lewis starts at the back…nothing official yet…

    1. Thats now been made official, Lewis has been sent to the back of the grid as McLaren did not put enough fuel in the car for the qualifying lap & and stopped car deliberately to ensure it had sample.

  40. the stewards will always hit Hamilton and Mclaren very hard. IAM not surprised.
    hamilton should consider going to drive NASCARS. in the USA.

    1. HERE is the link from autosport…hamilton disqualified from qualifying….very harsh penalty indeed…


  41. He will share the front row of the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix will Wiliams driver Pastor Maldonado.
    Should be “with Williams”.

  42. Good quali session today. A few real surprises. It was strange in that regard. I think we’re in for a brilliant show tomorrow folks!

  43. Imagine what could have been if Williams had kept Hulkenberg…

  44. Mark lewington
    13th May 2012, 12:49

    F1 FIA Stewards feedback Your all IDIOTS, really think about the Hamilton decision…

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