Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015

Hat-trick for Hamilton after narrow pole position win

2015 Chinese Grand Prix qualifying

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015Lewis Hamilton continued his monopoly on pole positions in 2015 with his third in a row at the Chinese Grand Prix.

But team mate Nico Rosberg came close to taking it away – his best effort was less than five-hundredths of a second off Hamilton’s pole time.

Sebastian Vettel again provided the closest challenge to the flying Mercedes but had to settle for third place, nine-tenths of a second behind.

Q1

With the soft tyres offering a performance gain of around 1.7 seconds over the medium compound, only Mercedes were able to make it through Q1 without using the softer rubber.

Hamilton and Rosberg were decisively the quickest of the medium-tyre runners, and once their rivals had used the soft tyres the Mercedes pair were still as high as fifth and eighth. The Ferrari pair, Valtteri Bottas and Romain Grosjean led the times after their soft tyre runs.

Despite hurried repairs to his car after final practice, in which he suffered an engine problem, Fernando Alonso made it onto the track at the start of the session. However both he and team mate Jenson Button failed to make the cut for Q2, the pair separated by four-thousandths of a second.

They were comfortably clear of the two Manors – both of which were well inside the 107% time – and joined in an early exit by the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’39.216
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’39.276
18Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’39.280
19Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’42.091
20Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’42.842

Q2

Despite Mercedes being unable to see the telemetry from his car, and suffering a recurrence of the overheating seat problem which plagued him during practice, Hamilton posted a 1’36.423 early in Q2 to head the times from Rosberg, who was three-tenths of a second slower. The Ferrari drivers were next, Vettel a little over half a second slower than Hamilton.

However Daniil Kvyat abandoned his first run after reporting a loss of power in his Red Bull. Kvyat made it back onto the track for a final run, but missed out on a place in Q3 by less than a tenth of a second. The margin was even finer for Pastor Maldonado, whose session came to an end for the sake of just seven thousandths of a second.

Sergio Perez also did a single run in Q2, which he began less than a minute before the chequered flag came out. He ended up slowest of the Q2 runners and will therefore start on the same row as his team mate.

Neither Toro Rosso driver made the cut for the top ten, both losing time on different parts of the Shanghai track. “Not a good lap,” Carlos Sainz Jnr reflected, while Max Verstappen owned up to locking his brakes at turn six.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’38.134
12Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’38.209
13Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’38.393
14Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’38.538
15Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’39.290

Q3

In a repeat of what happened last time in Malaysia, Hamilton’s first run proved good enough for pole position – but one of his rivals came very close to snatching it away from him.

This time it was Rosberg, who ended a lap which had not looked promising at first with a flying final sector which left him just four hundredths of a second off his team mate. “Oh come on guys!” he exclaimed when told how close he had come to pipping Hamilton.

The Ferrari drivers used old tyres for their first run which left them around two seconds off the Mercedes. Nonetheless Vettel managed to split the two Williams drivers, Bottas having had a messy first lap including a costly slide at the exit of turn 12.

His second effort was cleaner, but for the third time in a row he was beaten by Massa, who produced what he called a “great lap”. Raikkonen was mystified by his car’s handling in the first sector and qualified behind both the FW37s while Vettel beat the pair of them to claim third.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.782
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’35.824
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.687
4Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’36.954
5Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’37.143
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’37.232
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’37.540
8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’37.905
9Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’38.067
10Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’38.158

2015 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Chinese Grand Prix articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

96 comments on “Hat-trick for Hamilton after narrow pole position win”

  1. His second effort was cleaner, but for the third time in a row he was beaten by Massa, who produced what he called a “great lap”.

    You’re going to call my judgement premature but I said it last year too. There is plenty left in that tiny Brazillian man ot beat the overhyped Finn.

    1. steve (@maximustotalus)
      11th April 2015, 9:23

      He’s not down and out yet he has helped in taking Williams back to a top 3 team

    2. I think Massa is a truly good to great qualifier. However what matters is the race and Massa has proven time and again to come up short. Bottas’ overtake in Malaysia two weeks ago being the perfect example. I also think this is why Raikkonen and Button are 1 time WDCs and Massa a 0 times WDC. Ultimately Massa complicates life for his teams because honestly it would be better to have Bottas in front…

    3. Massa’s pace varies so much. Remember it was announced he was leaving Ferrari and he found half a second! I appreciate it must be demoralising to be a 2nd driver but you have to show you are fast if you want to be number 1!

      Massa has the outright pace to be one of the quickest drivers out there but then it goes missing for months on end.

    4. I do believe Bottas didn’t feel fully comfortable in his car in Q3 like he said. However, hats off to Massa today, he did a great job without the new front wing which Bottas had, and yesterday’s crash was due to the team’s reason which cost him the new wing.

      However, tomorrow is another day, Massa did no long run this weekend, so Bottas should have upper hands anyway. Good luck to this pair!

  2. Epic Lewis

    1. Yes epic, considering how slow his car is compared with the other teams.

      1. I wish this site had a like button.

      2. Ha ha ha ha +1000000

      3. I always laugh when I read comments like yours. “The car”… Of course it’s the car. It was the car when Vettel won, Button, Alonso, Prost, Senna and all previous WDC who won in the best car. No?

        1. Most WDCs are won with the best car, of course! But taking three poles in a row, with the most dominant car ever, with a team mate who is clearly a worse driver is not exactly an achievement. And it is a far, far cry from epic. Hamilton is one of the best drivers out there, I won’t take that from him. But he hardly has a hard job right now. Might be the easiest WDC yet, we’ll see how the season plays out.

          1. Precisely what I am trying to say

          2. @toxbox

            Taking a pole is always an achievement.

            And calling Nico a ‘worse driver’ is just a negative slant on saying Lewis is a better driver.

            Contrary to what keyboard critics on the internet night think, Mercedes see the actual data from the drivers. Nico is there on merit, but Lewis is just one of maybe two or three drivers on another level.

            The same thing happened with Jenson. People called him slow and past it based on relative performance to Lewis, then two years in a row he showed two young and promising drivers how it’s done. It’s too early to judge him against Alonso yet, but I think it will be closer than we think.

          3. @philipgb

            Replying to myself because I can’t reply you.

            This is a really odd comment of you, if you ask me.

            Nico is worse than Hamilton, Hamilton is better than Nico. Whats your point here? Does it really which way you say it? I just don’t see what you’re trying to say here.

            Yes, Mecedes can see the actual telemetry from the drivers cars. I don’t think many people would argue with this, keyboard critic or not. Again, I don’t see what you are trying to say here?

      4. If its just the car……Why is Nico not on ploe?

  3. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
    11th April 2015, 9:23

    Huge jump in pace over Q3 that I wasn’t expecting, nearly 2 seconds.

    1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      11th April 2015, 9:23

      P3, sorry.

      1. Indeed, got my prediction wrong by more than a second. Wow.

        1. Mine was almost perfect!

  4. Maybe I’m missing something, but did Mercedes really need to send out their two drivers for a final stint in Q3? I know Lewis and Nico are jockeying for pole so maybe I can understand Nico going out. However, Lewis must know that regardless if he or Nico start on pole he’s winning the race barring forces beyond his control.

    1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      11th April 2015, 9:26

      Yeah, I don’t think F1 drivers are programmed to think that way. He wanted pole and there was no he was going to just sit in the garage and potentially let Rosberg take it.

      1. @weeniebeenie

        there was no he was going to just sit in the garage and potentially let Rosberg take it

        If Mercedes were to say the drivers weren’t going to run again then it wouldn’t be Hamilton’s decision to make.

        I’m happy they’re still letting their drivers fight but suspect a time will come when their rivals get close enough that they start to rein it in a bit.

        1. Thing is, how long is that? It’s tricky, they have to balance between ‘doing the best for the sport’ and making sure they have enough guarantee they will get the constructors. It would be interesting to know what the Mercedes board funding the F1 team think the target number of constructors they think they can win is, would they be happy with two? If the rules start to shake up for 2017 are they going to start work on the car as early as for the 2014 regs or focus on ensuring a title in 2016?

          1. We think that F1 is a sport but for the teams it’s a business. And frankly everyone is doing nothing for ‘the good of the sport’. Only for themselves.

            I can’t see any drastic rule change in the near future ’cause the big teams have great power and they can veto anything they don’t like. Only if RBR splits from Renault or decide to sell (Audi) even better, there would be some grande-mega change regulation-wise!

      2. Merc should have just run that 1 time especially that both drivers made no mistakes on their runs. Rosberg’s desire to get pole compromised the whole team for the race tomorrow.
        I hope in the future they can set some sort of rules where it’s fair and gets the team in the best position for the race.

        1. Compromised what? They both have one brand new set of option tyres. Tomorrow will be a 2 stopper and they have to start on their Q2 tyres and must use both compounds. They lost nothing with their second Q3 laps.

          1. 5 softs for the weekend:
            1 used on Friday
            1 used in fp3
            1 used in Q2 – start the race on
            2 new sets used in Q3
            This means for second or third stints they will not have new option.

            Have I missed something?

          2. @ivan-vinitskyy 6 softs and 7 mediums for the weekend

          3. They start the weekends with 13 sets and by the time qualifying starts there are 4 sets of primes and 3 sets of options left (except for maybe one used set of primes they’re usually all fresh). There’s also that one extra Q3 exclusive set of options for Q3 so that leaves both Mercs with one fresh set of each compound left for the race.

        2. I don’t understand this logic @ivian-vinitskyy. This is how Merc have operated for the past 41 races Lewis and Nico have been teammates. Why should they feel the need to change it now especially since nothing was compromised. They had 2 new sets of soft tires each which they will not need in the race so why not let them decide on track who gets pole and not decide it on the pit wall.

        3. The day Rosberg starts thinking that way and act as a team player he might as well pack and go home, its game over and he will have lost his possibility to become champ. Good thing Mercedes let their drivers fight.

          1. I’m not blaming him, I’m blaming the team. By running again Rosberg did not only not beat Ham but may also fall behind Ferraris tomorrow

        4. I’d agree that Mercedes have effectively handed Ferrari, and Vettel in particular (given he is closer to the front than Kimi), a strategic advantage by not saving an extra set of soft tyres for the race.
          Vettel himself has already commented that he thinks that extra set of tyres will help close the performance gap between themselves and Mercedes, and the practise sessions suggested that Mercedes were losing out a bit on scrubbed soft tyres too.

          Whilst it is understandable that Rosberg would have wanted to take pole and try to control the race from there, since he would then have first call on the teams strategy calls, in the process it has weakened Mercedes’s strategic options and runs the risk of backfiring in the race.

          Ivan Vinitskyy is right in pointing out that Rosberg in particular might actually be worse off now thanks to that decision – as the slower of the two Mercedes drivers, he is probably now at a greater risk of being passed by at least one, and potentially both, Ferrari drivers.

          1. Nobody forced Hamilton to go out on a second run, though, surely? Only Rosberg could have bettered his time. After setting such a fast time on his first run, it might have been more interesting to save a set of options and pile more pressure on to Rosberg by staying put in the garage. I’m sure later in the season he’d have thought more tactically – just now stacking up the pole positions on his record probably counts more.

        5. @ivan-vinitskyy They get an extra set for Q3.

          1. Yes, and they used two sets in Q3, when they didn’t have to =)

        6. @ivan-vinitskyy So you’re saying Team Brackley sent them out for a second run only after ROS begged for another attempt?

          Seriously?

          This means for second or third stints they will not have new option.

          If they’re bad enough at preserving tyres they wouldn’t want a new set of options for those anyway, lest a 3-stopper might give the win to Ferrari.

          1. @davidnotcoulthard I’m sure management didn’t want to make new orders in a middle of the session but surely with their harder use of tires over Ferrari there will be races where it would be beneficial to keep 2 sets of fresh option tires for the race. I was wrong thinking they had 5 options they have 6 so not an issue this weekend. 3 stopper seems too much.

          2. @ivan-vinitskyy

            there will be races where it would be beneficial to keep 2 sets of fresh option tires for the race

            At which they’ll just strategise their tyre use differently should they see the need for it.

    2. Well, with that assumption, we should already give Lewis WDC and most poles trophy. Why waste so much of time, money and fuel. Every team should stop developing there 2015 cars and start working on 2016 cars?

      1. If we’re being honest, it’s hard to argue otherwise. He’s arguably the best driver (or among the top two) driving the best car with a teammate who can hardly match him on the best if days. Given there are no unforeseen circumstances, he should win this race in a walk. Now if temperatures get out of what or risky pit strategies are on tap tomorrow then I already envision Lewis on the top step. It may not be ideal to think the season is over but for all intents and purposes it’s Mercedes’ to lose. So yeah, maybe some teams need to start thinking about 2016 earlier than planned.

        1. Hmm I understand where you are going, but the other 9 teams are out there to challenge them and if we are being honest, I think only Ferrari can beat Mercs.

          What if Mercs didnt let both their cars to make a final run in Q3 and if Vettel made it to the pole with his last lap? All threads will be full of comments – how arrogant Mercs are, how foolish they were to not send their drivers out again.

          I know I made a lot of assumptions in above point, but the fact is we all love something unexpected to happen. Nobody expected Vettel to win Malaysia on dry conditions ( few were hoping that in rain Vettel might have a chance) . Mercedes were caught napping in Malaysia, they did not want a repeat here. It would be very bad for them PR wise.

          1. Thank goodness the Mercedes team are racers, and are giving their drivers a fair shot against each other for pole. And have enough confidence tire-wise, car-wise, and driver-wise to do that. What a shame it can even be suggested that NR not bother trying for pole as a better strategy for Sunday.

            NR was within a hair of LH. Why suggest he should just take a back seat and hand LH the pole? Is this racing or not? He came within feet of being on pole. It’s game on. NR is there to beat LH and everyone else, and win races and the Championship. I fail to see how ceding pole when it was obviously within reach, furthers that cause. They were so close, why not suggest LH should have ceded pole to NR then, if that is such a great strategy? Just assume tire wear is going to be the same issue for them as Malaysia, and the same strength for Ferrari, and throw in the towel for quali?

            Not in my F1 I tell ya.

  5. So the new rear wing comes with a +.2 increment to the times than decreasing it? Good job Williams unless Bottas made a mistake in Q3.

    1. Or maybe Massa is just better? Maybe.

      1. Massa’s only strength is indeed qualifying.

  6. steve (@maximustotalus)
    11th April 2015, 9:31

    I reckon Mercedes upgrades are worth .5 over a lap I think vettel may jump rosberg tomorrow in the race and challenge Lewis for the win

    1. Yeah I think that may happen too, we saw in Sepang how conservative rosberg is at the start. Perhaps he has learnt from that, perhaps not.

      1. It would be interesting to see how Rosberg handles Vettel off the start if Vettel challenges him, after the start went for Rosberg in Malaysia. Vettel is a tough cookie off the start (sometimes just pure ruthless) @williamstuart

        I wonder if Rosberg will say enough is enough and be more aggressive with his car positioning, or whether his confidence in that respect is still bruised following the fallout from Spa last year

  7. Hard not to lose a bit of faith in Bottas, it’s a pity. Massa is not top tier so Williams have a driver disadvantage. Shame about Kimi too.

    On the upside I’m finding Ferrari more likeable without Montezemolo, and Seb more likeable without Marko and Horner. And good for Grosjean and Lotus, I hope he can have a clean race.

    1. I think you’re being a bit hard on Bottas and too dismissive of Massa. Felipe can be really quick on his day. He just lacks consistency. I think Valterri will end up ahead of him tomorrow, which is the most he can do in that car at the moment. I predicted him to finish 5th tomorrow =)

      1. Well @njoydesign I keep waiting for Bottas to do to Massa what Alonso did and it keeps not happening. Yes Felipe can be quick but he’s not in the class to take on Lewis and Seb.

        I do like Valterri but so far he’s not quite living up to the hype, on track.

        1. @lockup
          Well I’m not a fan of either (however, I try to treat every driver with respect, unlike certain people on F1F Live feed who enjoy insulting everyone left and right), but let me say this – I feel that Velterri can be a bit relaxed at times, in a way similar to Kimi, and one other thing they have in common is that they usually look better on race day than on Saturday, with an ability to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way (Mika was a master at that too). He definitely has talent, but the situation he is in does not really require that much of him, resulting in a sort of stagnation. He is normally faster than Massa but at the same time the car is not there to challenge for WDC. With his place in the team cemented, there is little reason for him to squeeze everything out of himself, and equally no reason to humiliate Massa. And yet, this calmness of his is what consistently brings the team points, while Felipe is more error prone, because he has to push himself all the time in order to match Valterri.

          1. of course, this is just my perception and opinion and should be only viewed as such.

          2. @njoydesign I don’t know if it would be better for Bottas not to be trying 100% if that’s what you’re saying. Tho I don’t see it that way I have to say. Surely, as he’s said, Valterri has to be trying to head the queue for a seat at Ferrari or Mercedes, by putting in consistently awesome performances.

            But if he’s top tier he won’t be able to help himself driving at the max. If there’s one quality we see in LH/FA/SV it’s their insane level of intensity in the car.

          3. @lockup
            Mmm, maybe I went a bit long in my explanation and it obscured the point a bit. What I meant is that he does indeed need to try harder. And as I said, to me it feels like he is just very comfortable in Williams right now and thus there is no real incentive for him to try harder. You just laid it out in a clearer form in your last reply =)

          4. Ah @njoydesign we agree then. I’m just really willing Wiliams on, more than anything, cos for all the talk about engines it’s clear the driver is as vital a part of the equation as ever. So I’m disappointed that Bottas hasn’t really shone yet.

    2. I think Massa has found more and more speed since 2012. The reason one for this could be that it takes 4 years and more for a driver to fully recover from a brain blow; and reason two for this is defintely the full support from the whole team make him more comfortable and more focused.
      He has matched Alonso’s qualifying performance in 2013 and of course could be quicker in next years.

      Bottas had clearly better one-lap pace (around 2 tenths) last year and is not likely to slow down this year

  8. @njoydesign I think what people are wondering is how Bottas can be considered by Toto as a sufficient replacement for Hamilton when he is struggling to best an over the hill Massa. Not that I think Massa is past it. By that is how he is percieved. Bottas needs to be wiping the floor with him to catch the eye of the bigger teams else he will be another Hulkenburg, you know, just not dominant enough over his teammates to catch the eye. Look at Ricciardo 2014. Now thats how you make a statement and announce your arrival.

    1. @blackmamba
      Oh, I didn’t know he was touted as a replacement to Lewis. Well, that does change a few things. I can only agree.

  9. Kimi keeps failing in the most important moment. Can’t wait to hear excuses Kimi fans will come up with )

    1. Leave him alone, he knows what he’s doing.

      1. Does he?
        I am starting to doubt him. I fear he may just be a tad overrated.

    2. @ivan-vinitskyy You doi realise than qualy isn’t the most important moment of a GP even’t, do you not?

      1. It’s not the most important moment, but for Kimi starting 6th, it’s certainly defining. He’s going to get bogged down in traffic in the first couple of corners and he could end up slipping further back, which then impacts his race. Except there won’t be an excuse that the team didn’t get him out soon enough in Q2, etc.

        The Ferrari’s best chance in the race is to stay close to the Merc and not fall behind slower cars.

      2. @davidnotcoulthard Really? I though 0 points for pole was signifying that it was the most important session of GP.

        In all seriousness as @uan above have already stated from performance point of view he doesn’t need slower cars in front of him. Even in clear air getting to Mercs might be difficult. And then of course bad start / or even average might put him among the pack where it’s more likely to collide with other cars.

        1. @ivan-vinitskyy

          Really? I though 0 points for pole was signifying that it was the most important session of GP.

          Excuse my over-literal (mis)interpretation of this, then :(

          Kimi keeps failing in the most important moment.

  10. So, Hamilton now has 5 poles in total at China (2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015).
    That’s a record, with Vettel next on 3 poles (2009, 2010, 2011) and Alonso with 2 (2005, 2006). No other driver has had multiple poles here.

    Hamilton also hold the record for most wins in China, with 3 (2008, 2011, 2014). Alonso is the only other driver to have had multiple wins here, with 2 (2005, 2013).

    Hamilton has been on the podium in 6 of his 8 Chinese GPs, with the only exceptions being 2007 (his infamous retirement from pole position) and 2009 (finished 6th during McLaren’s tough start to the 2009 season).

    1. your point being ?

      1. @papalotis Just posting some (hopefully) interesting statistics.
        Here’s another one: Hamilton’s fifth pole position at China meant that he became only the fifth F1 driver in history to score 5 or more poles at the same track. The other drivers to achieve this feat were Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

    2. @polo Thanks for that, love the interesting stats. @papalotis what did you contribute?

    3. Hamilton has also won here under every major rule shakeup he’s been competing during.

  11. What does Vettel mean they saved an extra set of softs? They did use one set less in P3 compared to Mercedes (Hamilton) but they used one set more in Q1.

  12. Interesting, Hamilton’s best Q1 time from 2013 was only 0.011 seconds slower than his pole time this year. However saying that, the pole time was only 1.3 seconds faster than this year, so that’s some progress as long as they’re both representative laps. Maybe with natural progression the cars will be around as fast as 2013 by next year. Progress?

    1. Ah, comments I love to see

  13. @lockup i completley agree Kpcart was crngewothy he said put Ric or Bottas in the Merc they would beat Hamilton, lol….

    1. It makes no difference, Bottas and Ric are not in a Merc, they have to maximise the potential of their current car, momentum changes with all the time, 4 years of Red Bull clean up, now it is Mercedes who are the top dog and this is how F1 has been all along.

      Lastly, Hamilton might have had competitive cars so far in his career but he earned that with his stellar performances in the junior categories, if as a team manager I need to pick a driver, the most obvious option is to look at their CV and give it to the best driver alas this might no longer be case as many teams are struggling financially.

  14. Matthew Coyne
    11th April 2015, 13:36

    Season is going exactly as I predicted so far, Rosbergs excuse this time according to SSN is that he had to go too fast on his out lap because of the gap to Vettel.

    Rosberg has no answer to Lewis when all things are equal, pole was there for the taking for him today with Lewis’s scruffy second lap and he still couldn’t quite do it – Lewis has had around 0.3s/lap over Rosberg all weekend.

  15. obviously this was a great qually and i cant wait to see what the Ferrari can do in race pace but am the only person that was a little impressed with ric today? the rb and renault has some major issues but i feel he drove the skin off of it today to get even close to williams. no other renault engined cars even made q1, could i even been brazen to say it was alonso like in getting the best out of a terrible car? i know that the cars behind him aren’t much better but as much as everyone hates rbr right now, ric is still a shining light in the team and he looks like he is the only one really trying.

    1. not to say kyvat wasnt trying but he seemed overawed with the problems RBR are facing

      1. @azzimus Kyvat is still very young and only had one year to prepare before elevation to a top team. Ric had over 2 years and Seb had a year and a half prior to moving on from STR. I hope folks will give him time to continue to develop.

    2. More Alonso than Alonso who was beaten again in qualifying by his team mate in his really bad McMinardi sorry McLaren Honda.

  16. i can see a challenging race coming this weekend,
    with yellow tires being 2sec faster than whites,
    Merc running 13laps per set of Yellows x 2sets = 26 laps leaves 30 laps on whites,
    so any extra laps Ferrari gain running yellow will = 2sec gains, on Merc,
    if Seb can stay within 2sec’s of Ham/Rosb which is likely because Merc will tell their boys to save the tires once they have a gap,
    then if Vet can do another couple of laps on his Yellow it will keep him in contention,
    the proof of better tire management will come when all swap over to whites which should be the last stint of 30laps for Merc,
    if the Ferrari’s can do another 4laps on yellow they will have a spare 6 to 8secs to maybe jump the Merc’s in that last and only run on whites,
    if Merc run one car in the second stint with white tires, that will turn to custard for that driver if its Rosb i believe,
    why? because the Ferrari’s will roar past him at 2 sec’s a lap for maybe a gain of 15laps = 30sec, poor Rosb will not recover from that, as he will have to make that up before the end of the race on his stint on yellows.
    going to interesting race for sure….

    1. I’m not sure it will be close. Mercedes will put about 10s lead on the field in the first stint, out of any undercut range even if Ferrari go longer an dome out on options again. I think Mercedes has the three stop option in hand, such is their shocking pace on the softer tire. Ferrari will have to run them down on a prime to prime battle at the end and they don’t have dominant pace on prime. Yes, MB could try to stretch out the softs but that would be a mistake. They need to put the pressure on Ferrari, not run a tire preservation race, effectively defending.

    2. It certainly looks like its going to be another interesting race but I don’t think anyone can pull off soft-soft-medium tomorrow despite the advantage the soft offers. With temperatures higher than last year and tyre compounds that are 1 step softer than Malaysia, the temperature relative to the performance of the tyres may be similar to what we saw in the last race. I expect the teams to stick to soft-medium-medium strategy in case of an event free dry race.

      Unless there is a safety car very early (say in the first 8 laps or so) then Merc might 3 stop for a soft-medium-medium-soft and Ferrari/Williams might try to counter that with a 2 stopping soft-medium-soft.

  17. missed my pole prediction by .218 !! Now to see if at least I can nail the top five.

  18. Disappointed by Bottas today, that’s now 3:0 to Massa in quali.

    1. With respect, talk to anyone who has had any, even slight disk surgery…

      Best case you will maybe 95% in three to six months.

      Worst case and if the damage is bad you will never be the same again. Witness the demise of Tiger Woods of late (and that was nothing like a bad one – say clearing out three disks or so – burst is hugely worse than swollen – the inner material is damaging to nerves over and above compression)

      Give the guy a break – it will take a while. I know – I used to race and ended up retiring for good due to the very same operation 15 years ago!

    2. I truly don´t understand why you or anybody else can be disappointed because X driver was beaten in three qualis in a row by a driver with a decade in the F1 and 11 victories under his belt. Unless, of course, you choose to believe all that about Massa being slow, being such a bad driver etc etc, because THEN being beaten by such a driver will be disappointing. Reality shows that this is utter nonsense.
      So, the thing is: Massa is NOT as bad as Alonso’s fans want you to believe, faaaar from that, and Valtteri is not the next Ayrton. To me, it seems that Williams have now one driver with enormous experience to lead a team, splendid capacity to help develop a car (specially is the car is already quite good), and very good raw pace. This driver is Massa. And also have a young driver with wild speed, very good race pace, good strategic vision and CONSISTENCY, something that is very difficult to achieve and something that let the team reaps plenty of points (=cash). This dude is Valtteri.
      I have no doubt that with a better car Valteri will be one day a champ. But what the car he has now and the strong team mate that he has now, he is doing a very fine job.

  19. Qualifying 2015:
    Button 2
    Alonso 0

    1. Salary 2015 :
      Button 15 Million $US
      Alonso 50 Million $US

  20. Well done Lewis! I am happy.

  21. Last year after Germany it looked like Lewis may no longer have been the fastest qualifier. I think what we’re seeing so far this year is how much the brake change made after that incident hurt him as he seems back to having a clear edge again this year.

    He’s grabbing pole with his banker laps.

Comments are closed.