Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Hamilton claims pole with “sexy” record-breaking lap

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap ever seen at a Bahrain Grand Prix weekend to claim pole position for the second race of 2016.

Hamilton was left with it all to do after an error on his first run in Q3 meant he began his final run in fourth place behind the Ferraris.

However doubts over Formula One’s elimination qualifying format were not dispelled by its second running, which again saw several long periods of inactivity.

Q1

The first car made its way to the pit lane exit two minutes before Q1 was due to begin. Sebastian Vettel took up the head of the queue followed by the two Mercedes drivers and joined soon afterwards by the other Ferrari.

Within three minutes of the session starting almost every driver had set a time and the front runners were already on their way back to the pits where they spent the next quarter of an hour. That left a handful of cars on track to sort out the minor positions.

Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto were swiftly ejected, neither having sufficient time to rejoin the track and run again. Nasr locked up at turn one during his sole run, leaving him last.

The next man to drop was Jolyon Palmer who did manage to squeeze in a second run. But it was only quick enough to move him ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, who immediately pushed him back down again and progressed to Q2.

Pascal Wehrlein had enough time to get his Manor up to a strong 16th, leaving Sergio Perez by the wayside in the process. The second Renault of Kevin Magnussen was also eliminated, though the stewards have already ruled he will start the race from the pits.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’32.806
17Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’32.840
18Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’32.911
19Kevin MagnussenRenault1’33.181
20Jolyon PalmerRenault1’33.438
21Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’34.190
22Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’34.388

Q2

Much the same procedure was repeated at the beginning of Q2, only this time it was Raikkonen’s turn to lead the Mercedes around – and Vettel managed to beat one of them. A slight mistake by Rosberg at turn ten left him almost half a second off Hamilton’s time, and allowed Vettel to take advantage as well.

Daniil Kvyat, Jenson Button, Esteban Gutierrez and Stoffel Vandoorne were eliminated without any of them setting a further lap time. That guaranteed Vandoorne will make his F1 debut having out-qualified his world champion team mate.

Nico Hulkenberg found time to improve and claim a place in Q3, ensuring the two Toro Rossos also droped out and denying Romain Grosjean’s Haas a place in the final eight.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

9Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’31.756
10Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Ferrari1’31.772
11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’31.816
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’31.934
13Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’31.945
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’31.998
15Daniil KvyatRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.241

Q3

Rosberg regained the initiative with the first round of laps in Q3, ducking under the 90-second barrier as Mercedes unleashed the full potential of their W07.

Hamilton had looked on course to at least match his team mate, but he ran wide at the exit of the final corner and was dragged wide onto the run-off, losing several tenths. The Ferrari pair took advantage, which left Hamilton scrambling to begin his final lap before the eliminations caught up with him.

Hulkenberg, the Williams drivers and Daniel Ricciardo were the first to go before Hamilton got it together. His final effort was impeccable – error-free and searingly fast.

Mark Webber’s track record of 1’29.527, which has stood since 2005 when F1 cars were powered by three-litre V10 engines, fell when the W07 crossed the line. “That was a sexy lap” exclaimed Hamilton after beating Webber’s effort by three-hundredths of a second.

Rosberg very nearly beat it as well – his final effort left him within a tenth of a second of Hamilton. Vettel was left ruing his own mistake at the final corner, but it likely did not account for the half-second difference between him and the pole sitter.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’29.493
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’29.570
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’30.012
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’30.244
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’30.854
6Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’31.153
7Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’31.155
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’31.620

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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90 comments on “Hamilton claims pole with “sexy” record-breaking lap”

  1. I know they’ll be more complaints about qualifying but there were alot of positives; Grosjean, Wehrlein and Vandoorne did well and we had a gripping conclusion and a lap record. All the new format has really done is shifted the action towards the start of sessions so I can take or leave it based on what we’ve seen so far.

    1. I don’t know if you’re just understating the “take it or leave it” bit, but if F1 take it, a lot of people will be leaving it…

      That was truly abhorrent. Again… Not even close to there being as much action in qualifying as before.

      1. knoxploration
        2nd April 2016, 18:44

        A lot of people have already left it. I didn’t watch qualifying. I won’t be watching qualifying. I didn’t even bother to DVR it because I knew it wouldn’t be worth watching.

    2. The final phase will always be awful, but if the artificial division of quallie into q1, q2, q3 was removed, the rest of it would flow fairly well. The time wasted on the breaks could be re-allocated to allow a longer pre-elimination period and more time between each elimination.

      1. “the rest of it would flow fairly well”

        How does it flow well for a bunch of drivers to do a lap, then just sit in the garage watching a clock tick down while the next 3-4 drivers get eliminated one by one with no action on track because there’s no way for them to refuel, then do an outlap+1 to respond. Might as well at least eliminate multiple drivers at once and allow them some serious time to set a couple of laps. But then that’s basically what the Q1,2,3 system is anyway!

        1. The old system would unquestionably be better, but with more up-front time and no gaps between phases, there should be a trickle of at-risk drivers putting up a lap (or so my theory goes). Without the need for everyone to set a time each phase, there might be less overall activity though.

      2. This would actually keep the action flowing.
        The elimination is killed by the stopping each session.

        Make one session 50 mins long
        5 mins in start dropping people every 3 mins (enough time to get out and set a lap) also give them all the tyres they want.
        At the end of the 50mins you have the top 5 drivers left.

        They get 15mins to blast around the track and set the fastest laps they can.

    3. it only worked better then Melbourne because the top teams had an extra set of the softest tyres they were willing to use for another run. in the midfield teams were happy with 9th to 12th place instead of trying to get to the top 8, because they get a free tyre choice for the start. overall it was much better then Melbourne, but still much worse then the old system, the only things this qualifying system passed on were things that already worked in the last system.

    4. Apart from Hamilton’s lap qualifying in Bahrain was even worse than in Australia. Both Q2 and Q3 were dead-zones. The 90 second interval means there’s no time to repsond when another driver sets a fast pace and so they just give up and sit in the pits.

      I must admit that after the first attempt two weeks ago I thought there were some positive aspects and maybe it could be tweaked and made to work. Today’s performance changed my mind – it’s a fiasco.

    5. @glynh unfortunately all the positives you list have nothing to do with the new format.

  2. I am going to watch this now, wouldn’t watch it live on principle. At least I can skip C4’s adverts now.

  3. From reading the session break down, I am glad i did not bother. The fast laps from HAmilton at the end would have come anyway, so at best we can say it did not ruin the fun any more than before.

  4. Hamilton’s final lap was the only sexy thing about that disgraceful qualifying!

    1. Yeah it was a very good lap. Re-watching the lap, I could see how there was no over braking, locking of wheels, exceeding track boundaries and most importantly he planted the car where it was meant to be on track. It was a smooth lap. I guess he knew how good it was hence he called it ”sexy”.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      3rd April 2016, 9:56

      And he would’ve made that ‘sexy lap’ under old quali as well.

      PS I switched off half way through Q2; first time I did this. Not as protest, but in dismay.

  5. Both Merc drivers separated by such a small margin. Shows you how good Nico is and how difficult it is to beat the guy. Good job everyone, especially to Lewis for setting a new lap record today! Where are those who keep saying these PUs are not good enough, those who keep asking for heavier and noisier pollutants trying to convince people those PUs are much faster?

    Nuff respect to JB for being a gentle man in defeat by saying on TV that Vandoorne simply did a good job today. He said the guy is a good driver who has performed well at Bahrain in the past. Nice of him to have said that about the guy.

    1. @Tata

      Heavier? Do you have any more jokes?

      These hybrid ‘green’ cars are over 100 kilos heavier than the old normally aspirated ones!

      1. I meant to say heavier pollutants. Sorry about that.
        By the way a shout-out to @kiethCollantine for mentioning yesterday that track record might be broken today.
        https://twitter.com/f1fanatic_co_uk/status/715935159971872768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

        1. Ah, understood…..:)

          Can you imagine though what kind a performance they could get from a V10 now, with 11 years of development since those 2005 cars? It would be pretty amazing and would wager that with the much lighter cars they would be at least as efficient as these hybrid cars.

          1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
            2nd April 2016, 18:16

            You’re dreaming. If you have any concept of how a 10 cylinder engine works it could not come close to the efficiency of these Dysons, unless they were augmented by batteries, which would of course fly in the face of your lighter argument as that is where the weight of these PU’s comes from.

            The actual internal combustion part would use all the space age materials and manufacturing methods that these things do.

          2. @paulguitar Yeah, becaue engines are subject to Moore’s Law and definitely not to the law of diminishing returns…..

      2. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 cars are lighter on the starting grid than the 2013 cars(car plus fuel). And now they are faster, while using less fuel and with PU’s that last 3 times as long.

        1. So 800kg is lighter than 780-90 or thereabouts? Hmm… Interesting.

    2. I was among those that initially criticized these new PU’s, however, they have grown on me. While they are more efficient, they are heavier. Which seems a bit counter intuitive if the aim is to continually be more efficient. On top of that the minimum car weight continues to go up. Unless I’m missing something, shouldn’t minimum car weight be lowered which would lead to lower fuel consumption?

      1. @72defender It would lead to lighter drivers gaining an unfair advantage over heavier ones as lighter drivers get to have heavier ballasts put anywhere on the car and less (of-their-own-)weight at the un-advantageous position of….the driver.

      2. – Unless I’m missing something, shouldn’t minimum car weight be lowered which would lead to lower fuel consumption?

        You are right in that argument but we have seen that with the current heavier cars, [which I am unhappy with and weight is set to increase even more when ’17 rules come into full effect] the cars consume a lot less fuel and punch a lot heavier than the previous PUs. That points to the engineering wonder these things are.

      3. they also use a different kind of ignition (GDI) and regulate better combustion with forced induction. What makes them faster is the fact that they can run unlimited boost, and are limited to what the manufacturers will spend on combustion efficiency. If you put superchargers on some older V8’s and adapted them to run GDI, took the battery weight out of the equation and allowed refueling, I would wager those cars would be a few seconds a lap faster, on power-to-weight alone.

        The problem isn’t the ‘power unit’ it’s forcing teams to run heavier, more costly power units, which limit opportunity (via manufacturers). The fuel restrictions and factoryish power units have turned F1 in to a venue where teams like Sauber could win a race, in to what ever the manufacturers want (namely Mercedes). The reason why there is no overtaking is because of the nose change (2015), and the push to limit aero, ground effect, and keep everyone’s cars as close in spec as possible, limiting diversity and opportunities that present themselves in a diverse and changing environment.

        1. – The reason why there is no overtaking is because of the nose change (2015), and the push to limit aero, ground effect

          In other words, aero should be liberalized. It shouldn’t be regulated. If I understand you correctly, you would prefer the new rules and regulations coming in 2017 that gives emphasis on aero and downforce.

          Concerning your take on overtaking, I think it is better now than it previously was owing to the much derided DRS which surprisingly is the one thing that in my opinion counters the unwarranted effect of excessive aero development.

      4. Why do people keep going on about min weight. On the starting grid the weight is car + driver + fuel. As the car min weight has gone up, the fuel has come down. Therefore at the start the cars these cars are essentially the same weight as their predecessors. And assuming the drivers haven’t changed weight then

        2013 start weight = Driver + 642 kg + 160 kg = Driver + 802 kg
        2016 start weight = Driver + 702 kg + 100 kg = Driver + 802 kg

        1. @w-k Note that the driver wight is included in the “car weight”, so you can remove that part of the equation. But very good point.

        2. I understand the cumulative weight is the same as the days of 160kg fuel allowance. My point is why not go the other way? Why not drop both the weight and fuel allowance. If your true aim is to show off efficiency, then set the system up to use less fuel in successive years and teams to design lighter cars. And for those mentioning lighter drivers having an advantage. It’s a moot point as there has always been that issue and teams factor that in during car design.

          1. It’s not a moot point. Lighter drivers get ballast placed in favorable positions in the car, and they do not have to starve themselves. When the regulations were created, they underestimated the weight of the power units. The “easiest” area to remove weight was with the drivers themselves, and this led to taller drivers becoming unhealthily thin. Thus, they raised the minimum weight.

            The efficiency has nothing to do with the weight of the car, it’s how much power you can create within the engine/fuel regulations.

        3. @w-k For the record, 2013 not entirely same as 2016. Yes, they start the race with similar weight but as fuel burns off the 2013 car at race end is 642kg+driver, while 2016 car at race end 702kg+driver.

  6. rules are ambiguous… and do not always define when a penalty should be applied
    Hamilton went out of the track in q3 during 1st attempt. however his lap was timed valid allowing him to avoid time elimination by being ranked 3rd. nothing against him or merc, but since the V6 era there is no more competition. it would have been good for the show not to valid his time.

    1. Show aside, I think you’re right. As I understand it though, these things are discussed in the driver briefing sessions, as in, what you can and can’t do with regards going off-track so the drivers would have been aware it was OK. I think one of the Ferraris also did something similar earlier in the session.

    2. Going off the track especially on that end was something which occurred severally. If punishment is meant to be handed out, it would affect a wide variety of people and will certainly lead to complaints.

      I think the theme of dissent should be the mess that qualifying has become. Without FI sending out Hulk and Per [an attempt which proved futile], we would have had 50% waste of allocated time of 15 mins for Q2 cos they stopped runing with 7.5 mins remaining on the time. 50%. Think about that. Now if you add the extra time in between Qs, we would have had 15 mins of waste.
      I guess if one sits down and calculates the total amount of time wasted during the entire hour of Q, we will have something quite alarming to say the least.
      Any business that wastes such a humongous amount of time is not meant to succeed.

      1. well, tyres are a part of the problem. they have to use SS to match other’s times, but they can’t run 2 full throttle laps on the same set as tyres are wasted for second lap. so… in lap, tyres change, out lap, timed lap is wayyyy too long with this qualy format. i wish there was a solution to have 1h30 of suspens like 25 years ago.

        why not have a session of 1h, with after 15min, 2 last pilots being eliminated each 5 minutes, and all times slowed down by a second to force cars to run on the track. obviously with lasting tyres, and no limit on number of sets during qualy.

        example
        0min
        all pilots are forced out.
        10min
        car1 is timed 1:30:000 added with 1sec => 1:31:000
        car2 is timed 1:30:500 added with 1sec => 1:31:500

        cars ranked 21 and 22 are out
        15min
        car1 is timed 1:29:250 added with 1sec => 1:30:250
        car2 is timed 1:30:500 added with 1sec => 1:31:500
        cars ranked 19 and 20 are out
        etc…
        until 50min where there are 4 cars left on track with unlimited and lasting tyres for 10min to fight for pole.

        i should replace il piccolo commendatore

        1. You’re wrong. Availability of fresh tires is limiting the number of runs the drivers want to make in each session (ideally 1 run for each session), but the time of changing them is not a problem. The biggest problem is refueling, in which the car:
          – Must be in the garage
          – Has its engine stopped
          – The rate of refueling is only 0.8 liter per second max.

    3. Thanks you! I thought I was the only one who noticed it.

    4. You are right (he went out) but you will find that during the entire qualifying a lot of drivers went out on the last corner and no one was disqualified because going out on this particular corner is a disadvantage. This rule has more relevance when going out of track gives you advantage. This is not the first or last track this is the case (no penalty is applied). Unless everyone complaining have only started watching F1 today, I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

    5. @simon he lost 6 tents by going outside the track limits, a mistake of a few centimetres caused him to run wide, no advantage gained. I always thought from what was said that exceeding track limits tended to be punished when an advantage was gained from doing so, this doesn’t fit that scenario

  7. Super Soft Tyres accounts some credit too.

  8. Lewis, Nico and Sebastian. Couldn’t have picked a better top three to lead the field. I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s race.

  9. DAYYUM…

    I placed 1’30.000 prediction for pole.. on F1fanatic… and again stupid Mercedes beat it by half a second.. fastest ever lap..

    YEAAH! Good job Lewis, thats what I wanna see, drivers talking on pole how awesome it is to have the fastest car ever in the history… Now we need tires that are that grippy for 10 laps.. not 30 not 50… atleast 10. So in race we see amazing performance.

    Atleast Vettel got close to my prediction, good ol Ferrari, sticking to predictions.

    In any case. Awesome laps by all top 4 guys… Also props to Stoffel Vandoorne excellent job on him. I promised not to judge him in qualifying due to format, but atleast he wasnt 1 s behind Button… so he is at correct level for F1… I anticipate much the same from him tomorrow. And if he can match Button I cannot see Button in McLaren next year…

    1. Could you show me when Button was good at qualifying, excluding the Brawn year.

      1. Aye, but rookie comes in and shows more speed in quali. If he is better over a race distance… A rookie can only improve with more races….

  10. I didn’t watch the Australia qualifying as I couldn’t be bothered getting up early, so this was my first impression of the new way of doing things.

    Yes, there were a few unexpected surprises, like Haas getting one car in the top ten and Wehrlein outqualifying both Renaults, but it was rather dull and I spent too much time looking at the red countdown numbers instead of at the cars. It was far too complicated to follow and the fact that if the clock reaches zero when you’re mid-lap strikes me as rather unfair (e.g. Perez). On the plus side, there were two and a bit minutes remaining on the clock when they’d all finished their laps, so I only spent 58 minutes watching this, not my normal hour. Just think what a person can do with two minutes extra time!

    No doubt Jean the Joke and Bonkers Bernie will find a way of extending this farce further. If this qualifying format were an animal, it would have been put to sleep by now.

    1. Having watched the interviews with Bernie and Jean, it shouldn’t be the qualy that should be put to sleep. nuff said.

    2. To be honest… this was as good as it gets for the new format… there is nothing that could have been done better by the teams.

      Both Ferrari and Mercedes did two attempts in Q3….

      It was as good as it gets… :D And it was much the same… only thing better was… Ferraris ran… everything else was actually more booring. Q3 teams mastered it and it was downright meaningless… and Q2… panned… well … lame.

      If anything This system sees less running from the cars, since top teams do their one fast lap like old format, and then teams who try to improve and are behind… run out of time to do more attempts. End result, end of sessions have 0 people on track.

      The issue with previous system was what? Not enough action early in session? :D Well now we have little running early in session, 0 running end of session.

      But as far as I care, it was the same as old format… Give P1-8 extra set of tires so they have two sets only for Q3 (removed after qualifying)… and have em go for it.

      Fastest guy got pole, second fastest got p2… third and fourth got p3, p4… was there any surprise? No idea what are they trying to even accomplish with rules? Bernie wet dream of reverse grid?

      Simple then do reverse grid for start and give points in qualifying from p1 to p10… But frankly that goes against DNA of F1.

      Improve cars, improve tires, keep rules more stable and people will eventually close up and we will have better racing.

  11. How did the timing of Rosbergs second lap go? If Kimi and Vettel would have improved with a better time than Rosberg’s first run, he would have been very near being eliminated.

    1. Given that the repeat is on as I read your comment

      There was 3 seconds left on the 4th place elimination counter when Rosberg crossed the line.

    2. I just checked it in my recording. Cut off would have been at exactly three minutes remaining. And Rosberg crossed the finish line with exactly three minutes and two or three seconds remaining. So they timed it perfectly if not somewhat too risky.

      @hmmh

  12. Luigi in his own universe again, that was nothing exceptional about his pole lap, just some extra HP for quali and here ya go. Sexy? lmao

    1. @antoine-de-paris Whatever you’re smoking must be really good!

      1. no smoking, just vaporizing bro!

    2. It was nothing special, only flawless and fastest of all time.. Nothing sexy about going so fast…

      Not a great fan of Lewiz. But he is a Wizard of speed and he has the right to call that lap Sexy or whatever he pleases. He can call it Freddy if he wants to. #P1

  13. Well, we now see that these cars are not slow. I’d like to see them actually reduce the downforce next year and give them the wider tires. The cars are plenty fast, we just need more grip and less aero for better racing and more ability to pass.

    1. Yes but that’s the easy sensible option. F1 doesn’t do sensible. So they are gonna bolt on a ton a down force make Drs even more powerful which will make overtaking even harder. But hey they’ll be 5 seconds faster in qualifying

      1. that’s so true that i want to cry :(

    2. I think we will still see though that during the race the cars are indeed much slower still. Conservation is still way too much the name of the game. So I can’t get all that hyped about faster quali laps. These are not what truly tax a driver. I want to see them faster during the races when they have to keep physically and mentally sharp for 2 hours, preferably doing wheel to wheel combat for much of it. They’ve got a long way to go yet, imho.

  14. lewis and nico so close, but only one driver takes the spoils. Ferrari were .3 behind at this track last year in qualifying and are this year .5 seconds behind.
    ——
    all the talk about the record time, but lets watch the race, the cars wont get close at all to the race lap record, they will be doing times 8-10 seconds slower then the pole lap.

    1. Now that part is unnacceptable.. Race times should be from 6 on full fuel to 1s behind quali in the race…

  15. First time I see this live. I’m shocked at how bad it is. It’s beyond belief.

    Practice is more exciting than this.

    1. I actually quite enjoyed this one, the elimination certainly detracts from it though. Especially when you see 3-4 guys at the bottom of the table either on an in lap or in the pits and know they have no chance of going through.

  16. So frustrating to see these AMAZING machines putting in these incredible lap times 2 weeks in a row now and everyone is focused on how awful the qualifying system is! The power units are finally delivering on their potential and are now faster over a single lap than the V10 monsters. So obviously when something good looks like it will happen in F1, Bernie and his puppet Jean Todd find something to mess with and draw negative attention to the sport.

  17. Elimination qualifying still as bad as it was the first time round (surprise surprise).

    On Channel 4 they aired an interview with Jean Todt that had been filmed prior to qualifying where he remarked that there had been ‘mixed’ reviews about the new format from teams, drivers, media and fans, then spent the rest of the interview trying (badly) to justify the reason for keeping it for Bahrain.

    This shows quite clearly that the FIA, and I’m sure FOM/CVC are either a) out of touch with reality, or b) choose to ignore the facts in order to pursue their own agendas.

    I haven’t checked the latest figures but last time I looked over 90% of us on this site had voted to revert back to the 2015 format. That doesn’t translate to ‘mixed reviews’.

    1. @sparkyamg Some fans seem to have simply have learnt to be (too?) grateful of what they have and are maybe partying over the lack of succes ballast or reverse grids……:P

      1. @davidnotcoulthard It’s far from ideal but I don’t feel it was the same disaster as in Melbourne. Most likely heavily influenced by Hamilton running wide though.

      2. I agree that there were definitely those who tried to see the good in the new format, and indeed those who are just glad we didn’t end up with success ballast or reverse grids (the teams fall into this category by the sounds of it).

        But therein lies the problem. By settling for these stupid decisions we’re as good as praising the FIA/FOM for getting it right. They’re certainly taking it that way.

        I watched quali today to see how the presenters would react to elimination qualifying the second time round and I’m pleased to say they slated it again. It’s the approach we all need to take. No compromise. No alternatives. Only the best.

  18. Hadn’t watched qualy. Nor will I ever watch it again as long as this format stays. But I’ve now read the reports and the comments

    Words cannot express the depth of my hatred towards the poison dwarf, the cvc vampires and the useless, spineless “care only about zebra crossings” jean todt

    Will watch the race but my patience with F1 is really about to expire

  19. Fastest ever lap….

    I know! Make the cars 5 seconds faster with loads of downforce next year!

  20. Didn’t tune in (for obvious reasons). Glad to bring traffic to F1F by visiting for the Quali results, though. Delighted to see Haas 9th and 13th.

  21. With last year’s qualifying format sessions finished up to 90 seconds after the chequered flag. Add that to a total of 45 minutes and there was almost 50 minutes of action. Take away a few green tracks where teams would not go out early in Q1 and there would still be 40-45 minutes of action.

    In this race Q1 was over when Wehrlein crossed the line after 11m47s, Q2 started 53 seconds late and finished when HUL crossed the line 12m27s later and Q3 finished when ROS crossed the line after 12m58s. That was only 37m12s of qualifying action, 17% less than last year. (Take out the warm-up lap before anyone got onto a hot lap and it was less than 33 minutes of action, 26% less than last year.) That is why it leaves people feeling they have seen so much less.

    One obvious improvement would be to allow cars to finish any lap they have started when ‘their time is up’. That way teams with a chance to improve would have more incentive to go out 90 seconds later in each part of qualifying.

    The only positive of the current format over last season’s is that the top teams get out of the way more quickly, giving more air time to sponsors of smaller teams. It is a positive but hardly a justification.

  22. Watching a delayed rebroadcast. Up to Q2 so far.
    For some reason US coverage is, unusually, commercial free during the qualification sessions. What a terrible shame that this immense improvement in coverage is made by NBCSN, but all that there is to show is empty track or replays of turn 10 lock ups. Damp squibs are more exciting.

  23. I think JT wants this qualifying format controversy so that fans will stop complaining about the flatulent-Hoover sound of the PUs.

  24. We should have been talking about lap record being broken instead we talk about quali format. Thanks FIA/FOM.

  25. Nobody seems to be talking about the failure of the red lights at the end of the pit lane. Nearly a minute of qualifying time was lost due to this technical error. I was expecting some protests from the first team eliminated because of this, but nobody seems to be talking about it. For a series that claims to be the pinnacle of technology this looks like a totally primary school error.

  26. No more relaxing during the early stages of quali. I’m beginning to like this new qualifying format. Teams really just need to get their timing right.

  27. I think F1 just needs to allow “90 seconders” to finish their fast lap if they had it started within those 90 seconds…

  28. I don’t hate this new qualification, but I don’t have the obsession of must seeing a car crossed the start/finish line when the clock shows 0:00 either. Q1 still produces unexpected results and there still many cars doing 2 runs.

    On Q2, what the @keithcollantine doesn’t report is there is a slight problem at the start. The pit lane light doesn’t go to green when the session started so the drivers just wait at the end of the pit lane. After a minute or a minute and half, he marshal waved green flag to signal the drivers that they actually permitted to leave. The aftermath is there isn’t enough time to do second run before the elimination begin. Without it, I think McLaren would run JB again because he not doing a good lap on his first run.

    Q3 actually I kinda like this format because there’s no that weird banker lap, doing nothing for 5 mins to wait the clock runs out then doing 2nd do or die lap. I don’t care if the timer still shows 3:00 left when the qualy effectively over.

  29. Great time from Hamilton, very special lap. Reckon that the Ferrari’s will mug them both at the start though.

    1. @f1bobby “Great time from Hamilton, very special lap”
      Yeah, Rosberg’s not so much.

  30. This elimination qualifying simply does not work. To make it work, the only way I see is to have one session only and eliminate the last driver every four minutes or so, with the first elimination after around ten minutes. This you would have an initial rush at the beginning, and then a few cars that are at risk circulating only, always trying to beat the cut off time or be out. The four minutes would allow everyone an outlap and a flying lap even coming from the pits.

    Now of course we would then also need unlimited qualifying tyres, otherwise, teams would decide to rather be eliminated than use a tyre that would be required in the race.

    1. @mike-dee

      To make it work

      Don’t bother trying :)

  31. I fell asleep through out the this season qualifying. Last year I didn’t and never did in 21 years watching formula one up until now.

  32. Didn’t watch it and I i probably won’t watch the rest of them

  33. RoGro… He just has to get a good start and run a clean race, and Haas gets more points. Awesome.

    His head has to be in a great place right now. The surprise finish in Melbourne, and basically no pressure of expectations other than getting the car to the end of the race.

  34. Sexy lap? At least someone is trying to spice things up in F1!

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