Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

“What a mess”: Leclerc on pole after farcical end to qualifying

2019 Italian Grand Prix qualifying

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Charles Leclerc will start the Italian Grand Prix from pole position after a farcical conclusion to qualifying at Monza.

Almost all the drivers in Q3 failed to start their final laps in time after the queue behind each other trying to get a slipstream.

Lewis Hamilton therefore took second place ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel.

Q1

Ferrari were the only team to chance the harder medium compound rubber in Q1. Charles Leclerc set the quickest time on his tyres initially, deposing Nico Hulkenberg from the top of the times, Renault having begun the session strongly.

The Mercedes drivers couldn’t beat Hulkenberg to begin with despite running the soft tyres. Valtteri Bottas fell short by just a thousandth of a second after putting a wheel wide at the Variante della Roggia.

Sebastian Vettel, however, could only manage sixth fastest on his set of mediums. The team asked if he could make it through on the harder rubber, and though he offered to try, he was sent out on for his final run on a set of softs.

He didn’t need to improve his time in the end, as few other drivers bettered their times. Sergio Perez’s car came to a stop in the Curva Grande, which triggered a red flag, and left just four minutes for the final runs. While Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll took advantage of good slipstreams to set a fastest sector time each and grab a spot in Q2, Romain Grosjean slipped out in 16th.

He was joined by Perez and Max Verstappen. The latter was always going to start from the back anyway due to his penalty, but when he went out for a single run he reported a loss of power from his Honda engine at the exit of the Rettifilio chicane. The Williams pair inevitably dropped out too.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’20.784
17Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’21.291
18George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’21.800
19Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’22.356
20Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda

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Q2

It was soft tyres all round for the drivers in the second part of qualifying. Leclerc led the way again, with Vettel not far behind, but Hamilton splitting the pair of them. Then the Mercedes driver found more time with his last effort and ended the session on top, though by less than a tenth of a second.

The field joined the track as one for their final runs, Alexander Albon leading the queue. The Red Bull driver cemented his place in the final 10, as did the Renault pair, with Daniel Ricciardo impressing again in fourth.

Daniil Kvyat was 10th before the last runs and told his team he needed to find a tow for his final run. It didn’t work out, and he was eliminated in 13th. “What a mess,” he said afterwards.

McLaren did manage to work the slipstream to their advantage, however. Lando Norris was already doomed to start from the back because of his penalty, so he gave Carlos Sainz Jnr a tow down to the Rettifilio, which helped his team mate go through in seventh.

Lance Stroll grabbed his first place in Q3 this year. Kimi Raikkonen also made it through, though at the expense of his team mate, by just two-thousandths of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’20.517
12Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’20.615
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’20.630
14Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’21.068
15Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’21.125

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Q3

Before qualifying began the drivers had been advised the stewards would monitor their driving on the out-laps closely and that the minimum Safety Car time would be used as a reference to ensure no one drove too slowly, in an attempt to get a slipstream.

This lead to some odd manoeuvres at the start of Q3. Vettel led the field out of the pits but immediately went straight on at the chicane. He came back out still ahead, but behind him Albon warned some drivers were using the chicane escape route to fall further behind into the queue.

Vettel ran wide at the final corner, but his lap time stood, though it was quickly beaten. Leclerc took a tenth of a second out of him in the first sector and led the times, but the Mercedes were close.

Hamilton got within 39 thousandths of the Ferrari despite Raikkonen spinning off immediately in front of him in the middle of the Parabolica. Bottas, running behind them, crossed the line but initially didn’t register a time. It was subsequently reinstated, putting him third.

Raikkonen was unhurt in what was his second crash at Parabolica this weekend. The session quickly resumed once the scene was cleared, but the crowds saw little more in the way of action.

The remaining nine cars joined the track together and began swapping positions, circulating steadily. Suddenly the teams seemed to realise how close they were to not reaching the start/finish line in time to start their final laps and the drivers pressed on.

But as they reached the start/finish area it became clear most of them wouldn’t make it. Sainz got to the line in time, followed closely by Leclerc, but the Ferrari driver abandoned his effort early into the lap. None of the remaining drivers made it across the line in time, which cemented Leclerc’s pole position.

Top ten in Q3

1Charles LeclercFerrari1’19.307
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’19.346
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’19.354
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’19.457
5Daniel RicciardoRenault1’19.839
6Nico HulkenbergRenault1’20.049
7Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’20.455
8Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda
9Lance StrollRed Bull-Honda
10Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo

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2019 Italian Grand Prix

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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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115 comments on ““What a mess”: Leclerc on pole after farcical end to qualifying”

  1. Farcical indeed. This was the pinnacle of collective stupidity.

    I thought I was watching some oval race the way the whole pack was bunched together, until they realized (too late) they were going to miss the clock.

    1. It was pretty obvious from the start of last warm up that some drivers wouldn’t get over the line in time. Just count fastest warmup lap 1’40 + 2″ in between drivers and the time wasn’t there.
      Probably that many teams were ok with provisional grid (not sure many will complain about their position) and preferred to risk it…
      Monza casinos should be happy to have those guys around. And it was a good laugh, didn’t see many offenses to be penalized.

    2. @phylyp, I wonder whether the stewards will have the courage to threaten to start handing out penalties, as Masi had previously given a warning that drivers who drove unnecessarily slowly to try and get a slipstream would be penalised for driving unnecessarily slowly on track.

      In fact, it was noted that two thirds of the grid for the Formula 3 support race – a full 15 drivers – were given penalties for driving unnecessarily slowly, and Masi was threatening to do a similar thing if the F1 drivers also did the same thing. https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/monza-qualifying-warning-slipstream-penalties/4532091/

      So, now we’ve got the news that Masi is investigating it, the question will be whether he then takes action – we have already had some silly situations, such as in China and Spa, so it begs the question of whether the stewards will now feel compelled to take action here as well.

    3. This has happened before, where was it?

      1. @peartree A couple times in NASCAR. And I both cases it was a situation where getting the draft is such a premium that going out first is a severe disadvantage.

        The first was a few years ago in the Truck series at Michigan. Everyone waited to the last minute that by the time they got going, Ryan Blaney was the only one to start a lap.

        The second time happened this year in the NASCAR Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. Again everyone waited so long that by the time they, it was too late and nobody made a lap in Q3. NASCAR had to use Q2 times to set the top 12.

      2. Silverstone 2004, where wet weather was forecast for the start (and only the start) of second qualifying. Many drivers chose to do first qualifying as slowly as possible, including some people doing spins for good measure. The people who did qualifying the conventional way got the last laugh, as second qualifying was completely dry…

        Malaysia 2008 featured some very slow driving from Lewis Hamilton, which led to a 145% rule being imposed in qualifying. Any lap slower than this can be deemed as in breach of the “driving unnecessarily slowly” rules.

    4. It was almost as bad as when teams didn’t understand what “you can’t place a qualifying time with less than 5 minutes to go if you’re below X place” when they were messing around with the qualifying format.

    5. I hope Stroll, Sainz and Hulkenberg will get massive grid penalties (10, 15 or 20 places, or back of the grid). Additional 2-3 points should be also appropriate. They should learn the lesson.

    6. Ha ha ha. They looked like penguins trying to decide who would jump in the water first!

      But it all made perfect sense. Vettel had fell behind the Mercs, if Ferrari was to improve both drivers needed a slipstream. So they waited.

      Merc had at least one Ferrari behind them. If they went first then both Ferrari’s might have slipstreamed past them. So they waited.

      The Renaults were in front of the lone Red Bull and McLaren. They definitely didn’t want to give anybody a tow.

      Albon and Saintz weren’t going to do any better without a slipstream, so they waited…

      Oddly, the stewards made it worse. If they had correctly deleted Vettel’s lap then Ferrari would have HAD to go out.

      .ha ha ha…

      1. None of the penguins were hungry enough to jump in the water first!

      2. That was Stroll, not Albon. Albon was last behind everyone else. Stroll was holding everyone in chicane, then Sainz locked second half of the track. Then Sainz and Hulkenberg locked the track in curva Grande and up until Lesmo.

        So all 3 should be penalized.

        1. @regs

          I’m referring to their provisional grid positions. I’m pointing out that while it looked silly, they all had more to lose than to gain

  2. What an unmitigated embarrassment that was – rightfully under investigation – penalty points all round!

    1. Points are not enough. They should lose their grid places as well.

      1. @ahxshades @regs As a general rule, the two go together when it comes to qualifying penalties.

        Except today, apparently.

  3. This makes F1 look so bad that you could justify excluding everyone in that Q3 outside of Kimi for Conduct Detrimental to the Sport alone, let alone any penalties for actually driving excessively slow. What a load this final minute was.

  4. Every pilot who didn’t make the last lap ought to be sent starting from the back of the grid.

    1. So you’re going to exclude virtually everyone, except for Carlos Sainz, who was one of the major culprits in blocking the rest of the field?

      Genius.

    2. Given that Sainz (and Hulk) blocked Vettel before that, Vettel will claim that is why he didn’t make it – and similar for most others, so: send all to the back? Who is 11th again, oh, a GIO pole? (or RAI as he didn’t take part in that last Q3 stuff … though he will possibly have to get a new gearbox, so reverts to GIO again?).

      1. Pole remains to Leclerc, he has a legitimate claim.
        The ones that didn’t make it, they should be sent back, yes.

    3. Pilots fly planes, drivers drive cars.

  5. Farce is an understatement. Also why is the P4 driver allowed to keep lap when in parabolica all 4 wheels were off the track? Do different rules apply to castrated donkey drivers?

    1. Watch his onboard. It is not that straightforward.

      1. the onboard is the worst view to look at it from. Look at the screenshot below. All 4 wheels are clearly off.

        https://i.imgur.com/WAyPrwK.png

      2. It was pretty clear from the outside camera that 4 wheels were outside the white line. Whether it appeared that way in the on-board camera is irrelevant.

      3. It really is that straightforward. FIA clearly bending the rules to appease the home crowd.

        https://twitter.com/F1_Jordan/status/1170351869304221701

    2. It looked quite marginal from the replays we TV viewers saw, I’m not sure if they gave the benefit of the doubt to Vettel, or they had better camera angles.

  6. georgeboole (@)
    7th September 2019, 15:33

    I spent about an hour of my life only to watch this nonsense at the end. People never learn.
    I d love to see a McLaren on top just for the fun of it. Sainz also played the game but he was smart enough to at least do a lap.

    1. I think leclerc also crossed the line to start the last lap?
      At least, from my understanding of this report?

  7. This was embarrassing for all the team… They have strategist, hundreds of brains, operating center back at the factory and that’s all they could come up with ? Congrats to Leclerc, anyway, he’s the only one with Sainz who seemed to anticipate the obvious.

    1. it’s not rocket science. No one wanted to be the piggy at the front giving the tow to everyone else whilst not receiving one himself. Most drivers were probably quite satisfied with their position. No point giving a tow to someone who might outqualify you.

    2. Not much you can do when 3 cars at the front are blocking everyone elses progress. 3 cars should be penalized and definitely Hulk for starting the whole debacle.

  8. Have it investigated. Hulkenberg is surely getting at least a warning for that.

  9. It was a farce today. Ferrari may have shot themselves in the foot. Vettel will need a lighting Start in order to defend Leclerc or vice versa. Otherwise it is Lewis’ race to lose.

    1. Vettel will have Bottas in turn 1.

  10. So will one-shot qualifying come back then?

    1. Actually. You know what. Different qualifying formats depending on the track. Monza you can do Brawn’s idea of a qualifying race started in reverse championship order, for Monaco you can do one-shot. For others the current format. Only downside is it being confusing for new fans. But systems work better on some tracks than others.

      1. Since we more or less got an attempt at a ‘as slow as possible while still making it’ race to the flag today, maybe we should indeed give them that for Monza @hugh11!

    2. @hugh11 The single car/lap qualifying was terrible so I hope not. And a reverse grid sprint race is a terrible gimmick so they shouldn’t even go there.

      Just leave the qualifying format as it is, Not as if we see this every weekend or even every year at monza so making a knee-jerk change because of 1 session would be silly.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        7th September 2019, 17:11

        But there are two problems with the current format for me. 1) The drivers in the middle pack can sometimes have a slower qualifying time than the drivers below them who got knocked out in Q1 and 2) Drivers that don’t set a time but have a place on the grid like Kimi Raikkonen after today’s session for instance

  11. They should penalize the whole lot and we’ll never see this happening again.

    I mean, vettel even goes on SkyF1 staying ” I wanted to go but the road was blocked”. They then show na onboard with Deb urgently waving his hand to Hulk and Stroll to get going, he then manages to get by them, and he slows down! And sainz passes him.

    So yeah, he wanted to go, but with someone ahead of him.

    What a farce.

    1. I wonder who Deb is?

    2. Also, how did Vettels time count? He was off the track.

      1. @fer-no65 the onboard showed a part of a tyre was on the white line at all times.

        1. From what I saw it didn’t quite right in the middle of the corner @roger-ayles, though maybe some of the sidewall was still barely above the line; I suppose that’s what has to be the ruling.

          1. @bosyber I believe that is exactly what happened; if a micron of sidewall is on or directly over the line, it counts.

        2. Honestly @roger-ayles I think @fer-no65 is right there. The replays showed that part of his tyre might have been ABOVE the line, but nothing touched it since that was only the bulbuous sidewall!

    3. @fer-no65 yes, vettel was sorting himself out then contributed to the party. I have no idea how his lap stands also I have no idea why Bottas lap counted, typical double standards.

  12. OMG how I laughed when none of them made it in time!
    Most pathetic end for Q3 ever. Also the funniest!
    There will be calls for changes but i say just let them teams work it out themselves. Now they know that the risk of missing out on the last lap in quali is very real and will make adjustments.

    1. Agreed.
      Nothing needs changing. Just let the team strategists get a good yelling at from the rest of the team and they will re-think their “Cunning Plans”

      No need to tear the system to bits just because it went silly today.

      1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend, @nullapax

        Agreed, there should be no knee-jerk changes to qualy – there should however be a few sound thrashings handed out to the strategists responsible for making these calls.

      2. Nothing needs changing. Just let the team strategists get a good yelling at from the rest of the team and they will re-think their “Cunning Plans”
        No need to tear the system to bits just because it went silly today.

        @nullapax – a big +1 to this. Although I’m afraid the powers that be might seize on this to promote a change in qualifying format.

  13. One of the few times I wish I watched F1 instead of just listening to the radio.
    I shall have to fire up the You Tube in a moment to watch this.

    Whatever – Nice to see Renault back in the fight and Max should be the man to watch tomorrow.

  14. Hulk, Sainz and Stroll should get a penalty.

    1. @rvg013 Surely Vettel too then. He got past the “blockade”, but then slowed down again to force LeClerc in front.

    2. And both Ferrari’s – once the first 3 backed things up both Ferrari’s then blocked the rest from overtaking so they could keep pole.

      Can’t really penalise all of them – the back 4 had no chance at getting past the bottleneck of cars in front of them.

      That being said RBR has to take the “stupid” award. If they’d put Albon out at the front he’d have easily qualified around 5th or 6th even without a tow and possibly could’ve done better than that. Instead they held him to a point that there was always going to be a risk.

  15. Carlos the good boy. All the rest send them back to the grid 😂😂

  16. That was awesome entertainment, something different.

  17. Hulk tried to be clever but Sainz jr was more clever, in the end he blocked turn 1 for everyone but Hulk, he may see a penalty but I don’t feel penalties should be coming, as most put themselves out contrary to what lewis is stating, they weren’t timed out, Leclerc showed that you could make the flag if you tried.

    1. I think if you’re gonna penalise someone, you’ve got to penalise everyone. Like if you give Hulk a penalty for taking the escape road at turn 1, you’ve got to give Leclerc one for doing the exact same in Q1, and then you need to look at Stroll and Sainz slowing down so much on the exit of the chicane to ensure they weren’t first in the queue, and then Vettel passed into the lead and slowed down again, ironically letting Sainz go through who was the only one to set a lap at the end. They did give penalties in F3, but I feel like there’s maybe more to unpack here, as that seemed to be everyone slowing at the end of the lap looking for the perfect gap to the car ahead, whereas this was for the whole lap.

      1. I agree with what Hamilton’s said – no penalties. Just now look to introduce a rule to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Minimum speed as well as minimum lap time?

        1. I think HAM is a great driver but he knows the top teams screwed up and it hurts the fans that want to see racing. There need to be penalties now! If you want to change the rules in the future do it in the future. Maybe the teams could just sit in the pits and draw cards or throw dice or rock-paper-scissors for the starting positions? I wanted to see racing today not what happened. If there isn’t going to be racing during qualifying, there won’t be fans, and sponsors won’t be paying for something where there aren’t any fans.

          From America, THIS SUCKED!

          1. @jimfromus In a way this was a more spectacular ending to Q3 then we otherwise would have had though.

            Besides, at least the drivers with the biggest part in the farce were the ones losing out the most. So karma at least did her work.

        2. @hugh11 There already is a minimum speed rule – of 145% of the fastest time.

          1. @alianora-la-canta I mean as in, drivers can’t go below 40mph or something like that. It can be changed according to the track.

          2. @hugh11 Now I see :)

  18. I wouldn’t call it a farce.. With the current qualifying format this could always happen. Actually it did happen in smaller form. To be honest, I thought it was great :-D
    There were plenty of egg-facials to go around

    1. Agree there Baasbas. This certainly was a bit of a surprise and gave a bit of tension to see whether any of the would make it over the line. And a load of laughs with the interviews afterwards.

      I must say that from Hulk and Cyrill I kind of get the feeling they might have wanted this. I think what Charles said he also was helping things along to secure that pole.

      Also very interesting to hear how Rosberg was absolutely clear about Vettel also doing it on purpose on his first run. Sainz said exactly the same, Ricciardo seemed to confirm that view as well (It does give another insight on what happened in that Monaco lockup Nico had in retrospect too, doesn’t it).

      Not sure where I am between admiring their skill at locking up “just enough” as well as Hulk just doing away with locking up (since it was clear it was just a trick anyway) altogether in persuit of the maximum benefit and feeling embarresed that with all their skill and knowledge, they gave us this session.

      I guess I’ll go with enjoying this moment since it greatly shows how one can take that pursuit too far. It did help both Charles avoid having to fear for his pole. And it secured Renault their great qualifying postion too, so Kudos to them?

      1. Well said @bascb, I do not ever want to see this again, but it was in a very weird slow way, interesting to see happening, a sort of tragedy of the commons happening in front of my eyes with very fast and expensive cars, driven by very fast and expensive drivers gaming to not be the fastest, first over the line.

        Since Mercedes weren’t sure they’d be able to have Leclerc, and they might end up behind Vettel had he got a good 2nd run, the might also not be so very sorry they didn’t get that last lap (Leclerc’s ‘I would have liked a last lap, but this works’ to diResta was honest enough I suppose.

        Red Bull and RacingPoint were silly going along with it, given both didn’t have a laptime, even a non-towed clean lap would have been much better for them, but now they lost out. Good. And Vettel seemed to be playing too: yes blocked by Hulk, Sainz for a bit, but then when released by Sainz bolting he in turn went slowly – too slowly as it turned out – as well; I suppose he felt aggrieved anyway bc. apparently he was supposed to have gotten a tow from Leclerc, who now “couldn’t” help him to pole?

        So, quite memorable; now please FIA talk to the teams that they can expect overly harsh penalties the next time this happens (Austin, Sochi, or Abu Dhabi potentially?), so it remains unique.

  19. Isn’t it great how F1 engineers and drivers always try to find that last bit of advantage. I kind of love to have been here to see this incredible highlight of over thinking stuff and overgaming each other in F1.

    But yeah, I really would dig if all those cars get dumped on the back of the grid as punishment. That would make everyone sit up. And Liberty might take it as part of their experimenting with the “race formats” too ;-)

    1. I do think there will be some good discussing from, for example, Toto Wolff on Monday, sure hope so! Maybe dr. Marko can inject some of his views into the Red Bull team too.

    2. @bascb and @bosyber

      Actually before quali Toto had some vague words how they might work out their own path to prevent getting tripped up in the quest for tow. He claimed it might be just as important to get a perfect out lap to prepare the tyres.

      Although perhaps that was more valid for the first hot lap in Q3 where they pulled their test start stunt again.

      1. I remember that @f1osaurus, seems the engineers (drivers?) didn’t agree with him, and I guess they risked losing a place to Vettel so no problem there, or something.

        1. @bosyber Well, I guess Mercedes is happy anyway. They would have most likely gotten P3 and P4 if things had gone smoothly.

          1. Indeed @f1osaurus, none of those in the top three seemed especially hurt by the goings on.

  20. Almost glad I missed it from that report. Good to see stroll up there in his Red Bull Honda though ;) (I guess that was a copy and paste from Verstappen… Hopefully he’ll ruffle a few back markers tomorrow)

  21. Found that brilliant to watch, to be perfectly honest.

    F1 teams trying to be the smartest of the bunch and each and every one of them ending up with a gunshot wound to the foot is never not funny to see.

    1. Sort of brilliant as a culmination of Q3 silliness we have seen before, and which had been building up this year (like at Spa), indeed @kevinc, though I hope not to see the likes of it again; let it remain a unique feature of this weekend.

      1. Agreed @bosyber – steps do need to be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

  22. Absolute disgrace from the best drivers on the grid. All that caused that farce should be disqualified from qualifying and relegated to the back of the grid for the race.

    1. *best drivers in the world.

  23. Textbook illustration of a collective action problem right there. Loved it :D

  24. I’ve seen worse. Remember the new and “improved” shootout qualifying they tried in early 2016? Now that was a proper farce. Today wasn’t really a farce, but an embarrassment to all those who got it wrong.

    1. agreed.

      i even think the single car/lap qualifying format they used 2003-2005 was a bigger farce as those sessions were really dull to watch.

      1. Oh yeah, no argument from me there @roger-ayles and nase, this at least wasn’t boring, even though it was silly and ridiculous, like a over the top practical joke. Not that I’d want to see it again, but prefer it too the shootout or the boooooring 2003-2005 format.

      2. @roger-ayles while I do prefer the current system I always thought single lap qualifying had its merits – you got to see everyone’s laps, there was none of the ridiculousness you saw today, and it placed a premium on absolutely nailing one lap, which is a supreme skill.

  25. I would love to see all the Q3 runners get a one place grid penalty (or maybe more?) and Kimi starting from the front.

    Good entertainment though

  26. A minimal required speed until let’s say 200 metres before the last corner would be a solution. I’m glad I haven’t seen those super intelligent idi…engineers play themselves.

    1. You should approve, with your chosen name, shouldn’t you? It was very provocative!

  27. This just feels like one of those days that will go down as an oddity in F1 lore. There’s no point in dishing out punishments; i anyone deserves a penalty for that, then they all do. Some drivers were using sneakier tactics than others (Ferrari and Hulk with their ‘mistakes’ at the chicane and Merc with their ‘practice starts’), but every other driver, without exception, hit the brakes to avoid being that first driver in the queue. Nobody can say they were innocent in this, though I see they still are…

    1. @jackysteeg – yeah, that or a ridiculous mess as they are all forced to the back or something, with GIO inheriting RAI’s pole (who ran in Q3, not in that last minutes stuff, but probably needs an new gearbox at least), which would cap off the ridicule in an impressive way :-)

  28. Just a correction, vettel was .2 under before the q1 red flag. Vettel and Ferrari have this tendency of letting their chances slip, I don’t know if it’s a lack of comm or what. Vettel was actually quick if only look at sector times but in the end ll weekend charles converts. In q3 vet Passed sainz then dropped back, dumb move, imploding, kind of like michael and ferrari before success.

    1. True, had Vettel just hung back and waited for Sainz to bolt, as he clearly did, he’d be through and might have beaten one or both of the Mercedes cars @peartree – as it is, he seemed to be miffed at not getting his teammate’s tow (apparently he was supposed to? Not sure how Leclerc would have felt helping his teammate to pole ahead of him, Ferrari sometimes are odd).

      1. @bosyber Vettel was very annoyed (on German TV) that Leclerc wasn’t ahead of him and he claimed that he should have had pole.

        I think they alternated who gave the tow between the two runs. Apparently both Mercedes and Ferrari said so.

        1. @f1osaurus, yes, indeed, saw that bit too. I didn’t really realise it was supposed to go that way with Mercedes – wasn’t Bottas behind Hamilton both times in Q3? Given the importance of the tow here, I can imagine them taking turns (with the guy fastest in Q2 getting the last, normally best, change?).

          1. @bosyber The reporters claimed that Bottas was supposed to get a tow from Hamilton in the second run, but clearly the drivers were all simply struggling to get to the start line in general :)

  29. Great fun, you could tell by end of sector two they weren’t going to make it.
    Leave it as it is – they won’t keep doing that.
    If they feel they must change the rules, then here’s a fix:
    No overtaking in Q3. Once you leave the pits, no-one overtakes you and you overtake no one (subject to the minimum laptime rule already now in place)

    If you leave it too late under this rule, you are stuffed. Hence everyone goes out with plenty of time to spare.

  30. Most people saying it’s a farce.

    I found it to be a fascinating case of game theory amongst the teams and the drivers. Great F1 and far more entertaining than what we usually see in qualifying.

  31. Alternate reality nonsense :

    Let’s say one driver exits the pit at 3 minutes in order to actually set a time (STR and ALB had no time registered I think; let’s use STR for that hypothesis because it’s funnier). STR’s flying lap would start around 1:25 (give or take 10 seconds, it doesn’t really matter), and he’d reach the train of cars somewhere between Grande and della Roggia.

    One of these things happens :

    – STR is blocked by litterally everyone but can still set a time, and possibly ends up on pole, due to penalties galore.
    – The 8 other drivers are being told that STR is on a flying lap and have either to accelerate or clear the track; clearing the track doesn’t change the current situation much, but them accelerating means we actually have a Q3.

    1. Indeed @mxmxd, STR and ALB clearly should have gone for that – at least they’d have a chance of a time, and of better positions, as you describe. They were in my opinion the biggest dupes by their own choices and this tragedy of the commons, together with Vettel who should have been ahead of at least one of the two Mercedes’.

  32. LMAO. You can see why the Team manage the race strategy and delta lap times.

    This generation of drivers can’t even manage their pace and time on an outlap.

    1. Eh, this was strategy and timing thought out by their teams @johnandtonic, that’s why they got into the mess, though perhaps Leclerc held back some of his own plan, and arguably, he did quite well, being on pole, with teammate Vettel only fourth, instead of potentially ahead of Leclerc due to a tow Vettel was supposed to be getting from Leclerc.

  33. Today’s Q3 actually illustrated that we should be pessimistic about climate change and the (lack of ) human action against it. Maybe the comparison is far-fetched, but it just shows that human individuals, teams or companies will do anything for their own benefit, even if that means that the end result is destructive to everyone, including themselves. Selfishness always leads to self destruction…

    1. @gerd81 – a.k.a. Tragedy of the commons, a known theory, and one that has been offered up as a reason for apathy in tackling global warming.

      1. @phylyp – thanks for the reference, this is indeed a widely applicable theory!

  34. It’s times like this I think I’d quite like to see the last quali session done one driver at a time, starting with the slowest from Q2 with the fastest going last (or even reverse this if you want more unpredictable fields). Each driver has a slot, one flying lap, make or break. It would mean we could focus on each driver for their entire Lao and would be far more dramatic as you got closer to the final drivers. It would prevent this nonsense anyway.

    I expect no one will agree, lol.

    1. I would support that. Something similar is being done in WTCR I believe.

  35. Lol what a mess.

    For a moment it looked like awesome wheel to wheel racing, all cars bunched toggether racing.

    Why Vettel did not overtake was beyond me.

    Everyone else was kinda bunched up. But real looser of that entertainment was Vettel.

    I hope all of them except Seinz get reprimanded for driving needlessly slow.

    And drop back to the back of the grid.

    Could you guys imagine the racing we would have if P10 gave out most points?

  36. So, I am of the opinion that most of the drivers only have themselves and/or the team to blame, but, apart from VET, and maybe ALB, STR, most of them have little to complain about (but those last two should complain mainly to their teams!), as in the end it ensured LEC his pole, HUL and RIC probably saved their good grid slot, and arguably so too did the Mercedeses, while SAI salvaged a chance, which he then couldn’t really take though (too much games?).

    This is after having just rewatched that lap from when they all got out of the pits to the end, and trying to get the timeline:

    Out of the pits the order was Hülkenberg, Stroll, Sainz jr., then a gap to Hamilton with next a small gap then Leclerc, Albon, Vettel, followed at a small distance by Bottas, then ultimately Ricciardo. Into the chicane, Hülkenberg obviously followed the plan and skipped it to go slow w/o hindering anyone on track (no penalty? Ok, so far so good then), and Albon was slow, so Vettel got ahead of him and behind Leclerc into the chicane (according to Vettel, he’s now ready for the planned sequence, getting a tow from his teammate).

    Shortly after the chicane it was Hülkenberg still off track, looking to join, then Sainz (who had taken a slow Stroll out of the chicane), then Stroll, then Hamilton, and then the two Ferrari’s, Vettel first, who was forced to pass a crawling out of the turn Leclerc.

    Then, Sainz and Stroll continue, but very slow, and Hamilton is just as slow, either waiting for the Ferrari’s to go past or just blocked/not willing to pass the two ahead; while Bottas is ready for a tow from his teammate, having gotten ahead of Albon, who remained as slow out of the chicane as he was going in. Into Curva Biassono (T3) it is Sainz on the inside next to Hülkenberg still slowing down the field, then Vettel, Leclerc, still closely followed by Stroll on the inside, then Hamilton slightly behind on the outside, and then Ricciardo having accordioned to the inside (no need to be slow through T1,T2, he got on track late), Bottas directly behind his teammate on his outside, and then Albon just behind him, on the inside.

    Subsequently, Sainz first drops a bit behind Hülkenberg, but on his inside and ready to go when he needs to, which he does, and Vettel, possibly relieved to be given room, follows, with Leclerc behind him, leaving Hülkenberg to follow them ahead of Hamilton and the rest of the field – Stroll, Bottas, Albon and finally Ricciardo. They probably know they need to speed up, but still Vettel doesn’t quite follow Sainz, maybe he’s still hoping for his teammate to give him the tow.

    At the exit of the Lesmo’s, the order remains more or less the same, though at the back Ricciardo seems to have dropped back completely (does he know it’s too late, anyway?), while Albon overtook Bottas and is trying to get Stroll, and now they all know they have to hurry so they bolt, but that’s the order they cross the line in (though Hamilton tried to overtake Hülkenberg out of parabolica, it was too late already).

    Which means, looking at how each driver fared (and switching to three letter notation for the drivers), in order of appearance on track:
    So, HUL is called to stewards for going off at the 1st chicane, as is likely pre-meditated, but he doesn’t get a penalty. He did start the mess there, though he wasn’t the only one playing games; into T3 he was holding up everyone together with SAI, but got passed by the Ferrari’s and got caught out, possibly when VET, LEC were slowing for tow/timing (?); still, sixth on the grid is a good place he’s probably not too unhappy with, so that worked for him.

    STR was slow into the chicane, wanting others to go ahead, and then got stuck behind too many of them as he was too slow and went backwards; In my opinion the team made a mistake in trying to be too clever, instead of going earlier and get a clean lap in, there was plenty of time to do so, and he himself was probably too clumsy so he got caught out in trying to be too clever.

    SAI made sure he didn’t get stuck behind the slow STR out of the chicane, and then helped HUL block the field for a bit, until he bolted bc. he knew it was getting close; The snookering was well executed from him I suppose, though he did not really improve his position, so maybe had he left some of that and concentrated on a good outlap, who knows maybe with a lucky tow, he could have gotten ahead of HUL or even RIC, so good for him, but seems too clever by half.

    HAM possibly caught himself out waiting for the Ferrari’s to pass and giving him a tow, even though he was more or less stuck behind STR,SAI into T3, they were so slow he probably could have gotten past, and he lost any chance to get pole, but may not have believed too much in that – so not too bad for him then, 1str row and faster on race pace than the pole.

    LEC seemingly wanted to have VET ahead of him, and succeeded (!) when he slowed down out of the chicane; he did get then stuck with VET behind HUL,SAI, hung back behind VET until the end, he passed VET (I think on the straight before parabolica?), and managed to get over the line in time, while VET didn’t; So, he kept pole and showed up his teammate – mission accomplished?! Would have preferred him to have a good shootout with HAM, BOT,VET for it, but hard to argue he won from this. Maybe he was a bit sneaky, though perhaps he just took the opportunity when it presented itself, just as he took the pole in his first run when it was possible.

    ALB was slow into the chicane so got overtaken by VET, and out of it too so he so BOT got by, and that meant he was too far behind in the queue to do much, though he finished ahead of BOT, he still didn’t get to set a time – failed timing by the team,and maybe not smart enough in the traffic, similar situation to STR then, calls for a rethink in my opinion.

    VET had to go ahead of LEC, which surely annoyed him, and then a slow HAM too after the chicane; he likely wanted to get some free air for the two Ferrari’s in hopes of LEC giving him that tow, so wasn’t happy to then got stuck behind SAI, HUL, but after the Lesmo’s, he got ahead of HUL, but then didn’t follow SAI when he kept going (and did make the cut), possibly to force LEC ahead for that promised tow, which worked, but it did mean he was too late, and lost out on a possible pole and/or 1st row. Possible the biggest loser out of this.

    BOT was late to go out, got ahead of ALB out of the chicane and tried to stick to his teammate, but probably couldn’t do much after, stuck in the queue and/or bad placement and he too was too late; still, he kept 3rd ahead of VET on the grid, so not too bad then.

    RIC hung back all the way, and while he didn’t do any hindering, any thought of timing should have told him he was too late, but with others also too late, and SAI not making enough hay with the lap he had, he still kept his good grid slot, so no harm done (and that was likely the best he could hope so all good?).

    Quite a remarkable Q3, which in its own way was entertaining. Still, I really hope never to see the likes of it again!

    1. PS. sorry for the looooong post :)

    2. So, after I wrote all that, I just saw a link to video of HAM’s in-car experience Which shows that I mixed up Bottas and Hamilton for the 1st part of the lap; HAM actually got past ALB, then BOT, then STR through T3 and then gets blocked by HUL and SAI before T4, where SAI repasses LEC, and later passes VET (I think through the lesmos?), after which VET lets LEC through; into parabolica HUL almost runs into VET who slows a bit there, with HAM being blocked by that, so my assessment of

      HAM possibly caught himself out waiting for the Ferrari’s to pass and giving him a tow, even though he was more or less stuck behind STR,SAI into T3, they were so slow he probably could have gotten past

      should be part of BOT, who then seemingly just did a Stroll like drop through the field, while

      BOT was late to go out, got ahead of ALB out of the chicane and tried to stick to his teammate, but probably couldn’t do much after, stuck in the queue …

      Is what HAM had – and then he got past half of them, only to be stuck behind HUL until the end. Hm, so maybe he’s also one of those that barely held up anyone, and might feel aggrieved, except for the bit about still retaining his 2nd place meaning he need not feel too bad!

    3. @bosyber Thank you for the very clear description of what happened.

      1. You’re welcome @alianora-la-canta mainly started it to clear it up for myself, then decided I might as well post it :)

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