Surprise rain! Just kidding.
Q1 started out rather crazy. Michael Schumacher, as mentioned 382759 times now, is celebrating 20 years…by starting at the back of the grid tomorrow. Suddenly, one of the rear wheels just completely came off his car. Somebody’s in trouble in the Mercedes garage…
Jenson Button said conditions were worse than the Montreal race. But of course, then it started drying out….and then raining again. Button was able to set the fastest time at just over 2 minutes before the rain started up for the billionth time of the day.
The slowest of the slow (minus Timo Glock) should be excluded from the race according to the 107% rule, but of course they’ll probably use the “it was raining we couldn’t do it” excuse and be in the race. What’s the point of having the 107% rule if you never use it?
Heikki Kovalainen made it into Q2, knocking out a struggling Paul di Resta, except that the cameras decided to focus on the slow cars going to the pits instead. Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock were also knocked out. The two HRT cars and Jerome D’Ambrosio did not set a time fast enough for the 107% rule, but like I said, will probably start in the back anyway.
Q2 went on in a typical fashion for the wet, until Adrian Sutil lost control of his car on the wet paint of the curb just out of Eau Rouge. The session was red flagged soon after to get his car off the track and clear up the debris.
The best part of Spa is that it dries out in some parts while it’s still wet in others. Towards the end of Q2, faster times were finally being set. It got a bit chaotic, with Lewis Hamilton nearly bumping Pastor Maldonado and yet still getting fastest time of the session before Alonso went faster. Maldonado and Hamilton ended up actually hitting AFTER their laps were finished.
Jenson Button was knocked out, surprisingly only finishing 13th. Also knocked out in Q2: Sebastien Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil, NASCAR Maldonado, and Heikki Kovalainen.
Teams went out on their soft slicks, and Felipe Massa went off track into gravel rather quickly. The dry line allowed the cars to use dry tires, and it didn’t rain again, despite dark clouds hanging overhead.
Times kept getting quicker and quicker as the track dried out. Lewis Hamilton looked to be taking the first non-Red Bull pole of the season, and as the SPEED announcers cheered that on, Vettel stole it from right under his nose by HALF a second.
Felipe Massa actually qualified ahead of Fernando Alonso. Bruno Senna will start P7 in his first race for Lotus Renault. He outqualifies teammate Vitaly Petrov, who will start 10th.
Grid with qualifying times under the cut. It’s entirely possible that Maldonado and possibly Hamilton judging by how much the stewards love him may have some kind of grid penalties later.
UPDATE: Pastor Maldonado has been given a 5 grid spot penalty for his actions. Lewis Hamilton was simply reprimanded, as it should be. All cars will be racing tomorrow.
» Continue reading “Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying Recap”