Saturday, November 12, 2016

2016 BRAZILLIAN GP: MORE GREAT NUMBERS FOR HAMILTON AND MERCEDES AMG

Lewis Hamilton took his 60-th career pole position at Interlagos, edging Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by a tenth of a second. Kimi Raikkonen was third for Ferrari, ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was in trouble ahead of qualifying, with Ferrari hard at work in the garage in the minutes leading up to Q1 as they worked on his car’s brake system. Vettel made his appearance after five minutes and any panic was averted with his first flying lap. He set a time of 1:12.159 to steal P5 from Ricciardo and secure passage to Q2.

Surprisingly, given the pace they had shown in the free practice sessions, where even in the cooler conditions of final practice the team had finished seventh and ninth, Williams were the team to miss out Q3. Bottas dropped to P11 and Massa was eliminated in P13 behind Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez.

Behind the Brazillian, Kvyat, Sainz and Palmer were also knocked out. Williams slump was good news for Constructors Championship rivals Force India who saw Perez make it through in Top 10 fastest drivers.

Hamilton drew first blood in Q3 powering through a lap of 1:10.860 to take provisional pole, 0.162 ahead of Rosberg. Verstappen was third with a lap of 1:11.485, a hundredth of a second ahead of Vettel, with Ricciardo four hundredths further back and a just under a tenth ahead of Raikkonen.

Both Hamilton and Rosberg found more time on the final run but it was Hamilton who found most. Despite being in deficit to Rosberg over the first sector, Hamilton dug deep and when Rosberg crossed the line, the Briton found himself in P1 with a time of 1:10.736, a tenth ahead of his team-mate.

Behind them Raikkonen was the only one of the top six to improve and the gain meant that he vaulted to third ahead of Verstappen, Vettel and Ricciardo. Grosjean’s single run netted him an excellent seventh spot ahead of Hulkenberg, Perez and Alonso.

2016 Brazilian Grand Prix – Qualifying
 P.    DRIVER           TEAM         TIME     GAP  
 1. Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes AMG 1:10.736
 2. Nico Rosberg      Mercedes AMG 1:10.838 + 0.102
 3. Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari      1:11.404 + 0.688
 4. Max Verstappen    Red Bull     1:11.485 + 0.749
 5. Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari      1:11.495 + 0.759
 6. Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull     1:11.540 + 0.804
 7. Romain Grosjean   Haas         1:11.937 + 1.201
 8. Nico Hulkenberg   Force India  1:12.104 + 1.368
 9. Sergio Perez      Force India  1:12.165 + 1.429
10. Fernando Alonso   McLaren      1:11.266 + 1.530
    Q2 Fastest Time: Lewis Hamilton 1:11.238       
11. Valtteri Bottas   Williams     1:12.420 + 1.182
12. Esteban Gutierrez Haas         1:12.431 + 1.193
13. Felipe Massa      Williams     1:12.521 + 1.283
14. Daniil Kvyat      Toro Rosso   1:12.726 + 1.488
15. Carlos Sainz JR.  Toro Rosso   1:12.920 + 1.682
16. Jolyon Palmer     Renault      1:13.258 + 2.020
    Q1 Fastest Time: Lewis Hamilton 1:11.511       
17. Jenson Button     McLaren      1:13.276 + 1.765
18. Kevin Magnussen   Renault      1:13.410 + 1.899
19. Pascal Wehrlein   Manor        1:13.427 + 1.916
20. Esteban Ocon      Manor        1:13.432 + 1.921
21. Marcus Ericsson   Sauber       1:13.623 + 2.112
22. Felipe Nasr       Sauber       1:13.681 + 2.170
    107% time: 1:15.817

Top 10 will start on soft tyres...