SPANISH GP

 

Qualifying     Grid      Race    

 

Round 5 – Barcelona, 12 to 14 May

 

All times UK

Day

Session

Times

Sky

Channel 4

Fri 12th

FP1

0900 to 1030

0845 to 1100

 

 

FP2

1300 to 1430

1245 to 1450

 

Sat 13th

FP3

1000 to 1100

0945 to 1115

 

Qual

1300 to 1400-ish

1200 to 1430

Recording: 1730 to 1900

Sun 14th

Race

1300 to 1430-ish

1130 to 1615

Recording: 1845 to 2100

 

  TYRES:

 

Ultra Soft

Super Soft

Soft

Medium

Hard

Intermediate

Wet

 

Tyres

Individual drivers’ tyres will be allocated by Pirelli for the opening races. I can’t find anything just yet about quantities.  What I do have is…

Drivers MUST keep at least one set of the softest tyre for Q3.  (This set will be returned to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10.  Remaining drivers will not have used them in Q3 so will not hand anything back.)

Drivers MUST use at least two different compounds during the race.

 

Because the 2017 tyres are so new the FIA has decreed that drivers will be allocated 2 sets of the hardest compound available for that race, seven sets of the softest available and four sets of the compound between the two.

 

FP1:

As usual in practise sessions, the times and to some extent the order is not significant, however, in this session there were one or two interesting developments – mechanically.

·        Alonso was a little late out and on his out lap his engine spring a significant oil leak and he spun out with smoke billowing. How can a company with such enormous resources as Honda simply fail to get it right after all this time.  There has got to be more to this than meets the eye. I just wish I knew what it was.

·        Later Vettel suddenly had no transmission and pulled over to the side of the track, fortuitously stopping right at the pit exit so he could be pushed back to his garage.  It looked and sounded like a gearbox problem, but once in the garage they didn’t start getting into the rear of the car, and declared it was a broken rear wheel. Really?  Anyway, he was soon back out.

·        Around this time Ricciardo’s car was being worked on in the garage, but he too was back out after a while.

·        Because of the problem Renault had with the car Sergey Sirotkin was to drive in the Friday session in Russia they offered him this Friday session, and when I say “offered” they probably had no choice for contractual reasons. Anyway, he managed 10 laps before the car developed a water leak and that was that.  I wonder if those ten laps will be enough not to have to “offer” him the Friday morning session in Monaco? 

·        Towards the end of the session drivers went onto the medium compound tyre and made up nearly two seconds on the times set using the hard tyre.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m21.521s 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

 

3

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

4

Vettel

Ferrari

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

8

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

9

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

10

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

11

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

12

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

13

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

14

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

15

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

16

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

 

17

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

 

18

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

19

Sirotkin

Renault

 1m26.293s

20

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 No Time

 

FP2:

A stronger wind had an undesirable effect for many drivers as the gusts caught them out going into a couple of the corners.  Made it more interesting for us, though!

Apart from some off-track excursions it was mostly uneventful – even a brief red flag so marshals could safely remove bits of Sainz’s Sauber later on in the session didn’t cause any problems.

Alonso managed to get some laps in but was either not pushing, or was unable to go any faster. His fastest lap was 1½ seconds slower than his young teammate’s!

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m20.802s 

2

Bottas

Mercedes

 

3

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

4

Vettel

Ferrari

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

8

Palmer

Renault

 

9

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

10

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

11

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

12

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

13

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

14

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

15

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

16

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

 

17

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

18

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

19

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

 

20

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

1m24.077s 

 

FP3:

Sunny and warm with the track temperature closing in on what it will be for qualifying later, so track time is important.  Unfortunately for Bottas they team fixed an electrical fault last night and then found a water leak. Busting the mechanics’ curfew they worked on it late into the night and then started early this morning to put the old engine he’d used in the first four races, not completing the task until only ten minutes from the end of this session, thus compromising Bottas in two ways – 1. Not getting much in the way of qualifying set up, and 2. Having an engine well past its best! 

Alonso drove the legs off his McLaren which lasted the session without breaking down! Will it last qualifying, let alone the race?

At the end Vettel left his pit for his last run of the session but only got half way down the pit-lane before stopping to be pushed back to the garage and the mechanics to start dismantling the back end!!!  Interesting.

Hulkenberg did well – looking forward to seeing him up there on the grid.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Raikkonen

Ferrari

1m20.214s

2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Hamilton

Mercedes

 

4

Bottas

Mercedes

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

8

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

9

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

10

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

11

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

12

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

13

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

14

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

15

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

16

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

 

17

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

18

Palmer

Renault

 

19

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

20

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

1m22.974s 

 

Q1:

Ferrari mechanics did an excellent job changing Vettel’s engine in around 2½ hours when it normally takes about 4 hours! On his 2nd lap his engineer tells him to stop the car, but Vettel queries it and although he slowed down he didn’t stop the car.  After a couple of exchanges of a technical nature he declares it feels good, speeds up and goes off to set a 1m 20.939!!

Other than that, a fairly standard session.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m20.511s

2

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

3

Vettel

Ferrari

 

4

Bottas

Mercedes

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

8

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

9

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

10

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

 

11

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

12

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

13

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

14

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

15

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

1m22.327s

16

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

1m22.332s

17

Palmer

Renault

 

18

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

 

19

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

 

20

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

1m22.746s

 

Q2:

The top six cars didn’t bother going out for the first run.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m20.210s

2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

 

8

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

9

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

10

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

1m21.251s

11

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

1m21.329s

12

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

 

13

Hulkenberg

Renault

 

14

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

 

15

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

1m21.803s

 

Q3:

This time the bottom four didn’t go out for the first run. The top six: Ham, Bot, Rai, Vet, Ver, Ric.

On the second run there were a few minor errors so Hamilton not threatened.

How good to see Alonso best of the rest. Even if we don’t admit it, I’m sure we’ll all be hoping he gets a good result tomorrow.

Pos

Driver

Car

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

1m19.149s

 2

Vettel

Ferrari

 

3

Bottas

Mercedes

 

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

 

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

 

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

 

7

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

 

8

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

 

9

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

 

10

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

1m21.272s

 

GRID:

Not expecting any penalties so the grid should look like this:

Pos

Driver

Car

Pts

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

20

2

Vettel

Ferrari

19

3

Bottas

Mercedes

18

4

Raikkonen

Ferrari

17

5

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

16

6

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

15

7

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

14

8

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

13

9

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

12

10

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

11

11

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

10

12

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

9

13

Hulkenberg

Renault

8

14

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

7

15

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

6

16

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

5

17

Palmer

Renault

4

18

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

3

19

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

2

20

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

1

 

 

RACE: 

Best race I’ve seen at Barcelona ever, I think.  At least I don’t remember one being so good.  Quite a relief after the Russian GP!

Turn one lived up to its reputation when Bottas lifted a little earlier than he needed to giving Raikkonen and Verstappen the chance to have a go around the outside.  Unfortanetly three into two won’t go and the latter tow pinched Bottas as he got to the apex. Raikkonen’s right rear meets Bottas’s left front and causes the Ferrari to slip left into Verstappen.  Result: Bottas carries on pretty much unscathed, but Raikkonen’s left front suspension is damaged as is Verstappen’s front right. They both retired. 

Meanwhile a number of drivers take advantage of the chaos, except that as the Ferrari and Red Bull lurch back onto the circuit Massa has to avoid, nudging Alonso off the circuit and across the dirt/grass – but at least he gets back on a carries on, albeit down the fiels from where he doesn’t recover.

Later Massa outbrakes Vandoorne who simply wasn’t expecting him to come from so far back, turns in, hits the Williams and destroys his suspension.

Eventually, Bottas comes to a halt after what sounded like a turbo failure, but could easily have been an expired engine!

Wehrlein’s penalty was a result of him turning in late to the pits and missing a bollard he should have driven round.  He got 5 seconds added to his race time which dropped him one place.

At the front Hamilton and Vettel provided quite a bit of entertainment and an insight into race strategy when the Vitual Safety Car came out to clear Vandoorne’s stranded McLaren.  Mercedes brought Hamilton in to put soft compound tyres on but Ferrari didn’t bring Vettel in until after the VSC stint ended. They put him onto the medium tyre and he came out as Hamilton drew alongside the pit exit.  All very exciting as they banged wheels trying to get the upper hand. Vettel won that little battle but after a number of laps Hamilton put an excellent move on Vettel and took the lead.  He then managed his tyres well to maintain the lead.

Pos

Driver

Car

Laps

Pts

 

1

Hamilton

Mercedes

66

20

 

2

Vettel

Ferrari

66

19

 

3

Ricciardo

Red Bull-Renault

66

18

 

4

Perez

Force India-Mercedes

65

17

 

5

Ocon

Force India-Mercedes

65

16

 

6

Hulkenberg

Renault

65

15

 

7

Sainz

Torro Rosso-Renault

65

14

 

8

Wehrlein

Sauber-Ferrari

65

13

Penalty

9

Kvyat

Torro Rosso-Renault

65

12

 

10

Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari

65

11

 

11

Ericsson

Sauber-Ferrari

64

10

 

12

Alonso

McLaren-Honda

64

9

 

13

Massa

Williams-Mercedes

64

8

 

14

Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari

64

7

 

15

Palmer

Renault

64

6

 

16

Stroll

Williams-Mercedes

64

5

 

17

Bottas

Mercedes

39

4

Turbo?

18

Vandoorne

McLaren-Honda

33

3

Suspension

19

Verstappen

Red Bull-Renault

1

2

Suspension

20

Raikkonen

Ferrari

0

1

Suspension

 

 

 

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© Ian Bushnell, 2017