Mercedes front and back in China qualifying

Rosberg China 2016 qualifying

Championship leader Nico Rosberg recorded his twenty-third career pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix while his title rival Lewis Hamilton suffered a technical issue and will start last.

A five-place grid penalty for the reigning world champion Hamilton meant he was never going to start on pole, but his Mercedes failed to even figure in the battle thanks to an energy recovery system (ERS) problem that meant he was unable to escape Q1.

Friday practice pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen was on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3, but he made a mistake at the penultimate corner and couldn’t improve.

Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel only made a single run in Q3, but the end result was just fourth position.

China 2016 qualifying

Ricciardo therefore grabbed this opportunity with a superb final effort in his Red Bull, 0.055 seconds faster than Raikkonen’s Ferrari but over half a second down on Rosberg, who got through Q2 on soft tyres and can consequently start the race on a different strategy to the other front running cars.

So second position for Daniel Ricciardo is an impressive achievement. The potential for Red Bull and the honey badger looks good.

The Williams of Valtteri Bottas was fifth quickest, slightly slower than Vettel, while Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top six.

Sergio Perez was seventh fastest for Force India, ahead of the Toro Rosso pair of Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen.

Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten, but Force India will likely be penalised for an unsafe release after his car shed its left-front wheel in the closing minutes of Q2.

That prevented any drivers from completing second runs in this segment, and meant Felipe Massa’s Williams missed out on the top ten by just 0.014 seconds to Hulkenberg.

The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean’s Haas, and the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr completed the top 16 in that order.

Alonso groaned repeatedly with frustration when told over McLaren’s radio that he would have to abort his second run, while team-mate Button’s response was “Are you kidding me?! One day we’ll show our true pace”.

Kevin Magnussen’s Renault and the Haas-Ferrari of Esteban Gutierrez both fell at the first part of qualifying, thanks to late improvements from the Saubers.

Magnussen, who lost most of Friday’s dry running to a rear suspension problem, almost did enough with his final flying lap, but Nasr bumped him out by less than a hundredth of a second.

Gutierrez ended up P18, paying the price for Haas completing its second Q1 runs too early as the track improved.

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was nearly eight tenths slower in P19, but well ahead of Rio Haryanto’s Manor-Mercedes.

Hamilton’s ERS problems meant he failed to set a time in qualifying, but he will start last on account of a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Bahrain qualifying star Pascal Wehrlein also failed to set a time, after the DTM champion lost control of his slick-shod car over a wet patch on the start/finish straight and glanced the barriers in the early stages of Q1.

That accident caused a lengthy delay to the session as marshals attempted to dry out this part of the circuit with a track sweeper.

So a Silver Arrows bookend. Championship challenger on pole position while defending title winner at the back. The honey badger can fight for glory. Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix is going to be exciting.

Rosberg China 2016

Qualifying standings, Chinese Grand Prix:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m35.402s
2    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-TAG Heuer    1m35.917s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m35.972s
4    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m36.246s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m36.296s
6    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-TAG Heuer    1m36.399s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m36.865s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m36.881s
9    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m37.194s
10    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    No time
11    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m37.347s
12    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m38.826s
13    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m39.093s
14    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m39.830s
15    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m40.742s
16    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m42.430s
17    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m38.673s
18    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m38.770s
19    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m39.528s
20    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1m40.264s
21    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    No time
22    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    No time

6 thoughts to “Mercedes front and back in China qualifying”

  1. World champion Lewis Hamilton will start the Chinese Grand Prix from the back of the grid after failing to set a time in qualifying on Saturday due to engine problems with his Mercedes.

    Hamilton, already carrying a five-place grid penalty for a change of gearbox, complained about a lack of engine power during the opening 18-minute phase of qualifying.

    The Briton went out late in the session, which was interrupted by a 20-minute red flag stoppage following a crash for Manor rookie Pascal Wehrlein, but headed back into the pits again.

    “These things are sent to try us and I am sure we will learn from it. It is just about trying to figure out the issue and making sure it doesn’t happen again,” Hamilton told Britain’s SkySports.

    “The car is quick, hopefully they get the issue fixed and we can have a race tomorrow.”

    Hamilton hasn’t won a race since October’s U.S. Grand Prix and trails team mate Nico Rosberg, winner of the opening two races of the season, by 17 points in the standings.

    He arrived in China, where he has won a record won four races, hoping to turn the tide by racing to his third successive Shanghai win despite his gearbox penalty.

    Source: Reuters

  2. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg came into this weekend’s qualifying session as the hot favourite to take his first pole position of the year after back-to-back successes for his team mate Lewis Hamilton in Melbourne and Bahrain.

    Once Hamilton was sidelined with power unit issues early in the session you might have been forgiven for expecting pole to be a walk in the park for the championship leader. But Rosberg had no such illusions and was wary of the challenge from both Ferrari and Red Bull – and rightly so, it turned out.

    “The team is just doing a great job and we have the fastest car out there, and that’s it. We’re putting it together in qualifying which is great to see,” he said.

    “Kimi did a big mistake [on his final run] – apparently, I haven’t seen it – but lost a quite lot of time while my lap was very good, otherwise it would have been very close. That’s what we’re expecting actually, it’s why I needed to pull one out to make sure I could be on pole today and I’m glad that it worked out. I’m pleased of course. The whole weekend has gone well, the car has been handling well today in qualifying. To get the lap done and put it on pole I’m happy. Not ecstatic because of course Lewis had bad luck and his car broke down so the fight didn’t happen, didn’t take place, but anyway, I’m pleased [about getting pole position].”

    Rosberg said that his car hadn’t experienced any similar problems with the ERS to those that sidelined Hamilton. An ignition problem at the end of Friday’s FP1 session left him in ‘limp home mode’ but had been quickly fixed over the lunch break with no recurrence.

    “I had an issue yesterday, so I need to look and try and understand that,” he said. “Of course it’s bad luck for Lewis today definitely.”

    Source: F1i

  3. Both McLaren-Hondas would have made Chinese Grand Prix Q3 but for the late-Q2 red flag, reckons a “massively frustrated” Fernando Alonso.

    Q2 for the Shanghai Formula 1 race was halted with 1m17s remaining when Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India shed a front wheel.

    At the time, the McLarens were among a group of cars gearing up for final flying laps that they would have to abandon, leaving Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button 12th and 13th.

    Both drivers expressed huge exasperation over team radio when informed of the stoppage and were adamant they would have made the top 10.

    “I’m massively frustrated today because we have the potential [for Q3],” said Alonso.

    “We didn’t use the new tyres, we didn’t use the full potential of the engine either and we were waiting for that moment, that lap in Q2 and we didn’t manage to open the lap. We have the pace now in qualifying.”

    Button had been fourth fastest in Q1.

    “I know some people don’t give it the beans [in Q1], especially the quicker teams, but it wasn’t too bad,” he said.


  4. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will be using a second power unit for the Chinese Grand Prix. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton will switch to his second engine of the 2016 Formula 1 season after his Mercedes’ problem in Chinese Grand Prix qualifying.

    The reigning F1 world champion, who was already facing a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, ended up last in qualifying after an MGU-H issue prevented him from doing a flying lap in Q1.

    Mercedes confirmed the power unit would be changed in order to “give us time to properly analyse the issue back at the factory and then determine which components from PU one can be re-used at future events”.

    The firm’s motorsport chief Toto Wolff admitted taking the fresh engine “adds a new complexity to the situation” going into Sunday’s race.

    Hamilton has the choice of starting from the pitlane but plans to take the start from 22nd on the grid.

  5. Red Bull Racing were left feeling ‘shocked’ to see Daniel Ricciardo on the front row after qualifying. has the details.

    Team principal Christian Horner hailed Daniel Ricciardo’s P2 qualifying performance in China as ‘incredible’, admitting Red Bull had been blown away by the Australian sealing a front-row grid spot.

    Ricciardo wound up as Nico Rosberg’s nearest challenger in Shanghai, with his final Q3 run edging Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by just 0.055s. It is only the fourth time in his career that Ricciardo will start from the front row.

    “I’m shocked actually, to qualify on the front row here is an incredible performance,” Horner said.

    “He [Ricciardo] got quicker and quicker and quicker and just pulled it all together – he just nailed it.

    “We get to see the start lights from the front row for the first time in a long time, so we’re in the race!”

    Ricciardo conceded he was similarly surprised by his pace in the final stage of qualifying.

    “I’m not sure [where the speed came from],” he explained. “To be honest I didn’t think we started Q1 from the best position in terms of the balance, and it didn’t seem we would be in a fight for the front rows – but in Q3 we just found more speed.

    “The supersoft [tyre] can be tricky to manage here because it gets chewed up quite a bit, so between that and the engineers making a few adjustments we got a good package at the end. Second is pretty awesome – I didn’t expect this!”

    Red Bull’s last front-row start came courtesy of Ricciardo in Singapore last year – the only time all season they started as high as second on the grid.

  6. Kimi Raikkonen believes his error at the final hairpin in Shanghai qualifying cost Ferrari a genuine chance of capturing pole position for Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix.

    Raikkonen took provisional pole after the first Q3 runs. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg responded to wrest back the advantage, but the Finn had matched the German through the first two sectors of his final run, only to squander time running too deep into the Turn 14 hairpin, leaving him third behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

    “It’s a shame, I had a chance to be on the top today,” said Raikkonen, who has not started from the front of the field since 2008.

    “I’m a bit disappointed. The mistake cost us an easy second place, if not first. It would have been very close [for pole]. I was quite a bit up on that [final] lap, but ran wide and lost a lot of time.

    “I don’t know if it would have been enough for pole, but it was very close. We tried. We still have third so it’s not a disaster, but obviously it could have been much more.”

    Team mate Sebastian Vettel admitted he too had made too many errors, after gambling to save a set of tyres and just complete one run in Q3.

    “I was happy and confident I could make it on the final lap, but I couldn’t,” he reflected.

    “I made quite a few mistakes that cost me time. Unfortunately the run wasn’t good, otherwise we could have been two places higher I think.

    “I think it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds. Nico is obviously starting on a different compound, [while] I have an extra set [of tyres] on hand. Maybe we won’t need it, but that’s the gamble we took.

    “Hopefully he [Rosberg] has a poor start as his tyres are harder than ours and that we will be able to jump ahead.”

    Ferrari have not beaten Mercedes since Vettel’s victory in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, but the German says the Silver Arrows are now not far out of reach.

    “Race pace-wise we should be really strong so it’s a bit of a shame not to start from where we wanted to but it will be a long demanding race where anything can happen,” he said.

    “It won’t be easy but I think we are closer here than probably in the last two races.”


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