F1 – Chinese GP – Qualifying
Nǐ hǎo MiniFans!
The Shanghai International Circuit hosts round three of the 2019 season. This track also has the honour of hosting the 1000th ever World Championship Grand Prix; an incredible milestone.
Qualifying one was a drab affair with Alexander Albon not able to take part due to crash damage suffered in third practice, whereas Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to take to track due to a power unit issue. They will start 20th & 19th respectively. Predictably, the two Williams drivers were the slowest cars to set a lap with George Russell (17th) just 0.028 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica (18th). The other driver to be eliminated from Q1 was Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
Qualifying two ran without incident and the eliminated drivers were both McLaren’s; Lando Norris (15th) and Carlos Sainz (14th) behind Kimi Raikkonen (13th), Sergio Perez (12th) and Daniil Kvyat (11th). Those results meant that five teams managed to get both their drivers into the final part of qualifying.
Qualifying three got fairly hectic. Haas opted to only do one run with their cars, and as you would expect, the team sent their cars out at the end of the session. However, because all the other teams did the same, traffic was a problem and both Haas drivers did not get to the start line before the chequered flag fell. They will start 9th & 10th tomorrow with neither driver setting a lap! Kevin Magnussen starts ahead because he left the pits first. I do find it unbelievable that after 1000 races, drivers and teams struggle to grasp the concept that there will be traffic management issues if everyone is on track together. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does still happen far too frequently.
Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg suffered the same fate as the Haas drivers, but they did at least do a “banker” lap at the start of Q3. They would end up 5th & 8th respectively.
It’s a Noah’s ark grid tomorrow with some very small margins between team mates. Valtteri Bottas took pole position from Lewis Hamilton (2nd) by 0.023 seconds. Sebastian Vettel finished 3rd, just 0.017 seconds ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc (4th). As previously mentioned, Max Verstappen finished 5th with quite a large gap (0.841 seconds) to team mate Pierre Gasly (6th). Meanwhile at Renault, Daniel Ricciardo (7th) beat Nico Hulkenberg (8th) by 0.004 seconds.
Mercedes-Ferrari-Red Bull-Renault-Haas. Who do you think will come out on top tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below.