Saturday, June 25, 2011

European GP: Qualifying

A harbour-side street circuit in a dry, hot Valencia was the venue of Qualifying for the European Grand Prix.

Drop-Outs from Q1 were the usual suspects of ALG, KOV, TRU, GLO, LIU, DAM, KAR (Alguersuari, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Liuzzi, d'Ambrosio, Karthikeyan)

Q2 got underway shortly afterwards with Ferrari's Massa first out on track. Session was RED FLAGGED when Maldonado stopped in the middle of the track with 8 minutes to go - due to what seemed to be mechanical or electrical failure. At this point, Buemi and Petrov hadn't set a time. Session restarted soon afterwards and all 17 drivers got a time on the board.

However Sutil pushed Petrov out of the top 10 in the last few seconds of Q2. This also means Sutil outqualifies his team-mate for only the second time this season since Turkish GP; partly due to di Resta's lack of running on Friday (Hulkenberg crashed his car during FP1) and a wobble in the last few seconds of Q2. Sutil was later fined €18,400 for 2 incidents of pit-lane speeding in Q2. Mike Gascoigne of Team Lotus suggested that was perhaps for an error in his pit-lane limiter.

Out of Q2 are PET, DIR, BAR, KOB, MAL, PER, BUE (Petrov, DiResta, Barichello, Maldonado, Perez, Buemi) leaving Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Webber, Schumacher, Rosberg, Massa, Heidfeld and Sutil to battle it out for the top 10 positions.

With 2 minutes left in the session and with Vettel on provisional pole (Imin36.975), all the front runners went back out including Schumacher who hadn't set a time yet.

Top 3 Drivers (courtesy