Chinese GP: qualifying report

We don’t know about you but Nico Rosberg has never really looked like a Grand Prix winner to us and, even after what’s already being talked about as a perfect lap to give the 21st Century Silver Arrows their first pole, we’re still not sure he does.

Nico certainly didn’t act like it. What might have seemed a sure-fire way to spook his rivals – his team-mate especially – looked childish for the Sunday Afternoon sofa. If you are going to get out and park your car early Nico, utterly confident that nobody can beat your lap, hang around with the team, pretend to look at other’s times, crunch data. Don’t go and hang around in the weighing room so all the others have to say ‘Well done Nico, for sure that was an astonishing lap…’. It just looks kind of needy.

And you will have your work cut out tomorrow, Nico, if you are going to convince us that you are a winner. You are truly in the lion’s den there. Alongside you, if only by virtue of Lewis Hamilton’s five-place grid penalty, is your team-mate Michael Schumacher, last year’s fastest man off-the-starting-grid by a mile. And he’s going to be doubly-miffed that it’s you Nico, that has given Mercedes’ its first pole position since 1955. That wasn’t the plan.

And talking of men with a lot to prove, behind you, again thanks to Lewis’s demotion from the front row, is Kamui Kobayashi proving, what with team-mate Perez in eighth, that the Sauber is a properly fast car. Perez has become the man of the moment, but Kamui wants the spotlight back. And oddly enough he did it by adopting the minimal style of his team-mate, while Perez seemed to be drifting it more, Kamui-style. Go figure?

Also going for first lap glory is one Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified fifth and starts fourth. It’s been another tricky weekend for Lotus but come qualifying it went according to plan for the returning champ. We said before that the Lotus E20 was the third quickest car and we stick by that, maybe adding the caveat “equal” to account for the Sauber’s pace.

It is certainly quicker than the Red Bull RB8. Mark Webber could only manage seventh (an off-form Button and Hamilton’s penalty means the top four run as Rosberg, Schu’, Kamui and Raikkonen) and Vettel…?

Well, eleventh. Yes, the reigning and double world champion failed to make the cut for the final 10 places for the first time in over three years. There are real problems with the Red Bull RB8. It is not just that it’s not got the Mercedes Double DRS (the extensive plumbing for photographed here for the first time by German publication Auto Motor und Sport, coincidentally the alma mater of Mercedes racing boss Norbert Haug…), but both cars are running slightly different exhaust systems this weekend as the team flails around trying to win back the exhaust-gas leveraged advantage it largely invented only to see it banned. Neither configuration seems to work that well.

Predictions for tomorrow? There’s no evidence that Mercedes has found a solution for its tyre appetite. And Lewis, although confident of his car, has never won from lower than fourth. Leaving us with Kobayashi or Raikkonen. Are we serious? Just remember, Malaysia is all we’ll say.

Comments are now closed

that was the most brilliant lap from nico ive ever seen, to be 0.505s faster than hamilton when in q2 all that seperated first and eleventh was 0.331.it will be good to watck kimi,having his first good quali since he came back. i did feel happy though when vettel went out in eleventh place because he’ll have to get past people before he gets to where he believes is his god given right,in first place.i have to say,what the heck is wrong with that red bull,highest quali being seventh today and vettel one place further down away from being behind both ferraris,and that this season is saying something.hamilton still did quite well even with the penalty.the midfield q1 loss was back to usual,being toro rosso with vergne and ricciardo being only 17th,but in australia they got a couple of points and malaysia with vergne and ricciardo only 1.3 seconds off vettel in the end after vettels collision

Report this comment

the race should be exciting.lotus should do well,i hpe mclaren, mercedes, and sauber do well,i would be surprised if the red bulls werent both in the points,being much quicker than the ferrari.from about 11th down should be extremely competitive with the williams,force indias and toro rossos are side by side so three team mate battles in the midfield

Report this comment

Just amazing. What a lap. Fantastic top 10, hopefully the race will be one to remember.

Report this comment

well done koyabashi, for third place on the grid.
hope fernando has another, magic trick in his big bag.
good to see webber, starting to drive like mark webber
can.

Report this comment

I’m putting my money on Raikkonen and Button on the podium, not really sure who wins…all in all, that was an excellent qualyfing session, it’s good to see 4 different teams in the top 5 places of the grid, this is what we needed in F1, unpredictability!

Report this comment

I’m not going to try and predict the result of this race, all i know is it’s going to be mega!

Report this comment

I think Vettel will throw a total hissy fit and ram Webber as Vettel tries to pass him on the inside on the apex of a corner while Webber is leading and on his driving line…sounds familiar? Anyhoo, it will be an interesting race.

Report this comment

IN YO’ FACE, Top Gear! ;)

Even with Schumi out of the race (and for what stupid reason), Rosberg showed what he got, and drove home a clean win for Mercedes! Over 20 seconds on Button! That’s how it’s done!

Still, congratulations to McLaren. Three Stars on the podium! Some very good driving from all teams. Webber and Vettel showed that they’re among the best. Even Massa had some good moments, but the Ferrari is just not competitive enough.

A very exciting race and a very exciting F1 season.

Report this comment

Shame about what happened to Schumi and Kimi. Not looking good for the FI drivers atm either, which is a shame. Good finishes from Grosj, Senna and Maldo though.

Report this comment

Oh forgot to say, grats Nico. Great stuff. Hopefully this means we’ll see a very competitive championship this year.

Report this comment

Topgear.com has great coverage of Formula 1. Well done!

Report this comment

my co-worker’s sister brought in $16636 the prior month. she gets paid on the internet and moved in a $383700 condo. All she did was get fortunate and make use of the advice given on this website… http://onlinemoneycampaig n.blogspot.in/

Report this comment

Fantastic website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

Report this comment