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GP Week : Issue 213
QUALIFYING While COTA had a strange feel about it with just 18 cars in the garages, there was nothing unfamiliar about the result of qualifying. The Mercedes pair were ... totally dominant, and even the thrid chair at the qualifying conference had an inceasingly familiar face sitting in it. Indeed, with five minutes, and the final runs to go in Q3, it was looking like another Noah's Ark outcome: Merc, Merc, Williams, Williams, McLaren, McLaren .... a row of Merc engines. But in the end, there were a couple of changes. The most significant was that Nico Rosberg, desperate for a points reversal against his team mate, slashed a couple of tenths off his first run, and ended up a relatively mountainous four-tenths quicker than Lewis. While Nico was pretty thrilled that, at just the right moment, everything had come together, Lewis seemed to have something to pin the gap on – a front brake imbalance, which saw him lock the left- front on more than one occasion (including his Q2 best-lap set, on which he would start the race): "When you look at the brake temperatures, the left brake was always around 100 degrees less than the right front brake," he said.. It just kept catching. No matter what I did, even if I braked earlier and tried to save it, it would still lock. So that was perhaps where I was losing a lot of the time." Was it likely (the flat-spooted Q2 set) to create a problem in the race? "The vibration isn’t that bad. It’s a minor flat spot. They’ll rebalance it and hopefully won’t feel too much with it. The issue is just locking. If I can’t fix that left brake, then that will be a continuing issue throughout the race. And obviously flat spots lead to blistering so I’ve got try and make sure we can fix that this evening." As is becoming the norm, Valtteri Bottas managed something three-tenths better than team-mate Massa – albeit a significant nin-tenths down on Rosberg: I managed to improve myself a lot during every session and really got the car to a good set-up only just before the qualifying – so I could really trust the car a bit better in the qualifying and get those lines right and get every corner right. I knew that Q3 is the one which is going to matter, and Situation normal ... except at the back FORMULA 1 Round 16 USA gp – Qualifying PoS # dRiveR teaM Q1 Q2 Q3 LaPS 1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.303 1:36.290 1:36.067 20 2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.196 1:37.287 1:36.443 16 3 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:38.249 1:37.499 1:36.906 19 4 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:37.877 1:37.347 1:37.205 20 5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:38.814 1:37.873 1:37.244 17 6 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.349 1:38.010 1:37.610 16 7 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.574 1:38.024 1:37.655 17 8 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.557 1:38.047 1:37.706 16 9 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:38.669 1:38.263 1:37.804 22 10 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.855 1:38.378 1:38.810 15 11 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:38.608 1:38.467 16 12 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:39.200 1:38.554 16 13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:38.931 1:38.598 16 14 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:38.936 1:38.699 17 15 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:39.250 10 16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.555 10 17 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:39.621 3 18 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:39.679 8 Note - Button qualified P7, drops 5 grid spots for gearbox change; Kvyat qualified P14, drops 10 for engine change; Vettel qualified P17, starts from pit lane for complete power unit change 25 GPWEEK.com // 25 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> USA PARTNERS: