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GP Week : Issue 233
POS DRIvER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS 1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:11.746 1:12.213 1:11.282 12 2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.682 1:11.665 1:11.360 12 3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.240 1:11.928 1:11.804 16 4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:12.934 1:12.374 1:12.085 18 5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12.185 1:12.243 1:12.144 16 6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:12.595 1:12.485 1:12.265 18 7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:12.730 1:12.527 1:12.322 20 8 Felipe Massa Williams 1:12.980 1:12.858 1:12.415 21 9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:12.639 1:12.825 1:12.417 17 10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:12.824 1:12.712 1:12.739 15 11 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:13.111 1:12.989 14 12 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:13.267 1:13.045 15 13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:13.140 1:13.147 13 14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:13.346 1:13.233 14 15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.056 1:13.913 11 16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:13.385 5 17 Jenson Button McLaren 1:13.425 6 18 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:16.151 6 19 Will Stevens Manor 1:16.283 6 Fernando Alonso McLaren No Time 2 Q1 107% Time 1:16.699 Formula 1 round 18 brazilian gp – Qualifying QUALIFYING Two long straights, one with a long uphill acceleration zone, always meant the Brazilian Grand Prix always had a circle around it on Mercedes calendar. strong power, a good handling chassis, the question was not whether Mercedes could take pole, but which one. On the opening day the smart money was on Nico Rosberg, who had solid single lap pace but seemed to give something up to Lewis Hamilton the longer they ran. In qualifying spec though it was the German who held a narrow advantage. Revisions for 2015 had changed the way drivers attacked the circuit, no longer monstering over the kerbing to trim metres from the lap length. Hamilton remained the more aggressive of the two Mercedes drivers but their approach netted them near identical lap times. There was half a tenth in the first sector, which essentially equated to braking into the first chicane and accelerating around turn two, around the Cur va do Sol and up the back straight. Rosberg edged out another hundredth through the twisty middle sector but his best was more than a tenth down on Hamilton. Had Hamilton strung his best sectors together over a single lap, the world champion would have started from pole by half a tenth. Instead it was the other way around. Hamilton's final sector was by far the quickest, though Nico Hulkenberg was surprisingly strong into and out of Juncao. The Force India driver was third quickest behind the two factory Mercedes while Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas demonstrated the strength of the Mercedes engines. The Ferrari, in Sebastian Vettel's hands and more specifically under his right foot wasn't a million miles away, but gave enough away to make it little threat to the Mercedes. Even in the middle sector Vettel dropped time, more than two tenths to Rosberg. Added together with the one tenth deficit from the first sector it was clear Vettel was never in with a realistic shot of the front row, though was clearly the best of the rest. Hulkenberg's pace in the final sector wasn't matched in the middle part of the lap, where the nimble Red Bulls leapt ahead of the Force India. Sergio Perez in the other Force India struggled in the middle sector in particular, dropping half a second to his teammate in that third of the lap alone highlighting that while the car is competitive it has very specific strengths that need to be exploited. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat though lost three tenths in the final sector alone, and while they were competitive in the first part of the lap they were simply giving up too much in the drag race to the line. That will come as a concern for Renault since its new engine fared worse than its old power unit. Fitted to the back of Ricciardo's car, it proved half 20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BRAZIL PARTNERS: Rain, rain go away...