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GP Week : Issue 200
QUALIFYING second quicker going into the last corner – but the time delta on my steering wheel display said that I was two tenths slower. So I just took a big risk and spun because I mistakenly thought I had nothing to lose anyway ...” Occupying what is seen as his ‘regular’ spot was Alonso, while best-of-the-rest this week turned out to be Felipe Massa, just shading his young team-mate. Both Williamses had started the session on full wets before rapidly realizing the error and stopping to change. Nico Hulkenberg and Jean-Eric Vergne made the 10, as did – for the first time – the Renault of Romain Grosjean: "ItisgoodtobeinQ3.We have made good progress this weekend. Things went better this morning than in qualifying this afternoon and so we had maybe even higher hopes. I'm not sure why we didn't feel as much performance this afternoon than in FP3. I also suffered with the tyres and the conditions change a little from this morning too but it has been a while since we've been in Q3!” The focus was, perhaps, on those who hadn’t made Q3 – including Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, and both McLarens, which just seemed slower this week than before. An error on his last- chance lap, late in Q2 didn’t help Kimi, who’d missed chunks of Practice with “technical problems”: “The past two days have been difficult, because after yesterday’s technical problem, this morning I also only did a single run, but overall, I felt more comfortable in the car. Unfortunately, on my last runinQ2,whenIwason my quick lap, I lost a lot of time in the final sector and that meant I didn’t make the cut to Q3. I had some problems with the balance and this had an effect on my performance. It’s too early to say what happened, but the time lost yesterday definitely didn’t help” Eric Boullier summed up McLaren’s woes: “To put it in simple terms, we performed poorly in qualifying today. We know our car is lacking in overall performance, but most notably it lacks sufficient downforce. That’s always a significant problem in any conditions, of course it is, but it becomes an insuperable handicap when it’s both cold and wet, as it was today. Then you get a downward spiral, because you can’t get enough heat into your tyres, and that’s what we saw today. Our drivers did their best, but in truth they were facing an impossible task.” 2014 FORMULA 1TM UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX 56 LAPS ROUND 4/19 << Last Race – Bahrain Two Weeks Ago 1 Next Race – Spain >> Three Weeks’ Time 2014 FORMULA 1TM UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Establishing a new British record with his 34th pole position, Lewis Hamilton is also on pole in China for the 4th time, a record for this circuit. Alongside him and matching the front row order from the Australian GP is Daniel Ricciardo, who astonishingly has now outqualified Sebastian Vettel more times this year already (3 times) than Mark Webber managed in the entire 2013 season (twice). 2 – Vettel starts third, which historically has severely restricted his chances of winning. Of his 39 career wins, 37 have come from the front row, with the other two (Malaysia 2010 and Singapore 2012) coming from 3rd place. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg has his worst start of 2014, although bizarrely, he’s now started 4th on the grid 3 times in the last 4 Chinese GPs. It is notable that the top-4 on the grid are the fastest two cars (Mercedes) and the slowest two cars (Red Bull), with a 20km/h (12mph) difference between them). 3 – Fernando Alonso starts 5th for the 21st time in his 81-race Ferrari career, while his former teammate Felipe Massa starts from a season-best 6th place. Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg starts in the top-10 for the first time in China, as does Jean-Eric Vergne, who will hope to avoid a third consecutive lap 1 incident. Romain Grosjean put Lotus into Q3 for the first time this year, as he attempts to keep up his 100% record of always scoring points in the Chinese GP. 4 – Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen had never previously started outside the top-10 in China, and this is also the first Chinese GP in which at least one Mclaren has not started there. Jenson Button has evened up the season head-to-head with Kevin Magnussen at 2-2, while Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat has started in a lower position at each successive race this year (8th, 11th, 12th and now 13th). 5 – Sauber have lost a car in Q1 at every race this season, twice for Adrian Sutil and twice for Esteban Gutierrez. Kamui Kobayashi was the quickest of the Caterham/Marussia group for the 3rd time in 4 races this season. The time gaps between the two sets of teammates were very large this weekend (1.386 between Kobayashi and Ericsson, and 1.539 separating Bianchi and Chilton). 6 – For the 2nd time this season, Pastor Maldonado will start on the back row of the grid after failing to set a time in qualifying, and the Venezuelan is still yet to progress from Q1 in 2014. 37 GPWEEK.com // 37 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> CHINA PARTNERS: