What We Learned From Qualifying

  • Nico Rosberg made it 10 poles for 2014 with a last lap in Q3 that almost dipped into the 1:09s at Interlagos. The German beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.033 of a second. After the first runs he had led by 0.029. Hamilton snatched pole off him with a final 1:10.051 only to see his time eclipsed by Rosberg with a 1:10.023.
    Nico’s 10th pole means that he will the very first F1 Pole Trophy for the most P1s in the season. He also managed the clean sweep of fastest in FP1, FP2, FP3 and Qualifying. All he needs to wrap it up is the fastest lap and a race win tomorrow.

  • Felipe Massa sent the home crowd wild and showed how close the Williams team can push Mercedes tomorrow by finishing in P3 just 0.2 behind Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas was only a tenth further back in P4.
  • McLaren will be celebrating after a miserable Friday that saw them place towards the bottom of the timesheets. Jenson Button snatched P5 – and would have been starting the race alongside teammate Kevin Magnussen, but the Dane was pipped for P6 in the last few seconds by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. This weekend is McLaren’s 350th start using the Mercedes-Benz power unit (and their second last before they move back to Honda next year.).
  • Vettel for once outqualified Daniel ‘the honeybadger’ Ricciardo who had to settle for P9 in between the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso (P8) and Kimi Raikkonen (P10). Alonso’s handling in the F14T looked so difficult that he was approaching some turns in ‘rally fashion’ twitching the car one way before making a turn the other way.
  • Yet again the weather at Interlagos proved unpredictable. The much-anticipated rain failed to arrive for the beginning of Qualifying, although a few drops started to fall right at the end of Q3 and not enough to dent lap-times.
  • Daniil Kvyat made it through to Q2 but Toro Rosso decided not to waste any tyres as he was carrying an engine penalty forward from the USGP…
  • …which meant that the Saubers will be able to start the race from P11 and P13 tomorrow, their best combined qualifying performance of the year. And while both Saubers got through to Q2, both Lotus cars exited in Q1.
  • The short lap-time at Brazil often means that a great number of places are covered by a very small time gap. In Q1 with six minutes of the session left to run only 0.7 of a second separated P3 and P15.
  • Today’s front row for the Mercedes team – their seventh in a row – means that they have equalled Williams’ 1993 record of 28 front-row starts, from Damon Hill and Alain Prost. They can go on to beat the record at the final race in Abu Dhabi, but will have done so in 19 races compared to Williams’ 16.