Excitement about Formula 1 is always at a peak when it’s the start of a new season and today’s qualifying session more than lived up to the hype – a session that saw champions go out early, Red Bull looking less fizzy and McLaren showing their true speed. The star of the session has to a certain Romain Grosjean who stuck his Lotus up on 3rd for the start – more than making up for an otherwise bad day for the team with Kimi Raikkonen going out early, starting 18th.
Ferrari’s session was appalling, Massa couldn’t get beyond the second round and Alonso, while looking to have the pace to nip into the final shoot out, beached his prancing horse in the gravel. On the flipside, Williams had a more promising start to the season with Pastor Maldonado up in 8th and Senna in 14th.
The expectation around Mercedes wasn’t unjust – the car is quick, but alas it just didn’t come together for them with Rosberg making crucial errors on his final laps to end up 7th, and Schumacher not being quite as quick and couldn’t do better than 4th – still a massive improvement on 2011 for the team though. Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber are busy battling in a very tight midfield – exactly what we need for a good race!
Looking to tomorrow, one thing is for sure; the grid is set-up to deliver a potentially very exciting grand prix.
The Grid for Sunday (provisional):
|5||Mark Webber||Red Bull/Renault||1'25.651||0.729|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1'25.668||0.746|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1'26.451||1.529|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||-||-|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1'26.429||1.507|
|15||Paul Di Resta||Force India/Mercedes||1'27.086||2.164|
|23||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT/Cosworth||Not Qualified|