Rosberg rules as Hamilton rues errors

18/06/2016
NEWS STORY

Following his crash in the final moments of FP3, the entire rear end of Sergio Perez' car has had to be changed, including his gearbox. This means that the Mexican incurs a five-place grid penalty.

Normally, on a street circuit, this would effectively mean 'game over' or at least the prospect of a couple of points, but such is the nature of this circuit we wouldn't be surprised to see the Force India driver on the podium tomorrow.

This morning's GP2 race saw just 10 of the original 22 starters make it to the flag, such was the mayhem. Indeed, the race had to be re-started following a crash at the original start which saw five driver eliminated.

Based on the evidence thus far this season, we do not see the F1 drivers being any less aggressive on as circuit which positively encourages you to try your luck and then hits back with unforgiving brutality.

Lewis Hamilton has topped all three practice session and must be favourite to take pole however, whether he will be able to stay out of trouble tomorrow - having had his own share of offs this weekend - remains to be seen.

Rosberg has been second quickest in every session (natch!), with all the Mercedes powered cars looking good.

Having looked to be struggling yesterday, Red Bull looked a whole lot stronger this morning, whilst Ferrari doesn't look comfortable.

McLaren has been looking good all weekend and must be feeling confident, whilst Toro Rosso appears strangely inconsistent.

Valtteri Bottas was dealt a cruel blow earlier when a loose drain cover damaged his car causing him to miss the whole of FP2. However, we believe that as in the case of Perez' penalty, this might not prove to be too big an issue as we are expecting a freak result tomorrow.

Indeed, Pascal Wehrlein, who finished FP3 17th on the timesheets, could even score some points tomorrow, such is the unpredictability of this event/circuit.

Air temperature ahead of this session is 27 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 39 degrees.

Tyres available this weekend are supersoft, soft and medium, whilst there are two DRS zones. The first begins 630 metres before the Turn 3 braking point, the second 730 metres before the braking point for Turn 1. They share a single detection point located at Turn 20.

As previously reported a number of changes were carried out overnight, with a number of kerbs removed and the track markings painted on instead. The pitlane entrance was changed also.

The lights go green and the Toro Rosso duo leads the way. However, in the Ferrari garage Vettel's car is still on its stands.

In no time at all there are 16 drivers on track, all on the supersofts.

Sainz gets things underway with a 1:47.237 but this is beaten by Kvyat, Hamilton and then Rosberg, who crosses the line at 44.136.

Ericsson complains that Grosjean blocked him, whilst Massa also appeared to bet in the way of Verstappen.

As Bottas goes third - despite no FP3 running - Grosjean is off at T15 but continues.

Thanks to a tow from a Renault, Verstappen goes fourth with a 45.292. Moments later, teammate Ricciardo goes third with a 44.570.

After going off again, this time at T4, Grosjean complains to his team about his brakes. "We've got to get this sorted guys," he complains.

Hamilton is against the barrier, nose first, at T15, but is able to continue with no apparent harm done.

Perez goes fourth and Hulkenberg fifth as the Ferrari duo finally leave the garage.

Out front, Rosberg consolidates his top spot with a 43.685.

Button is the latest to fall foul of T15, as Bottas re-takes fourth with a 44.706.

With 6:50 remaining, Haryanto, Wehrlein, Grosjean, Button and the Ferraris comprise the drop zone.

Vettel goes seventh with a 45.062, it's not much but at least he's through to Q2.

Another bold lap from Perez sees the Mexican go third, the Force India driver on fire in the land of flame.

Raikkonen's first lap sees the Finn go 20th, the Ferrari driver posting 48.064 before improving to 44.936 and taking seventh.

Button cannot improve on 45.804 but remains 18th.

Palmer fails to improve on 46.405, earning a shrug from his father.

All eyes on Gutierrez who is currently 16th, whilst his teammate has improved to 11th.

A spin for Raikkonen brings out the yellows which momentarily brings out the yellows. Gutierrez improves to tenth, but what can Button do?

When Vettel gets it wrong at T15, the yellows are waved again, which means Button eases off and misses the cut, as does Magnussen.

"It's not happening," says Button. "****!"

No sooner has Sainz gone sixth that Toro Rosso teammate Kvyat posts 44.694 to go fifth. Elsewhere, Ericsson clouts the wall but is able to continue.

Quickest was Rosberg, ahead of Hamilton, Perez, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Bottas, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen and Verstappen.

We lose Haryanto, Wehrlein, Button, Ericsson, Magnussen and Palmer.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.

The Mercedes duo head the queue of cars at the end of the pitlane for the start of Q2. Soon all 16 drivers are on track.

Gutierrez is the first driver to post a time, the Haas driver stopping the clock at 45.349. however, this is soon beaten by Grosjean, Sainz, Kvyat and Massa (44.696).

As Bottas posts 44.477 to go quickest, Hulkenberg has a big spin in the final corner, which doesn't do Hamilton, who was right behind, any favours.

Rosberg ups the ante with a 42.520, whilst Perez goes second (44.303) ahead of Vettel. Hamilton, due to that Hulkenberg spin, can only manage sixth (44.780).

With 4:30 remaining, Sainz, Alonso, Gutierrez, Verstappen, Hulkenberg and Nasr comprise the drop zone.

Gutierrez appears to block Verstappen but both are on out laps.

Talking of which, the Dutch youngster improves to third with a 44.387.

Kvyat also improves, the Russian posting 44.687 to go seventh.

Sainz is off at T15 and as he rejoins the track he hampers Raikkonen. Elsewhere, a mistake sees Hamilton off at T7 after a massive lock-up. The Briton is currently tenth, ahead of Ricciardo.

Gutierrez posts a PB in S1 then gets it wrong at T8 and goes off.

Raikkonen is off at T3 as the chequered flag is waved.

All eyes on Hamilton who bangs in a 43.526 to go second, albeit by 1.006.

Late improvements for Kvyat and Massa whilst there is a misunderstanding between Hulkenberg and his team over fuel, leaving the German clearly frustrated as he fails to make the cut.

"It cannot be any worse than this, the traffic," complains Alonso, whose run of Q3s has come to an end.

Quickest was Rosberg, ahead of Hamilton, Perez, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Kvyat and Massa.

We lose Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Alonso, Gutierrez and Nasr.

Ricciardo gets Q3 underway, leading out Kvyat, Rosberg, Vettel and Hamilton.

Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen all pushing hard on their out laps, as is Verstappen who goes off at T1.

Ricciardo posts 45.228 but Vettel eclipses this with a 44.260. Raikkonen goes second with a 44.269, and Kvyat third.

Hamilton goes seventh with a 2:01.954, whilst Rosberg posts 56.148.

"What the *** is he doing," says Verstappen of Bottas, as the pair get worryingly close in T1.

Hamilton is off again at T15, the resultant yellow flag doing his teammate no favours either. Prior to that mistake, the Briton was quickest in S1.

With 4:48 remaining, Rosberg is seventh and Hamilton eighth.

In the midst of all that, Perez has gone quickest with a 43.515... but don't forget that penalty.

The Mercedes duo begin their flying laps as Massa can only manage fourth (44.483).

Rosberg touches the wall at T8 but is able to continue, indeed he takes provisional pole with a 42.758, unlike Hamilton who has clouted the wall at T10 and damaged his car.

Red Flag.

"I'm out of this session," says a weary Hamilton.

If the session resumes there would be time for one lap, but will it resume? If it doesn't it will be a bitter blow for Verstappen, who is currently tenth, and Ricciardo who is seventh, not to mention Bottas.

As it stands, the winners are Ferrari, who, with Perez' penalty, will start second (Vettel) and third (Raikkonen), the Finn just 0.009s slower than his German teammate.

As it is announced that the session will resume, Ricciardo heads out, as does Bottas who is released right into the past of Vettel. A possible penalty for Williams for that very silly move.

The lights go green and drivers will have enough time for an out lap and a flier.

All but Rosberg (and Hamilton) are on track. Massa is sent out late and it is doubtful that he'll have time for a lap.

Having got a tow from Verstappen, Bottas attempts to pass Verstappen but makes a meal of it.

Of course, the fear is their tyres won't have enough heat in them.

"That's it for the lap," admits a defeated Bottas.

Somehow Ricciardo improves to third, whilst Vettel posts exactly the same time to take fourth. Elsewhere, Verstappen improves by just enough to take ninth, and thereby demote Hamilton to tenth.

"Amazing job guys," says Perez. "Thanks so much for the effort to get the car back together."

"An equally happy Ricciardo punches the air. "Little beauty, thanks for getting me up there guys," says the Australian.

Meanwhile, told that he's P3 but with the same time as Ricciardo, Vettel is not happy. "Awww, come on... you're joking".

So, Nico Rosberg starts from pole and arch-rival - and teammate Lewis starts from tenth, what could possibly go wrong?

Well at this particular circuit.... Anything. And it probably will.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 18/06/2016
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