F1 qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo claims career-first pole in Monaco

Daniel Ricciardo has claimed the first pole position of his career ahead of the Mercedes drivers of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in an eventful Monaco qualifying session.

In a near-perfect performance in the final qualifying session, Ricciardo showed just how far talent can take you around the street circuit, however his chances during the race are looking even brighter after an ingenious move in the second qualifying session saw him set his fastest time on the Supersoft tyres when his competitors were running on Ultrasofts. 

The move means he should be able to run slightly longer in the first stint of the race and gives him a buffer to those around him on strategy. 

Hamilton had another eventful qualifying session for all of the wrong reasons when he lost power in the pitlane at the start of Q3, and although he eventually managed to take the track his momentum had evaporated and was battling his rhythm to claim P3.

Nico Rosberg will at least be pleased to have bested his teammate by slotting in behind Ricciardo after brushing the barrier ever so slightly without incident earlier in the session.

Not so lucky was Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen who tagged the barriers on a number of occasions, eventually breaking his suspension and in an instant the unforgiving Monaco barriers became all too real. 

With rain expected during the race anything could still happen, but for the first time this year a Mercedes is not the fastest car around the track.

Timeline: Why qualifying wasn't changed for Bahrain

This has been a tricky thing to keep on top of, but this weekend when you're at a BBQ with friends or posting online about how rubbish F1 is at the moment you will at least have the facts in your hot little pocket.

So, as far as I can understand, this is how we got in to this qualifying mess and why we haven't cleaned it up yet:

  1. To spice up qualifying (and thus the race), FIA President Jean Todt and FOM Mogul Bernie Ecclestone decide to change the format for 2016. 
  2. Two options are put to the teams, their unanimous support is needed to change the format; Todt proposes elimination qualifying, Ecclestone proposes applying time penalties for the top finishers from the previous race. 
  3. The teams proposed changes to the elimination system where Q1 and Q2 are elimination but Q3 remains the same as the old format, Todt refuses the idea.
  4. Faced with these options, teams unanimously vote for elimination qualifying, despite their doubts that it will be successful. 
  5. Australian qualifying session plays out and the system is universally declared a toilet, apart from Todt who came up with the format.  Toto Wolff tells the media that the teams supported change in the sport but voted for the "least worst option".
  6. On the Sunday after qualifying, teams meet informally and vote unanimously to change qualifying back to the old format effective immediately. Ecclestone is not present but expresses his opinion via proxy and agrees with the teams that this is best.
  7. Meeting of the F1 Commision (Todt, Ecclestone, Pirelli, various other big spenders and all of the teams) where Todt suggests changing the elimination qualifying so that Q3 runs in the traditional format. The option to go back to 2015 qualifying is not put forward and again unanimity is required to change the format.
  8. Some teams vote for changing to the new hybrid format, while some including Red Bull, McLaren and Williams vote against it.
  9. Without a unanimous decision the format can not be changed, therefore the qualifying format we had in Australia remains in Bahrain, and will remain until a unanimous vote is reached or more popular options are presented at future meetings. 

This is obviously put together without the opinion of Todt, but it does shed light on why some actions that seem glaringly obvious have not been taken.

At least this time we know what to expect from qualifying in Bahrain, and although we won't be excited about it - the shock will be partially diminished. 

Force India supports revised elimination qualifying

There were whispers on Sunday that the "unanimous" support for scrapping the new qualifying wasn't quite so unanimous as it first seemed. 

Force India deputy Bob Fernley is apparently in favour of sticking with a revised version of the newer format, most likely a hybrid of elimination during Q1 and Q2 and the traditional format for Q3 rather than returning to the old system..

Dieter Rencken at Autosport has the story, here's the "juicy bits" in case you didn't read his column...

"It was too knee-jerk a reaction and I think some very interesting things came out of it."
Fernley said Force India would not stand in the way of changing qualifying back at all costs.
"Force India is not going to do something that is detrimental to Formula 1," he said.
"It will fight like hell for fatigues in the system but it won't do something detrimental if it is in the best interest and everybody feels that way. We were not necessarily against [making a change] but making a decision without time to reflect on what had gone on."

Williams too have been rumoured to support some hybrid style of qualifying, with the idea originally being shouted down by Jean Todt in favour of a full elimination style ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, but when it came time to swallow the shit-sandwich that was Q3 in Melbourne he suddenly became more receptive to the hybrid idea. Go figure.

Fernley has thrown around the term "knee-jerk" a lot, but surely anything is better than the full-body spasms that qualifying provoked. 

Next we'll be going full-reality TV formats and bringing eliminated cars back from the dead to exact their revenge.

Source: autosport.com