Time for Qualifying Analysis for the Japanese Grand Prix. What a qualifying session today! Cars going off left, right and centre, three red flags, penalties all around and poor Glock getting injured!
To be honest, there’s way too much info to summarise but I will give it a go anyway. Webber could not qualify as he damaged the car in the morning practice session, Alguersuari went off at Degner in Q2, causing the first red flag. When Q2 was restarted, Glock went off at the last corner after the Casio chicane before anyone could set a time. He sustained a wound on his left leg and was airlifted to hospital. The car was wrecked and he may not be able to race tomorrow, but at least he is OK.
This meant that there was a mad rush to set a time in Q2, with most drivers leaving it late with only one run. This plan fell apart because Buemi hit the wall coming out of the Spoon Curve and caused a yellow flag. Button, Barrichello, Alonso and Sutil did not lift off through the yellow flag in order to set a time and have all been given 5-place grid penalties as a result. As Buemi drove his damaged car back to the pits and impeded other drivers, he was also penalised 5 places. However, this was after qualifying and Button, Barrichello, Buemi and Sutil all progressed into Q3.
Q3 was also manic – Kovalainen, who is under pressure to deliver this weekend in order to secure a drive in F1 in 2010 had a scrappy qualifying session, barely making it out of Q1 after spinning at the Degner curve. This curve proved to be his undoing in Q3, as he spun again and hit the wall, causing the final red flag of the day.
So only eight drivers set times in Q3, and this is what they looked like:
(Note: I have decided to run my analysis before the penalties were issued – it is too confusing otherwise. The final grid will be addressed at the end of the post) Continue reading