If you missed yesterday's practice sessions, this weekend's Grand Prix is significant as it is the first ever night race. Bernie is making noises
about moving the Japanese GP to a night race too - I think he should wait and see how this race goes first.David Coulthard has warned of an incident-packed weekend
, although there were only a few incidents in yesterday's practice session: Webber and Barrichello in the first session
, and only Glock (after the chequered flag!) in the second session
McLaren changed Kovalainen's engine this morning; this is the "joker" engine that each driver is allowed (one per season) without penalty. Ferrari have used both their jokers but Hamilton still has his available.
Fastest in today's final practice session was Alonso (1:44.506) followed by Hamilton, Massa, Piquet, Rosberg and Button. FA was also fastest in Friday's 2nd practice (1:45.654); LH topped the first practice times (1:45.518).
Qualifying notes behind the cut...
GF stuck his Force India in the barriers and the mechanics are still working on it - will they be ready to take part in Q1?Qualifying session 1 (Q1):
AS first on track, followed by TG
KR on track early after losing time in the earlier practice session; he's on the super-soft (option) tyre
5mins gone; 15mins left
KR can only manage P6!
On-board camera shows HK threading the McLaren through the tight corners and between the harsh kerbs
LH 1:44.501 - that's just 0.006 secs slower than FA's practice time, the fastest of the weekend so far
TG locks up in Turn 7 and takes to the escape road
ITV-F1 report Force India are still working on GF's car
On-board with RB shows the problem with the pit lane entrance - a Williams entering the pits causes RB to abort his quick lap
5mins left; bottom 5 are KR(!), DC, SB, AS, GF
HK fastest in sector 1 and S2
KR looks to be working hard in the Ferrari
Yellow flags - GF locks up in Turn 3 and hits the wall ... with the car they've only just finished rebuilding!
KR 1:44.282 - first time this weekend that a Ferrari has been ahead of the McLarens
DC slides the Red Bull around as hr tries to escape the relegation zone
Chequered flag is out
NP can't improve his time, so he's P16
Replay shows FA spin
SB tells his mechanics the car is pulling to the left
So the bottom 5 places are: P16=NP, 17=SB, 18=RB, 19=AS, 20=GFQualifying session 2 (Q2):
No rush to get on track for the start of Q2
HK sets off on the option tyre
ITV-F1: Martin Brundle says of Luca Badoer "he couldn't drive a nail into a piece of wood"! :)
Yellow flags - FA stopped on track - replay shows the engine died but no obvious signs of the cause
LH aborts his lap
LH still in the pits
LH leaves the pits with time for 2 flying laps
ITV-F1 say FA's Renault had a fuel supply problem
90secs left; bottom 5 are TG, JB, JT, LH, FA
LH locks his right front for the second time this lap, and hits the kerb hard
(JT from P14 to P9)
Chequered flag is out
(KN P9, pushing LH to P10)
Wow, LH squeeks through into Q3 by 0.1sec!
Middle 5 grid spots are: P11=JT, 12=JB, 13=MW, 14=DC, 15=FAQualifying session 3 (Q3):
Battling for the top 10 spots are: KR, FM, RK, NR, KN, TG, SV, LH, NH, HK
SV heads out first
Everyone on track, as you'd expect in Q3
After one fast lap, the order is FM, LH, KR, SV, NH, RK, NR, TG, KN, HK(!)
3mins left; everyone's pitting for a change of tyres for the final run - the harder tyres (Bridgestone's soft compound) is the dominant choice
KR struggles through Turn 2, fighting with the Ferrari's rear end
FM fastest in S1
Chequered flag out
FM fastest in S2
(HK only P5)
Top 10 spots are: P1=FM, 2=LH, 3=KR, 4=RK, 5=HK, 6=NH, 7=SV, 8=TG, 9=NR, 10=KN
FM was 0.6secs quicker than LH - how different are their fuel loads though? Provisional grid:
FM, LH, KR, RK, HK, NH, SV, TG, NR, KN; JT, JB, MW, DC, FA; NP, SB, RB, AS, GF.