At each Grand Prix meeting all race drivers may participate in two one and a half-hour practice sessions on Friday (Thursday at Monaco), a one-hour session on Saturday morning and a qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. While individual practice sessions are not compulsory, a driver must take part in at least one Saturday session to be eligible for the race.
Saturdays one-hour qualifying session is split into three distinct parts, each with multiple drivers on track simultaneously, and each with the drivers running as many laps as they want:
Q1: All 22 cars may run laps at any time during the first 20 minutes of the hour. At the end of the first 20 minutes, the six slowest cars drop out and fill the final six grid places.
Q2: After a seven-minute break, the times will be reset and the 16 remaining cars then will then run in a 15-minute session - again they may complete as many laps as they want at any time during that period. At the end of the 15 minutes, the six slowest cars drop out and fill places 11 to 16 on the grid.
Q3: After a further eight-minute break, the times are reset and a final 10-minute session will feature a shootout between the remaining 10 cars to decide pole position and the starting order for the top 10 grid places. Again, these cars may run as many laps as they wish.
If a driver is deemed by the stewards to have stopped unnecessarily on the circuit or impeded another driver during qualifying, his times may be cancelled.