Nico Rosberg, 1m 33.185s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 33.464s, P2
Once again Mercedes had the front row all wrapped up, and maintained as near as dammit a second advantage over their closest opposition. Rosberg pulled the rabbit out of the hat to best Hamilton on their first Q3 runs, and when the latter messed up early in his second run it was all over. He said that he felt less comfortable in the car during qualifying than he had in the three practice sessions.
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 34.051s, P3, will start P13
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 34.985s, P11, will start P10
Red Bull had a tough time, especially after Vettel spun off in FP3 and didn’t get a run on the soft tyres. In Q2 his RB10 was again suffering from downshift problems, and also lacked straight-line speed. Ricciardo did a fine job to get within a second of the Mercedes, but his 10-place grid penalty from the unsafe release in Malaysia drops him to a 13th place start.
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 34.247s, P4, will start P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 34.511s, P8, will start P7
Despite deliberately minimising their mileage all through practice, Williams did a great job and Bottas was happy that he got the most from his FW36. Massa admitted that some oversteer-induced mistakes had cost him a couple of tenths. The team are finally well placed to get the most out of the car’s clear potential in the race.
Sergio Perez, 1m 34.346s, P5, will start P4
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 35.116s, P12, will start P11
Perez was delighted with the pace and behaviour of his VJM07, but thought that he might have been even faster had he warmed his brakes better during his out lap. That prevented him from improving on his second run in Q3. Hulkenberg, unusually, wasn’t as quick as normal and blamed running wide in Turn 11 on his quick lap in Q2. He has two new sets of softs harvested for the race, however.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 34.368s, P6, will start P5
Fernando Alonso, 1m 34.992s, P10, will start P9
Raikkonen attributed his sixth place in the pre-penalty line-up to improvements in his F14 T thanks to upgrades for this race, and said he now felt more comfortable, especially with the front end. Alonso had looked quite racy in Q1 and Q2, but was hit by a loss of power in Q3 that the team won’t be able to investigate until they get his car out of parc ferme.
Jenson Button, 1m 34.387s, P7, will start P6
Kevin Magnussen, 1m 34.712s, P9, will start P8
Neither driver was overly impressed with his grid position. Button felt that the team had made the perfect weekend thus far and that his lap got the most from the car; Magnussen didn’t think he quite got that. Both go into the race looking for another decent haul of points to keep them in second place behind the dominant Mercedes.
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 35.145s, P13, will start P12
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 35.286s, P14
No Q3 this week for Toro Rosso, and that came as a surprise to both drivers after their performance in all three practice sessions. Both believed the STR09 should have had the pace, but it just wasn’t quite there when it mattered.
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 35.891s, P15
Adrian Sutil, 1m 36.840s, P18, will start P22
Gutierrez was happy with the balance that he and his crew developed for qualifying, but Sutil had a tough time and had qualified only 18th when he was hit with a five-place drop for an incident with Grosjean at the end of Q1. The German said he’d been struggling with an overweight car that also lacked straight-line speed.
Romain Grosjean, 1m 35.908s, P16
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 36.663s, P17
Getting through to Q2 was about the only thing Lotus had to be happy about - and then not a lot. Both drivers reported that the E22 was tricky to drive, and out on the track there was ample evidence to back that. Grosjean had a run-in with Sutil right at the end of Q1 which might have prevented him from going quicker than 16th, and for which the German was penalised five grid places.
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 37.085s, P19, will start P18
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 37.875s, P21, will start P20
Both drivers were reasonably happy. Kobayashi was a little surprised to get more out of his car on his second run after thinking he’d extracted the maximum on the first, and said that four-tenths of a second shy of Q2 was a more realistic assessment of the CT05’s potential after the team’s first reliable weekend of the season. Ericsson admitted that a big lock-up on his first run hurt his time, but was happy with everything about his second apart from an out lap that he felt cost him a few tenths.
Jules Bianchi, 1m 37.310s, P20, will start P19
Max Chilton, 1m 37.913s, P22, will start P21
Chilton was a little disappointed by his time, but Bianchi thought he could have matched Kobayashi’s Caterham if his MR03’s balance had been a little better.