2016 European Grand Prix Qualifying Review

FIA GT Series

But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But McLaren, Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.

It was announced before Qualifying that Sergio Perez would receive a five place grid penalty after changing his gearbox after his incident at Turn 15 in FP3.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in Q1.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in Q1.

In Q1, we saw Nico Rosberg topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.43.685, Lewis Hamilton was second, Sergio Perez was third, Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, Daniil Kvyat was fifth, Valtteri Bottas was sixth, Carlos Sainz Jr was seventh, Nico Hulkenberg was eighth, Kimi Raikkonen was ninth and Max Verstappen rounded off the top ten finshers. At the end of Q1 we lose Rio Haryanto, Pascal Wehrlein, Jenson Button, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.

In Q2, we saw Rosberg topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.42.520,  Hamilton was second, Perez was in third, Ricciardo was fourth, Verstappen was fifth, Vettel was sixth, Bottas was seventh, Raikkonen was eighth, Kvyat was ninth and Massa was tenth.  At the end of Q2 we lose Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Gutierrez and Felipe Nasr.

The battle for Pole Position is on…

Nico Rosberg takes Pole Position for the European GP ahead of Sergio Perez in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg takes Pole Position for the European GP ahead of Sergio Perez in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At the end of Q3,  Rosberg took Pole Position for the European GP, the 53rd of his career with a lap time of 1.42.758 Perez finished in second place 0.757 seconds behind Rosberg, Ricciardo finished in third place 1.208 seconds behind Rosberg, Vettel finished in fourth place 1.208 seconds behind Rosberg and Raikkonen was fifth place 1.511 seconds behind Rosberg

Massa ended the session in sixth place 1.725 seconds behind Rosberg, Kvyat finished in seventh place 1.959 seconds behind Rosberg, Bottas finished in eight place 2.488 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen finished in ninth place 2.812 seconds behind Rosberg and Hamilton finished in tenth place 19.196 seconds behind Rosberg.

It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend; even if Hamilton has a challenge on his hands to get a result this weekend.

You cannot discount Ricciardo, Verstappen or Vettel even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to kick start their Constructors Championship.

Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Raikkonen could also have a decent race and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Baku circuit on race day on Sunday…

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