To steal Vettel’s brilliant line, it was finally time for the drivers to drop their trousers and show what they’ve got. After weeks of smoke and mirrors, we were all about to find out how the pack was going to shake out for the 2012 season. The one thing everyone was certain about was that they were uncertain where any particular car or driver would be on the grid for the first Grand Prix (although I would happily have staked my very small collection of Mulberry handbags on Vettel not being last).
The main point to note from Q1 was that Kimi missed the cut (subsequently there was some debate as to why – in the world of Kimi there was an issue with the car – in the real world, Kimi clearly made a mistake on exiting turn 12). Both HRT cars failed to qualify within the 107% limit and ultimately missed the race. Q2 saw the shock elimination of Alonso and the less shocking elimination of Massa. Clearly Ferrari is going to have one of ‘those’ seasons. Must be hard for the Tifosi to remember those halycon years (though they were quite boring for everyone else) when Ferrari won all the time.
Q3 was an frenzied see-saw of drivers swapping fastest lap-times and culminated in McLaren’s first 1-2 (Lewis-Jenson) on the grid since the European Grand Prix of 2009 the first time since Monza in 2010 that a Red Bull wasn’t on the front row and (just to chuck in another stat) the first time since the Australian GP in 1995 that two British drivers were on the front row. Blimey. Schumacher looked set to take 3rd place until a flying lap from Romain Grosjean in a Lotus pushed Schuey down to 4th place. A brilliant moment for Grosjean although you did wonder what would be going through his mind at the start of the race knowing he had two of the afore-mentioned world champions right behind him. Welcome to the big time Romain!
We are less than 24 hours away from the First Race of the Season. Scream!