The winner in the race for pole in F1 today was Sebastian Vettel, but he was barely one tenth faster than Lewis Hamilton. In third was Jenson Button. Fourth, and qualifying for the first time ahead of his teammate by 0.015s was Felipe Massa. A disappointing session for Mark Webber put him sixth, over half a second off Vettel.
Rosberg made it into seventh for Mercedes, and was followed by Adrian Sutil, qualifying eighth for Force India for the second race in a row. Behind him came Michael Schumacher. The final driver in Q3 was Sergio Perez, though he did not set a time to save tyres.
Force India’s Paul di Resta barely missed out on Q3, and qualified 11th. Behind him was the faster of the two Renaults, belonging to Vitaly Petrov. Then Kobayashi, Heidfeld, Barrichello, Alguersuari and Maldonado – the Venezuelan failed to set any time in Q2.
In Q1, Sebastian Buemi was the fall guy, qualifying 18th but dropping to 23rd after his five-place penalty for the Heidfeld incident in Germany. Heikki Kovalainen was struggling against Jarno Trulli, but a last minute push on option tyres saw him beat the Italian by a narrow margin. Over a second slower than the Lotuses was Timo Glock. Tonio Liuzzi was three hundredths behind the Virgin, and Ricciardo was just over a tenth and a half slower. Jerome d’Ambrosio was only a few hundredths slower than the second HRT. The two back teams are incredibly close.
The first GP2 race began with a safety car as Fairuz Fauzy crashed out. It ran to time rather than distance. Luiz Razia began badly by spinning his tyres off the line, and moved into second. Grosjean went third. Luca Filippi also had a strong start.
The pit stops began, and leader Marcus Ericsson went in at the same time as Razia. But iSport bungled their release and let Ericsson into the AirAsia driver’s path. It was close. While the Swede had come out in the lead, Razia was behind Grosjean, Filippi and Pic.
Ericsson was given a drive-through penalty, which allowed Grosjean into the lead. Meanwhile, Filippi’s tyres faded and he was overtaken – finishing the race in sixth though he set the fastest lap. Pic and Razia completed the podium. Behind them came Giedo van der Garde, Ericsson, Filippi, Bianchi and Vietoris.
In GP3, it was a quiet race. Mitch Evans created the only retirement, pushing into James Calado on the first lap. The ART driver continued but finished at the back, while Evans was forced to retire. Valtteri Bottas had taken pole earlier, and managed to maintain his lead over Michael Christensen, though it was a close thing. He became the first driver to win two GP3 races this season. Alex Sims finished 3rd having managed an impressive start, and has improved his lead in the championship over second-placed Lewis Williamson.