MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF THE UNITED STATES (31.10.2014 – 2.11.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Oh, hey.
  • Long time, no see.
  • I just did Free Practice 3 on delay.
  • And, now, it’s time to do Qualifying live.
  • United States Grand Prix.
  • Circuit of the Americas.
  • Austin.
  • Texas.
  • Murka.
  • Hey, it’s Anthony Edwards!
  • …”E.R.”!
  • Oh, my god!
  • …Joey’s in the house!
  • …How you doin’?
  • …Mr Matt LeBlanc, everybody.
  • …It wouldn’t be a USGP without him.
  • Murka.
  • We have stars.
  • Anyway…
  • …Where was I?
  • …No idea.
  • …This is Qualifying.
  • …Let’s roll with that.
  • …So, how this works is that it’s three knock-out sessions.
  • …Q1, Q2, and, you guessed it, Q10.
  • …Which injects a little collagen into the whole thing.
  • …Because Caterham and Marussia are sitting this one out, there are four fewer cars.
  • …This will be offset by eliminating the bottom four from (both) Q1 and Q2.
  • …Q3 will remain a top-10 battle for pole position.
  • …And, the steward will be Q.
  • …M wasn’t interested.
  • …And, here’s the thing about the sessions…
  • …They move fast.
  • …So, if I don’t get back to track details or why Caterham and Marussia aren’t there, just review any of my three Practice session posts.
  • One minute left in Q1…
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton…
  • …Yeah, top, again.
  • …He’s followed by the Williams duo of Massa and Bottas.
  • …And, Mercedes’ Rosberg rounds out the top four.
  • …Out are Toro Rosso’s Vergne, Sauber’s Gutierrez, last year’s winner, Red Bull’s Vettel, and last year’s runner up, Lotus’ Grosjean.
  • …Just a reminder about Vettel…
  • …He’s on his sixth engine (power unit) and, therefore, will be serving his penalty in the form of a pitlane start (tomorrow).
  • …So, participation in Qualifying was more of a formality, an extra bit of practice, than anything.
  • …Also serving grid penalties will be McLaren’s Button (gearbox), who came in seventh, and Toro Rosso’s Kvyat (power unit), who placed 13th in Q1.
  • …So, for them, it’s all about placing as high as they can today.
  • Q2 underway…
  • …Ginger Spice is in the house!
  • …Geri Halliwell is in Austin, people.
  • …This is important information, folks.
  • …Consider your life a bit more spiced up.
  • …(She’s been dating Red Bull Principal Christian Horner for a while, now, making the leap from F1 fan to F1 WaG.  And, I, personally, am so loving this.  She’s rad, he’s rad, I love WaG history and culture, yes, please, thank you.)
  • …(And, yes, it’s taking a massive effort to not go all “Wannabe” right now.  It wouldn’t be the first time since hearing about this relationship.)
  • …(Zig-a-zag-ah!)
  • Time is up for Q2…
  • …Cars fly around for their final push.
  • …Rosberg knocks Hamilton out of first for the first time this weekend!
  • …He’s followed by Hamilton…
  • …Because, of course he was.
  • …And Massa and Bottas.
  • …Because, Mercedes.
  • …Cue the Janis Joplin.
  • …Out are Lotus’ Maldonado, Force India’s Perez and The Incredible Hülkenberg, and Toro Rosso’s Kvyat.
  • …Lord, won’t you buy those guys a Mercedes-Benz?
  • …Except that Force India has Mercedes power units.
  • …So, maybe not.
  • Hey, Keanu Reeves!
  • …All we are…
  • …Is dust in the wind, dude.
  • …Dust.
  • …Wind.
  • …Dude.
  • …Reggie, Reggie, Reggie…
  • …Okay, I’m done.
  • …I was a kid in the 1980s and ’90s.
  • …Sorry.
  • 3-comma-Q…
  • …Question…
  • …Where’s Sutil?
  • …Seconds left and Sauber’s Sutil, in a rare 2014 Q3 appearance, has gone missing.
  • …Are they just running with 10th and preserving the car?
  • …Weird.
  • Time is up…
  • …Rosberg takes pole!!!
  • …After dominating the Practice sessions, Hamilton drops to second when it (really) counts.
  • …Not that he can’t work with second.
  • …It’s (still) the front row.
  • …And, he can work with a pitlane start.
  • …But, wow, what a time to drop.
  • …He’s going to beat himself up over this one.
  • …No self-abuse, Lewis.
  • …No “Lewis Mistreated”.
  • …Judging by the huge smiling, jumping, and hugging Niki Lauda, I think Nico’s wife, Vivian, may be a tiny tad excited.
  • …Again, the Williams boys follow.
  • …But, Bottas leapfrogs Massa for third.
  • …Because, that’s what he does.
  • …Qualifies third.
  • …No sign of Sutil through Q3, but he will be starting in 10th.
  • …I, for one, am stoked about this.
  • …He’s had an unfairly unlucky season in a bad car.
  • …It’s beyond great to see him back in Q3.
  • …(Where he belongs!)
  • Okay, a little about the USGP and COTA…
  • …Usually, I’d start with this.
  • …But, with no time between the P3 and Qualifying and Qualifying moving so fast, it just didn’t pan out as usual.
  • …So, even though I’ve included all this stuff in all three Practice session posts and on the “Cheat Sheet”, it’s important, so let’s do this.
  • …Circuit of the Americas…
  • …20 Texas-sized turns.
  • …Run counterclockwise.
  • …Including that rollercoasteresque 130-ish-foot T1 ascent and those s-turns that follow.
  • …The circuit is 3.426mi (5.513km) in length.
  • …On raceday, there will be 56 laps.
  • …Which will bring the total distance traveled to 191.634mi (308.405km).
  • …To those lucky enough to survive the challenge.
  • …The weather is expected to be more like Friday than today, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s and sun.
  • …And, power, aside, the major concern that has emerged over the first two days is that of tire wear.
  • …The pit stop forecast started with one, moved to two, and, now, three keeps coming up.
  • …So, it could be very interesting.
  • …In 2013, Vettel took the win, with Grosjean in second and Webber in third.
  • …And, in 2012, the first F1 race at COTA, it was Hamilton on top, with Vettel in second and Alonso in third.
  • …Hamilton, aside, well, let me put it this way…
  • …Webber has (about) the same odds of getting on the podium as the other past podium inhabitants.
  • …And, Webber retired from F1 after last season.
  • …It’s not the drivers, it’s the cars and how the cars respond to the track.
  • …But, anything can happen, so, we’ll just have to watch and see.
  • Tomorrow…
  • …If you are in the US…
  • …Read carefully…
  • …And, all times are in Central, as the race and I are (both) in Central time.
  • …NBCSN will have a pre-race show at 1pm (CT).
  • …Then, coverage moves to NBC for another half hour of pre-race at 1:30pm (CT).
  • …The race will follow immediately on NBC at 2pm (CT).
  • …And, it will all wrap up with an hour-long post-race show on NBC.
  • …Which will start when the race and the podium celebration end.
  • …There is a two-hour limit on races, so that should start around 4pm (CT).
  • …AND…
  • …Don’t forget that it’s Daylight Saving Time tonight/tomorrow morning (if you are in the majority of the country that observes this practice).
  • …So, remember to “fall back”.
  • …Get it, got it, good?
  • …Cool.
  • That was rad.
  • COTA is rad.
  • Seriously, who’s stoked?
  • I’m stoked.
  • Turn 1.
  • That is all.
  • Have a lovely rest of your Saturday, wherever you may be.
  • EVERYBODY!…
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