The FIA World Endurance Championship is at the Nürburgring this weekend for the Six Hours of the Nürburgring, but another FIA World Championship – Formula 1 – has put on its own endurance event in qualifying for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
What’s ordinarily an 18-minute session, Q1, took exactly four times that – 72 minutes – and featured a possibly unprecedented four red flags in the session.
The session was delayed 20 minutes to start owing to heavy rain that swept through the Hungaroring and soaked the track.
Teams then proceeded to get out for one lap of running on Pirelli P Zero full wet tires after the rains lessened, but then the rain came back and it brought out the red flag.
As such, because some teams got their timing better than others, the grid was jumbled:
Once the session restarted after a delay, then the red flags came out again for a series of accidents.
First up was Marcus Ericsson of Sauber, who shunted at Turn 10 and damaged his C35’s right front with nine minutes to go in the session. The Swede was OK and told NBCSN’s Will Buxton it was his mistake, but his session was over.
Ericsson was only the first to make a mistake. Next up was Felipe Massa, who made an arguably brave call to switch from full wets onto intermediates for Williams, then crashed off Turn 4. That occurred with 5:20 left on the 18-minute clock and brought out red flag number three.
“In these conditions you need to get the right tires at the right time,” Massa told Buxton. “I went to inters…and it looked reasonable, but the first lap would be difficult. But it was not me alone. I think it was correct what I did. But I aquaplaned in Turn 4. It was raining a lot. The conditions were not easy.”
After another restart, Rio Haryanto in his Manor capped off the marathon Q1 with a wreck at a near identical place as Ericsson. He shunted the Manor with 1:18 left on the clock, bringing out the fourth red flag of the session and mercifully, the session to an end.
The three drivers who joined Ericsson, Massa and Haryanto in the Q1 drop zone were Haryanto’s teammate Pascal Wehrlein and the pair of Renault F1 drivers, Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen.
Summing up quite how chaotic Q1 was the usually mild mannered, far-from-salty Scuderia Ferrari Twitter account, which had this to say: