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What's Going On With All The Deleted Lap Times In F1 Qualifying Today?

Illustration for article titled Whats Going On With All The Deleted Lap Times In F1 Qualifying Today?

Pastor Maldonado was among those who had lap times deleted during today’s Formula One British Grand Prix qualifying session. Tyranny! Unfair! Taxation without repre—nah, it’s just a ruling the FIA made about Turn 9. Here’s why several fast lap times disappeared into thin air.


Silverstone is now a lovely modern circuit with buttloads of runoff, making it easy to exceed the track boundaries with zero crashy consequences. Race director Charlie Whiting sent out a note this morning to teams that explained that “we will be adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to cars leaving the track on the exit of turn 9 during qualifying.”


Per Article 12.3.1.d of the Sporting Code, any lap where a driver doesn’t keep it on the actual track at Turn 9 during qualifying would be deleted unless officials deemed that the off was a flub beyond the driver’s control. You can carry more speed if you don’t take the tighter line that stays on the surface there, hence the harsh penalty.

Qualifying had quite a few quick laps that didn’t count because of the Turn 9 crackdown, but ultimately, it was Lewis Hamilton who claimed a 46th career pole position, laying down a flying lap at the start of Q3 that was just 0.113 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg. Windy conditions kept either driver from improving on their early times, locking Rosberg into a second place start. Williams had a great showing in qualifying, with both cars finishing in third and fourth place ahead of the two Ferraris.

You can view the full qualifying results here.

Photo credit: Formula One

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The part being left out is that the drivers largely agreed with this when brought up in the drivers briefing earlier this week. Last year there were complaints, but the chief steward deemed that this pathway around the corner did not give any time advantage (it looked pretty cut and dry that it did). So this year the system has decided that this will count as an off course/exceeding the track limits.

Kimi had a time retracted during Q2 because he had a misunderstanding about the letter of the rule. He believed over the CURBING was a time deletion instead of simply over the white line. My bet is that a few other drivers had this same approach in their corner exit route planning.

The start of Q3 actually saw an additional corner added to the time deletion ruling. The stewards added turn 18 (the final turn) would now be seen as giving an advantage and subsequently removed a time from Romaine Grosjean.