Mercedes may have notched up another front-row lockout, but Daniil Kvyat attracted the most attention with his spectacular 20G crash that ended qualifying early.
Kvyat lost his car heading towards the hairpin, resulting in a high-speed car roll that ended in the barriers and with the rear end of the car strewn across the circuit.
Kvyat radioed his team immediately to confirm that he was okay, and he jumped out of the car shortly thereafter to return to the paddock for his post-qualifying duties.
“I’m okay,” confirmed the Russian. “I’ve been to the medical centre, it’s all good. I am completely fine.
“I put my rear wheel just slightly over the white line at the turn 10 entry, and once you go on the marbles, you go straight to the wall.
“I was hoping to get it back. There were two ways: I either spin and go in with the rear of my car with the barriers, or I try to catch it to stay on track and go on the grass.
“There wasn’t enough correction, so it went straight into the wall.”
“I’ve never had a car crash until now. Maybe in karting, but I’ve never rolled a car. Unfortunately there’s a first time for everything!”
The crash puts Kvyat on the back foot for the grand prix — after teams were already confined to the one-hour free practice three because both Friday practice sessions were curtailed due to rain — with a massive car rebuild ahead of him and the team.
“I’m mostly sorry for the guys, who will have to do quite a big job — I wouldn’t say the car looked great,” he quipped.
“I will be supporting them tonight. I’m not as good as they are at building the car, but I will stay with them as long as I can tonight. I mainly feel sorry for that.”
With such significant damage done to the rear of the car, the chance of gearbox or engine damage is high, and with it the chance for penalties.
“We have to wait and see and check how everything looks,” he admitted. “It didn’t look great, but there is still some hope, so let’s see how the car’s going to be.”
The Red Bull driver had looked ragged throughout free practice three as he and the team set about completing as much testing as possible in the 60 minutes available to them on Saturday.
He ran wide multiple times at spoon and at the hairpin, which Kvyat believes were contributing factors to his crash.
“There were a few things with the car that shouldn’t have been there [during practice],” he said. “By the end of qualifying we had to change quite a few things and it came back to normal again.
“But once you lose a lot of running you find yourself catching up on a lot on the things you should have been trying in FP3.
“It’s a shame. I’m disappointed about the missed opportunity — during qualifying I had to keep learning all the time because our FP3.
“These things happen, and in the end you have to be a fast learner — but I felt that I did my best in qualifying.”