October 31, 2009

F1 Quals: Abu Dhabi 2009!

A quals session without surprises.  Let's take a look as the grid, shall we?

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.873 1:39.695 1:40.948
2 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:40.666 1:39.984 1:41.615
3 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:40.667 1:40.272 1:41.726
4 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:40.574 1:40.421 1:41.786
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:40.378 1:40.148 1:41.892
6 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:40.517 1:40.373 1:41.897
7 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:40.520 1:40.545 1:41.992
8 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:40.558 1:40.635 1:42.343
9 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:40.842 1:40.661 1:42.583
10 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:40.908 1:40.430 1:42.713
11 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:41.100 1:40.726
12 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 1:41.035 1:40.777
13 Heikki Kovalaineninnie McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.808 1:40.983
14 Kazoo Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:41.096 1:41.148
15 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:41.503 1:41.689
16 HWMNBN Renault 1:41.667

17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:41.701

18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:41.863

19 Lettuce Grosjean Renault 1:41.950

20 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 1:42.184

The top five positions are held by five of the six race winners this season, which is exactly how it should be for a race that, effectively, means nothing.  Only Kimi Raikkonen, winner at Belgium, is out of the fun. 

Which, for Ferrari, is a disaster.  One of the few worthwhile things still up for grabs is third place in the Constructor's Championship, between McLaren and the Prancing Horse.  The two teams are separated by one point, and with Lewis Hamilton at the head of the grid, Kimi's 11th is not what they needed.  The only saving grace for the Red Team is that Heikki Kovalaineninninnie, Hamilton's teammate, has to take a five-spot grid penalty after changing his gearbox.  That'll drop him down to Giancarlo Fisichella territory, so they might have a little struggle.  For what it's worth, the financial difference between third and fourth in the Constructor's standings is about $5million... not chump change, not even for a F1 team.

Second in the Driver's Championship is still up for grabs, and other than having Seb Vettel and Rubens Barrichello 1-2 on the grid, this is probably the best way for the two of them to line up.  They're both on the dirty side of the track, neither have any experience with the circuit, and they've both got teammates nearby.  The only difference is that Seb's got more fuel on board, by about 8kg.  That gives him the advantage, but it'll be close either way.

Spare a second and feel bad for HWMNBN: this is his worst qualifying position (pre-penalty) since 2001, when he drove for Minardi.

I take it back.  Don't feel bad for him in the least.  When he was interviewed by Peter (Smarmy) Windsor after he was eliminated in Q1, he sounded exactly like a man who didn't give a damn.  And why should he?  He's going to Ferrari next season for a lot of money.  A demonic convergence, right there... it'll be SO easy to hate them.

And let's talk about our polesitter, Lewis Hamilton.  He pretty much dominated Quals today, setting fast time in all three sessions, and blowing everybody out of the water in Q3.  Hell, he was almost three-quarters of a second faster than second-place Vettel; it was impressive enough that Sebby even made mention of it in the post-qual interview session ("I think both Mark and I were surprised by the gap to Lewis.").  Now, to be fair, he does have less fuel on board, but not THAT much less: 658.5kg to 663kg for Vettel.  Nope, he just had a fantastic lap, simple as that.

Gonna be a fun ending to a bizarro season... see you tomorrow!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:58 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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There are a couple of things about this that I really like. For one thing, Hamilton is saying, "Just because my car sucked at the beginning of this season, don't write me off. Next year I'm gonna be the guy to beat again."

And I like the fact that Button was racing hard, even though he's got the driver championship in hand already.

It would have been easy for him to slack off, but he clearly didn't do so. And that's how it ought to be.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 31, 2009 11:30 PM (+rSRq)

2 Button complained about some kind of mysterious severe vibration under braking. If his brake disc blows up tomorrow it's going to end his race.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at November 01, 2009 12:11 AM (/ppBw)

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