August 22, 2009

F1 Quals: European Grand Prix @ Valencia 2009! (UPDATED)

McLaren's back.  Badoer's slow.  Really slow.

Here's the provisional grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.649 1:38.182 1:39.498
2 Heikki Kovalaineninnie McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.816 1:38.230 1:39.532
3 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:39.019 1:38.076 1:39.563
4 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:39.295 1:38.273 1:39.789
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:38.531 1:38.601 1:39.821
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:38.843 1:38.782 1:40.144
7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:39.039 1:38.346 1:40.185
8 HWMNBN Renault 1:39.155 1:38.717 1:40.236
9 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:38.983 1:38.625 1:40.239
10 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:38.806 1:38.747 1:40.512
11 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:39.032 1:38.826
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:39.145 1:38.846
13 Timo Glockenspiel Toyota 1:39.459 1:38.991
14 Lettuce Grosjean Renault 1:39.322 1:39.040
15 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:38.912 1:39.514
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:39.531

17 Kazoo Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:39.795

18 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:39.807

19 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:39.925

20 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:41.413

Two races ago, McLaren looked like they were destined to be backmarkers for the rest of the season.  Last race, Hamilton won.  This time around, a front-row lockout bodes well for the team's fortunes.  It's come too late for them to get into the top three in Constructor's points or for Lewis to make a run for the Drivers' championship, but they've suddenly become legit competitors for wins.  That might seem obvious since they won in Hungary, but did anybody really think that Toro Rosso had suddenly become winners last year, just because Seb Vettel triumphed at Monza?

Robert Kubica is showing signs of life now that BMW has decided to withdraw from F1.  While 10th isn't all that great, in Q2 he looked like he was a serious contender for a while, topping out around 4th before slipping back.  There's no question he's quick, we've seen that already... it must be that his car is rubbish.

We're still waiting for fuel loads to be reported, and for information on what happened to Kazoo Nakajima's Williams in Q1.  For no reason that anybody could tell, the engine apparently just cut out, causing him to spin and roll to a stop.

Luca Badoer just looks lost right now.  He was 1.5 seconds behind NKOTT, good enough for dead last on the grid, nearly 3.5 seconds behind the fastest speed set in Q2.  The LAT brought up a good point, saying that testing is a whole different animal than racing.  Boiling down what they said, it's similar to the difference between singing karaoke in your local bar... and performing in an arena in front of 50000 people.  They also thought that giving the seat to Badoer was something of a "thank you" for his decade of thankless service as the test driver for Ferrari, and that perhaps it's something of a white flag on the season as well.  After all, their other tester, Marc Gene, is an active racer who won at the 24 Hours of LeMans this year (as well as having raced in F1 as recently as 2004) and would probably be a lot more competitive.  Could it be that Ferrari really has given up on 2009?

I think they're right when they said if he's still in the cockpit (barring substantial improvements) after next week's race at Spa-Francopants, they've decided to concentrate on 2010.

Race on Sunday!

UPDATE: Fuel loads are in, and Rubens Barrichello looks like he's in the catbird seat.  With a total weight of 662.5kg, he's 9.5kg heavier than Lewis Hamilton and 7.5kg more than Kovaleinninninnie.  Everybody behind him back to 7th is lighter than him as well, though not by much.  So, fast lap in Q2, more fuel onboard, and still P3?  Yep, that's promising for ol' Rubino.  Now to see if he can actually get the car in gear when the lights go out.

Oh, and Luca Badoer is lighter than everybody ahead of him, except for NKOTT, up to 15th.  In fact, Jarno Trulli, two places ahead of him, is almost 18kg heavier.   Yeeeeeeesh!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:57 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 662 words, total size 16 kb.

1 With McLaren 1-2, it feels like 2008 again. (By the way, you have a formatting problem with lines 11-15 of your chart.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 22, 2009 11:07 AM (+rSRq)

2 Fixed; it appears it didn't like the color choice I had for the Q2 losers.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 22, 2009 11:51 AM (3IJ3A)


I feel bad for Badoer.  He seemed out of his league during qualifying this morning--like Ferrari put him in the car just so they'd have someone familiar enough with the car not to tear it up.



Posted by: Mallory at August 22, 2009 03:02 PM (WJ2qy)

4 I wonder if Vettel's lead will hold for the rest of the season? If several others each take a race or two, he might well win the driver's championship even if he doesn't take another race.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 22, 2009 11:38 PM (+rSRq)

5 You mean Button?  Yes, it's quite possible that he could win the Driver's Championship without winning another race.  As long as he's constantly earning points, and drivers like Hamilton, Raikkonen and HWMNBN actually win, Vettel will have serious problems catching him.

Particularly because he'll have to leapfrog his teammate, Mark Webber, to do it.  Anyway, Button's got an 18.5pt lead right now, with seven races (including Sunday's) to go.  Not insurmountable, but not easy, either.

Still, the past couple of years we've seen seasons come down to the last race, or the last CORNER of the last race, so who knows?

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 23, 2009 12:15 AM (3IJ3A)


You're right, I was thinking of Button.

Yeah, especially if Button keeps finishing in the points, it'll get particularly tough for anyone to catch him. But 7 races is a lot.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 23, 2009 10:29 AM (+rSRq)

7 OT: Hey, the Cubbies have got a new owner! Think it'll make any difference?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 23, 2009 10:36 AM (+rSRq)

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