June 07, 2008
Of course, they won't be able to do that during the race. If it DOES rain on top of all that, we'll be lucky to have ANY car take the checkers.
Before we can go racing, though, we have to have qualifying. Lewis Hamilton's McLaren is sitting on pole, after an astounding lap at the final possible time. He had been at the top of the charts all throughout Q3, until the BMW of Robert Kubica, late taking to the track for one reason or another, set out and knocked him off pole with a time of 1:18.498. When Raikkonen and Massa couldn't answer, and Kovalaninninnie couldn't get his McLaren to cooperate, it looked like we'd have another case of "Pole on pole action". Then Hamilton, who looked like he had done everything he could with his McLaren, set sail on his last run. And what a run it was! It was almost like he had traction control running or something, because there were no bobbles, not a tire put wrong, great acceleration out of the hairpin (something Massa's Ferrari had problems with all day, with wheel-spin and a twitchy-looking car under braking), and hitting every corner perfectly. He wound up his lap over six-tenths of a second better than Kubica, a lifetime in F1 terms.
Raikkonen's Ferrari could do no better than third, right alongside the surprising performance of HWMNBN's Renault. Nico Rosberg's Williams looked quite quick in getting 5th, ahead of the struggling Massa. The second McLaren of Heikki Kovaleininninnie was a disappointing seventh. Whether it was the car or the driver has yet to be determined. Grizzly Nick Heidfeld is probably wondering just what he's doing wrong, putting his BMW eighth on the grid. A HUGE disappointment, considering where his teammate is. The biggest surprise of the day, however, has to be Rubens Barrichello in the Honda. Ninth may not sound like much, but for Honda F1 this year, it's almost as good as a win, and it's the first time Rubens has made it to Q3 all season. Mark Webber is 10th, with no time set in Q3; like his teammate, David Coulthard's Chin, in Monaco, Webber spun and damaged his car at the end of Q2 and was unable to take to the track.
The rest of the provisional grid:
||1:16.909 ||1:17.034 ||1:17.886|
|2||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:17.471||1:17.679||1:18.498|
|8||Grizzly Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||1:18.082||1:17.781||1:19.633|
|10||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:17.582||1:17.523||no time|
|13||David Coulthard's Chin
|17||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Ferrari||1:19.108|
|18||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Ferrari||1:19.165|
|20||Sebastian Vettel||STR-Ferrari||no time|
Sebastian Vettel comprehensively destroyed his Toro Rosso in the Saturday practice with a wreck that had tires flying everywhere. He did so much damage, as a matter of fact, that the team couldn't even salvage the monocoque, and are currently building a new car around the spare cockpit they are allowed to bring to the track. This is not a huge thing, they shouldn't have any problem with that, but it does take time. As a result, he could not take to the track for Quals and will be forced to start from the pit lane. Jenson Button, 19th on the grid, suffered a gearbox problem and withdrew to the pits with five minutes left in Q1.
Rain is still in the forecast, the track is breaking up, the top of the grid looks like someone was drawing names out of a hat... I'd say there's a good chance of a heckuva race tomorrow. If it's anything like the Grand Prix of Canada was last year, it'll be a doozy!
It's really nice to see other teams really putting up a challenge to McLaren and Ferrari. Having those four cars always at top of the qual every race last year was really dull.
Man, track conditions really must have deteriorated considering how everyone's times got slower later in the day. Usually you'd expect them to get faster, as the drivers got more familiar with the course.
I wonder what Hamilton's secret was, given the way he managed to do half a second better than everyone else on all three rounds. I'm still rooting for Kubica, though. I wanna see him win one.
Come on, rain!
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 07, 2008 03:33 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 07, 2008 03:38 PM (+rSRq)
During Q3, though, the cars have to have their race fuel on-board, PLUS whatever they need to use in Q3. Call it enough fuel for 30 laps (race fuel + qual fuel), or maybe 90 miles more or less.
That extra weight is a decent percentage of the car's overall weight... and therefore, they're slower. The track condition did have something to do with it as well, no question about it.
As to how Hamilton ripped off that pole lap? It's quite possible that he's running less gas than Kubica, perhaps hoping for an early safety car.
Ferrari might be gambling on wet weather for the race. They were six or eight km/hour slower than the McLarens thru the speed traps, and I think they've got more wing on, thinking it'll rain. If that happens, they'll run away with it. If not... well, you see the results from Massa.
If anybody is running low fuel, it's HWMNBN and Rosberg.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 07, 2008 03:55 PM (AW3EJ)
As much as I like to see Hamilton get the pole position, I was really hoping Kubica could hold onto it.
Posted by: Mallory at June 07, 2008 04:58 PM (WJ2qy)
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