March 22, 2008

F1 Quals: Sepang 2008!

Ouch, that's gonna hurt.  First, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovaleininnie miss the front row, with Heikki being third, Lewis fourth behind Massa and Kimi.

That's bad enough, but both McLarens were then hit with a five-spot penalty for impeding rival drivers during Q3.  As is usual, when they finished their final qual laps before Q3's time ran out, they immediately slowed down to conserve fuel.  Unfortunately for them, they didn't realize that both HWMNBN and Grizzly Nick Heidfeld crossed the line with a few seconds to spare, and both were pushing to improve their grid position.  About halfway through the lap, Heidfeld and HWMNBN had to zig off the driving line to dodge the two McLarens.  In fact, they had to thread the needle between the McLarens (on the line) and two other cars on the far side of the track.

As a result, the stewards declared that the McLarens forced their rivals to slow up, which is a real no-no.   That drops them to eight and nine on the grid, with a lot of quick cars between them and the front.

To be frank, they deserve it, too.

The provisional grid is as follows:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
4. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
5. Grizzly Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
6. Mark Webber, Red Bull
7. HWMNBN, Renault
8. Heikki Kovalaininnie, McLaren
9. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
10. Timo Glock, Toyota
11. Jenson Button, Honda
12. David Coulthard's Chin, Red Bull
13. Nelson (Don't Call Me Junior) Piquet, Renault
14. Rubens Barrichello, Honda
15. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso
16. Nico Rosberg, Williams
17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Farce India
18. SeaBass, Toro Rosso
19. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
20. Adrian Sutil, Farce India
21. Ant Davidson, Super Aguri
22. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (after his 10-spot penalty for buttsecks running into Robert Kubica's BMW behind a safety car last race)

It's looking more and more like Trulli and his Toyota are for real as far as pace goes.  Of course, Jarno is a good qual-bad race sort of guy, so we'll see.  One also gets the feeling that BMW is going to take a couple of races this year... they may not quite be as fast as the Big Two, but they're close.

And then there's the weather forecast.  The entire quals session was under rain watch, though it never came.  The race is under the same situation, with an 80% chance of thunderstorms during the race, with a high of 87oF.  That can't be pleasant to drive in... but it could give us one of those wonderful races where anything can happen.  We'll see Sunday!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:18 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Quite a different grid than last week.  :-\  

Posted by: Mallory at March 22, 2008 04:30 PM (WJ2qy)

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