October 06, 2007

F1 QUALS: Shanghai!

Over the course of this past season, I've come to dislike Fernando Alonso, forever to be known as "He Who Must Not Be Named" (or HWMNBN for short), intently.  It's a shame, as I was becoming quite the fan of the boy... anybody who can beat Slappy Schumacher in head-to-head racing is someone that's okay in my book.

There's no denying that he's a talented driver, however.  He didn't win those consecutive Driver's Championships by accident, after all.  However, his actions over the past year (and, for that matter, towards the end of last season) have done a fine job of turning me (and just about any F1 fan who doesn't hail from Spain, and probably some of them, too) against him.

Which means that there's a huge element of Schadenfreude contained in the joy I take in reporting the results of today's qualifying session for the Grand Prix of China. 

The one thing that HWMNBN needed to have today, to have any reasonable chance of beating his 'teammate' in the Driver's Championship, was to be on pole.  Considering that Typhoon Krosa is bearing down on the Chinese mainland, (it might cause some SERIOUS problems for the teams trying to leave after the race) the pole will be more important than ever for Sunday's race.

HWMNBN didn't get pole.  He didn't get on the first row.  He's not even going to be on the clean side of the track.  He qualified fourth, behind both Ferraris... and his 'teammate', Lewis Hamilton, who DID take pole.  Kimi Raikkonen, hanging on in the DC chase by his fingernails, is alongside him on the first row, with Massa third.

The big question now, of course, is fuel.  Did Hamilton short-fill his tank to get the extra speed?  Are the Ferraris heavy?  Is HWMNBN heavy?  Who's set up for the wet weather that's going to be present for the race?


David Coulthard's Chin pulled a fantastic qualifying performance out of his RedBull, coming in 5th.  There are a couple of reasons this might have occurred.  The first that leaps to mind is that the team set him up for dry weather instead of wet.  If so, he's certainly going to qual well, but will be in a world of hurt tomorrow.  The second is that he's got no gas in the tank, which in the rain won't hurt as much as in the dry, but it's still not good.

The third possibility is that the RedBull is, finally, coming alive.  That his teammate Mark Webber is 7th puts some weight behind that possibility... though the other two would have the same effect as the third.  We'll find out Sunday.

In between the two RedBulls is... Ralf "Dead Man Driving" Schumacher.  The Toyota probably had seven ounces of fuel in the tank.

Surprisingly, the BMWs of Grizzly Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica were 8th and 9th.  A horrible performance for them, which suggests a lot of fuel, perhaps a one-stop strategy in the wet.  10th was the 'resurgent' Honda of Jenson Button, who's gotta be praying for a lot of rain.

The rest of the grid:

11. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.862
12. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.891
13. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:36.959
14. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:36.991
15. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:37.247
16. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:37.483
17. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:37.251
18. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:37.290
19. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:37.456
20. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:38.218
21. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:38.668
22. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 1:39.336

All will be revealed Sunday... will Hamilton be the Champion afterwards, or will Brazil be the do-or-die race for HWMNBN and The Kimster?  Will we get a winner from someone OTHER than McLaren or Ferrari?  And can Dead Man Driving get on the podium?  Can DC'sC show that he's still got some juice in his bones, in his best shot at a victory in a couple of years?  And whither Canada?

Find out tomorrow!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:35 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 673 words, total size 6 kb.

1

Love it, love it, love it!

McLaren confirmed that both drivers had qualified with similar fuel loads. While Hamilton subsequently smiled his way through a series of press conferences, Alonso's mood could be gauged by the manner in which he stalked back to the team's paddock HQ and kicked a door from its hinges.

 Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 06, 2007 08:16 PM (+rSRq)

2 My blockquote tag got removed. The center paragraph above is a quote from that link. The bottom line is me.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 06, 2007 08:37 PM (+rSRq)

3 You've got a spam to delete...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 07, 2007 03:10 PM (+rSRq)

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