August 23, 2008

F1 Quals: Valencia 2008!

With the sky ominous and occasionally sprinkling, the track at Valencia really seemed to come alive for today's qualifying session.  As predicted, the new circuit played hob with all teams, throwing their usual precise machinations into a cocked hat.  As an example, McLaren almost always manages to get their drivers on the course last in the closing stages of Q3.  This is a great advantage, as they then know exactly what they have to do to get pole, and can see what the other teams are doing ahead of their cars.

Not today.  Lewis Hamilton went out near the middle of the pack, allowing the Ferraris, the BMW of Robert Kubica, and his own teammate to snipe away at his final time.  The provisional grid looks like this:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Felipe Massa          
Ferrari 1:38.176   
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes   
1:38.464 1:37.954 1:39.199
3 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:38.347 1:38.050 1:39.392
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:38.703 1:38.229 1:39.488
5 Heikki Kovalainen      
McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.656 1:38.120 1:39.937
6 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:38.141 1:37.842 1:40.142
7 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:37.948 1:37.928 1:40.309
8 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:38.738 1:37.859 1:40.631
9 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:38.595 1:38.336 1:40.721
10 SeaBass STR-Ferrari 1:38.622 1:38.417 1:40.750
11 Kazoo Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:38.667 1:38.428
Renault 1:38.268 1:38.435
13 Timo Glock Toyota 1:38.532 1:38.499
14 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:38.559 1:38.515
15 Nelson Piquet Renault 1:38.787 1:38.744
16 Jenson Button Honda 1:38.880

17 David Coulthard's Chin  
Red Bull-Renault 1:39.235

18 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:39.268

19 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:39.811

20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:39.943

While only Massa managed to beat out Hamilton's final time, it sure wasn't for lack of trying by the other drivers.  Massa, Kubica, Kimi and Heikki all came home after Hamilton claimed provisional pole.  McLaren had to be gnawing their fingernails to the quick when the others were throwing up fast sectors all over the place.

The surprise of the day has to be Sebastian Vettel and Toro Rosso.  Both of the team's cars made it to Q3, with Vettel ending up 2nd fastest in Q1, and fastest of all in Q2.  SeaBass, historically no slouch at all on street courses, also did a nice job though the Q3 results don't show it.  The disappointment, though, had to be the senior Red Bull team of Webbo and The Chin.  Either their engines just don't put out the horsepower to deal with their junior team, or their drivers were intimidated by the track.  Whichever way you look at it, a bad day for them for sure.

So a new track, a new face on row three, and a BMW between the Red Team and the Glare With Wheels.  Should be an interesting run to turn 2 tomorrow!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:05 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 It's awesome to see Kubica up there in 3rd. It is so nice now that there's a third team that's a serious challenger.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 23, 2008 03:24 PM (+rSRq)

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