November 01, 2008

F1 Quals: Brazil 2008

What the hell was THAT?

Here's the provisional grid, discussion after:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:11.830 1:11.875 1:12.368
2 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:12.226 1:12.107 1:12.737
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:12.083 1:11.950 1:12.825
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.213 1:11.856 1:12.830
5 Heikki Kovalaininnie 
6 HWMNBN Renault 1:12.214 1:12.090 1:12.967
7 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:12.390 1:11.845 1:13.082
8 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:12.371 1:12.026 1:13.297
9 SeaBasss STR-Ferrari 1:12.498 1:12.075 1:14.105
10 Timo Glockenspiel Toyota 1:12.223 1:11.909 1:14.230
11 Nelson Piquet Jr
Renault 1:12.348 1:12.137
12 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:12.409 1:12.289
13 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:12.381 1:12.300
14 David Coulthard's Chin  
Red Bull-Renault 1:12.690 1:12.717
15 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:12.548 1:13.139
16 Kazoo Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:12.800

17 Jenson Button Honda 1:12.810

18 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:13.002

19 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:13.426

20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:13.50

The Ferraris did exactly what they needed to: Massa on pole, Kimi directly behind him on the grid (which is almost certainly better than being 2nd for this race; it's the clean side of the circuit, and he can protect Massa's back).  But, and here's the question, how are they set up for the rainstorms that are supposed to be headed Sao Paolo's way? 

I have no idea what sort of strategy McLaren is trying, however.  Conventional Wisdom sez "short-fill Hamilton, so he can get on the front row and avoid any kerfluffle that'll form going into Turn 1."  Well, if that's what the plan was, it didn't work for beans.  Not only didn't he make it to the front row, he wound up on the wrong side of the SECOND row, with Jarno freakin' Trulli in front of him.  There's no question that he's set up for a dry track; he was fighting a twitchy car all day.  For some teams, that's a sign of a bad chassis (see: Honda), but for the McLaren, that's just the team cranking off the rear wing and letting the driver run on the very edge of the envelope.  That's where the car is the fastest, but you need a really good driver to do that.  Fortunately, Lewis Hamilton only needs to finish 5th or better to win the driver's championship, but he's pushing it right now.

My guess is that Trulli's Toyota is running on fumes and a prayer, particularly considering the relative performance of teammate Glockenspiel.  Either that, or Toyota decided to split their setups for the weather that's predicted to be coming on Sunday, with Glockenspiel having the wet settings.

Kovaleinninninnie has a problem.  His job is to support his teammate for the championship.  The best way for him to do that is to let Lewis stay ahead of him, but Hamilton is on the dirty side of the track.  In a vacuum, Heikki would just make sure his teammate gets a better start than he does, but though Interlagos may suck, it's not a vacuum.  HWMNBN is next to the junior McLaren, positively drooling over the possibilities of a bad start for either silver car.  So Heikki has to keep the Renault behind him.  As if all of that wasn't enough, McLaren is eleven points behind in the constructor's championship; the team needs a 1-2 finish from their boys to have a legit chance there.  So Heikki has to stay behind his teammate but ahead of HWMNBN, while driving hard for the front of the grid.  Sure, no problem. 

There's no question who the crowd is backing in this matchup: hometown boy Massa.  He's grown up at Interlagos, literally.  He was born, raised, and makes his home in Sao Paolo.  He got his start in racing at the karting track at Interlagos, yadda yadda.  For the Paoloians, a perfect result would be a Massa-Barrichello-Piquet (Brazillians all) podium, with Hamilton finishing 21st.

Well, we'll see what happens on Sunday, the final race of the 2008 season.  See you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:05 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 659 words, total size 12 kb.

1 Can't wait for the race to start.  This ought to be good!

Posted by: Mallory at November 02, 2008 09:39 AM (WJ2qy)

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