July 05, 2008

F1 Quals: Britain 2008

There's no other way of putting it: this was a weird quals session.  The winds were howling, and some ominous clouds were racing for the track.  Q1 started out dry, then it rained, and then it was bone dry again.  Everybody was out on track to get a time in before the rains came, at which point nobody dared venture out.  The second the rains stopped, though, we saw a few cars head back out, and we saw that the water was completely gone.

Q2 was normal (or as normal as knockout qualifying can be), except for one thing: the Ferraris were both down towards the bottom of the list of advancers.

Then all hell broke loose.  Massa had the slowest time in Q3 of anybody who took to the track, perhaps due to his shunt in Practice 2.  Robert Kubica never turned a lap, having suffered some mysterious problem with the back of the car.  Lewis Hamilton went offroading in sector 3.  Even Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari looked like it was dragging a boat anchor around Silverstone.  Then Mark Webber (MARK WEBBER?!?!?)  in the Red Bull, who must have four ounces of fuel on board, leaped to pole... and held onto it for the last minute or so, which is an eternity in Q3.

But Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, driving like his hair was on fire, snatched the pole away from Webber... by over a half-second!  Even the McLaren pit wall was amazed, getting on the radio and saying "you've got the pole by a mile... or a half second, in real terms."  While it wasn't the Glare With Wheels the British fans wanted to see at the front of the grid, they still went bonkers.

The Provisional Grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Heikki Kovalaininnie        
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:20.982 1:19.710 1:21.554
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:20.370 1:19.971 1:21.706
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.288 1:19.537 1:21.835
5 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:21.022 1:19.802 1:21.873
6 HWMNBN Renault 1:20.998 1:19.992 1:22.029
7 Nelson Piquet Jr.
Renault 1:20.818 1:20.115 1:22.491
8 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:20.318 1:20.109 1:23.251
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:20.676 1:20.086 1:23.305
10 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:20.444 1:19.788 no time
11 David Coulthard's Chin
Red Bull-Renault 1:21.224 1:20.174
12 Timo Glock Toyota 1:20.893 1:20.274
13 SeaBass STR-Ferrari 1:20.584 1:20.531
14 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:21.145 1:20.601
15 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:21.407 1:21.112
16 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:21.512

17 Jenson Button Honda 1:21.631

18 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.668

19 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:21.786

20 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:21.885

This was Kovalaininninninnie's first pole, and Red Bull's first front-row start ever.  It's also the first time that Kubica has been outqualified by his teammate, Grizzly Nick Heidfeld, all season.

Y'know, if you had told me that the front row would be Heikki and Webbo, I would have laughed at you... and you would have agreed, simply because nobody would think that a Red Bull would be up that high unless something really weird happened.

And it did.

As if all of that wasn't enough to make this an interesting race, the forecast for the race is for rain... which might be why Massa is so far down the grid.  Since the instant the light turns green for Q1 the cars are in parc ferme conditions (meaning that the mechanics can't perform any adjustments other than tires to the cars), could Ferrari have set Massa's car up for wet conditions?  If so, they very nearly blew it, almost not making it out of Q2.  Of course, if it DOES rain, he'll be in the catbird seat.

Well.  We shall see, won't we?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:23 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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It was a very interesting qualifying session, especially the last seconds as the lead changed so often.

Nelson Piquet's "Little League" dad must be pleased.  He's really stepped it up the last couple of races.




Posted by: Mallory at July 05, 2008 02:59 PM (WJ2qy)

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