July 11, 2009

F1 Quals: Germany 2009!

Ladies and gentlemen, history has been made today in what might have been the most suspenseful Quals this season!  Here's the provisional grid, and prepare to be amazed:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:31.257 1:38.038 1:32.230
2 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:31.482 1:34.455 1:32.357
3 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:31.568 1:39.032 1:32.473
4 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:31.430 1:39.504 1:32.480
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.473 1:39.149 1:32.616
6 Heikki Kovalaineninnie McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.881 1:40.826 1:33.859
7 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.015 1:36.740 1:34.316
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.600 1:41.708 1:34.574
9 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.869 1:41.730 1:34.710
10 Nelson Piquet Jr
Renault 1:32.128 1:35.737 1:34.803
11 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:31.771 1:42.310
12 HWMNBN Renault 1:31.302 1:42.318
13 KazooNakajima Williams-Toyota 1:31.884 1:42.500
14 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:31.760 1:42.771
15 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:31.598 1:42.859
16 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:32.190

17 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:32.251

18 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:32.402

19 Timo Glockenspiel Toyota 1:32.423

20 SeaBass STR-Ferrari 1:33.559


Q1 started out dry, but towards the end it began to rain, which pretty much put paid to some strategies.  SeaBass and Glockenspiel were both waiting until the end to make their push for Q2 and wound up shooting themselves in the foot.  To boot, Glockenspiel wound up blocking HWMNBN who was on a hotlap towards the end of the session.  While HWMNBN still made it into Q2, Timo was penalized after quals was over and will actually be starting from dead last. 

Q2 is where the excitement occurred.  Everybody charged out of the pitlane on dry tires, but it took less than a half-lap to teams to realize that intermediates were the right way to go.  First Kazoo Nakajima went spiraling off-track, followed quickly by Felipe Massa.  Then into the exact same turn that sent the previous two drivers pirouetting, we had three cars go side-by-side in an impending pile of carbon-fibre wreckage.  Miracles (or driver skills) do occur, however, and all fifteen cars made it back to the pits for Inters... except for Red Bull's Mark Webber, who decided to give drys a try for a hot-lap.  It didn't work, and he wound up desperately crawling back to the pit, ego damaged but his car in one piece.

Everybody turned a lap or two on the Inters, but Brawn's Rubens Barrichello, maybe the best judge of weather on the grid, found a gap in the rain and slapped on a set of supersofts.  His 1:34 wound up nearly a second-and-a-half faster than anybody else could manage as the rain began to fall again. 

Meanwhile, Nelson Piquet Jr managed to do something he had never succeeded in doing before: he outqualified his teammate, HWMNBN.  Look for Piquet to be found dismembered and eviscerated in the morning.

The story of Q2, however, was the history-making session of Force India's Adrian F'n Sutil.  Never before has a Force India car made it out of Q2... in fact, on those occasions when they've made it into Q2, they've usually been 14th or 15th at the end.  Not today.  Sutil, driving on his home track, found a nice groove in the weather and managed to hoist himself into Q3 with the third best lap of the session.  In doing so, he has earned himself a nickname: F'n, said in admiration.  Amazing job... but it would only get better.

In Q3, it looked like it would be the usual routine: Brawns and Red Bulls fighting for the pole, and in truth, that's exactly what happened... but not before the reborn McLarens of Hamilton and Kovaleininninnie made it known that they had to be taken seriously.  Perhaps not for a win, but the mere fact that both drivers were in Q3 means that the recent aero changes have fixed whatever ailed the Glare with Wheels.

A quick flurry of fast times in the last couple minutes of the session juggled the top four positions.  Both Brawns and both Red Bulls were on pole at one time or another, but Mark Webber, the last to come around on a hot-lap, claimed his first ever pole position and looks to be the favorite for the race by far.

All of which, however, paled in comparison to the performance of Adrian F'n Sutil.  Despite having more fuel onboard than the three cars behind him (678.5kg for Sutil to 673.5kg for Massa), he still brought his Force India home in seventh, the best ever for that team.  Here's the best part: it's a legitimate result.  We may very well be seeing the newest entry into annals of Bizarro Season... but it's great to see.  Adrian F'n Sutil, we salute you!

Fuel loads show that Red Bull and McLaren have both apparently caught up with the Brawns.  Where it was common to see them on pole with the most fuel, now Button and Barrichello both have nearly 10kg of fuel LESS onboard, and nearly 15kg less than the polesitter.  That might be because of the cool track temps (the Brawn car is easy on the tires, but that also means that on cold tracks it's hard for them to get heat into the rubber, ergo less traction), or it might just mean that the team hasn't been able to keep up with the development pace of the other two.

Looks to be a promising race on Sunday... we might just see Webber get his first ever victory, and possibly Force India's first ever points-paying finish.  The race is on Fox at 2pm Pond Time, so see you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:38 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 923 words, total size 17 kb.

1 It's nice, and about damned time, to see Barrichello stop whining and start driving.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 11, 2009 07:55 PM (+rSRq)

2

Looking forward to the race, which may be as exciting as the quals, with so many drivers wanting to win their "home" race.

I feel bad for SeaBass, though, since it appears to be his last race.  Nothing like putting a little pressure on a guy.

 

Posted by: Mallory at July 12, 2009 06:33 AM (WJ2qy)

3 ...about damned time, to see Barrichello stop whining and start driving.

Heh.  Funny you should mention that...

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 12, 2009 04:29 PM (AnJdu)

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