April 03, 2010
Q1 started out with a firm drizzle as the cars took to the track... or should I say MOST of the cars. Ferrari and McLaren sat in their garages, their weather experts apparently telling them that the rain would stop. But it never did.
Button went out first, got a time fast enough to get to Q2, and when the rain became heavier, aquaplaned right into a graveltrap from which he could not escape. He sat on the timing-and-scoring bubble for a few anxious minutes, but managed to eke by. By the time Hamilton, Massa and HWMNBN began their flying laps, the rain was just heavy enough to make it impossible to set competitive laps, rendering their qualifying sessions moot. Serious, serious error by the big guys on the grid. Like most everybody else, they should have gone out ASAP... what do you have to lose? If it dries out, you come in, get new tires, and off you go. If it DOESN'T dry, you've still got times set in the same conditions as everybody else... like Lotus and Virgin, each of whom got a car into Q2 for the first time.
Meanwhile, it took nearly 15 minutes for Button's McLaren to be returned to the pitlane, too late for it to be checked over for damage, get the kittylitter out of the ducts, turned around and sent out for Q2.
Q3 was an adventure, to say the least. The rain started out hard, got even harder (which redflagged the session for a few minutes), and then the full-wet tires kicked in. With about two minutes left in the session, none other than Force India's Adrian Sutil sat on pole, setting fast lap after fast lap as the rain pelted down. Towards the end, however, Red Bull's Mark Webber somehow tore off a lap that was nearly 1.5 seconds faster than anybody else in the session. That's an amazing amount of time, and one that I'm at a loss to explain. He didn't have a drying track, the rain didn't let up at all. I suppose he just caught the sweet spot on the combination of rubber on the circuit, water on the ground, car setup, and tires in a perfect Golden Lap.
So, there you have it... your starting grid for the 2010 Grand Prix of Malaysia (swimming edition). The forecast is for more rain during the race, so it's entirely up for grabs.
UPDATE: It turns out that Webber turned his amazing lap in while running on Intermediates; everybody else was on full wet tires. Gutsy move, that!
Posted by: Ed Flinn at April 03, 2010 03:54 PM (Scyr+)
That's an interesting line up. Rain is the great equalizer.
Excellent job on the recaps (especially for those of us who cannot stay awake, no matter how much coffee I drink).
Posted by: Mallory at April 03, 2010 04:49 PM (WJ2qy)
I think it's marvelous to see Force India in the second row.
"Mercedes GP" is what we called "Brawn" last year, isn't it?
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 03, 2010 05:06 PM (+rSRq)
Steven, yes indeed. Ross Brawn sold his team to Mercedes, but they kept the entire staff of BrawnGP. The only difference now is who the ultimate boss of the team is. Last year, it was Ross Brawn himself. Now it's someone in Mercedes, with Brawn at team principal. Essentially Ross Brawn made a squatload of money for the privilege of having someone else pay the bills.
Posted by: Wonderduck at April 03, 2010 05:23 PM (mfPs/)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 03, 2010 05:29 PM (+rSRq)
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