May 26, 2007

F1 Quals: Monte Carlo!

It was McLaren's finest hour... or was it?

It was Ferrari's darkest hour... or is it?

Alonso and Hamilton are 1-2 on the grid for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, but the team may have out-thought themselves. With a big threat of rain in the air, and a few drops appearing at the beginning of Q3, Hamilton and Alonso appeared to go out with a light fuel load, as they were ripping off quick laps from the very start of the session. No fuel burn-off stints for the 'Glare with Wheels' today.

If the rain HAD come, they would have been in a perfect situation: on the front of the grid, with the sort of fuel load that may call for a three-stop race... when everybody else will be heavy with a two-stop load, yet forced by their tires to make three stops (rain is expected on Sunday, and rain tires don't usually last as long at Monaco as they do everywhere else).

But the rain didn't come. They short-fueled for nothing. Yes, they own the first row, but now they HAVE to pray for rain tomorrow, otherwise they dinked themselves... an extra stop for fuel at Monaco is tantamount to suicide.

Ferrari, on the other hand, had a miserable day. Kimi Raikkonen never made it out of Q2, due to a broken front suspension, seemingly caused by the front right wheel milling away one of the arms (that's the problem with Monaco; some of the turns are so tight, the teams have to manufacture special suspensions just to allow the cars to make the Hairpin). Result: when Kimi got a smidge too much curb, it snapped like a twig, and the car came to a stop when he couldn't make the turn at Rascasse... just like Parky Schumacher last year. Oops.

Felipe Massa, on the other hand, ended up P3, which had to be a disappointment to the team, as they've held every pole previously this year. However, they probably have more fuel on board than the McLarens... IF the rain holds off, Massa looks to be in the catbird seat.

The big surprise is P4... Giancarlo Fisichella in the Renault. Far and away the best qualifying position for the team this year, and it's possible that they're starting to come to grips with whatever has bedeviled the chassis prior to this.

The rest of the lineup:
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:16.439
6. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:16.784
7. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW 1:16.832
8. Robert Kubica Poland BMW 1:16.955
9. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:17.498
10. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:17.939
11. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:16.662
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.703
13. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:16.988
14. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:17.125
15. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari No Time
16. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:17.204
17. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:18.250
18. Scott Speed USA Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.390
19. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:18.418
20. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:18.539
21. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:18.554
22. Christijan Albers Netherlands Spyker-Ferrari No Time

Monaco is always a fun one, but with rain in the forecast? Good times, good times.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:40 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 533 words, total size 4 kb.

1 I was really hoping would Hamilton could have held onto the pole position, but front row isn't bad.

Did anybody every find out what the "big puff of smoke" was on the track while we were watching the guys in the pits watching TV?

Posted by: Mallory at May 26, 2007 08:33 AM (iLcnv)

2 I didn't hear about the suspension rubbing. If was reported as a result of a contact with the barrier.

Strange they you haven't found a word the The Chin, with the time deleted and all. Pat Symonds certainly did... "Voluble", is it even a word?

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at May 26, 2007 03:34 PM (9imyF)

3 Mallory, I think Spyker elected a new Pope.

Pete, Kimi got near the barrier, but the damage was caused by getting too much curb. There was a very short shot later of the Ferrari's FR suspension and the damage done, and it looked pretty clear (on a paused videotape) that there was a groove worn off the carbon fibre, and that the break occurred at the end of said groove. I could be wrong; it happens all the time. But to my eyeballs, that's what it looked like.

Regarding The Chin's transgression: I was pressed for time when I wrote the post, as I needed to get to lunch with the folks. Short version, though is simple... Oy. Maybe not as obvious as Parky's antics last year, and a little more defensible ("I was on a hotlap myself" would be an example), but pretty flagrant. I think the punishment was a smidge harsh, particularly in light of the prescidents set last year, but it's hard to argue that he didn't deserve SOME penalty. Being excluded from Q3 works well enough.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 26, 2007 03:47 PM (2nDll)

4 McClaren took 1-2, so apparently their gamble paid off. Does that mean it rained? (The news report I saw didn't say.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 27, 2007 12:28 PM (+rSRq)

5 I am shamed. That's "McLaren"...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 27, 2007 12:33 PM (+rSRq)

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