Sunday, June 21, 2009

Qualy: Vettel pips the wrong Brawn to pole

Saturday 20th June 2009

Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for Sunday's British GP beating a BrawnGP driver, but it wasn't the one British fans were hoping for.

Vettel, who had the measure of his rivals for two of the weekend's three practice sessions, put his revised RB5 to good use on Saturday afternoon, taking pole position with a 1:19.509.

That put him ahead of Rubens Barrichello who finished 0.347s behind the German, while Button could only manage sixth place on his home grid. Mark Webber was third for Red Bull, finishing ahead of Jarno Trulli and Kazuki Nakajima.

Meanwhile, a huge accident for Adrian Sutil with 24s left on the clock in Q1 cost Lewis Hamilton any chance of making it through to the next session. He will start P19. Sutil, thankfully, escaped unhurt although his Force India was destroyed.

Qualifying 1
Following showers in the morning, conditions were still cloudy with sunny intervals and the possibility of the odd shower. The track temperature was only 25C with an ambient of 16C.

Adrian Sutil set the first sub 1:21 lap in the heavily revised Force India. His 1:20.860 was soon beaten by Bourdais, 1:20.590 and then steadily whittled down by Jarno Trulli on a three-lap stint - 1:19.915, 1:19.356 and finally 1:18.886.

The Red Bulls cast this aside, first Mark Webber set P1 with a 1:18.763 and then Vettel reduced it to a 1:18.685 before Webber reclaimed it with a 1:18.674.

Both Brawns looked unlikely to depose the Red Bulls but were running in the top ten, while the Mclarens looked ponderously slow.

Coming into the final three minutes of the session and the danger zone was: 11.Kubica, 12.Fisichella, 13.Bourdais, 14.Sutil, 15.Hamilton, 16.Raikkonen, 17.Heidfeld, 18.Massa, 19.Buemi, 20.Kovalainen

As the time ticked down Raikkonen put his Ferrari up into P6, Kovalainen could only manage P17 from the first lap of two, before elevating himself to a precarious P14 on the second. Nick Heidfeld managed to get himself into P12 and Lewis Hamilton was setting a faster time when the session was red-flagged.

Adrian Sutil's Force India had suffered brake failure turning into Abbey and run straight on into the barriers, the car spinning round and hitting backwards. The Force India was a major wreck and with just half a minute left on the clock it meant that no-one could improve their time from that point onward.

Kazuki Nakajima had just managed to set the fastest time with an impressive 1:18.530 and Jenson Button had hauled himself up to 5th, but Lewis Hamilton was stranded down in 19th place. So out went:


It was the third time in a row that the World Champion had exited in Q1 and was also a disappointment for the Force India team who had hoped to get at least one, if not both cars into Q2 having shown improved form in practice.


The track temperature had crept up a degree for Q2 but not enough to suit the Brawns which thrive on warm tarmac.

Felipe Massa steered his Ferrari to the first P1 time of the session at 1:19.257 which was put into context by an early-running Mark Webber and a 1:18.638 set on hard tyres, followed by a superb1:18.209 which meant he wouldn't have to run again.

The time stood up until the very last seconds of the session, but with three minutes left the dropzone looked like this: 8.Glock, 9.Raikkonen, 10.Massa, 11.Button, 12.Kubica, 13.Piquet, 14.Heidfeld, 15.Kovalainen

Nelson Piquet Junior put a wheel on the grass at the exit of Woodcote and ruined a hot lap. Rosberg improved to P4, Kovalainen could only manage P13, Raikkonen jumped to P3 with the fastest first sector of the weekend, Massa could only manage P8, Button posted P7, Rubens improved to P3, Glock moved to P8.

Drivers had been fuelled for at least two hot laps and Button had slipped to P9 before regaining P8 and Alonso's last dash put him into P9. Felipe Massa had slipped to P11, but his subsequent lap was not quicker.

Then, at the very close, Sebastian Vettel showed who the fastest Red Bull runner was with the fastest lap of the GP weekend, a 1:18.119. So out went:

Massa will have been disappointed to make his exit, but his time was almost 0.4 shy of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's time.

Qualifying 3

Only three men had taken pole in 2009 and it looked likely that Mark Webber might make it four as the session kicked off.

Barrichello set provisional pole with a 1:21.417, Vettel easily beat it with a 1:20.863 while Jenson Button slotted into P2 (would this be one of Jenson's last minute rescues). Rubens re-took P1 with a 1:20.536 when he had more heat in his tyres second time round.

Vettel didn't have such a quantum improvement from lap to lap but he was able to reduce the P1 time to 1:20.404. Mark Webber had set a sluggish first lap good enough for only P7, but second time round he scorched to a 1:20.040 taking provisional pole by a massive 0.4 of a second.

So, after the first runs, the order was: Webber, Vettel, Barrichello, Rosberg, Button, Trulli, Alonso, Raikkonen, Glock, Nakajima.

Into the final runs (some one-lap, some two-lap) and Rubens was the first to get into the 1:19s with an exceptionally good 1:19.856, Vettel took P1 off him with a 1:19.509 but it looked likely that Mark Webber would continue his massive advantage. Trulli edged into P4, Rosberg to P5 and then Button re-established himself in P5.

Meanwhile Mark Webber had a disastrous first sector and instead of setting a 25.5 down to the Hangar Straight timing point, he put in a 26.1 - that lap was blown. His second hot lap suffered from his tyres going away and he could only manage a 1:19.868 good enough for P3.

Vettel had improved by 0.9 from lap to lap, Barrichello by 0.8 and Mark by just 0.15 and that was pole lost. At the very last moment Kazuki Nakajima rewarded Williams with a P5 start, demoting Button to P6 and beating his team-mate by 0.15 for a change.

The true picture will only be revealed when the fuel levels are revealed later this afternoon, but right now this looks like Red Bull's race to lose. When he gets it right Barrichello can be a stellar starter and BrawnGP will be hoping for a warmer race day to get their tyres working. There could still be fireworks at the front because Rubens will see it as a major opportunity to pull points back on Jenson Button.


01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:19.509
02 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:19.856
03 M. Webber Red Bull 1:19.868
04 J. Trulli Toyota 1:20.091
05 K. Nakajima Williams 1:20.216
06 J. Button Brawn GP 1:20.289
07 N. Rosberg Williams 1:20.361
08 T. Glock Toyota 1:20.490
09 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:19.010
10 F. Alonso Renault 1:20.741
11 F. Massa Ferrari 1:18.927
12 R. Kubica BMW 1:19.308
13 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:19.353
14 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:19.392
15 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:19.448
16 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:19.802
17 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:19.898
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:19.909
19 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:19.917
20 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:20.236

Source : Planet F1

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