Saturday, October 3, 2009
JAPANESE GP 2009 QUALIFYING
That was an incredible, action filled qualifying. I have never seen the Japanese GP at Suzuka as the place was closed for renovations since 2006. I played the circuit on our F1 simulator this week and found the track to be awesome, challenging and unforgiving to mistakes, even the slightest one.
Yesterday, both free practice was spoiled by the weather. We couldn't really see the cars at their full potential as the best time recorded was 1.47.xxx when I could do 1.32.853 on the simulator. Today, the sun came out and the cars were able to do fast laps on slicks. Boy, were the times telling. Fastest time recorded was 1.30.385 I think. So, I've got some work to do.
And what action this track produces. There were 4 crashes, 1 serious with Timo Glock warded at the hospital with possible leg injuries. Nobody is sure whether he can race tomorrow. There was 3 red flags, multiple yellows and the crashes were spectacular.
The qualifying was close but it was never in doubt that Vettel was on fire the whole weekend. He topped the timesheets in Q1, Q2 and Q3 taking pole by a margin of 0.060 secs. It looks good for him to win but that depends on whether Lewis in P3 can take him before the first corner with KERS and whether his engine can take the heat.
The other Red Bull didn't make it as Webber crashed his car in practice and had to change the chassis thereby starting from the pitlane. It looks like their title challenge is over. Toyota did good with Trulli in P2 but Glock crashed heavily in Q2 and might be hospitalised.
McLaren didn't do too well either even though Lewis got P3, Kovalainnen crashed in Q3 and will start P9. Lewis looked to have the pace but was really beaten by Vettel. It's not too bad though as he starts behind Vettel and has KERS, although the fuel weights will play a factor.
Ferrari fared quite bad as Kimi got P8 and Fisi was way down the order in P16. They don't seem to have a good package for this track. BMW was a surprise as Heidfeld snuck in quietly into P6. he always does that. Kubica though is in P13. The surprise was Sutil, who put his Force India in P4. It seems that Sutil is a very good driver given the right equipment. McLaren might do good to consider him next year.
Alonso didn't look too happy to end up P12. He seems to have blame Buemi for crashing at the right time to disturb his flying lap. Rosberg's lap too might have been spoiled by Buemi. The yellow flag brought about by Buemi it seems was ignored by 4 drivers including Alonso, although he says he was innocent. The result - 4 drivers were given 5 slot grid penalties including Alonso. Anyway, that's racing and they'll have to take it as it is.
The fuel weights reveal different strategies but Lewis might have some advantage with KERS. The grid penalties have also turned things upside down, sad for Sutil. He seems to be struck with bad luck all the time.
Can't wait for the race, it's gonna be a cracker at this track.
Times before penalties
01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:32.160
02 J. Trulli Toyota 1:32.220
03 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:32.395
04 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:32.466
05 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:32.660
06 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:32.945
07 J. Button Brawn GP 1:32.962
08 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:32.980
09 H. Kovalainen McLaren no time
10 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso no time
11 N. Rosberg Williams 1:31.103
12 F. Alonso Renault 1:31.638
13 R. Kubica BMW 1:32.341
14 T. Glock Toyota no time
15 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso no time
16 G. Fisichella Ferrari 1:31.704
17 K. Nakajima Williams 1:31.718
18 R. Grosjean Renault 1:32.073
19 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 1:32.087