Archive for the ‘2009 Qualifying’ Category


Hamilton on Pole for Last Race of the Season

October 31, 2009

Lewis Hamilton took the final pole of the season in qualifying at Abu Dhabi this afternoon, while Jenson Button, the new 2009 world champion set the fifth fastest time ahead of tomorrow’s race.

Hamilton set the fastest lap times in all three rounds of qualifying, showing the McLaren is in a class of its own this weekend at the brand new Yas Marina circuit. He finished the final session with a time of 1:40.948, 0.7 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who will start alongside him on the grid.

Vettel will be aiming to come away with more points than Rubens Barrichello tomorrow in order for him to secure second in this year’s world drivers’ championship. Barrichello will start tomorrow’s race from fourth, alongside third-placed Mark Webber, on the second row of the grid, and ahead of Jenson Button in fifth in his first race after securing the title.

Kimi Raikkonen will start his last race for Ferrari from 11th after just missing out on the top ten shoot out, Heikki Kovalainen will start what could possibly be his last race for McLaren from 13th after he stopped out on track during Q2 with suspected gearbox problems. Fernando Alonso starts his last race for Renault before his move to Ferrari from 16th, while Giancarlo Fisichella will start what is likely to be his last F1 race in 20th after another poor qualifying session.

With the focus now on who can finish where in the standings for the season, with all being well in tomorrow’s race, Hamilton looks likely to secure fifth in the drivers’ standings over Raikkonen, while McLaren look set to take third from Ferrari in the constructors’, after a difficult season for both teams.

Tomorrow’s race is also set to be F1’s first ‘twilight race’, starting in daylight and finishing under flood lights. The new circuit is set to end the season on a high, with Hamilton and his KERS-equipped McLaren looking good to take the last win.


Pole for Barrichello, Rain Puts Button 14th

October 17, 2009

Rubens Barrichello took pole in a qualifying session which lasted over two and a half hours, after storms suspended both Q1 and Q2 in Brazil today.

Qualifying two weeks ago in Japan was eventful, and qualifying for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix was just as eventful, with Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaning at turn two bringing out the red flag early on in Q1, Sebastian Vettel failing to get to Q2, along with Lewis Hamilton who had a spin at turn five. When Q2 finally started, it was Vitantonio Liuzzi’s crash along the pit straight that saw the second red flag of the afternoon, that stopped the clock for over an hour.

It was Jenson Button who lost out in Q2 when it finally got under way, as when the track started to dry out he struggled, failing to put in a fast enough time to get into the top ten shoot out, and he will start tomorrow’s race in 14th.

But while the rain had the biggest say of the day, it was Barrichello who shone through taking pole as the clock stopped in Q3. It looked like it could have been Mark Webber’s, even Jarno Trulli and Nico Rosberg looked like they could snatch the pole as the track dried out and their lap times got faster, but it was Rubens who delivered in front of his home crowd.

With Button down in 14th, and Vettel down in 16th, it is looking like the championship will be thrown wide open tomorrow, ahead of the last round in Abu Dhabi in two weeks time. All Barrichello needs is five points more than Jenson to keep his hopes alive going into the final round. If they stay where they are, and Barrichello wins, with Button out of the points, there will be just four points between them.

Vettel will need to put in the performance of his life tomorrow to be in with a chance in Abu Dhabi, but it is now looking more and more likely it is just about the two teammates.

The only question is, will it rain tomorrow? And if it does, can Barrichello keep it together when it matters?


Revised Japanese GP Grid

October 3, 2009

Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button are just two of the drivers who have been handed a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix after failing to lift under yellow flags.

The penalties were awarded after both Brawn drivers passed the yellow flags telling drivers to slow down following Sebasten Buemi’s shunt with the barriers on the exit of the Spoon curve in this morning’s qualifying session. Both drivers had been on their sole flying lap of Q2 after two previous red flags had meant they had not been able to get a time on the board beforehand, and both needed to record a time for a chance to make it into Q3.

Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Renault’s Fernando Alonso also received penalties for the same thing, while Buemi was issued with a penalty for continuing back to the pits after the incident.

McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen will drop five places after a gearbox change, and Toyota’s Timo Glock will start from the pitlane after a change to his chassis, if indeed he starts at all.

Meanwhile, polesitter Sebastian Vettel is heavier than second and third place starters Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton.

After what can only be described as a crazy qualifying session, the revised grid is expected to be as follows:

1. Sebastian Vettel, 2. Jarno Trulli, 3. Lewis Hamilton, 4. Nick Heidfeld, 5. Kimi Raikkonen, 6. Nico Rosberg, 7. Robert Kubica, 8. Adrian Sutil, 9. Rubens Barrichello, 10. Jaime Alguersuari, 11. Jenson Button, 12. Giancarlo Fisichella, 13. Heikki Kovalainen, 14. Sebastien Buemi, 15. Kazuki Nakajima, 16. Romain Grosjean, 17. Fernando Alonso, 18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, 19. Timo Glock, 20. Mark Webber.


Vettel on Pole After Disrupted Suzuka Quali

October 3, 2009

Sebastian Vettel took pole in this morning’s disrupted qualifying session for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix, where three drivers’ efforts saw them in the tyre wall.

Timo Glock’s crash at the start of the pit straight was the most worrying of the three incidents, with the Toyota driver eventually being airlifted to hospital with a wound to his left leg. The incident was the second to bring out the red flag in Q2, the first being the result of Jaime Alguersuari crashing into the tyre wall at Degner Two. Heikki Kovalainen brought out the third red flag, this time in Q3, again, sliding off the track at Degner Two.

As well as the three red flagged incidents, Alguersuari’s teammate Sebastien Buemi was also in the wars, just about managing to recover his Toro Rosso after a tap with the tyre wall at the infamous Degner in Q1. A rear wing change later, and Buemi posted the fourth fastest time in the first session, but after running wide exiting the Spoon curve in Q2, and dragging his Toro Rosso along the barriers, his car was too damaged to take part in Q3.

After Kovalainen’s accident was cleared, early on in Q3, Vettel posted the fastest time of 1:32.160, to take pole position, with Jarno Trulli second fastest in the Toyota. Last weekend’s pole sitter and race winner, Lewis Hamilton, will start in third, with Adrian Sutil completing the second row. Rubens Barrichello set a faster time than teammate and championship leader, Jenson Button, qualifying in fifth, with Button directly behind him in seventh, with the BMW of Nick Heidfeld between the two. Kimi Raikkonen was the slowest of the eight to post a time in Q3, with Kovalainen and Buemi both out as a result of their crashes.

After being checked over by medics, Alguersuari is fit to take his place in 15th on tomorrow’s grid. It is unknown whether Glock, who qualified 14th, will race tomorrow, and it is expected that Toyota will make an announcement in the morning. Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica were the three who missed out on the top ten shoot out following the restart of Q2, and they will start 11th, 12th and 13th respectively. However, after both Brawns set their fastest Q2 lap times under yellow flags, Alonso said after the session that he expects to start higher up, as under yellow flag conditions, you are expected to slow down. However, neither Brawn driver had posted a time to get through to Q3, and as the session had already finished, both drivers continued their pace.

While Vettel grabbed pole for Red Bull, at a race which is crucial for his world championship chances, his teammate Mark Webber was unable to qualify, after a shunt at Degner Two in third practice earlier in the morning, left his car needing a complete re-build. Webber will start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane.

With the amount of crashes the Suzuka circuit has seen this weekend, along with the rain which fell throughout free practice on Friday, hindering the amount of time the teams had on track, tomorrow’s race is looking like it may well be as eventful as qualifying. With Button needing only five points more than Barrichello to secure the drivers’ title, you wouldn’t want to miss it, as, as qualifying proved, anything can happen.

For UK viewers, the race starts at 6am tomorrow morning on BBC One.


Hamilton on Pole After Red Flag Haults Q3 in Singapore

September 26, 2009

Lewis Hamilton took pole in Singapore this afternoon, after Rubens Barrichello crashed in the closing stages of Q3, causing the session to be red flagged.

Lewis, who topped the time sheets in practice this morning and was fastest in Q1, grabbed pole after just one flying lap in Q3 with a time of 1:47.891. He had been about to start his final hot lap when Barrichello’s shunt put a hault to the session.

Sebastian Vettel, who will start tomorrow’s night race from second, had been on his final hot lap when Barrichello hit the wall at turn five, meaning the German was unable to complete his lap which was looking good enough to have put him on pole.

Barrichello, who had set the fifth fastest time prior to the crash, will start tenth, following a five-place grid drop after his gearbox was changed. His teammate, Jenson Button, will start in 12th after failing to get through to Q3.

Nico Rosberg will start the race from third in the Williams. Rosberg had been looking like a strong contender for pole after putting in an impressive 1:46.197 in Q2. Mark Webber will start in fourth, directly behind teammate Vettel, after both Red Bulls put in a great performance to qualify ahead of the Brawn drivers.

Last year’s controversial winner, Fernando Alonso, will start from fifth, moving up one place from sixth following Barrichello’s gearbox penalty. Timo Glock will start in sixth, with Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen in seventh, eighth and nineth, respectively.

The surprises during the late-night qualifying session came not only from Button, who failed to make the top ten shoot-out, but also Kimi Raikkonen, who starts behind Button in 13th, and Giancarlo Fisichella, who will start 18th after failing to make it through to Q2.

The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who both managed to qualify in the top ten in Monza two weeks ago, will start down in 16th and 20th respectively, after a poor qualifying session for the team.

After several crashes so far this weekend during free practice, and indeed Barrichello’s shunt in qualifying, it is likely there will be more in tomorrow’s race. If Hamilton has more fuel on board than Vettel, the race may be in favour of the McLaren driver, but with the possibility of yet more crashes during the race, and the possibility of a safety car, anything can happen.

For Button and Barrichello, who go into tomorrow’s race with an advantage over Vettel and Webber in the fight for the driver’s title, they will be hoping to score as many points as possible to help retain their lead, as both Red Bull drivers have the upper-hand for the race. With only four races left to go, the fight for the title is looking more and more like it will go down to the wire.


Hamilton on Pole in Monza

September 12, 2009

Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix from pole position after stealing the top spot from Adrian Sutil in the final moments of qualifying this afternoon.

The reigning world champion was on the pace throughout the whole of Q3, retaining the fastest time for most of the session. After Sutil momentarily went faster at the end of quali three, Hamilton put in a charge to go even faster and secure the top spot in 1:24.066, ahead of Sutil in the Force India, and Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari.

In terms of tomorrow’s race however, it remains to be seen who has the upper-hand, as the weights will confirm who is two-stopping and who is going for just one stop.

It looks likely that Hamilton will stop twice, while the Brawns of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, in fifth and sixth respectively are set to stop just the once.

Hamilton’s teammate, Heikki Kovalainen will start in fourth, ahead of the Brawns, with Vitantonio Liuzzi, who is filling Giancarlo Fisichella’s seat in the second Force India, starting in seventh. Liuzzi, who has not raced in F1 for 2 years, managed to get into Q3, while Fisichella, who makes his debut at Ferrari this weekend, failed to get into the top ten shoot out, and will start in 14th.

Fernando Alonso, whose team has made the headlines throughout the weekend over Nelson Piquet’s crash in Singapore last year, will start in eighth, ahead of the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in ninth and tenth.

BMW got both their cars through to Q2, however, engine problems saw both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica fail to finish the session. Kubica will start in 13th, with Heidfeld in 15th.

However, there is a slim possibility that pole-sitter Hamilton could get a penalty for impeding the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi in Q1. Hamilton had been exiting the pits, while Buemi had the racing line going down to the first corner on a hot lap, however, Lewis failed to see the Toro Rosso, which meant the latter had to take the escape road. Buemi, who it is likely wouldn’t have made it through to Q2 anyway, will start in 19th, just ahead of teammate Jaime Alguersuari in 20th. Time will tell whether the stewards will take any further action.


Fisichella Takes Surprise Pole in Spa

August 29, 2009

Giancarlo Fisichella pulled a surprise pole out of the bag in Spa this afternoon, in an exciting, yet shocking qualifying session.

The Italian, who it is rumoured may replace Luca Badoer at Ferrari from the next race in Monza, shocked everyone when he topped the time sheets in quali one, and again in quali three, lapping the track in 1:46.308.

Fisichella’s teammate, Adrian Sutil, will start in 11th, having narrowly missed making it into Q3.

Jarno Trulli will start the race second in the Toyota, with the  BMWs of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica third and fifth respectively. Rubens Barrichello is the first Brawn on grid in fourth. Kimi Raikkonen will start sixth, with Timo Glock seventh, the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber eighth and nineth, and Nico Rosberg in tenth.

Jenson Button failed to make it through to Q3 for the first time this season, and will start down in 14th. Lewis Hamilton, who qualified on pole just a week ago in Valencia, also failed to make it into Q3. Despite being the fastest through sectors one and three, his McLaren struggled through sector two and he will start in 12th, with teammate Heikki Kovalainen down in 15th.

Luca Badoer will start what may possibly be his last Grand Prix from the back of the grid for the second race in a row, after beaching his Ferrari as the clock stopped at the end of Q1.

With the weather frequently having a part to play in the outcome of a race in Spa, whether it rains or shines tomorrow, one thing is for certain, that once again, one of the best circuits on the F1 calendar is likely to produce an exciting race where just about anything can happen, just as it did in qualifying this afternoon.