Posts Tagged ‘qualifying’

Force India in front again

September 12th, 2009 No comments

Lewis Hamilton, Italy, 2009Force India carried their strong pace from Belgium into qualifying at Monza with Adrian Sutil putting his car on the front row for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

Sutil had looked strong all weekend and the German only narrowly missed out on claiming Force India’s second pole in a row after Lewis Hamilton put a perfect lap together in the closing moments of the third qualifying session.

Kimi Raikkonen managed to get his Ferrari onto the second row ahead of Heikki Kovalainen but Giancarlo Fisichella found the Ferrari F60 a bit of a handful and was knocked out in Q2.  Fisi will start from 14th tomorrow – behind both Force Indias.

The two Brawns will start alongside each other on the third row of the grid and look very strong considering Ross Brawn has said they will be driving a one-stop strategy.  We will have to wait for the published car weights but it is likely all the cars in front of them will have to stop twice.

Despite being surrounded by KERS cars, Adrian Sutil is confident he can still fight for a podium:

We have a great package, this circuit suits us very well as we have an incredible top speed and also a good downforce package so the efficiency of the car is really good. I’m starting on the front row with Lewis for the first time since F3 and I’m really happy he is next to me, he’s a good friend but we will fight hard for it.

Sunday’s race will be split between those stopping once and those stopping twice and we will only really be able to get a clear picture once everyone has made their final pit stop.  It should be interesting…

2009 Formula One Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:24.066
2 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 01:24.261
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 01:24.523
4 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 01:24.845
5 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 01:25.015
6 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 01:25.030
7 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 01:25.043
8 Fernando Alonso Renault 01:25.072
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 01:25.180
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 01:25.314
11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 01:23.611
12 Romain Grosjean Renault 01:23.728
13 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 01:23.866
14 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 01:23.901
15 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 01:24.275
16 Timo Glock Toyota 01:24.036
17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 01:24.074
18 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 01:24.121
19 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:24.220
20 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:24.951

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,

Belgium: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

August 29th, 2009 No comments

Jarno Trulli, Belgium, 2009The FIA now publishes the weights of each car after qualifying on Saturday. Those cars that make it through to the final qualifying session must use the fuel they qualified with while the rest of the field may refuel before the race.

Below is a graph showing the actual top ten qualifying times as well as those times adjusted for the weight of fuel each car is carrying. The graph assumes a standard lap time cost of 0.3 seconds per 10kg of fuel.

From these weights we can see that the fuel-adjusted grid is a lot more mixed up than ususal.  The quickest driver, fuel-adjusted, was actually Jarno Trulli. He is carrying more fuel than Fisichella but importantly he is also carrying more fuel than Heidfeld and Barrichello behind him.  Unless Barrichello can get in front of him, the ‘Trulli train’ could really spoil his day.

But while Fisichella is lighter than some, his fuel-adjusted time is still good.  He is quicker than Barrichello, Raikkonen and both Red Bulls!

Sebastian Vettel looks really out of place down in 8th; his fuel-adjusted time puts him 4th.  Raikkonen is also faster than Kubica alongside him but Heidfeld’s time shows just how much BMW have improved here.

With such a mixed up grid and the unpredictability of Spa it looks like we are in for an exciting race on Sunday!

2009 Belgian GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)2009 Belgian Grand Prix car weights

Image: Toyota

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Fisichella takes shock pole at Spa

August 29th, 2009 No comments

Giancarlo Fisichella, Belgium, 2009Well no-one predicted that!

In a thrilling qualifying for Sunday’s Belgium Grand Prix that saw several big names not make it through to the top ten, Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella set a time of 1:46.308 to take pole position ahead of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

BMW showed a marked improvement with Heidfeld and Kubica qualifying 3rd and 5th respectively with Rubens Barrichello between them in 4th.

The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will start from 8th and 9th ahead of Nico Rosberg who rounds out the top ten.  Just over a second separated Rosberg’s time from Fisichella’s.

Just as surprising as a Force India on pole was the failure of Championship leader Jenson Button to make it through to Q3; he will start from 14th tomorrow, a long way behind his team mate and the two Red Bull challengers.

Button has not made it onto the podium in the last four races and if Barrichello wins on Sunday with Button scoring no points he could see his lead reduced to just 8 points:

I’m a little bit worried because something is seriously not right.  It’s strange to be four or five tenths off Rubens – our cars are different but not that different.

Fisichella’s pole is his first since Malaysia 2006 and the first ever for the Force India team.

It’s unbelievable – I didn’t expect to be on pole position. Especially after yesterday. I was sixth and was quite surprised. There was a lot of understeering. The measurement on the downforce was not good.

This morning it was much better straightaway, and it was even better in qualifying than I expected. It’s amazing. I’m so happy about that. I need to thank the team. They did a fantastic job.

We will see how light Fisichella is running when the fuel loads are revealed but he was fourth fastest in Q2 so it looks like the Force India has real pace.

2009 Formula One Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 01:46.308
2 Jarno Trulli Toyota 01:46.395
3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 01:46.500
4 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 01:46.513
5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 01:46.586
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 01:46.633
7 Timo Glock Toyota 01:46.677
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 01:46.761
9 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 01:46.788
10 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 01:47.362
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 01:45.119
12 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:45.122
13 Fernando Alonso Renault 01:45.136
14 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 01:45.251
15 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 01:45.259
16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:45.951
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:46.032
18 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 01:46.307
19 Romain Grosjean Renault 01:46.359
20 Luca Badoer Ferrari 01:46.957

Image: Force India

Europe: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

August 22nd, 2009 No comments

Heikki Kovalainen, Europe, 2009The FIA now publishes the weights of each car after qualifying on Saturday.  Those cars that make it through to the final qualifying session must use the fuel they qualified with while the rest of the field may refuel before the race.

Below is a graph showing the actual top ten qualifying times as well as those times adjusted for the weight of fuel each car is carrying.  The graph assumes a standard lap time cost of 0.3 seconds per 10kg of fuel.

From these weights we can see that, adjusted for fuel, Rubens Barrichello was actually quickest round the Valencia circuit. This won’t do him much good from the second row behind two KERS-equipped McLarens, though.  If Rubens can’t overtake Hamilton or Kovalainen in the first lap (and I seriously doubt he can), Barrichello will need to make sure he at least keeps up with them until they make their first stop and then really put the hammer down.

Vettel is a little out of position with 7.5 kg less fuel than Button behind him.  Similarly, Webber has more fuel on board than Alonso but while the Aussie may find his way past Alonso, his chances of a podium look pretty slim.

McLaren are well and truly back.  It will be interesting to see if Barrichello can match them in the race.

2009 European GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)

2009 European Grand Prix car weights

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Silver Arrows lock out front row in Valencia

August 22nd, 2009 No comments

Lewis Hamilton, Europe, 2009Lewis Hamilton scored his first pole position since China last year in qualifying for Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Valencia.Team mate Heikki Kovalainen will line up alongside him to make it an all-McLaren front row.

Hamilton had looked good all weekend and despite limited running time in practice managed to secure pole on his first flying lap in Q3. Kovalainen also showed good pace and looked like he could have been fast enough to take pole away from Hamilton but an error on his final lap meant he had to settle for second; Lewis didn’t even bother finishing his final lap and pulled straight in to Parc Ferme.

Hamilton said:

We stand in the best position going into tomorrow for a podium, but it all depends on strategy and the start and how the rest of the race goes.

Rubens Barrichello will start from third next to Sebastian Vettel, who suffered an engine failure in practice, while Championship Leader Jenson Button will start from fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Of the new faces on the grid, Romain Grosjean, who replaced Nelson Piquet Jr at Renault, made it as far as Q2 and 14th while Luca Badoer seemed faster in the pit lane than on the track. The Ferrari test driver was fined four times for speeding in the pit lane but qualified last, nearly two seconds behind rookie Jaime Alguersuari.

With both the KERS equipped McLarens on the front row this looks like the start of a return to form for the Woking squad and a McLaren 1-2 finish on Sunday is a real possibility.

2009 Formula One European Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:39.498
2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 01:39.532
3 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 01:39.563
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 01:39.789
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 01:39.821
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 01:40.144
7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 01:40.185
8 Fernando Alonso Renault 01:40.236
9 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 01:40.239
10 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 01:40.512
11 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 01:38.826
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 01:38.846
13 Timo Glock Toyota 01:38.991
14 Romain Grosjean Renault 01:39.040
15 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:39.514
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 01:39.531
17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 01:39.795
18 Jarno Trulli Toyota 01:39.807
19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:39.925
20 Luca Badoer Ferrari 01:41.413

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,