Qualifying analysis - can Ferrari race pace halt Hamilton? 18 Oct 2008
Lewis Hamilton made a mess of his first run in Q3 when he got his McLaren into a big slide in Turn Eight, but thereafter the world championship leader got back into the groove to take yet another pole position for what is arguably the most important race of his Formula One career. Once again, the Ferraris were his principal opposition, but the red cars again failed to make such efficient use of their tyres over single-lap runs. In general, the high track temperature led to a significant loss of overall grip, which troubled all of the teams
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 36.135s, P2/1m 36.303s, P1
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 36.324s, P4/1m 36.930s, P5
Hamilton lost six-tenths of a second with the oversteer he experienced in Turn Eight on his first run, but he made sure of pole position on his second with a lap he described as almost perfect. Kovalainen was the fastest after the first runs, but a mistake on his second run left him to be content with fifth fastest time.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 36.901s, P13/1m 36.645s, P2
Felipe Massa, 1m 36.842s, P12/1m 36.889s, P3
Neither of the Ferrari drivers looked particularly happy after qualifying, even though their F2008s found a lot of speed in relation to the McLarens. The problem was what it has been all too often this season, getting sufficient heat into the Bridgestone tyres over a single lap. Second and third places on the grid were hardly a handicap, however, and as Fuji showed the red cars will have stronger race pace.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 36.996s, P16/1m 36.927s, P4
Nelson Piquet, 1m 36.789s, P10/1m 35.722s, P11, will start P10
Alonso was very happy with his qualifying session, as yet again he put himself and Renault in contention for a third victory with fourth fastest time. Unlike many other drivers, he felt that changes after practice had improved the R28 and made it easier to drive. Piquet looked strong in the morning, but missed out on Q3 by mere thousandths. He starts tenth, however, after Webbers engine penalty.
Robert Kubica, 1m 36.150s, P3/1m 35.814s, P12, will start P11
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 36.061s, P1/1m 37.201s, P7, will start P9
Heidfeld said that seventh overall was the best he could hope for, but Kubica was very unhappy with 12th place just when he needed to keep his slim world championship hope alive with a strong run. The F1.08 had been reasonable in morning practice, but changes to the set-up hurt the balance in qualifying. Worse still he knows he is in for a tough race as the set-up cant be changed beforehand. After qualifying, Heidfeld was hit with a three-place grid penalty for impeding Coulthard.
Jarno Trulli, 1m 36.396s, P5/1m 37.934s, P9, will start P7
Timo Glock, 1m 37.053s, P17/1m 35.987s, P13, will start P12
Trulli said he was troubled by the relative lack of grip in qualifying, which made it a tough session, while Glock admitted he just didnt get the most out of the softer Bridgestone tyre when it mattered.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 36.902s, P14/1m 37.685s, P8, will start P6
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 36.642s, P7/1m 38.885s, P10, will start P8
Vettel pulled a good lap out of the bag to qualify eighth, and starts sixth thanks to Webber and Heidfelds penalties. The German said he was happy with changes to the set-up of his car after practice. Bourdais had his team mate tucked up most of the way, but ran out of option tyres at the end and could not stay with him when it mattered. He starts eighth.
Mark Webber, 1m 37.566s, P18/1m 37.083s, P6, will start P16
David Coulthard, 1m 36.712s, P8/1m 36.731s, P16, will start P15
Webber got through nicely to Q3 and set the sixth fastest time, but his morning engine failure doomed him to a 16th place start. Ironically, that elevated team mate Coulthard once place, the Scot having been first man to miss out on passage into Q2. The Scot was very critical of Heidfeld, whom he claimed overtook him when the German had ended his quick lap and he himself was just about to go into his.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 36.427s, P6/1m 36.210s, P15, will start P14
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 36.713s, P9/1m 36.863s, P17
Both Rosberg and Nakajima were dispirited with their FW30s performance. Consistent pace proved impossible to come by, as the high-speed corners in sector two continually proved to be problematic.
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 36.839s, P11/1m 36.079s, P14, will start P13
Jenson Button, 1m 36.958s, P15/1m 37.053s, P18
Barrichello was very pleased with the lap that got him into Q2, and didnt think he could have done any better with the RA108. Button had been happy with his cars balance in the morning, but said it went awry as the temperature went up in the afternoon.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 37.648s, P19/1m 37.730s, P19
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 37.964s, P20/1m 37.739s, P20
Both drivers reported a marked loss of grip in qualifying, when their VJM01s slid around and oversteered badly under braking.