Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Qualifying analysis - and then there were three! 06 Apr 2008

The BMW Sauber F1.08 of Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 and the Ferrari F2008 of Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and the McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008

BMW Sauber are very definitely taking the fight to Ferrari and McLaren this weekend, and Robert Kubica’s maiden pole in Sakhir has set the cat among the pigeons. All three teams have cause to be optimistic about the race, and though Ferrari seem to have an edge on pace for much of the weekend, McLaren know that the presence of the interloper may help them, especially at the start.

Make no mistake, this has the makings thus far of the best race of the season. Behind them, Toyota and Williams are ready to go head-to-head, and the fight for the lower midfield placings is going to be no less intense…

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 33.096, P1
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 33.737s, P6

A Pole on pole - it’s the dream headline. And Kubica deserved it, after pushing hard for the rest of the lap, despite big vibrations, after he flat-spotted a front tyre in Turn Nine. Even he admitted that he was surprised to set the fastest time after that. While he was celebrating, Heidfeld admitted that he drew no satisfaction from sixth place. He has struggled to get the most out of his tyres, and it may be that Kubica’s more aggressive driving style is making the difference.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 33.123s, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 33.418s, P4

Ferrari didn’t see BMW Sauber coming, but the respective fuel loads will be interesting to discover on Sunday. Massa led Raikkonen all weekend and is on a mission to rescue his career after two bad opening races. He might be starting on the dirty side, but he is a fighter and he is determined, so watch out for fireworks in the first corner. Raikkonen has looked a little off the pace this weekend, and was still not 100 percent happy with his Ferrari’s balance. But he is going to be aggressive in the race, count on that.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 33.292s, P3
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 33.488s, P5

McLaren might have got blown off by BMW Sauber and Ferrari (though we have yet to learn their respective fuel loads), but with third and fifth places, on the clean side of the grid, they weren’t exactly ready to slash wrists. In fact, Hamilton looked pretty content with his time and the balance of his MP4-23, and Kovalainen reckoned he got all out of his car that it could give. They still feel optimistic about their race chances.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 33.994s, P7
Timo Glock, 1m 32.528s, P13

Toyota were delighted with Trulli’s seventh place, which they believed was the best that they could realistically have aspired to. What made it even better was that they ran into an electronic problem on their fuel rig just before the critical Q3 session. Jarno said that the TF108 was well balanced, and was completely satisfied. Glock was not. He found it tricky with his final set of tyres in Q2, and lacked the confidence he’d had on his first run.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, 1m 34.015s, P8
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 32.943s, P16

Rosberg was much relieved that Williams were back on the pace, and was content with eighth on the grid as he did not believe the FW30 quite had what it needed to beat Trulli’s Toyota. He also believes that the Williams is a better race car than qualifier. Nakajima had to be disappointed with 16th after showing speed at times earlier in the weekend, and said he wasn’t able to get the best out of the tyres.

Honda
Jenson Button, 1m 35.057s, P9
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 32.508s, P12

Button aimed for a place in the top 10, and he got it. He and his crew worked patiently to balance the handling, and it all paid off with a starting position on the clean side of the grid, leaving him excited about his race prospects. Barrichello ran into a gearbox problem during Q2, without which he believed he would have joined his team mate.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 35.115s, P10
Nelson Piquet, 1m 32.975s, P14

Alonso admitted that he doubted he would get through to Q3 after Renault’s morning performance, but a raft of changes to his R28 made a big enough difference and gave the team the confidence to be aggressive in Q2. That paid off. Piquet has looked a lot more convincing again this weekend, but said that his final lap in Q2 was not perfect and was disappointed not to get through to Q3.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 33.194s, P11
David Coulthard, 1m 33.433s, P17

It didn’t happen for Red Bull this time, and the team said they knew it would be tough to get through to Q3 on this track. Webber said the RB4 just wasn’t quick enough to do it, whereas Coulthard said he was never as comfortable with his car’s balance as he had been on Friday, and had bad Q1 runs on both the medium and soft tyres. He thought his best lap was still good enough to get into Q2, until he encountered oversteer going into Turn 13, moved the brake balance forward to try to compensate in the final corner, but met the same result.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 33.415s, P15
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 33.562s, P19

Bourdais had the upper hand on Vettel all weekend, and was happier with his car’s behaviour than was the German. As a result the Frenchman made Q2 for the first time, and his team mate didn’t. One found a decent set-up, one didn’t. Simple as that.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 33.501s, P18
Adrian Sutil, 1m 33.845s, P20

Fisichella rued front brake locking problems which he was sure cost him his chance to get through into Q2. Sutil believed that the Sato red flag compressed the important laps of Q1 so much that judging the traffic in the final four minutes cost him whatever chance he had of getting through.

Super Aguri
Anthony Davidson, 1m 34.140s, P21
Takuma Sato, 1m 35.725s P22

Davidson finally got a decent balance on his SA08A, and was pleased that only a few tenths separated him from Sutil. But Sato was less satisfied after spinning his car into the wall on the inside of the last corner in Q1, and briefly bringing out the red flag.

David Tremayne