Qualifying analysis - Brawns sternest challenge yet 06 Jun 2009
There were mixed opinions on whether the hard Bridgestone prime tyre or the softer option was the answer for qualifying. Both polesitter Vettel and front-row man Button used the former, whereas Barrichello in third relied on the primes and thought they worked very well. In the fuel stakes, Vettel weighed in at 649.5 kg which put Buttons 655.5, Barrichellos 652.5 and Webbers 656 into decent perspective. Alonso was lightest of the top ten at 644.5
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 28.316s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 28.613s, P4
Vettel was the lightest of the frontrunners. After Fridays engine failure the German was relieved to make up lost ground, and that late-arriving new parts had been fitted to the RB5s after a late night from the mechanics. His run to pole was undramatic, and Webbers performance in fourth was also strong given his fuel load. Brawn face their sternest challenge yet thanks to the Red Bulls performance.
Jenson Button, 1m 28.421s, P2
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 28.579s, P3
After their period at sea on Friday, when track conditions and high winds left both of them scratching their heads, Button and Barrichello were relieved when it was business as usual in qualifying. On fuel-corrected weight, they were still ahead of the Red Bulls, and as Button pointed out, the race will be all down to which team make the best job of things.
Jarno Trulli, 1m 28.666s, P5
Timo Glock, 1m 27.795s, P13
One happy, one disappointed. That was Toyotas driver score. Trulli was the former, in a solid fifth on the prime tyre that went some way toward assuaging the embarrassment of Monaco. Glock used the option but couldnt repeat his morning practice speed after making a mistake in the final sector of his last Q2 lap.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 28.815s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 28.858s, P7
Raikkonen said the balance of his F60 was better than it had been in morning practice, but that even on a light fuel load in Q1 and Q2 it was too slow. Like others, the reds struggled for grip as they battled to get their Bridgestones working optimally. Massa reported decent balance on a light fuel load, but oversteer, mainly on the option tyre, with race fuel aboard. The Ferraris were running similar fuel weights to the Brawns, so on this occasion the red cars were not quite as quick as they had seemed in Monaco, even though Massa had set a blistering pace in morning practice.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 29.075s, P8
Nelson Piquet, 1m 28.582s, P17
Alonso said that Q2 was really difficult and just scraped through to Q3 in 10th place. Piquet slid out of contention in Q1 when his R29 half spun in Turn 8, gripped, then understeered off the road. The cause turned out to be the loss of a brake duct, which had caused the brakes to overheat.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 29.191s, P9
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 27.629s, P12
Rosberg said he had some understeer in Q3 which he thought cost him a place on the grid, but wasnt too unhappy as it left him on the clean side. Nakajima was one of many to say how difficult the tyre choice was. He struggled with the option in Q1, and switched to the prime for Q2, but yet again failed to progress to Q3.
Robert Kubica, 1m 29.357s, P10
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 27.521s, P11
Things were better for BMW Sauber here than they had been in Monaco, which was a relief for the team. Kubica said the new aero package was an improvement, but that the F1.09 still lacked pace. Heidfeld said he had mixed feelings, annoyed that he missed the top 10 by a small margin but happy with progress overall. He was seventh in Q2 until he met traffic, which dropped him to 11th and out of Q3.
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 28.207s, P14
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 28.318s, P16
McLaren had expected to struggle here, with their downforce problem in high-speed corners, and both drivers had to use the prime tyre to make the MP4-24 work as well as it did. Kovalainen made it through to Q2, but Hamilton said he simply didnt have the grip to make it through from Q3.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 28.391s, P15
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 28.717s, P19
Sutil was very pleased to be 15th, ahead of his old mate Hamilton, and admitted that he had not expected such a trouble-free run to Q2. Fisichella had a brake problem in the morning as the fronts kept locking. In qualifying his best lap was spoiled by yellow flags for Piquets spin.
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 28.708s, P18
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 28.918s, P20
Once again Buemi aced Bourdais, but both lacked grip and struggled on the option tyre.