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Qualifying analysis - Fisichella fastest, but not lightest 29 Aug 2009

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 celebrates his pole position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 29 August 2009 Timo Glock (GER) Toyota TF109.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 29 August 2009 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 29 August 2009 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 29 August 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB5 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 29 August 2009

After one of the most extraordinary qualifying sessions of the season saw Giancarlo Fisichella take pole position for Force India from Jarno Trulli’s Toyota and Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber, the fuel figures made fascinating reading.

Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello, fourth overall, was the lightest at 644.5 kg, followed by Fisichella at 648, Toyota’s Timo Glock (seventh) 648.5s, BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica (fifth) at 649, Heidfeld and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen (sixth) at 655, Trulli at 656.5, Red Bull’s Mark Webber (ninth) at 658, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (eighth) at 662.5 and Williams’ Nico Rosberg (10th) at 670…

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 46.308s, P1
Adrian Sutil, 1m 45.119s, P11

Fisichella was absolutely delighted with a very clean lap and that set-up changes had got rid of the understeer he complained of on Friday. He also put his speed down to hitting a rabbit in the morning, which he took to be a lucky signal after his engineers told him of the British superstition about rabbit’s feet! Sutil just missed out on Q3 as he couldn’t make best use of the soft Bridgestone tyre.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 46.395s, P2
Timo Glock, 1m 46.677s, P7

Trulli has been fast all weekend and on fuel-corrected lap time was the quickest man overall from Vettel, Heidfeld and Fisichella. He suggested that when everything is right the TF109 is a very competitive car, and this weekend everything was indeed right. Part of that was due to a small set-up change which enhanced both downforce and traction. Glock said his best lap was pretty tidy and that the team’s new aero package was working pretty well.

BMW Sauber
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 46.500s, P3
Robert Kubica, 1m 46.586s, P5

This was BMW Sauber’s best qualifying performance of the year, and Heidfeld was happy with his F1.09’s balance and made the most of what the car had to offer. Kubica, running a lighter fuel load, said he lost straight-line speed after a morning engine change.

Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 46.513s, P4
Jenson Button, 1m 45.251s, P14

Once again, Barrichello got a lot more out of his Brawn than Button did. The Brazilian ran a light fuel load and said he was extremely happy to make the second row. He also admitted that it was one of the surprises of his season, and that his lap was one of his best-ever round Spa. Button certainly didn’t expect 14th place, and admitted that he struggled on the softer Bridgestone and just could not find the grip he needed in sector two.

Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 46.633s, P6
Luca Badoer, 1m 46.957s, P20

Raikkonen felt he got the best out of his F60, having expected a tough time and got it. He reported that the car handled better with a decent fuel load than on light tanks, but was critical of its overall level of downforce. Badoer again failed to get out of Q1 after spinning on his final run after he went off the racing line to pass Vettel.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 46.761, P8
Mark Webber, 1m 46.788, P9

Vettel admitted that he made a mistake on his best lap going into Turn 14, but with a high fuel load he should have a strong chance come the race. A bemused Webber said that he had expected much more than ninth.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, 1m 47.362s, P10
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 46.307s, P18

Having struggled all weekend, Rosberg managed to get the best out of Q2, and believes that Williams’ high-fuel strategy will allow him to fight for points again in the race. Nakajima was all at sea as he suggested either Rosberg had driven very well or found a set-up direction that he hadn’t.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 45.122s, P12
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 45.259s, P15

McLaren had hoped for much better than 12th and 15th after their performance yesterday and this morning, but the MP4-24 just wasn’t fast enough. Hamilton pointed to poor mid-sector performance as proof of the shortcomings of the aero package, while Kovalainen echoed his sentiments.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 45.136s, P13
Romain Grosjean, 1m 46.359s, P19

Alonso admitted that Renault were just not competitive when it mattered at Spa, after struggling In Q1 and Q2. Grosjean said he had difficulty with traffic and was blocked by a Toro Rosso on a couple of his laps, and then he had the yellow flag for Badoer’s spin at the end which prevented him bumping Button out of Q2.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 45.951s, P16
Jaime Alguersuari, 1m 46.032s, P17

Buemi said that he met traffic on his warm-up lap and failed to get his flying lap together, compounding that by locking the rear wheels at one stage. Alguersuari said his STR4 lacked straight-line speed, but was satisfied to improve from 19th place in Hungary on a circuit he knows well.