Qualifying analysis - could Force India go one better? 12 Sep 2009
Award yourselves a medal, all those who expected Force India to fly at Monza. Only an uber-light run by McLarens Lewis Hamilton snatched pole from Adrian Sutil, and with Tonio Liuzzi seventh on a heavy fuel load Vijay Mallyas team could be set to spring another major surprise after their recent second place at Spa. For the record, these were the fuel weights: Hamilton 653.5 kg; Sutil 655; Raikkonen 662; Kovalainen 683; Barrichello 688.5; Button 687; Liuzzi 679.5; Alonso 677.5; Vettel 682; Webber 683.
We take a team-by-team look at qualifying
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 24.066s, P1
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 24.845s, P4
Hamilton said his McLaren was a lot better than he had expected and that his pole-winning lap was excellent. Kovalainen did a terrific job to take fourth with such a heavy fuel load, and both of them are very confident about their race prospects.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 24.261s, P2
Tonio Liuzzi 1m 25.043s, P7
Sutil said his Force India was fantastic and very quick, and was delighted to join his old F3 team mate Hamilton on the front row for the first time since Zandvoort 2005. Liuzzi surprised a lot of people with an excellent job in taking seventh despite a heavy fuel load, and on corrected times was only a tenth off Sutil. Both are in great shape for the race.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 24.523s, P3
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 23.901s, P14
Raikkonen said this was one of his best qualifying sessions of the year and that he was happy with his F60, given its accepted limitations. Fisichella spoiled things by crashing at Parabolica in the morning, but that he was reasonably happy with 14th in the afternoon considering that he was never able to put a decent lap together.
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 25.015, P5
Jenson Button, 1m 25.030s, P6
Both drivers did just a single lap run in Q3 on their heavy fuel loads and were very happy with fifth and sixth places. Barrichello said this was one of his best-ever Monza qualifying laps, while Button said the difference between them could be accounted for by the amount by which you ducked your head on the straight, and that he obviously hadnt ducked as much as his team mate. They are in good shape for the race, but there is a doubt over Barrichellos gearbox which may need changing. If it does, he will drop five places on the grid.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25,072s, P8
Romain Grosjean, 1m 23.728s, P12
Alonso was quite happy with the way his R29 went and is looking forward to using KERS at the start. Grosjean looked to be with the programme again, and said he was happy with his best qualifying performance thus far. He too likes the idea of having a KERS button.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 25.180s P9
Mark Webber, 1m 25.314s, P10
Red Bull did not expect to be particularly competitive here, but making the top 10 was an improvement, especially as both drivers were running relatively high fuel loads. Basically, the RB5 lacked pace here in low-downforce trim.
Jarno Trulli, 1m 23.611s, P11
Timo Glock, 1m 24.036s, P16
The Toyotas just werent fast enough on a horsepower track. Glock complained that he had to follow Buemi down the first corner escape road, after Buemi had to avoid Hamilton as he merged from the pits. The stewards found no fault.
Robert Kubica, 1m 23.866s, P13
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 24.275s, P15
BMW Sauber looked reasonably good at times, but both drivers were stymied in Q2 by engine failures in Turn One. Heidfeld was particularly galled after setting third fastest time in the mornings practice session.
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 24.074s, P17
Nico Rosberg, 1m 24.121s, P18
Patrick Head congratulated Nakajima on running ahead of Rosberg all weekend, and apologised that the FW31 was so poor on the first weekend this season that it has really struggled and been off the pace. Both drivers shared Toyotas horsepower problem, of course.
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 24.220s, P19
Jaime Alguersuari, 1m 24.951s, P20
In stark contrast to last year here, the Toro Rossos just werent fast enough. Buemi got inadvertently blocked by Hamilton as the McLaren driver exited the pits and arrived just in front of him in Turn One, and was later accused by Glock of holding him up as he tried to leave a gap after the Hamilton problem. Alguersuari had gearbox problems in the morning, costing him track time, which affected setting up the car for qualifying.