Both Toyota cars were excluded from qualifying after failing post-qualifying technical inspections by the FIA. It was found that Toyota’s rear wing elements were in breach of the rules:
What a day for Brawn GP. First they get their new sponsor – Richard Branson’s Virgin – and then they lock the front row for tomorrow’s Australian GP all for themselves.
Jenson Button will start from the pole position for the first time since 2006 Australian GP, Rubens Barrichello will line up next to him on P2. Perhaps surprisingly P3 went to Sebastian Vettel in Red Bull, P4 to Robert Kubica in BWM Sauber. Nico Rosberg, fastest in all three practice sessions will start from P5. Perhaps a bit disappointed are Toyota drivers with Glock P6 and Trulli P8, especially Trulli who was regarded as dark horse for pole position following impressive showing in practice sessions. Ferrari’s made it to Q3 but only managed P7 (Massa) and P9 (Raikkonen). Mark Webber completes the top 10.
The final qualifying session of the season is over, here are the final team mates head to head statistics. Clean sweep for Alonso, close calls between Barrichello and Button and Fisichella and Sutil …
2008 Formula 1 Qualifying - Team Mates Head to Head
It is advantage Massa … Felipe Massa will start the final race of the 2008 Formula 1 season from the pole position, his 6th P1 of the year. Jarno Trulli will be his neighbour on the front row. Behind them Kimi Raikkonen P3 and Lewis Hamilton P4.
It does look good for Felipe Massa – pole position, potential Trulli train and then chance of Kimi Raikkonen’s help in managing the gap between himself and Hamilton. But the race is 73 laps long and P4 is still a title winning position for Lewis Hamilton… Interesting set up for the title deciding race we have …
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Lewis Hamilton will start the Chinese GP from pole position for the second year in a row. But it is a hostile territory around him, Kimi Raikkonen next to him, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso right behind. Robert Kubica, the 3rd driver still in the title hunt, struggled with his car and missed out on Q3. He will start from P11 after Mark Webber (qualified 6th) will be demoted 10 places following his engine blow up in Saturday morning practice. Toro Rosso has again both cars in top 10.
Update: Nick Heidfeld was handed 3 place grid penalty for his role in the incident involving also David Coulthard.
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Lewis Hamilton will start the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix from the pole position, well ahead of his main title fight rival Felipe Massa, who only managed P5. Kimi Raikkonen returned to the front row for the first time since French Grand Prix. It does look good for Hamilton with Heikki Kovalainen and Fernando Alonso also ahead of Felipe Massa on the grid.
It was good session for Toyota and Toro Rosso, both teams had 2 cars in Q3. Toro Rossos do seem to be a bit heavier than other cars in top ten. BMW Saubers struggled in Q1 with Kubica only just making it to Q2 and Heidfeld eliminated. Kubica however pulled his act together and qualified solid 6th.
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Saturday was another beautiful day in Singapore. Still not a drop of rain, but I can smell it in the air today (Sunday). The atmosphere on the track is perhaps the best I ever experienced at F1 race, perhaps because it is so unique. So far the action – free practice and quali – was very exciting to watch. I hope that we will see some action in the race itself too. My prediction is at least 2 safety cars :-), the cars kept getting way too close to the walls and that was on fresh tyres …
You can see some photos from Saturday action inside this post. For me it is beach time now :-).
Sebastian Vettel became yesterday the youngest ever pole setter in Formula 1 history beating the previous record set by now 2 time world champion Fernando Alonso back in 2003 (Malaysian GP). This is also the very first time Toro Rosso car will start the race from the P1, a feat that the team never achieved in its previous life as Minardi. This is also only the first time any Red Bull car is on pole position. Here is the photogallery from the remarkable day for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Click on the thumbnails to open the high resolution files:
This has been one of the most thrilling qualifying sessions I can recall. The water kept coming down on the track and some big names got themselves in trouble. There were not too many surprises in Q1, except Fisichella taking Force India to Q2 for the first time ever. But then Q2 and the fun started. Several drivers got their laps together before the weather deteriorated, some left it too late … Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica were the big casualties. Felipe Massa was the last driver to actually do a lap that was good enough for top ten after Q2. For the second race in a row Nick Heidfeld outqualified Robert Kubica, for the 3rd race in a row both Toro Rosso cars advanced to Q3. And that wasn’t the end of the story …
Sebastian Vettel was the fastest guy on track in Q3 claiming his maiden Formula 1 pole position. Sebastien Bourdais completed the best day yet for Toro Rosso team with P4. Mark Webber, another member of the extended Red Bull family will start from P3.
The best placed driver from the top teams will be Heikki Kovalainen who will start from the front row, next to pole setter Vettel. Felipe Massa only qualified sixth.
Rain or shine it promises to be very exciting Sunday in Monza tomorrow…
Italian GP qualifying results: