All sorts of weather predictions (no rain in next 20 minutes, rain within 7 minutes, no rain for another 20 minutes) turned to early minutes of Q1 into a frenzy. All the cars (except Kovalainen and BMW Saubers) went out right away to record some times before the rain. No rain came… Fisichella, Nakajima, Bourdais, Sato, Sutil and Davidson were the unlucky 6 not to make it ot Q2. Fisi missed out by 4 tenths … Jarno Trulli was the fastest driver in Q1.
Both McLarens went out quickly in Q2, took P1 and P2 but Kimi got quickly ahead of both of them with fastest lap of the weekend. Massa was second fastest ahead of Hamilton, Heidfeld and Kovalainen. Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Nelson Piquet, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello were eliminated in this session. Not the best of days for Williams today.
The rain stayed away for the Q3 too. Ferraris were clearly faster than McLarens and locked the front row. Pole position went to Felipe Massa ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. In McLaren also the number 2 got ahead of his no 1 team mate – Kovalainen will start from P3, Hamilton from P4. Jarno Trulli squeezed in ahead of BMW Saubers of Kubica and Heidfeld. Heidfeld’s final run has was however compromised by slowly moving Timo Glock (P10). Will be interesting to see if the stewards take in action here … Fernando Alonso had hard time with his not that easy to handle Renault and definitelly can’t be unhappy with starting from P9.
Update: Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen have been summoned by stewards after Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld complained about being blocked on their final run.
Update 2: Both McLaren drivers have been penalized for blocking their rivals at the closing stages of Q3. Hamilton and Kovalainen were moved 5 places down the grid.
Full qualifying results inside the article
It was much more pleasant today. The temperatures dropped by more than 10 degrees. But season seems to be off to hot start .
The free practice was unlike any I have seen or heard of as far as I can remember. There were at one stage 20 cars within 1 second … Only two Super Aguris lagged behind. At the end the timesheets looked strange – Kubica fastest, no Ferrari, no McLaren top ten. Heidfeld and Webber were quick to dismiss any possibility of two front running teams being in trouble. Webber said something like “it is only practice, they simply do not need to practice as much as we do”.
More Photos here
Then the qualifying began .
The new season is just around the corner and so after earlier post predicting form of all the teams in 2008 Formula 1 season, it is time to look at the drivers. Let’s start with Ferrari.
Kimi Raikkonen – Finland
Born: 17 October 1979
In F1 since 2001 (2001 Sauber, 2002 – 2006 McLaren, from 2007 Ferrari)
Best Result: 2007 Formula 1 Champion
Career wins: 15
Pole positions: 14
This is the first time Raikkonen goes into a new F1 season as a defending champion. And it looks like the title is there for him to take. He has the top car. He has comfortably settled in the team. He seems to have no problems at all driving the car without the electronic driver aids. Unless he is unlucky and gets more than a fair share of mechanical troubles or accidents, I expect him to claim the number one spot in Ferrari much earlier in the season than in 2007. Kimi is probably the hottest candidate for the F1 crown in 2008 but it sure will not be as easy as many tend to think. Massa will not let go that easy and then there is the McLaren duo…
Felipe Massa – Brazil
Born: 25 April 1981
In F1 since 2002 (2002 Sauber, 2003 Ferrari test driver, 2004-2005 Sauber, from 2006 Ferrari)
Best Result: 3rd in 2005
Career wins: 5
Pole positions: 9
With Jean Todt’s move away from the spotlight Massa may find himself in very different environment. He will have to prove again he deserves his place in the Maranello team. He is a very good qualifier and decent race driver. But one has to remember that all his career wins came after starting from pole position – Turkey and Brazil 2006, Bahrain, Spain, Turkey 2007. His best chance to get better of Kimi is to try to outqualify him as often as possible. He has enough speed to do that, but there may be questions about his driving style. He seems to have had more difficult time than Kimi adjusting to car without all the electronic aids. If he is to beat Kimi, first he has to be quick in qualifying while staying on the track … Most people expect Raikkonen to dominate the battle of Ferrari team mates this year. This may take some pressure away from Massa. But the never ending rumours of Alonso being enroute to Ferrari in the near future may do exactly the opposite…
F1Wolf’s prediction for Ferrari drivers in 2008:
No. 1 – Kimi Raikkonen and fighting for the 2008 F1 title
No. 2 – Felipe Massa – his overall position depends on how dominant Ferrari car will be. If McLarens are close, he will have hard time to stay ahead of one of their drivers.
Felipe Massa will start his home GP from pole position, with Lewis Hamilton next to him on the front row. P3 to Raikkonen, P4 to Alonso… Does not look too bad for Hamilton at the moment, but the race can still proove to be a tricky one. The track is slippery and the super soft tyres may cause some problems to drivers…
Q1 brought a bit of a shocker with Kovalainen not making it through. Nakajima did not repeat his decent runs in practice sessions and went out as well. Sutil car broke down early on in the session. Yamamoto, Sato and Davidson are the other three not making it.
Q2 eliminated Fisichella, both Hondas, Toro Rossos and Ralf Schumacher. Not the best day for Renault today. Heidfeld just about made it to the Q3.
1. F. Massa – Ferrari – 1:11.931
2. L. Hamilton – McLaren – 1:12.082
3. K. Räikkönen – Ferrari – 1:12.322
4. F. Alonso – McLaren – 1:12.356
5. M. Webber – Red Bull – 1:12.928
6. N. Heidfeld – BMW – 1:13.081
7. R. Kubica – BMW – 1:13.129
8. J. Trulli – Toyota – 1:13.195
After some weather worries the qualifying had taken part and weather permitted all 3 sessions. The track was pretty much in the clouds at some parts especially during the Q1. Some rain kept falling all the time. Track conditions seemed to be improving for a while, with best around half the way through the Q2.
Q1 was not too good to the “home” teams and drivers. Yamamoto, Sato, Davidson (Super Aguri), Barrichello (Honda), Wurz (Williams-Toyota) were all eliminated. Ralf Schumacher made it to Q2, but his collisions with Yamamoto wrecked his car and ended his day. However the uncertainty about the weather caused non stop action during the race, with all the cars trying improve their times all the time, just in case the weather does not permit the qualifying to continue.
Ferrari locked the front row after exciting qualifying session. Kimi Raikkonen will start from P1. Massa, who for a while looked like he is not even going to get on track in Q1, will start from P2. The row to belongs to Alonso and Hamilton. We saw a good recovery from Alonso, after spinning off the track on first hot lap in Q3. Kubica clocked the 5th best time, but will go 10 places back on the grid after his engine change. Nico Rosberg will take P5, just ahead of Nick Heidfeld. This was a good session for Webber, Kovalainen and Trulli, all of them in top 10.
The Belgian GP brought one of the most exciting Q1 sessions, where at one moment Sutil was 12th, Liuzzi 6th, Vettel 7th and few seconds later these guys were 16th, 17th, 20th, such were the last moments of Q1… Let’s hope the race tomorrow will at least as exciting as the qualifying today.
1)K. Räikkönen – Ferrari – 1:45.994
2)F. Massa – Ferrari – 1:46.011
3)F. Alonso – McLaren – 1:46.091
4)L. Hamilton – McLaren – 1:46.406
5)R. Kubica – BMW – 1:47.334
6)N. Rosberg – Williams – 1:47.334
7)N. Heidfeld – BMW – 1:47.409
8)M. Webber – Red Bull – 1:47.524
McLaren occupies the front row for tomorrow race. Pole position for Alonso, P2 for Hamilton. Heidfeld split 2 Ferraris and will start from P4 behind Massa but ahead of Raikkonen. Honda made rare appearance in Q3 with what looked like heavily fueled Button getting P10. Kovalainen and Trulli made it to Q3 unlike their team mates.
1)F. Alonso – McLaren 1:21.997
2)L. Hamilton – McLaren 1:22.034
3)F. Massa – Ferrari 1:22.549
4)N. Heidfeld – BMW 1:23.174
5)K. Räikkönen – Ferrari 1:23.183
6)R. Kubica – BMW 1:23.446
Felipe Massa will start from pole position in Turkey and with a chance to repeat his last year win. Hamilton qualified 2nd. Raikkonen after slight mistake in his final run will be on P3 and Alonso on P4. Kubica got better of Heidfeld this time after clocking identical times in Q2.
Alonso stole the pole position from Hamilton in his final run. It looked though that Alonso’s final pit stop delayed Hamilton and prevented him from making one more qualifying run. Ron Dennis did not seem too happy after the session and that says something when he has both cars on the front row… P3 went to Nick Heidfeld and P4 to Kimi Raikkonen. This is probably the first time this season there is no Ferrari in top 3 on the grid. Nico Rosberg will start from respectable P5. The story of the session must be Felipe Massa not making it to Q3.
Kimi Raikkonen has his 2nd pole position of the season, ahead of Alonso and Massa. The story of the session however was the front right wheel failure and resulting heavy crash of Lewis Hamilton (video).
Hamilton went on the limit to start his last flying lap. The gamble paid off and he will be on pole in front of his home crowd. Kimi just snatched P2 from Alonso. Massa right behind on P4. It was very close between these 4. But was close even down the order, less than a second between top 9…
Ralf Schumacher had a run of the season so far and will start from P6. Two zeros disapeared from 2007 stats – both Ralf and Wurz outqualified their team mates for the first time this year. Big disapoitment for Nico Rosberg. After promising practice sessions some technical problems struck him in Q1 and he will have to start from P17 …
Qualifying Results Here:
Massa returned Ferrari back on pole. But Hamilton will be right there next him on the front row. Kimi on P3, Kubica P4. Also good qualifying run for both Renaults. Alonso did not set a time in Q3 because of what looked like engine trouble … That may mean further trouble for him if he will need new engine …
Qualifying Results Here:
Sato will loose 10 places due to penalty from last race.
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