April 18, 2009

Chinese GP Qualifying: Technolgy fails, Men make the difference

KERS is a miserable failure, that was made abundantly clear in China where all teams that removed it were relatively faster than they had been in Malaysia.

Diffusers aside it seems that weight distribution may be more effective than KERS, no wonder all the major teams are furious at the FIA for forcing them to use it while at the same time giving a fee pass to the smarty pant diffuser crowd.... but that's about politics and for another post.

This week end so far showed precisely why champions matter and why teams need that ultimate performance component if they hope to win. Sebastian Vettel had one shot at pole. There were mechanical issues and he is very light on fuel which meant he had only one flying lap each session including the final Q3. In Q3, he had just the warm up lap to get used to the new fuel load. His lap, which you can see below, was absolutely perfect. He's light on fuel along with Alonso and Webber but he delivered in a crunch the way only great champions are able to. Why BMW let this kid slip through their fingers I'll never understand.

Fernando Alonso got a new diffuser on the car just this morning and while the lightest of the top 5 he managed once again to make the best with what he had and get on the front row. Impressive.

The Red Bull and Renault strategy will depend on them making the most out of the soft tires which have been problematic over more than a couple of laps. Keep an eye on who starts on which tire.

Mclaren and Ferrari are both very heavy with fuel but Raikkonen and Hamilton left their teammates way behind. Massa because he made a mistake on his final Q2 lap, Kovalainen likely because he does not have anywhere near the same car as Hamilton this week end. I think at this point poor Heikki can kiss his career goodbye. His only hope may be a move and a stroke of luck similar to Button's and Barrichello's.

Speaking of Barrichello, he's been crying again, feeling like he can't get respect... His latest beef with Flavio Briatore who, jokingly referred to the Brazilian as a "pensioner" and Button as a "rolling speed bump". Rubens got all outraged and shot back calling Briatore "a stupid man". Well Rubens, I hate to tell you but... that's just the facts, if it wasn't for Brawn, you were going to retire and Button was certainly a rolling chicane last year with that Honda. Sheesh, some people just never know when to keep quiet and enjoy their luck!

Full results and Qualifying weights after the jump

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3      Laps
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:36.565 1:35.130 1:36.184 11
2. Alonso Renault (B) 1:36.443 1:35.803 1:36.381 21
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:35.751 1:35.173 1:36.466 19
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:35.701 1:35.503 1:36.493 21
5. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:35.533 1:35.556 1:36.532 19
6. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:36.308 1:35.645 1:36.835 21
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:35.941 1:35.809 1:37.397 23
8. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:36.137 1:35.856 1:38.089 19
9. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.776 1:35.740 1:38.595 17
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:36.284 1:35.965 1:39.321 21
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:36.525 1:35.975 14
12. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:36.646 1:36.032 10
13. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:36.178 1:36.033 11
14. Glock Toyota (B) 1:36.364 1:36.066 14
15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.673 1:36.193 13
16. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:36.906 10
17. Piquet Renault (B) 1:36.908 10
18. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:36.966 8
19. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:37.669 10
20. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:37.672 10

All Timing Unofficial

Pos. Driver         Car weight
1. Vettel 644.0kg
2. Alonso 637.0kg
3. Webber 646.5kg
4. Barrichello 661.0kg
5. Button 659.0kg
6. Trulli 664.5kg
7. Rosberg 650.5kg
8. Raikkonen 673.5kg
9. Hamilton 679.0kg
10. Buemi 673.0kg
11. Heidfeld 679.0kg
12. Kovalainen 697.0kg
13. Massa 690.0kg
14. Glock 652.0kg
15. Nakajima 682.7kg
16. Bourdais 690.0kg
17. Piquet 697.9kg
18. Kubica 659.0kg
19. Sutil 648.0kg
20. Fisichella 679.5kg


  1. Im not sure if you guys will be able to see it, but there is a fairly good video on the BBC website with Mike Gascoyne (ex Force India iirc) explaining more about the diffuser differences and actually pointing out the crash structures which i hadn't seen elsewhere. Worth a watch if you can.

  2. I got it. Yeah and finally someone other than us (well, ok the animation was from the Gazzetta) points out the holes in front of the diffusers on the Brawn. That's what they were talking about in Paris when they referrer to "when is a hole a hole".... :o)

    You can find that video HERE

  3. BRAWN GP all the way!!


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