Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix from pole position at the Suzuka circuit and kept himself in the mix, albeit very slightly, in the championship battle. Jarno Trulli was jumped at the start by Lewis Hamilton but regained second place after the second round of pit stops and matched Toyota’s best showing this season as Hamilton settled for third place.
The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen finished in 4th place ahead of the Williams of Nico Rosberg and the BMW of Nick Heidfeld who finished 5th and 6th respectively. Rubens Barrichello led teammate Jenson Button for the 7th and 8th place finishes and that reduces Button’s lead in the Championship battle to 14 points with two races remaining. Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso rounded off the top ten.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in an incident filled Qualifying session which saw at least four drivers lose control of their cars and careened into the barriers. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start from P2 with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton P3. Force India had a resurgence of sorts with Adrian Sutil starting from P4 with the trailing Brawn of Rubens Barrichello beside him. Championship leader Jenson Button could only manage P7 with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld ahead of him. Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastian Buemi round off the top ten.
The Qualifying was in Japan and it meant the telecast was early in the morning, as compared to in the evenings for European races; and the heavy sleeper that I was, missed it all! From the race reports, it seemed to be quite a tricky session as limited running on Friday meant most of the teams were still in the dark about race setups, car balance etc. The session was red flagged thrice as Timo Glock, Jaime Algersuari, Heikki Kovalainen and Sebastian Buemi all had spins and shunts. The most high-profile casualty was Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who crashed out in free practice and the team couldn’t complete the repairs on his car in time for him to participate in the Qualifying session. He will start from the pit lane for Sunday’s race.
You can go through the race reports at BBC Sport and Formula1.com websites as I go ahead and set the alarm clock for tomorrow’s race
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix from pole position as he drove an impeccable race throughout having relinquished his lead only at the pit stops. Toyota scored their first podium of the season as Timo Glock finished in second place as penalties for both Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel mean they fell down the order. Renault returned to the scene of their crashgate controversy and scored a podium place as Fernando Alonso finished third.
Sebastian Vettel overcame a drive through penalty and brake problems to finish fourth ahead of the two Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. Button crucially finishing ahead of his teammate and consolidating his lead in the Championship race by two more points. Heikki Kovalainen finished seventh as Robert Kubica took the last point in eight place.
The race started out in a sedate fashion with Lewis Hamilton maintaining his lead and Nico Rosberg out-jumping Sebastian Vettel to slot behind Hamilton. Fernando Alonso also had a good start and passed Mark Webber but then had a scruffy exit out of a corner which allowed Webber to retake the position – but ultimately yielded it as it was deemed to be unfair. Both the Brawns had a decent start and made up few places off the start and no doubt planning to take it slow and steady throughout the race.
Giancarlo Fisichella scored Force India’s first-ever Pole position of their F1 career as he drove a superlative lap to take P1 at the Qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. It sure was a long time in coming and despite the steady improvements the team has been bringing into each of the last few races, no one expected a pole position for the team! Getting into Q2 and score points were their targets and they sure did better on the first one, can tomorrow’s race see them achieve their second target! I sure hope they do…
Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start second on the grid as the Toyotas finally came good. So did the BMW’s who have Nick Heidfeld starting on P3. Rubens Barrichello will start fourth on the grid with Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen behind him. Timo Glock, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber & Nico Rosberg make up the top ten on the grid.
Q1 was a very good session for Force India as Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil were 1-2 atop the timesheets as the chequered flag fell and even though it was just the first session, it bode well for the team. A good way to impress the bosses at Ferrari since Fisichella’s being rumoured to fill-in for Felipe Massa for the last five races of the season! Luca Badoer again propped up the rear of the grid and to add insult to injury, he span out on his last flying lap and that was that! The ones to be relegated were Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Algersuari, Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grosjean and Luca Badoer. Fernando Alonso escaped relegation by the skin of his teeth as he made a mistake on his flying lap and just scraped through another run just as the flag fell and so did Hamilton, who was teetering on 15th and must be thanking the heavens that no one went any faster!
Jenson Button carved out his third victory of the 2009 F1 Season from the fourth position on the grid, thanks to a clever strategy from the Brawn GP team. Safe with the knowledge that the front-row-starters were low on fuel, Button remained close to the Toyotas at the start and when they pitted early, put in some fast laps and after the first round of pit-stops were over, emerged into the lead and held onto that throughout the remaining of the race – only relinquishing it during the pit-stop windows. Sebastian Vettel finished second ahead of pole-sitter Jarno Trulli with Lewis Hamilton & Rubens Barrichello in 4th and 5th places. 6th place went to the beleaguered Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who drove a safe race to bring home the points. Timo Glock finished 7th ahead of the Renault of Fernando Alonso.
Button had a good start to the race and so did the Toyotas but at the end of turn one, it was Timo Glock who came out in front ahead of pole-sitter Jarno Trulli. Hamilton had meanwhile got the drop on Button into 3rd place at the start but he could not hold onto it as Button pulled out a deft overtaking move on the McLaren at the end of the initial corners. Toyota’s low-fuel-start strategy didn’t quite pay off and added to that, they had to run the middle stint on the less-responsive harder compound tyre, holding up the cars on the faster softer compound ones. They might have hoped that running the last stint on the softer tyre would be advantageous towards the closing stages and with the rest of the field on the harder compound, hoping for some deft passing manoeuvres. But that didn’t pan out as they wished and they had to settle for 3rd and 7th positions.
Jarno Trulli clinched Pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir in a truly wonderful Qualifying Session which saw the Toyota team consistently posting fast times. The evening was made all the more better for the team as Timo Glock took P2 – for the first-ever all-Toyota starting grid. Sebastian Vettel continued his good run for the Red Bull team as he finished 3rd fastest. The Brawn cars could only manage 4th and 6th places, with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton splitting them in 5th. Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen complete the top 10.
The Qualifying Session was held in searing heat, with track temperatures reaching upto 40 Degrees Celsius. The Ferraris were the early pace-setters in Q1, Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest time before Massa surpassed it and then McLaren showed they had good pace as Lewis Hamilton went fastest with Kovalainen P2. The Toyotas pulled out aces up their sleeves as Glock went fastest and Trulli surpassed it just behind. Brawn GP and Red Bull were fancied to be fastest but they could only break into the top ten late on, as Vettel went fastest but teammate Mark Webber had a disastrous session and could only manage 14th fastest. The drivers to drop out of Q1 were Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber & Sebastien Bourdais.
Jenson Button clinched his second successive Pole position of the season with a good drive in the Saturday Qualifying session for the ‘09 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. Brawn GP have done it again, put both their cars in the top five although Rubens Barrichello will drop from 4th to 9th due to a gearbox change. Lining up alongside Button will be the Toyota of Jarno Trulli who came within nine hundredths of a second of the time posted by Button. Sebastien Vettel qualified third but he will move down to 13th due to the penalty for his accident at the Australian Grand Prix. After the re-adjustments, the grid lines up thus behind Button & Trulli: Timo Glock in 3rd, Nico Rosberg in 4th, Mark Webber in 5th, Robert Kubica in 6th, Kimi Raikkonen in 7th, Fernando Alonso in 8th with Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld rounding off the top ten.
Apart from Brawn’s pace and consistency, the two biggest talking points were McLaren and Lewis Hamilton’s indiscretions at the Australian Grand Prix and Ferrari and Felipe Massa having an abysmal Qualifying session with Massa failing to make it through the Q1 session itself! The team made a ‘blunder’ with the soft compound tyres and it was too late to make any changes as the clock ticked down on Q1. The other casualties in the first session were Sebastien Buemi, Adrian Sutil, Giancarlo Fisichella and Nelson Piquet. Q2 weeded out both the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen – who’ll start 12th and 14th respectively – alongwith Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien Vettel will join them in the middle of the pack.
The race start will most probably be a cracker, what with the fastest car on the track – Brawn – alongside the KERS-enabled Toyota! A first-corner scrap is not ruled out and I kinda think the two BMW’s and the lone Ferrari will do some ‘bumping-up-the-track’ at the start. Bring it on…
Qualifying Report | Pic Courtesy Crash.net
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix with title contender Felipe Massa down in P5. However, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is in P2 and will look to stay close to Lewis at the start of the race. Heikki Kovalainen is in a perfect supporting role for McLaren in P3 with Renault’s Fernando Alonso in P4 and Massa P5. BMW’s Robert Kubica starts in P6 with Toyota’s Jarno Trulli in P7. Timo Glock, Sebastian Vettel and Sebastian Bourdais complete the top ten.
Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton & Kimi Raikkonen - P3, P1 and P2 respectively at the Japanese Grand Prix Saturday Qualifying
Q1 was startling in two aspects – Firstly, we had the fastest car in the Toyota of Timo Glock, who pulled off a 1m 17s right at the tail end of the session. Secondly, there was a BMW in the relegation zone at the end of it all! Nick Heidfeld’s bad qualifying form caught up with him at last, having eluded him for the past few races. Whilst many thought Glock’s performance was a bit of a show-putting by the Toyota team, Heidfeld’s showing was maybe due to a technical glitch or something. The dying moments of Q1 saw Singapore GP winner Fernando Alonso haul himself back into contention having dropped down to 16th. The ones who did not make it were Heidfeld alongwith the two Honda’s of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and the two Force India’s of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Parity was somewhat restored in Q2 as Ferrari’s Felipe Massa comfortably topped the timesheets with the two McLaren’s of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton behind him. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 7th fastest though. Once again, the two Toro Rossos made into the top 10 whereas the two Red Bulls did not. Those who were relegated: David Coulthard, Nelson Piquet, Kazuki Nakajima, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg.
Q3 was a straight shootout between the top two teams and the initial pace-setter was the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Massa was following closely but kinda dropped out on his second run. Hamilton’s second run was quickest of them all and he snatched pole position from Kimi Raikkonen. Quick runs from Alonso and Trulli had pushed down Kovalainen but with his last run, the Finn managed the third-fastest time. The race will be an intriguing one as Kimi would hope to keep in Lewis from streaking away into the distance and Heikki doing the same with Kimi. Massa, however, will have to play catch-up and with Alonso in front of him, won’t be an easy task. He has to have a perfect start and if he can get ahead of Alonso, Heikki and Kimi, he and Lewis can duel out in the front as Kimi keeps the field at bay. Gonna be a cracker of a race, for sure!
Image Courtesy: Getty Images/Telegraph.co.uk