Bad news for Kimi Raikkonen’s fans: The Reigning F1 World Champion will start from 16th on the grid at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
A Double-engine change means that Kimi will drop ten places on the grid. Kimi’s Ferrari stalled on the pit road and had to be assisted back into the garage and acc. to the rules, a car that has been “assisted” will take no further part in the proceedings. He had won this race last year in his Ferrari debut but will have to struggle real hard to get onto the podium tomorrow. The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa could manage only 4th position on the grid, maybe underlining Ferrari’s lack of reliability. Yet.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton is on the Pole position for tomorrow’s race. He blitzed his way to a 1 Min 26 secs lap, just 0.115s faster than BMW’s Robert Kubica. Kubica was absolutely flying in his last lap but slid onto the grass for a brief while, which ultimately cost him P1. Heikki Kovalainen lines up on P3 on his debut for McLaren with Massa alongside him. Nick Heidfeld (BMW), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Nico Rosberg (Williams), David Coulthard (Red Bull), Timo Glock (Toyota) & Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) fill in the rest of the top 10 positions. The Qualifying had already halfway over when I woke up and hence missed both the Force India cars’ runs. They ended up in 17th and 19th positions.
The disappointment of the day was Renault. Two-times champion Fernando Alonso missed the cut for Q3 and will start 12th on the grid, behind Honda’s Rubens Barrichello. His teammate and debutant Nelson Piquet will start from 21st on the grid – between the two Super Aguris! The other debutant – Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Bourdais will start 18th.
Unless something really drastic happens tomorrow, McLaren seem to have this race in the bag. What with the pace of the car and Lewis determination to put no foot wrong this year. Their closest competition could come from, not Ferrari, but BMW – who were quite fast in the practice sessions and did creditably in the Qualifying. Only a minor miracle could help Kimi Raikkonen clinch a victory tomorrow 😦
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2 Robert Kubica BMW
3 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari
5 Nick Heidfeld BMW
6 Jarno Trulli Toyota
7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
8 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault
9 Timo Glock Toyota
10 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari
11 Rubens Barrichello Honda
12 Fernando Alonso Renault
13 Jenson Button Honda
14 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
16 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari
18 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari
19 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari
20 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda
21 Nelsinho Piquet Renault
22 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda