Jenson Button drove an awesome lap at the last possible minute of the Qualifying Session to clinch pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. All the talk of resurgence from the other teams paled in comparison as the Brawn GP team picked up where they left off – at the top of the timesheets again! And one won’t believe there was any resurgence at all if one were to see the second and third placed drivers – Sebastian Vettel & Rubens Barrichello. A mini-resurgence can be said to be taking place at Ferrari as their pace improved considerably, but not their decision making skills! Felipe Massa will start 4th on the grid while teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start 16th! Mark Webber, Timo Glock, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica rounded off the top ten.
As usual, the two Force India cars got the first qualifying session underway and joining them was the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen. Early pace setters included the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli & Timo Glock and the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel – who was the first driver to get into the 1 Min 20s. The fastest time of them all though, went to the Ferrari of Felipe Massa with Mark Webber and Jenson Button just behind. The shocker, of course, came from Ferrari as they let Kimi Raikkonen sit in the garage when he was just 10th fastest and then saw with dread as others went round faster and just as the clock ticked 00:00 on Q1, he was knocked out of the session! He will start 16th on the grid tomorrow. Joining him would be compatriot Heikki Kovalainen (who complained that a BMW held him up), Sebastian Bourdais, Adrian Sutil & Giancarlo Fisichella.
Q2’s early pace setters were the Red Bulls of Vettel & Webber as Sebastian Buemi had a big spin out of turn 9 and slid into the gravel trap at the same place as Kovalainen’s accident last year but emerged out of the gravel and headed back to pits. Felipe Massa came close but couldn’t shave Webber’s top time of 1m 20.007s. But Rubens Barrichello managed that as he became the first driver to breach the 1m 19s time. This time around, it was Lewis Hamilton who bowed out of the Q2 session as his best time was not just enough to get him into the top ten. Joining him were Nelson Piquet, Kazuki Nakajima, Nick Heidfeld and Sebastian Buemi.
The two Toyotas were the first ones to set timed laps in Q3 with Glock ahead of Trulli as all the drivers tried to put in at least two (or sometime three) timed laps in the ten minutes they had. Barrichello managed to usurp the time set by Glock and held P1 for a little while but Sebastian Vettel put in a stonker of a lap to go P1 with a time in the low 1m 21s. But never one to be underestimated, Barrichello came back strongly to put in a 1m 20.762s and take back P1. But (again!) Vettel is also no slouch and he put in another stonker of a lap to take back P1. But it was Jenson Button who had the last laugh as he put in an inch-perfect lap to wrap up pole position.
Come Sunday, one would expect the Brawns and Red Bull and Toyotas to be strong yet again but I wouldn’t discount Felipe Massa out yet. His is the only car in the top ten with KERS and he may use it to good effect at the start of the race. Fernando Alonso had always had a good home grand prix and he may also be in the mix. Hamilton and Kimi are too back to mount any serious challenge, bar any accidents or rain! If i were to be forced to make a prediction, I’d say Button, Massa and Alonso as the top three. Should be one interesting race. Bring.It.On.