1. Jenson Button Brawn Mercedes 646.0
2. Sebastian Vettel RBR Renault 651.5
3. Rubens Barrichello Brawn Mercedes 649.5
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 655.0
5. Mark Webber RBR Renault 651.5
6. Timo Glock Toyota 646.5
7. Jarno Trulli Toyota 655.5
8. Fernando Alonso Renault 645.0
9. Nico Rosberg Williams Toyota 668.0
10. Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 660.0
11. Kazuki Nakajima Williams Toyota 676.6*
12. Nelson Piquet Renault 677.4*
13. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 676.3*
14. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 683.0*
15. Sébastien Buemi STR Ferrari 678.0*
16. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 673.0*
17. Sébastien Bourdais STR Ferrari 669.0*
18. Heikki Kovalainen McLaren Mercedes 657.0*
19. Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 675.0*
20. Giancarlo Fisichella Force India Mercedes 656.0*
* declared weight
Jenson Button did brilliantly to get pole position in the dying seconds of qualifying. He hadn’t been happy with the balance of the car so far this weekend. Despite this he put the lap together when it really mattered.
Rubens Barrichello will perhaps be disappointed that it wasn’t him on pole, as he was looking stronger than Jenson up to Q3. Sebastien Vettel continued his top 3 record in qualifying in 2009, which is very impressive.
The fuel weights have now been declared and are listed above
Overall the front runners are pretty much doing the same thing.
Jenson Button will be the first of those at the sharp end to pit and he will be in on lap 14/15. Sebastien Vettel has a couple more laps of fuel onboard, and he will visit the pits for the first time on lap 16/17.
Rubens Barrichello is in between this pair, and he will be in a lap after Jenson, but a lap before Vettel on lap 15/16.
Felipe Massa is the heaviest of the top 5, and he will run till lap 18/19. Mark Webber has exactly the same amount of fuel as Vettel. Obviously they won’t pit at the same time if they are close together on the track. Red Bull will decide who comes in first depending on how the first stint is unfolding.
Furthur back Alonso is the lightest of the top 10 and he will be on lap 13/14.
Lewis Hamilton is the heaviest of everyone and looks like he will be running a 1 stop race. He will be going beyond 30 laps in his first stint. Mclaren have been disappointing, and appear to have dropped back this weekend
From these weights Felipe Massa has to be my star of qualifying. He qualified 4thamongst quicker cars, which had less fuel than him. Massa has three or four more laps of fuel on board than Jenson, and was only around 0.4 seconds slower than him. Fuel corrected it would have been quite close between the pair. This shows how good Massa is over a single lap, and how far Ferrari has come with these new upgrades.
Credit must be given to Jenson too who pulled off a stunning lap under immense pressure. He almost didn’t make it past the start line in time, after a mis-calculation during his out-lap. He was able to get his head straight again after that immediately.
Vettel did another brilliant job, and fuel corrected was right up there with Jenson too.
My prediction for tomorrow
Button has to be made favourite for this race. In Barcelona the driver on pole has won for the last eight seasons (which is a record). The Brawn GP has looked to have re-established its advantage over the long runs here.
This circuit is very hard on the tyres and this plays into Brawn’s favour, as their car is easy on its tyres. Over the race distance here Brawn GP are up to 0.5 seconds quicker per lap.
Brawn GP don’t enjoy this same advantage in qualifying, so all the more reason why a 1-3 on the grid was a fantastic result for them.
As long as Button gets away well he ought to be able to cruise to a comfortable race victory. Vettel does have a couple more laps of fuel onboard, but I don’t think Red Bull quite has enough race pace this weekend Once they have the new diffuser sorted I am sure they will have.
However we all know that Vettel can produce something special, so he will push Button very hard.
For me Massa is the joker in the pack for this race. He is starting 4thand has KERs up his sleeve. It’s a very long run down to turn 1 so he has a great chance of having a go at Button at the start.
If Massa could get into the lead he has a genuine chance of winning the race. In Spain it’s impossible to overtake, and he can use KERs to defend down the pit straight. He would also have the tactical advantage with with more fuel than Jenson, so he could continue to stay in front after the pit stops.
It’s actually feasible that Massa could pull off a similar style of victory to Gilles Villeneuve’s Spanish GP win in 1981, where he held a train of cars behind him race long. Just like Massa now, Villeneuve was driving a Ferrari which wasn’t the quickest in the field. Maybe history really could repeat itself?
Barrichello is another potential threat to Button. We have seen in the long runs that Barrichello’s race pace is very strong. If he can get past Vettel early on, and move into 2nd behind Jenson, we could see a straight fight between the Brawns. That would be very interesting indeed.
Furthur back I expect a very tight and entertaining battle between Webber, the Toyotas, Alonso and Kubica for the lower points paying positions.
Kimi Raikkonen could also join in this tight scrap if he has a strong first couple of laps. That will be crucial if he is to have any chance of salvaging something from this weekend. It’s shocking to see that Ferrari made exactly the same error again!
In conclusion Jenson Button should win this race. As usual an awful lot depends on what happens at the start. Jenson’s dream ticket would be a clean start and Massa moving into 2nd and blocking the others.
Massa making an electric start and moving into 1stwould be difficult even with KERs onboard, but it can be done. Lets remember Rosberg managed that in Sepang without the KERs system. If this happened, Jenson’s life would be made much trickier in this race.
Spain doesn’t normally provide thrilling GPs, and I doubt this will change even with the new aero regulations.
It should still quite an intriguing race though. With all the big upgrades put on the cars for this race, we will learn the likely pecking order for the next quarter of the season.
If Brawn GP can triumph again tomorrow (regardless of everyone else’s efforts to usurp them with upgrades) then you would have to say, that they are starting to look very good for a fairytale championship win.
Of course in F1 anything can happen.
My top 8 prediction
1. Jenson Button
2. Felipe Massa
3. Sebastien Vettel
4. Rubens Barrichello
5. Timo Glock
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Mark Webber
8. Kimi Raikkonen