In P1 Brawn GP had been giving out some very mixed messages. Whilst seemingly doing well on track, the faces of the mechanics and reports from journalists seemed to suggest that the morning wasn’t going very well. However, the afternoon session was unquestionably a success.
Yes, Brawn were piped by the mighty Alonso, but frankly to be second and third behind arguably the greatest driver in F1 at the moment is no bad thing!
The king of Friday, Rosberg was amongst the first drivers to exit the pits at the beginning of P2. I’m sure by now you know the drill...all of the drivers pile out for their installation laps and then scamper back to the pits to look at some data.
Thankfully today, we really didn’t have to wait long for action. With just six minutes gone Buemi had set a time of 1:43:726.
Meanwhile the Brawns were out nice and early and looking pretty tasty. Jenson put in a time fit for P5 out of 12 runners so far (1:43:819). By this stage Alonso was in pole and although Jens slipped a few places, he quickly climbed back up to P5 again (where he stayed for the next few runs).
Rubens’s first shot stuck the Brazilian in P9, but he was then held up with traffic troubles over the next few laps. His next competitive time whizzed him up the page from P8 to P3 (1:42:399).
All this meant that 17 minutes in, Alonso was first, Rubens was P3 and Jenson was P8. Brawn GP’s main rivals, Red Bull, were P12 (Webber) and P15 (Vettel).
With just over an hour to go both Brawn men re-emerged from the pits having slowly slipped down the rankings. Jenson zoomed from P12 to P7 and Rubens went from P6 to P2 (with a 1:41:878).
Jenson was unfortunately affected by the terribly slow Badoer which messed up his chances at this stage in the session.
With about 58 minutes to go, the king reclaimed his throne and stole P1 from Alonso (Rosberg did a 1:41:588). At this stage Vettel suddenly shot up the leader board, but it wasn’t to last for the young German.
About eight minutes later Jenson was on absolute fire! He threw his BGP001 around the track and gained P1 with a great 1:41:534. Rubens too was fast and got himself up to P3.
As the track temperature improved it was smiles all round in the Brawn garage as a good strategy seemed to be developing (I love it when a plan comes together!).
With about 45 minutes left Rosberg re-took P1 having been trying for a fair few laps. This put Jens in P2 and Rubens in P4. Then the excitement really started for the Brawn maniacs!
The session turned into a straight race between Jens and Rubens. The Brazilian in car 23 struck first with a 1:40:944 only to be beaten by Jens with a 1:40:911. Both Brawns were on Super soft tyres and both were clearly pushing to the max! Great stuff!
Then Rubens took back P1 with just over 30 minutes to go as Jens found trouble behind a slower Kovalainen. Jens had been taken out of the game for now and it was Alonso with clear track who was Rubens’s new big threat.
Before long the Spanish master re-took pole position, but Brawn's work had been done. Both drivers returned to the pits, jumped out of their cars and swapped their crash helmets for cool jackets.
With just 15 minutes left, Nakajima was now first and Rubens and Jens had only slipped to P4 and P5. Meanwhile the Red Bulls couldn’t get any higher than P9 (Vettel) and P13 (Webber).
Rubens wasted no time and within minutes of re-joining the action had re-claimed P1 with a 1:40:209! Jens too was fast and quickly got himself back up to P3. With just five minutes to go, Rubens was on fire and Jens had got up to P2. In fact, it was only the determination and outrageous skill of that Spanish bloke that prevented Brawn from finishing on top.
Alonso lapped perfectly and finished the day on top, breaking into the 1 minute 39s. A great finish for Nando and a brilliant result for Jens and Rubens.
Brawn’s strategy for today was close to perfection. Throughout both sessions the team tested various different set up choices and tweaks. The team worked professionally and quickly and best of all, the results were positive.
This afternoon BGP were able to run a Barcelona spec car, then a Hungry set up, before moving on with a Valencia decision.
The results are clear to see in the final time sheet.
Welcome back F1.….Welcome back Brawn GP!!
Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:39.404
2 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:40.178 0.774
3 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:40.209 0.805
4 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:40.385 0.981
5 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:40.503 1.099
6 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:40.596 1.192
7 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:40.643 1.239
8 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:40.681 1.277
9 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:40.723 1.319
10 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.738 1.334
11 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.739 1.335
12 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:40.770 1.366
13 8 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:40.787 1.383
14 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:40.956 1.552
15 10 Timo Glock Toyota 1:40.985 1.581
16 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:41.156 1.752
17 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:41.350 1.946
18 3 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:42.017 2.613
19 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:42.089 2.685
20 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:43.214 3.810