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Brawn Disappoint in Valencia Qualifying

Patrick AllenAnalyst IAugust 22, 2009

VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 21:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Brawn GP prepares to drive during practice for the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on August 21, 2009, in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Well, after all that promise in the practice sessions leading up to today’s session, Brawn were pretty rubbish when it really mattered. Of course, to finish P3 and P5 sounds OK on paper, but when you consider the conditions and the promise, Jenson Button in particular simply didn’t do his job today.

Qualifying One

New/old boy Badoer opened the qualifying session on the super soft compound and put in the terribly slow first time of 1:42:957 four minutes in. You’ve got to feel sorry for the Italian who is very much on the back foot, but my nan could probably have gone faster….and she’s nuts! (or was that a Williams she could have won in?).

Five minutes in and both Brawns were on track. Rubens Barrichello's first time was a 1:40:206 which put him P3. Jenson’s first time was only good enough for P16, but his second time of 1:39:884 shot him up ten placers to P6.

With 10 minutes left, Jens was P8 and Rubens was down in P11, but going very quickly. Sure enough the Brazilian whizzed around the track and put in a 1:39:019, which stuck him firmly in first place!

The session then began to look very tense for Jenson who had fallen first to P13 and then with just 6 minutes left, he was P14.

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Hamilton knocked Rubens down to P2 but I was more worried about Jenson. There were fast cars below him (including Webber!) and when Grosjean got himself out of the drop zone I began to seriously worry about Jens’s chances.

Fortunately, even though Webber got up to P5 (thus relegating car 22 to the drop zone), Jens was going faster than anyone in sector one. He messed up the last sectors and only finished P4, but he did have one more lap to push on.

Jenson pulled it out of the bag and finished up first after a very tense session.

Q1 results

JB: P1: 1:38:531

RB: P8: 1:39:019

OUT

Fisichella, Nakajima (stopped out on track), Trulli, Alguersuari, Badoer (apparently Ferrari’s worst ever qualifying result).

Qualifying Two

After the worst qualifying result in Ferrari’s prestigious history, Raikkonen opened Q2 with the super softs fitted.

The Fin’s first time was a 1:38:823. Rubens’s first time was a fantastic 1:38:645, which put him in first place. The Brazilian was almost immediately knocked off top spot though…by his teammate!

Jenson’s first time of 1:38:601 left me thinking that this session was going to be a lot more promising. However, as the session developed, McLaren began to show us all what they were made of (loads of bloody money for one thing!).

Kovalainen took Jens’s pole away, but Rubens was again very fast. Car 23 managed to re-claim the Brawn top spot with a 1:38:231, but he in turn was toppled by Hamilton!

With five minutes left, Jens had slipped to P5 and Rubens was P2. Jenson couldn’t go any faster and eventually finished up in P6. Rubens on the other hand found some significant speed, and in an exciting end to the session topped the time sheets!

Q2 Results:

RB: P1: 1:38:076

JB: P6: 1:38:601

OUT

Heidfeld, Sutil, Glock, Grosjean, Buemi

Qualifying Three

Kubica was first out for this one, but a delay in getting the times up on screen meant that I can only tell you that Hamilton set the real pace with a 1:39:498.

Jenson looked good early on with a 1:39:905 (P2). Rubens meanwhile opted to only do a couple of runs to save tyres. This was a risky strategy but it is encouraging that Rubes had the confidence to do it.

The Brazilian took P2 with a 1:39:563 whilst his team mate seemed to go completely off the boil!

Jenson slipped down to P5 and frankly failed to show any encouraging sector times. The current championship leader finished behind Vettel and only one place higher than the KERS charged Raikkonen. McLaren finished up with a one two which pushed Rubens back to P3.

I think this qualifying session was a crucial one for Brawn. If I’m honest I think they blew it! Rubens did well to finish in third and I reckon the McLarens will run away with the race tomorrow anyway (which is no bad thing for Brawn’s title hopes).

We all expected Jenson to make a Monaco comeback but he just wasn’t there today. He is now behind a major rival and probably going to loose places off the start.

I said in a previous article that Qualifying would probably be the most exciting part of this weekend and I’m a bit pissed that it wasn’t particularly great!

Tomorrow, as I say, McLaren will walk it. As for Brawn? Well it’s going to have to be another damage limitation race. However, I must say that at this stage, when it really counts, Brawn and Jenson seem to be throwing this title challenge away!

Honestly, I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s race and I can only apologize for this negative article. I’m just a disappointed fan who expected a lot more from his team…….

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