After the rain in practice one upset Brawn’s chances of some decent tests, the sunny second session was perfect.
Kovalainen led the pack out and rather than the usual sighters that would follow, everyone simply got on with getting those times up on the sheet.
Buemi set the first of many times, but Jenson was out too and going pretty quickly. However, just six minutes in the session was red flagged and Jenson was forced to return to the pits. We soon learned that Badoer’s front left wheel spinner had flown off into turn 17 thus creating a dangerous situation and leading to the red flag.
At this stage, Alonso was first with a 1:49:207.
It only took a couple of minutes to restart the session, but in the short wait, Rubens had his front wing changed. Jens was the first of the Brawn men to set a time. The Brit set the frankly awesome time of 8:14:135 (which is pretty close to the old Spa times!). Joking asside, for some reason Jenson’s time was carried from when he stopped for the red flag.
Fear not though Brawn fans, on his second attempt the Brit got up to P5 of 17 with a 1:50:232. Rubens was out too but a spin after touching a wet curb meant that his 2:10:159 wasn’t a fair representation of his pace at this stage.
Jenson then put in times that kept him around P6 whilst Rubens climbed slowly up to P11 and then up to P4 25 minutes in. Jens was really struggling with his car at this early stage which was pretty worrying but Brawn were taking full advantage of the dry track and simply trying all sorts of different set ups.
Things got better for Jens though when he raised himself from P14 to P7 with a 1:48:497. Jenson was fastest in sector three; he was quick in sector one as well, but he was unfortunately losing time in the crucial second sector.
Interestingly in this session Jenson was running the hideous Shark fin design on the rear of his car (like Renault, Toyota ect). On a third attempt Jens got up to P4, whilst his team mate (who wasn’t running the same ugly aero piece) lapped around P8 time.
Then over the rest of the session, Brawn tested various set ups and slid down the rankings; favouring feedback over track position. With 44 minutes left, Webber was first with a 1:47:484 and Jens was P7, Rubens, P10. The Red Bulls both looked very fast but that was expected of them. Also worth a mention is the pace that Alguersuari showed. With around 25 minutes to go the young Spaniard was as high as P4!
With 15 minutes left, Webber was still first, Jens was 0.749 seconds slower in P13 and Rubens was 0.800 seconds back in P15. Both cars came and went on track but neither made any significant improvements on their times.
The whole field were struggling with the super soft tyres, but Rubens managed to get himself up to P12 with a 1:48:130. Jenson’s last run gave him a 1:48:125 which put him P13, now one place higher than his team mate. The Brawns finished up in P17 (Jens) and P18 (Rubes) but as I have said I don’t think that is as bad as it sounds.
I think at this stage I can only really say what most people are thinking anyway. I think the race will be between Vettel and Webber, perhaps with a threat from Hamilton and Raikkonen. As for the Brawns? Well I think their job will be to score as many points as possible.
I think the valuable work they have done today may well help them achieve that vital championship goal.
Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.201
2 10 Timo Glock Toyota 1:47.217 0.016
3 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:47.285 0.084
4 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:47.329 0.128
5 8 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:47.333 0.132
6 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:47.506 0.305
7 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:47.559 0.358
8 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:47.578 0.377
9 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:47.579 0.378
10 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:47.602 0.401
11 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:47.702 0.501
12 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.743 0.542
13 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:47.790 0.589
14 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:47.862 0.661
15 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:47.961 0.760
16 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:48.017 0.816
17 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.125 0.924
18 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.130 0.929
19 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:48.360 1.159
20 3 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:49.211 2.010