It's Not as Bad as It May Seem for Brawn in Spa

Patrick AllenAnalyst IAugust 29, 2009

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 29:  Rubens Barrichello of Brazil and Brawn GP drives during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps on August 29, 2009 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Well I went through the trouble of arguing in defence of Jenson after Saturday practice this morning and what does he do in qualifying? Make himself and me look very silly! Of course I’m still 100 percent behind Jens but even I can conclude that Jenson simply isn’t doing his job properly!

A truly awful showing; Jens today has left the current Championship leader with very few options tomorrow. However, it wasn’t all bad as Rubens got himself up to P4 and in actual fact the day was far more disappointing for Red Bull. The team that is supposed to blow everyone away tomorrow only finished in P8 and P9.

Qualifying One

Today’s star, Fisichella set the first time of the session with a 1:48:386 just four minutes in. Jenson and Rubens were out too but only put in performances good enough for P12 and P10.

Jenson improved on his second run and clocked in a 1:46:524 which put him P2. Seconds later Rubens shot up to first with a 1:46:258. However, just seconds after that the Brawns had dropped a couple of places to the fast Toyotas.

Rubens left the track with understeer on his third attempt whilst Jenson simply slipped down the rankings. With just over eight minutes left, Rubens sped back up to P2 and Jens managed to get himself up to P4. Fisichella ended the session as he meant to go on…in first!

The Brawns on the other hand finished a strange session in P3 and P14!

Q2 Results

Rubens: P3: 1:45:237

Jenson: P14: 1:45:761


Buemi, Alguersari, Nakajima, Grosjean, Badoer

Qualifying Two
I was very worried about Jens’s pace in Q1 but the Red Bulls took a while to speed up and to my mind 2009 F1’s greatest driver (Alonso) only just made it through by the skin of his teeth! Therefore, lets just forget Q1 and move on….things can only get better…right?

Kubica set the first time of 1:45:659 and Jenson set the second. The Brit set a 1:45:659 which wasn’t fast but it was still only early.

Rubens’s first time of 1:48:277 wasn’t fast either but as I say, no dramas as yet. Jens fell back but got himself up to P5 whilst his team mate got as high as P3.

With five minutes left, Rubens had dropped to P5 but worryingly Jens had fallen back to P9 and had very fast cars behind him. The problem was strange cars like the BMWs and Force Indias were really performing well, which meant that the drop out zone contained names such as Alonso, Kovalainen and Rosberg.

The fatal mistake for Jens came about now in the dying stages of Q2. I’m not sure who’s decision it was but car 22 went out with the less favourable super soft tyres fitted. A fast time first from Alonso dropped Jenson to P10, then Heidfeld knocked the Brit into P11.

Things got worse still when Fisichella stuck the Force India in P1 again putting Jens back to P12 and then P13 after a great lap from Rosberg!

It's Ok…It's Ok I told myself. Jenson still had one lap to really pull it together, he only needed P10 for God’s sake. Jenson made no significant mistakes but the confidence simply wasn’t there and this was shown by his poor 1:45:251. For the first time in 2009 Jenson Button failed to make it into Q3, worse still he was P14!

Things were far better for Rubens though as his title challenge perked up with a P3 finish.

Q2 Results

Rubens: P3: 1:44:834

Jenson: P14: 1:45:251


Sutil, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Kovalainen

Qualifying Three
The third session was mental and in actual fact proved to at least ease Jenson’s pain with it’s topsy turvy result!

Raikkonen set the first time of 1:47:218, and despite the rest of the field being out on track his time remained the only one set for six minutes! This was because the pack had gone out with super soft tyres, analysed Jenson’s failings and darted back in for the harder compound!

Rubens’s first time was only good enough for P4 of 4, but on his second attempt a 1:46:742 got him P3. The Brazilian finished up with a very respectable P4, but the day belonged to Fisichella who took his Force India to the teams’ first ever pole position.

Well done Fisi, a truly great performance from the man who has been overshadowed by his young team mate for most of the season. In actual fact the session wasn’t half as bad as it may seem for Brawn and Jenson.

The Red Bulls finished up in a terrible P8 and P9 (remember they were supposed to blitz the rest!) and Rubens managed P4. Don’t forget Jenson’s first win was from P14 and hopefully his performance today will give him a bit of a kick up the arse!

I can’t see Jenson scoring more than a point tomorrow unless there is a big accident. I think Rubens has a good shot at a podium finish and as for the Red Bulls? Well I can see them struggling for a podium finish.

Yes, tomorrow could well be the first race of the season that Jenson fails to score, but if Red Bull fail to finish higher than P5 they will actually have been the biggest losers. Maybe Jenson is a lucky bugger after all?


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