Last night, Monza was drenched by thunderstorms, but you wouldn’t know that going to the track this morning as the sun beautifully coated the circuit and heated the fans, rewarding them for their loyalty.
Second practice was not a pretty one for Brawn, who were hampered by technical issues. However, today was much more like it, and after a very positive final test session, I truly can’t wait for the real fun to begin this afternoon!
Sebastien Buemi led the pack out for their morning installation laps. Jenson was out after three minutes, and Rubens completed his sighter soon after.
Strangely, Mark Webber seemed to be having real trouble, and this time it wasn’t Renault’s fault. The Australian was out of his car, leaning over Vettel’s, and tapping his teammates right mirror.
We later learned that Webber’s car had a loose mirror, (amongst other small issues), and all this meant was that Red Bull’s final practice would be even less constructive than they feared. It would be half an hour before Webber joined the action.
Fisichella set the first time in his new shiny red car. The Italian clocked in a 1:28:402 but seemed to be struggling with what many believe to be a pretty loose handling car.
Jenson Button’s first run would be a five-lapper with used hard tyres to test race pace. His first time came with 40 minutes left and was a 1:28:146. He then climbed to P8, before getting as high as P3.
Rubens Barrichello’s first time was a 1:28:218, which could only place him P15, and the Brazilian didn’t go much faster on his next few laps. At this stage, Hamilton was P1 with a 1:24:778.
With 30 minutes left, Jenson had fallen and climbed back up to P6, whilst Rubens remained around P16.
A few minutes later, poor old Fisi’s nightmares came to life when he locked his front right wheel and wrote the left side of his car off! All this didn’t stop Rubens getting himself up to P12.
After a short break, Jenson rejoined the track and after staying P7, put in a time of 1:24:607 (P4).
Sutil put in a rocket time seconds later to gain P1 with a 1:23:735. Despite losing time in the first couple of sectors, Jenson managed to get up to P3 on his third lap.
Time passed and not a lot changed. With five minutes left Sutil was P1, Jens was P3, and Rubens was down in P15, but it was time for the low-fuel runs!
Rubes came back out with super soft tyres and shot almost straight up to P2 with a 1:23:837. Jenson, too, was out on the softer compound and went one better with Brawn’s first P1 of the weekend (1:23:404). This first P1 was a very short-lived one, though, as Sutil seamlessly re-took his pole seconds later.
With the session over, Sutil held on to his great pole, Jenson finished P2 and Rubens in P4. Significantly, the Red Bulls were P17 (Webber) and P18 (Vettel) and they will have a lot to do in qualifying!
This afternoon's session will apparently be the most exciting all season. The race will be between the McLarens, Brawn, Raikkonen, Force India; probably Red Bull, and Renault have a shot too! It should be great!
But for we Brawn maniacs, the good news is that the blokes in the white cars go into qualifying with strong practice sessions behind them!
I hate it when Ledgard says this…I hate the phrase…but I can’t think of a better way to end this, (apologies in advance)..."BATTLE JOINED."
Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:23.336 21
2 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:23.404 0.068 21
3 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:23.490 0.154 18
4 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:23.575 0.239 20
5 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.633 0.297 18
6 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.803 0.467 20
7 21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:23.849 0.513 21
8 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:23.915 0.579 17
9 10 Timo Glock Toyota 1:23.959 0.623 21
10 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:23.996 0.660 18
11 8 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:24.197 0.861 15
12 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:24.302 0.966 20
13 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:24.326 0.990 17
14 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:24.392 1.056 20
15 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:24.572 1.236 23
16 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:24.621 1.285 21
17 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:25.154 1.818 13
18 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:25.244 1.908 16
19 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:25.791 2.455 10
20 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 1:25.951 2.615 10