After a great day yesterday, Brawn GP was really quiet today in the final session of F1’s night race.
The team was extremely satisfied with their overall pace, seemed to struggle far less than the rest of the pack, and was only really concerned with rear break temperature. Rubens had the edge over Jens yesterday, would it be the same this morning...errr, I mean this evening?
Vettel led the pack out for their installation laps, but as usual the Brawns waited until everyone else had gone out before completing theirs. About four minutes in, Rubens went out first followed by Jenson.
The first time was set by Fisichella and was a 1:58:445. This time was not representative of Fisi’s pace as he was really held up by a Renault throughout his lap. This was, and will be, a huge problem for all of the teams of the weekend as traffic messed up a lot of drivers' times.
With around 42 minutes left, Jenson came out and set a time of 1:51:195. This put the Brit in P5 of nine runners. Rubens’ soon followed with a 1:51:590 (P7 of 10).
Rubens certainly had the edge over Jenson again today as he quickly rose to P4, whilst his teammate, who was complaining of understeer, could only manage P8.
Again, on their third attempts Rubens was far more encouraging. The Brazilian’s 1:49:486 got him up to P2, whilst Jenson’s 1:49:486 only promoted him to P6.
30 minutes in, Hamilton was first with a 1:48:346, Rubes was P3 and Jens, P9. Not a lot changed over the next few minutes as both Brawns returned to the pits and gently fell down the rankings.
With just ten minutes left, Rubens had climbed back up to P5, but Jens had fallen to P13 and wasn’t improving. I think, or at least I hope, that the Brawns were comfortably and leisurely completing heavy fuel runs.
Five minutes later, Vettel was first with a 1:47:909, Rubens was P6 and Jenson, P16. Both Brawns were back out again on the super soft tyres at the end but despite setting personal bests, traffic hindered any significant improvements.
Rubens was super fast in sectors one and two but his 1:48:551 was affected by a slow Renault and he could only finish in P7. Jenson too set good pace initially, but he could only finish in P14.
Hamilton finished on top but I don’t think the low results for Brawn in P3 were bad. I can’t see how such a strong performance yesterday could turn around quite so drastically...but this is F1!
No, I think more likely, Brawn was comfortable with yesterday's performance and so ran lengthy heavy fuel loads this morning/evening. Traffic was also a major issue and the Brawn strategists will have their work cut out in a few hours. All in all though, not a bad session for BGP.
Pos. No. Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.632 15
2 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:47.909 0.277 17
3 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:48.332 0.700 18
4 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:48.420 0.788 14
5 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:48.501 0.869 16
6 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:48.526 0.894 13
7 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.551 0.919 16
8 10 Timo Glock Toyota 1:48.673 1.041 17
9 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:48.754 1.122 17
10 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:48.757 1.125 12
11 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:48.831 1.199 17
12 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:48.864 1.232 16
13 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:48.876 1.244 15
14 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.921 1.289 17
15 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:49.032 1.400 15
16 21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:49.055 1.423 16
17 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:49.122 1.490 17
18 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:49.399 1.767 17
19 8 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:49.641 2.009 16
20 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 1:50.039 2.407 21