Encouraging First Sessions for Brawn GP

Patrick AllenAnalyst IOctober 16, 2009

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 16:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Brawn GP prepares to drive during practice for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on October 16, 2009 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

I was unfortunately unable to watch the first practice session today and very nearly missed the second session! Thankfully, I made it back home in time to watch enough of P2 to come to some sort of conclusion.

Practice One

The Red Bulls stole the show in first practice, but Rubens managed to get his way inbetween them and finish an encouraging P2.

Jenson was pretty comfortable in the top 10 and managed to finish the morning in a good enough P7.

There were several minor incidents throughout Practice One, including: light drizzle, a Grosjean off and small mistakes from the likes of Rubens, Sutil, Buemi, and Liuzzi. If I was to just go by the results I would say it was a pretty good day at the office. However, the second session proved to me that the end times don’t actually represent the session as a whole.

I flew through my front door and quickly made for the TV. The session was 24 minutes in and Jenson was P4, with Rubens in P10. I understand that Jenson had understeer problems early in the session and when I joined, it looked as if he was back out after making some changes.

I must have had a positive effect, because as soon as I sat down to gather myself, Jens flew past the line with a 1:12:696 and promoted himself to P1!

Thirty minutes in, all of the cars had set times, Jenson was still P1 and Rubens was now in P12. Webber was going very quickly, but was unable to beat Jenson’s top time.

On several occasions throughout session two, Rubens went out for a lap and returned to the pits almost straight away. This was a worrying sign, in my opinion.

When Rubens did eventually set a new time, it was only a P12 1:13:197. As the Brazilian crossed the line, Buemi knocked Jenson off his top spot.

The Swiss driver went faster still on his second lap and looked pretty impressive, it must be said.

With 40 minutes left, Rubens was unable to get higher than P12 and Jenson was holding on to his P2, despite tyre temperature issues.

Ten minutes later, not a lot had changed, as most of the field concentrated on long fuel runs. It was at about this time that the rain began to fall very softly. The track was officially classified as "wet" with 26 minutes left. However, the precipitation changed nothing and was too weak to even merit a change to intermediates.

With around 10 minutes to go, Rubens pulled himself from P19 to P7 as Webber’s P2 time relegated Jens to P3.

Alonso stole the show in the end with a lovely 1:12:314, but Rubens was able to spare his blushes and finish higher than his teammate in P3 (Rubens did this with a 1:12:459). Jens ended up in P5.

As I said earlier, the end times do not represent the general pace throughout Practice Two. Although Rubens eventually finished higher than Jenson, the Brit had been in the top three for almost the whole session. Conversely, Rubens had struggled and only raised himself in the last 10 minutes or so.

I think Friday's practice has shown that the Red Bulls will be quick, but that the Brawns may well challenge them with a good set up. Both cars struggled with tyre temperatures, but they both finished in the top five. We’ll know more by the end of tomorrow, but Sunday should undoubtedly be great!


Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps

1 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:12.314 27

2 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:12.357 0.043 45

3 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:12.459 0.145 38

4 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:12.514 0.200 41

5 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:12.523 0.209 45

6 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:12.605 0.291 37

7 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:12.611 0.297 45

8 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:12.633 0.319 42

9 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:12.720 0.406 35

10 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.749 0.435 39

11 8 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:12.806 0.492 27

12 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:12.862 0.548 39

13 10 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 1:12.869 0.555 40

14 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:12.929 0.615 41

15 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:12.948 0.634 38

16 21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:12.950 0.636 36

17 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.992 0.678 39

18 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:13.026 0.712 42

19 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:13.041 0.727 40

20 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 1:13.275 0.961 38