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Brawn GP look hot in Abu Dhabi Practice 1

Patrick AllenAnalyst IOctober 30, 2009

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 30:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Brawn GP prepares to drive during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on October 30, 2009 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

As we head to the final round of the 2009 Formula One season, I’m gutted that I’ll miss the second practice session! Especially as Jackie Stewart will be co-commentating!

However, as the likes of Vettel and Rubens know, not everything can go your way in F1, and at least I’ll get to see Practice 3. Anyway, on with Practice 1.

Well, my first impressions of the new circuit are mixed. Much like the whole corporate crap that comes with Singapore, I’m supremely turned off by the very money orientated aspect of this track.

Yes, you need loads of money to stage an F1 weekend, but I can’t help but think the whole thing seems particularly superficial (but saying that, Monaco only seems different because of its history). I must admit, the track itself does look pretty attractive though.

Mark Webber was the first man out to try the new track for real (as opposed to on an X-Box!). It took three minutes for us to get a first look at the new World Champion on the black stuff, followed four minutes later by his teammate.

Alguersuari eventually set a first time of 1:50:886 and despite expectations of lots of running (to get to know the track), the early stages of P1 were as quiet as anywhere else this season.

In fact, it took a further 10 minutes just to get two times on the board. With 30 minutes gone, there were five times up, and Buemi was at the top.

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With just 51 minutes to go, the closest thing we got to a Brawn Driver time was Rosberg, who now occupied the top spot with a 1:46:117.

The man he looks likely to replace began his day in P15 of 15. However, Rubens’s second time of 1:48:508 took him from P17 back up to P15, which wasn’t too bad early on.

Jenson’s 1:50:601, with 44 minutes left, stuck him in last place. But he soon climbed to P10. The Brit had a small spin going into turns 18 and 19 but he still looked as if he’ll be a fast one this weekend.

A 1:46:276 from Rubens got him nicely up to P11 and rather conveniently with 36 minutes left the three prospective Brawn GP drivers lined up P9 (Rosberg), P10 (Jenson), and P11 (Rubens).

After returning to the pits and undergoing pretty thorough set up changes, both Brawns rejoined the action. With 20 minutes left, Jens rose first to P8, and then to P1 with a 1:44:524.

The next four laps couldn’t have been more perfect for British, or erm ...cough ... Swiss and Monacanese fans, (or whatever the hell you call a person from Monaco). Jenson and Hamilton traded pole position before Lewis finally put in a time that would eventually earn him top spot for the whole session.

With 12 minutes to go, Rubens began his climb up the standings. He first went to P10, then P4, before finishing in P3 with a 1:44:207.

It stayed as McLaren, Brawn, Brawn right up until the dying seconds when Vettel popped up to split Jenson and Rubens.

As I said earlier, I’m gutted that I’ll miss P2 as P1 was a good’un for Brawn GP. However, that’s some great news for me to take away. Many commentators see this as Hamilton’s race to lose, but if P1 is anything to go by, he’ll have stiff competition from the Brawn boys.

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps

1 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:43.939 18

2 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:44.035 0.096 20

3 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:44.153 0.214 28

4 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:44.207 0.268 23

5 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:44.667 0.728 23

6 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:44.687 0.748 32

7 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:44.688 0.749 14

8 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:44.805 0.866 25

9 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:44.955 1.016 33

10 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:44.958 1.019 25

11 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:44.988 1.049 22

12 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:45.123 1.184 20

13 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:45.649 1.710 27

14 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:45.679 1.740 25

15 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:45.704 1.765 27

16 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:45.865 1.926 23

17 21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:46.239 2.300 22

18 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 1:46.267 2.328 26

19 10 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 1:46.364 2.425 28

20 8 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:46.411 2.472 27

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