Bahrain qualifying analysis, and then there were three! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Bahrain qualifying analysis, and then there were three!

Qualifying analysis - and then there were three!

BMW Sauber are very definitely taking the fight to Ferrari and McLaren this weekend, and Robert Kubica’s maiden pole in Sakhir has set the cat among the pigeons. All three teams have cause to be optimistic about the race, and though Ferrari seem to have an edge on pace for much of the weekend, McLaren know that the presence of the interloper may help them, especially at the start.

Make no mistake, this has the makings thus far of the best race of the season. Behind them, Toyota and Williams are ready to go head-to-head, and the fight for the lower midfield placings is going to be no less intense…

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 33.096, P1
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 33.737s, P6
A Pole on pole - it’s the dream headline. And Kubica deserved it, after pushing hard for the rest of the lap, despite big vibrations, after he flat-spotted a front tyre in Turn Nine. Even he admitted that he was surprised to set the fastest time after that. While he was celebrating, Heidfeld admitted that he drew no satisfaction from sixth place. He has struggled to get the most out of his tyres, and it may be that Kubica’s more aggressive driving style is making the difference.

Felipe Massa, 1m 33.123s, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 33.418s, P4
Ferrari didn’t see BMW Sauber coming, but the respective fuel loads will be interesting to discover on Sunday. Massa led Raikkonen all weekend and is on a mission to rescue his career after two bad opening races. He might be starting on the dirty side, but he is a fighter and he is determined, so watch out for fireworks in the first corner. Raikkonen has looked a little off the pace this weekend, and was still not 100 percent happy with his Ferrari’s balance. But he is going to be aggressive in the race, count on that.

Lewis Hamilton, 1m 33.292s, P3
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 33.488s, P5
McLaren might have got blown off by BMW Sauber and Ferrari (though we have yet to learn their respective fuel loads), but with third and fifth places, on the clean side of the grid, they weren’t exactly ready to slash wrists. In fact, Hamilton looked pretty content with his time and the balance of his MP4-23, and Kovalainen reckoned he got all out of his car that it could give. They still feel optimistic about their race chances.

Jarno Trulli, 1m 33.994s, P7
Timo Glock, 1m 32.528s, P13
Toyota were delighted with Trulli’s seventh place, which they believed was the best that they could realistically have aspired to. What made it even better was that they ran into an electronic problem on their fuel rig just before the critical Q3 session. Jarno said that the TF108 was well balanced, and was completely satisfied. Glock was not. He found it tricky with his final set of tyres in Q2, and lacked the confidence he’d had on his first run.

Nico Rosberg, 1m 34.015s, P8
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 32.943s, P16
Rosberg was much relieved that Williams were back on the pace, and was content with eighth on the grid as he did not believe the FW30 quite had what it needed to beat Trulli’s Toyota. He also believes that the Williams is a better race car than qualifier. Nakajima had to be disappointed with 16th after showing speed at times earlier in the weekend, and said he wasn’t able to get the best out of the tyres.

Jenson Button, 1m 35.057s, P9
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 32.508s, P12
Button aimed for a place in the top 10, and he got it. He and his crew worked patiently to balance the handling, and it all paid off with a starting position on the clean side of the grid, leaving him excited about his race prospects. Barrichello ran into a gearbox problem during Q2, without which he believed he would have joined his team mate.

Fernando Alonso, 1m 35.115s, P10
Nelson Piquet, 1m 32.975s, P14
Alonso admitted that he doubted he would get through to Q3 after Renault’s morning performance, but a raft of changes to his R28 made a big enough difference and gave the team the confidence to be aggressive in Q2. That paid off. Piquet has looked a lot more convincing again this weekend, but said that his final lap in Q2 was not perfect and was disappointed not to get through to Q3.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 33.194s, P11
David Coulthard, 1m 33.433s, P17
It didn’t happen for Red Bull this time, and the team said they knew it would be tough to get through to Q3 on this track. Webber said the RB4 just wasn’t quick enough to do it, whereas Coulthard said he was never as comfortable with his car’s balance as he had been on Friday, and had bad Q1 runs on both the medium and soft tyres. He thought his best lap was still good enough to get into Q2, until he encountered oversteer going into Turn 13, moved the brake balance forward to try to compensate in the final corner, but met the same result.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 33.415s, P15
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 33.562s, P19
Bourdais had the upper hand on Vettel all weekend, and was happier with his car’s behaviour than was the German. As a result the Frenchman made Q2 for the first time, and his team mate didn’t. One found a decent set-up, one didn’t. Simple as that.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 33.501s, P18
Adrian Sutil, 1m 33.845s, P20
Fisichella rued front brake locking problems which he was sure cost him his chance to get through into Q2. Sutil believed that the Sato red flag compressed the important laps of Q1 so much that judging the traffic in the final four minutes cost him whatever chance he had of getting through.

Super Aguri
Anthony Davidson, 1m 34.140s, P21
Takuma Sato, 1m 35.725s P22
Davidson finally got a decent balance on his SA08A, and was pleased that only a few tenths separated him from Sutil. But Sato was less satisfied after spinning his car into the wall on the inside of the last corner in Q1, and briefly bringing out the red flag.

David Tremayne
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 05:40 PM
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Ferrari were just too strong for the rest of the field! Massa drove very well and Kimi couldn't do anything about it! It really sucked for Lewis, but I guess you need to learn from all your mistakes!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Massa heads Ferrari one-two to revive title hopes

06 Apr 2008
Massa heads Ferrari one-two to revive title hopes

Felipe Massa needed a win in Bahrain, and all weekend he looked like a man who had come to get it. When the red lights went out at the start, he lit off from the front row of the grid, and that was all she wrote as he dominated in style for Ferrari.

BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica lost second place to Kimi Raikkonen on the third lap, and from then on, pit stops apart, it was an easy one-two for Ferrari.

The start also set the pattern for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. He was very slow away, and ended the opening lap in 10th place. Then he clobbered the back of Fernando Alonso’s Renault, and the resultant pit stop for a new nose put him into a cycle of running a heavy fuel load in traffic for the rest of a frustrating afternoon in which he took only 13th place and lost his world championship points lead.

In Ferrari’s wake, BMW Sauber showed that they had the speed to beat McLaren, Nick Heidfeld pushing hard after his team mate to take fourth place, having set fastest lap at one stage before Heikki Kovalainen annexed it during an undramatic drive to fifth in a McLaren that simply wasn’t fast enough.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli grabbed sixth and held on to it comfortably from Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Williams’ Nico Rosberg, who completed the points scorers.

Alonso survived his brush with Hamilton to take 10th place, unable to stay with ninth-placed Timo Glock in the second Toyota, and by the finish he had a hungry Rubens Barrichello breathing down his neck in the Honda. The Brazilian had earlier fought with and beaten fast-starting Giancarlo Fisichella, who took 12th ahead of Hamilton for Force India.

Kazuki Nakajima was a lacklustre 14th for Williams, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais and the battling Super Aguri teamsters Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato. David Coulthard was delayed in an early incident and finished 18th for Red Bull, ahead of Adrian Sutil in the second Force India.

Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel retired on the first lap with a mechanical problem following a bump from behind, while Jenson Button’s hopes were dashed by the need for a pit stop for damage repair at the end of the opening lap, and another after a passing move on Coulthard went drastically wrong.

The other non-finisher was Nelson Piquet, whose Renault succumbed to mechanical problems.

The result puts Raikkonen into the lead of the world championship for drivers with 19 points, ahead of Heidfeld on 16, Hamilton, Kubica and Kovalainen on 14, and Massa on 10. In the constructors’ chase, BMW Sauber lead with 30, ahead of Ferrari on 29 and McLaren on
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 57 1:31:06.970 2 10
2 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 57 +3.3 secs 4 8
3 4 Robert Kubica BMW 57 +4.9 secs 1 6
4 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW 57 +8.4 secs 6 5
5 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 57 +26.7 secs 5 4
6 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 57 +41.3 secs 7 3
7 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 57 +45.4 secs 11 2
8 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 57 +55.8 secs 8 1
9 12 Timo Glock Toyota 57 +69.5 secs 13
10 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 57 +77.1 secs 10
11 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 57 +77.8 secs 12
12 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 56 +1 Lap 18
13 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 56 +1 Lap 3
14 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 56 +1 Lap 16
15 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 56 +1 Lap 15
16 19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 56 +1 Lap 21
17 18 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 56 +1 Lap 22
18 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 56 +1 Lap 17
19 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 55 +2 Laps 20
Ret 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 40 Gearbox 14
Ret 16 Jenson Button Honda 19 Accident damage 9
Ret 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 0 Accident damage 19
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