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Qualifying - Barrichello rises to the challenge in Brazil

I DVR'd the qualifying and recording stopped in Q 2, shoot.

17 Oct 2009
Qualifying - Barrichello rises to the challenge in Brazil
The Official Formula 1 Website

Qualifying top three in parc ferme (L to R): Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1, second; Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Brawn Grand Prix, pole position; Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, second. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 17 October 2009 Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 17 October 2009 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 17 October 2009 Alan van der Merwe (RSA) FIA Medical Car Driver. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 17 October 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari F60 spins in Q1. Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 17 October 2009

Thunderstorms had been predicted for Interlagos on Saturday, and the forecast proved devastatingly accurate as heavy rain turned qualifying into the longest session ever held in Formula One history. It began at 1400 and ended two hours and 41 minutes later!

Along the way it left luminaries such as Brawn GP’s Jenson Button down in 14th, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in 16th and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in 18th, as Rubens Barrichello did his title hopes a power of good by grabbing pole position for his home race.

For a while it seemed there might not even be a qualifying session, and that it might have to be postponed until Sunday morning.

The weather had relented slightly at the start of Q1, and Vettel initially set the fastest time and Ferrari’s Giancarlo Fisichella went second. But the luckless Italian half spun in Turn One and blocked the track. Out came the red flag. When things were restarted there was a moment when the track was marginally better, and that was when the quick times were set, but Vettel was not able to take advantage of that moment, and his eventual 1m 25.009s made him the first man who failed to make the cut. Starting in 16th place, his championship chances seemed all but over barring a miracle.

Neither of the McLarens made it, either. Heikki Kovalainen was 17th on 1m 25.052s, while Lewis Hamilton spun away his chances on fresh Bridgestone full wets and will line up 18th on 1m 25.192s. BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld never got it together either, and was 19th on 1m 25.515s, with Fisichella last on 1m 40.703s.

The moment Q2 began there was another red flag after Vitantonio Liuzzi, following close behind Raikkonen, aquaplaned on a huge puddle on the pit straight, hit the pit wall, then clobbered the outer wall in Turn One backwards. Exit one Force India with seriously deranged suspension.

Then we went into a hurry up and wait situation. Out went Alan van der Merwe in the medical car to do a track inspection at 1530. Too wet. Out he went again at 1545. Too wet. At 1600. Same answer. No, wait. It was light outside. The horizon was visible again. A restart at 1610!

It proved to be the undoing of Button, who had earlier in the week ventured the opinion that qualifying matters less here than normal. He stayed out too long on his full wet tyres and wore them out, and admitted later that he should have switched to intermediates.

Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi continued his impressive progress on his debut, only a long slide stopping him getting through to the top 10, but a 1m 21.960s lap, and 11th place for his first Grand Prix, was impressive. Behind him Jaime Alguersuari lapped his Toro Rosso in 1m 22.231s for 12th ahead of Romain Grosjean on 1m 22.477s for Renault and Button on 1m 22.504s.

That left Q3, which was the only session to run to its intended 10-minute schedule. This proved a gripping one, with the fastest time changing hands between Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi, Barrichello, BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica, Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, Williams’ Nico Rosberg, Barrichello again, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Webber again, then finally Barrichello. And further down the timesheet, the order was changing lap by lap too.

In the end Barrichello’s 1m 19.576s beat Webber’s 1m 19.668s, with Adrian Sutil sprinting up to third for Force India right at the end on 1m 19.912s.

Trulli’s 1m 20.097s left him fourth, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari on 1m 20.168s, Buemi on 1m 20.250, Rosberg on 1m 20.326s, Kubica on 1m 20.631s and Kazuki Nakajima in the other Williams on 1m 20.674s. Fernando Alonso was 10th overall for Renault, with 1m 21.422s.

So that was a remarkable, prolonged qualifying session. The forecast is for better weather on Sunday, with the possibility of showers rather than thunderstorms. Vettel, for one, will be praying for more rain to increase the likelihood of a race of attrition. Button, 14th with his team mate on pole, will just be praying.
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Rubens on pole after rain causes havoc

F1 | ITV Sport

Rubens on pole after rain causes havoc

Saturday, 17 October 2009 20:54

Rubens Barrichello picked the perfect moment to claim his first pole for five years for his home Brazilian Grand Prix after the title challenger brilliantly emerged on top of an amazing qualifying session massively prolonged by torrential rain.

The local favourite made sure he fully capitalised on a disastrous afternoon for Brawn team-mate and points leader Jenson Button, the Briton’s hopes of clinching the title this weekend suffering a huge blow after he qualified down in 14th.

Button, who needs to finish third on Sunday to be sure of avoiding a nerve-jangling final-race showdown in Abu Dhabi, paid the price for not switching to intermediate tyres in improving conditions towards the end of Q2 and failed to make the top 10.

The third title challenger Sebastian Vettel meanwhile – who must finish at least second on Sunday to have any chance of staying in the hunt going into the final race – suffered what is surely a terminal setback to his hopes after he fared even worse than Button and missed Q2 altogether, the German to start directly behind his rival in 15th.

Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, however, enjoyed far better fortune in the tough conditions and claimed a place alongside Barrichello on the front row, with Adrian Sutil again starring on a wet track to net a fine third for Force India.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli was fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen made a late improvement to secure fifth for Ferrari ahead of the impressive Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso).

Button and Vettel’s respective struggles were the headline stories from a remarkable qualifying session which was eventually completed almost three hours after Q1 had initially got underway.

The abysmal wet conditions that had struck final practice earlier in the day continued into the start of the scheduled hour-long session and although qualifying did get going on time it was clear from the outset how tough conditions were, with pools of standing water on the circuit and several rivers running across the track.

It only took four minutes for a driver to demonstrate how difficult things were going to be when Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaned at the bottom of the Senna S and stalled his Ferrari on the racing line.

The stranded Ferrari brought out the red flag and led to a first 14-minute delay as race control waited for the rain to ease slightly and the increasing standing water to clear.

When Q1 did eventually resume, Vettel – who had set the initial pace in the heavy rain of the opening minutes – struggled badly for speed and tumbled down the order, RBR having opted to keep its RB5 running with dry-weather downforce settings in anticipation of a dry race.

However, after failing to set a quick enough time with his early Q2 laps after getting caught up in traffic, Vettel lost his window of opportunity as the rain began to intensify again towards the end of the 20 minutes.

Both McLarens were experiencing similar problems and joined Vettel in shock Q1 eliminations, the MP4-24’s inherent downforce problems fully exposed once more in the wet.

The worsening conditions meant the start of the second session was delayed by 23 minutes but no sooner had that got going when Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi aquaplaned on the main straight and, after sliding along the pit wall, careered backwards into a heavy impact with the tyre barriers.

The crash ripped the car’s two rear wheels off and littered debris across the run-off area, prompting race control to again throw the red flag.

This gave way to the longest delay of the lot as drivers and teams were forced to wait in their garages for a full 70-minutes as officials again waited for the worst of the horrendous weather to pass.

And just as when it looked in doubt that qualifying would be re-started at all after several track inspections, the skies finally improved and Q2 resumed in earnest.

After drivers completed their opening forays on the full-wet tyres, Q1 pacesetter Nico Rosberg was the first to switch to the intermediate rubber as a drier line began to appear and immediately began lapping quicker.

Most drivers soon followed suit, expect Button who missed the opportunity to do so and, having not set a quick enough time on the full wets beforehand, was never going to find enough time in the improving conditions to make the top 10 and duly dropped out in 14th.

Main title rival Barrichello crucially made it through to Q3 by the skin of his teeth in 10th position and then set about making sure he got as close to the front as possible to give himself the best chance of outscoring Button by the required five points if he is to stay in the title hunt.

With the track conditions continuing to improve, all 10 cars stayed out on track for the whole of Q3 which ensured provisional pole changed hands almost by the second.

Barrichello twice hit the front, but looked set to be denied by a final 1m19.668s effort from Webber before the local hero sent the passionate local crowd into raptures with a final lap of his own of 1m19.576s

Sutil also found late speed to secure an equally brilliant third, with Raikkonen also improving late on to bump Buemi out of fifth.

Rosberg had looked a good bet to claim Williams’s first pole for over four years after topping the disjointed Q1 and Q2, but had to settle for seventh ahead of BMW’s Robert Kubica.

The second Williams of Kazuki Nakajima will start ninth ahead of more regular Q3 runner Fernando Alonso (Renault).

Kamui Kobayashi impressively kept his head in the elongated session to qualify a fine 11th on his Formula 1 debut for Toyota, indeed the stand-in for Timo Glock could even of had a shot of making Q3 had he not got out of shape through the Curva do Sol on his final lap.

The Japanese will start alongside fellow rookie Jaime Alguersuari who claimed the best grid position of his short career with a fine 12th in the second STR, with fellow rookie Romain Grosjean (Renault) to start one place back.

The disappointed Button had initially been set to start two places ahead of Vettel, but Force India's confirmation that Liuzzi will require a gearbox change following his nasty accident means the two title rivals start their race fightbacks from 14th and 15th.

Like Heikki Kovalainen and world champion Lewis Hamilton, BMW’s Nick Heidfeld was another to struggle in the conditions and the German shares the back row with Fisichella who could take no further part in qualifying after his early spin.

Brazilian GP starting grid

2. WEBBER Red Bull
3. SUTIL Force India
4. TRULLI Toyota
5. RAIKKONEN Ferrari
6. BUEMI Toro Rosso
7. ROSBERG Williams
9. NAKAJIMA Williams
10. ALONSO Renault
11. KOBAYASHI Toyota
12. ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso
13. GROSJEAN Renault
14. BUTTON Brawn
15. VETTEL Red Bull
17. HAMILTON McLaren
19. FISICHELLA Ferrari
20. LIUZZI Force India*

* five-place grid penalty for gearbox change
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