Belgium Grand Prix : Qualification and Race Preview
Finally the Formula One action returns after a three week holiday. This three week holiday also meant that more time for the teams to test their cars and develop them and in turn catch up with the high flying Red Bulls and the Ferrari.
After a long break we return to the Spa – Francorchamps circuit in Belgium and was a very emotional return for Massa who had to miss the last edition of this race as he was injured just before this race last season.
The Friday Practice Sessions
The Grand Prix started off with a very wet session in the morning and a dry session in the afternoon and both the sessions were topped by Fernando Alonso of Ferrari while Massa also performed well at the practice sessions on Friday. Lewis Hamilton missed out chances to top the sessions by a whisker but was very strong in the dry wet sessions and pushed his car very well to match the Ferraris and Red Bulls. While most of the drivers chose to conserve their tyres and reduced the number of laps citing a wet Qualifying and a wet race.
The Strategy for Saturday
The same was the case on Saturday where we saw a Wet and Dry practice session and a similar Qualifying session. But this time the Ferrari could not produce the magic that they did in the Friday’s session. It all came down to the tire conserving strategies and who conserved how much on the Friday’s session. The Ferrari’s did not conserve enough on Friday and they had to face the crunch on Saturday whether to take the gamble and use out their tyres and not
conserve for the Race Day or conserve for Sunday and loose track positions in the Qualifying. The Ferrari’s opted for the second option citing that this is one of the very few tracks where the starting track position does not make much of a significance. This fact was strongly supported by last year’s result where Kimi who started sixth from the grid and won the race which was very close and a race where we did not see any lappings!!
The Saturday was dominated by the Red Bulls and the McLarens in the practice session which also was evident in the Qualification session also. Championship leader Mark Webber was flying high and clinched the pole position with a timing of 1:45.778 in the Qualification and he was followed by Lewis Hamilton who was just .085 seconds behind him and lost out the pole position by a whisker.
Renault’s Robert Kubica also drove well to manage a third position finish with a timing of 1:46.100 and was followed by Sebastian Vettel who clocked 1:46.127 in Q3 and he was closely followed by Button for the fifth position and Massa for the sixth place.
Rubens Barrichello will start his 300th race on seventh position and will share the grid with Force India’s Adrian Sutil who has always done well in the wet situations.
Rubens’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg will start ninth and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso rounded of the top ten starters.
The second qualifying session was topped by both the Mercedes GP of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. The already bad weekend turned worse when Nico would be handed a five place penalty and Schumacher who was already handed a ten place penalty in the last race. Along with them Glock was penalised five grid places for impeding Yamamoto during Q1, whilst Buemi was penalised three grid places for impeding Rosberg
Toro Rosso Ferrari’s Jamie Alguersuari will start eleventh after he qualified thirteenth on th grid. Similarly Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Rosberg and Trulli will start twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth respectively.
While Buemi, Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Yamamoto and Glock will start sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth on the grid. Pedro De La Rosa who only managed five laps will share the grid with Schumacher on twenty second position and Pedro will be followed by Lucas Di Grassi and Vitaly Petrov in the last two positions. Petrov could not manage to put in even a single lap in the qualification after he crashed in his flying lap and the session was red flagged while the car was being cleared. Overall Lotus had a very good outing in a wet session managing a thirteenth and fifteenth position.
So Finally all we can say is an exciting race is on the way!!