24 April 2009

Practise makes perfect

Another Friday, another Rosberg fastest lap. One day I'll believe he's going to keep it going all weekend long. Actually, this is his last "best chance" as many teams are massively upgrading their cars for the next Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Morning session:
All cars ran between 15 and 24 laps, in a 90-minute session (which tells you how little traffic there was until the end). Hamilton put in a quick lap early on, which was never beaten (although it was on low fuel). The BMWs came in 2nd and 3rd, but on the softer tyres (and presumably also low-fuelled). Only 4 cars were more than 1.5 seconds outside Rosberg's time, with Glock, Alonso and the Toro Rosso's ending up in positions 17-20. Just over 6 tenths separated Button in 5th from Fisichella in 16th place.

Afternoon session:
Busier. Only 5 cars ran for less than 30 laps, with 3 drivers managing 37. Even closer spaced field, too, with Trulli in 3rd and Buemi in 13th 0.511s apart. Curiously, if the order were repeated in the first Qualifying session, then the back 5 would be the two BMWs, both Ferraris and Heikki Kovaleinen (all from last year's top 3 teams). How times change.

What we've learnt:
That the field is closer than ever, with Force India's improvements shunting them into the midfield (Sutil 7th in second practise). Tomorrow will be even higher pressure than usual, and anyone repeating Vettel's China strategy (1 run in each session) will find things very difficult, unless their car is much quicker.

My updated predictions for the race:
Win: Button
2nd: Barrichello
3rd: Vettel
4th: Trulli
5th: Glock
6th: Rosberg (I always fall for it slightly)
7th: Alonso
8th: Sutil (honestly, the field is so close, it could be ANYONE)

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