09 May 2009

The grid and weights

Going into qualifying, Brawn and Barrichello were confident of pole. Coming out, Button was surprised by it. Were those comments designed to affect Red Bull's strategy? Who knows, however, given the FIA's release of the weights of the cars, we can assess performance in final qualifying.

As usual, the grid is displayed below by row, with the odd numbers on the left (pole listed first) and with my estimate of first pit stop lap (based on fuel consumption figures from Williams) in brackets. KERS cars are highlighted in bold.

Front row: Button (16) Vettel (18)
2nd row: Barrichello (17) Massa (20)
3rd row: Webber (18) Glock (16)
4th row: Trulli (20) Alonso (15-16)
5th row: Rosberg (25-26) Kubica (22)
6th row: Nakajima (29) Piquet (30)
7th row: Heidfeld (29) Hamilton (32)
8th row: Buemi (30) Raikkonen (28)
9th row: Bourdais (26) Kovaleinen (21)
Back row: Sutil (29) Fisichella (20)

It is a 66 lap race, so 16 laps represents a straightforward 3-stopper, whilst 22 is the equivalent figure for a 2-stopper. However, given the apparent slowness of the hard tyre, expect some to have long stints on softs to avoid using hard tyres for more than they have to.

Given all that, expect everyone to start on softs, for Massa to lead into turn 1, for Vettel and Webber to pit on consecutive laps (their weights were identical). The top 8, plus Kovaleinen and Fisichella might all 3-stop, but nobody will 1-stop (if they did, Piquet or Buemi might start on hards, then use softs for 36 laps, which is surely pushing things too far).

Predictions for tomorrow's result in next post (expect it at 19:15).

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