| | Qualifying - Fisichella gives Force India first pole in Belgium
f anyone tells you Formula One racing is predictable, they weren’t watching at Spa on Saturday as Giancarlo Fisichella took pole position for Force India ahead of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld. Yes, you read that right. In one of the best qualifying sessions of the year the times in Q1 were separated first to last by only 1.8 seconds, in Q2 by eight-tenths and in Q3 by one second.
Fisichella had already been quickest for a while in Q2, but his 1m 46.308s had everyone gasping, especially when Trulli, who has been fast all weekend, came up short with 1m 46.395s as he edged out Heidfeld’s 1m 46.500s.
Rubens Barrichello was the first of the four championship contenders in a fourth place for Brawn (1m 46.513s) which showed how much trouble team mate Jenson Button was in down in 14th. Robert Kubica put the second BMW Sauber into fifth with 1m 46.586s, followed by Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 46.633s for Ferrari. Then came Toyota’s Timo Glock (1m 46.677s), Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in their Red Bulls (1m 46.761s and 1m 46.788s respectively), and Williams’ Nico Rosberg (1m 47.362s).
A bizarre Q2 brought nasty shocks for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, Renault’s Fernando Alonso and Brawn GP’s Jenson Button, as they qualified 12th (1m 45.122s), 13th (1m 45.136s) and 14th (1m 45.251s) respectively, sandwiched between 11th fastest Adrian Sutil in the Force India (1m 45.119s) and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen (1m 45.259s). Then there was Fisichella going fastest for a moment, until being pushed down to fourth by Trulli, Kubica and Vettel. What was going on?
Q1 had already been a cliffhanger for both Button and Hamilton, and the latter was probably saved when Ferrari’s Luca Badoer spun on his final run and thus brought out yellow flags that hampered Renault’s Romain Grosjean.
Sebastien Buemi was the first man to get the chop, qualifying 16th for Toro Rosso on 1m 45.951s ahead of team mate Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 46.032s, Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima on 1m 46.307s and Grosjean on 1m 46.359s. Badoer was last again, on 1m 46.957s.
So we have the most topsy-turvy grid of the season, and a race that could be anyone’s. Formula One racing at its best, on a great circuit! Never have the fuel weight figures been so eagerly awaited…