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Hamilton storms to pole in all-McLaren front row
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Hamilton storms to pole in all-McLaren front row
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Aug 2009   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  16 comments

Lewis Hamilton took his first pole position of the season and the 14th of his career at Valencia today, beating his McLaren Mercedes team mate Heikki Kovalainen into second place. Rubens Barrichello was third for Brawn GP. Sebastian Vettel was fourth with Jenson Button fifth. The other title contender, Mark Webber was down in 9th place.

Hamilton tacked the session with great confidence, doing only one run and saving a set of tyres in the second part of qualifying. He said afterwards that it has been a long time since he had the car to do this.

But he was under pressure from his team mate. Hamilton set the pole time on his first run in the final session, with Kovalainen. Unusually, neither driver improved on their second runs; Kovalainen was on target to beat him until he made a mistake in the penultimate corner and Hamilton aborted his second lap because his time was not under threat.

Barrichello has been faster than Button all weekend and it was no real surprise that he was ahead in qualifying.

Sadly it was also no great surprise that Ferrari stand-in Luca Badoer qualified in last place. The Italian has not driven a car this year and has never been to the Valencia track before. he has been off the pace all weekend, but the margin in qualifying was far greater than anyone expected. He was 1.5 seconds slower than the 19th placed driver Jaime Alguersuari, who went through a similar challenge without any testing at Budapest last month, but was far closer to the pace. Badoer was also 2.6 seconds slower than team mate Raikkonen.

It is hard to imagine how Ferrari can keep him in the car for Spa unless he has a towering drive tomorrow surging through the field.

At least he has KERS. The device is very important here, McLaren say it is worth 4/10ths of a second per lap. Their system didn’t work Friday with some new experimental parts in it, but it worked fine today with old settings.

As for the other rookie, Romain Grosjean, he was very strong in Q1 but ended up in 14th place.

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16 Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Isn’t that the first KERS pole position? Certainly the first one two.

  2. Sam98 says:

    So the speculation starts again…. who could Ferrari put into the car in Spa? It’s hard to imagine them giving Gene a chance as it could become embarrassing to find two test drivers so far off pace.

    Davidson? Wurz? Coulthard???! What’s options do they actually have James, or it a case of if they really want it they could make it happen?

    As an aside, the FIA’s timing screen abbreviation for Badoer was somewhat unfortunate. However apt, no one wants to be labelled ‘BAD’!

  3. David says:

    Fabulous achievement by McLaren, given how far off the pace they were for the first half of the season. Badoer just awful – please Ferrari, give Anthony Davidson a chance to show what he can do.

  4. artorwar says:

    Good work by them Silver cars today, really good to see Kov up there as well, I think he has a lot to get out of himself in terms of performance and I look forward to seeing it, it can’t be easy riding shotgun to someone like Ham. Fantastic afternoons entertainment and whats more I think young Romain did a stellar job as well, didn’t set the place alight but was solid and has already lived up to Piquet. I’m just down the road from the circuit with no ticket, and I can tell you its damn hot here now, expect tomorrow afternoon to be a scorcher!

  5. PT says:

    James,

    To all your critics who thought you were too quick to suggest Badoer wasn’t up to it and to those who thought Ferrari shouldn’t have jumped at the chance to have Schumacher back… You only have to look at today’s results to see that these defences were sadly but ultimately proved worthless.

  6. Drezman says:

    Ferrari not having a driver program is strange but guess that they feel they are the prize and don’t need to bother.

    Badoer has been further off the pace than expected and his race seat now smacks of a ‘going away present’ when his testing contract is not renewed.

    Lewis is back to his bouncy, cocky self and Haki obviously took Whitmarsh’s comments on board.

    Button wearing a flack jacket (bullet proof vest) all weekend, what’s that all about LOL.

    At least we’re racing, hate these long breaks!

    1. Red Andy says:

      Ferrari do have a young driver programme, but it is still very much in its early stages and none of the drivers are really senior enough to make the step to F1 yet. The most senior is Mirko Bortolotti, who has shown promise in F2 but isn’t ready for F1. Obviously Ferrari weren’t expecting to lose one of their drivers so soon.

  7. Carl says:

    Good clean lap from Hamilton but he’s abit light on fuel. Kimi lines up 6th on the grid, most that coud of been expected. 3rd place would be a good weekend for him. As for the race win, I think Rubens Barrichello will take it.
    1. Barrichello
    2. Hamilton
    3. Button

    1. Carl M says:

      I won £13 on Rubens winning the grand prix, off £2. Called it right, but for Button.
      Kimi Raikkonen brilliant drive. If ferrari don’t want him then plenty of teams will, be good to see him at Mclaren again.

  8. Williams4ever says:

    Hamilton’s McLaren weighed in at 653kgs, two less than team-mate Kovalainen, who was also using the slower of the two McLaren chassis making the fact that he was just 0.034s slower than Hamilton rather impressive.
    >> Thanks Mr. Whitmarsh,all the noises of Driver equality that you were making,made summer break entertaining, like it is in F1 the days between the racing weekends are more entertaining :D

    1. hunnylander says:

      Hamilton’s McLaren weighed in at ca. 653kgs at his pole lap. It was run on his first stint, early of Q3. Also he aborted his final flying lap (to save fuel) because it became redundant as no-one beat it, but he was half a sec faster at sector 2.

      How you know which Mac is faster? Kov is surprisingly faster compared to himself. Shorter wheel-base has disadvantages too. Heikki has given a race winning tech improved further, so shut up and drive! He isn’t the WDC and No. 1 driver of the team to have privileges.

      1. hunnylander says:

        Typo there.

        Hamilton’s McLaren weighed in at ca. 663 kgs, as 2.7 kgs / 1 lap and he did 4 laps after his pole lap

    2. TinyJim says:

      Don’t forget Hamilton’s pole lap was on his first run where he was carrying 3-4 laps MORE fuel that what he weighed in at!

    3. Pay The Piper says:

      From the post qual press conference:

      JA: We’ve heard quite a bit about spare parts from McLaren over the last couple of days, in fact the last couple of races. Have you got everything that Lewis has got now?

      HK: In fact I would have everything if I wanted to take them, but because the parts arrived a bit late, the factory was just not able to push any more. Everybody has been stretched over the maximum in fact, to get all the pieces, so it was always a plan that Lewis would run them on Friday and I would get them perhaps for the Friday afternoon. But because everything was delayed and we had a very good balance yesterday, we decided not to run the new parts because you never know, you might lose confidence on Saturday morning which you really don’t want to do. So in fact it was our decision not to run them but I think I would have had them and the team would have given equal opportunity for both of us, so no problems on that side.

      >> But don’t let the facts, or the incredible hard-work of others stand in the way of letting you indulge in some defualt-mode internet-comment snark ;)

      1. James Allen says:

        Thanks for the cynicism, but I do not conduct that press conference.

        I only do the TV questions immediately after the qualifying and the race.

      2. Pay The Piper says:

        Hi James,

        We are almost of the bottom of the page, and this thread will soon disappear not long after the race, but just to clarify, no cynicism intended my previous reply, it was intended as anti-cynicism to the original poster.

        The rate of development has been astonishing I feel, and McLaren operating a continuous stream of freshly minted parts, straight from the bench, for both drivers, arriving at numerous times over a weekend has been utterly astonishing.

        But thankyou for the correction on the Press Conference … ooh, that must be some union that you guys have (joking). Cheers.

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