Today was a completely extraordinary qualifying session with many of the biggest names in F1 failing to make the cut for the top ten shootout and Giancarlo Fisichella giving Force India, F1’s lowest budget team, it’s first pole position. Fisi acknowledged that perhaps the rabbit he hit in the morning session, which broke his front wing, may have brought him luck!
Jarno Trulli was second with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld third.
Of the the main title rivals, Rubens Barrichello is the best placed in fourth place, while his team mate and title leader Jenson Button was only 14th.
It was a day which summed up the 2009 season, where even the smartest engineers cannot understand why some cars are fast one day and slow the next; for sure it is to do with the Bridgestone tyres and how the compounds on a certain car on a certain day. Today the harder tyre was the fastest one and in the final part of the session we saw several drivers who had gone out on softs, aborting their first run and coming into the pits for hards.
The fastest car here this weekend over the long runs is the Red Bull. Vettel is 8th, Webber ninth and we will see how much fuel they are all carrying. They will be strong in the race, but so will Trulli. The Toyota lapped yesterday in the mid 1m 48s on long runs so it is as fast ans anything except the Red Bull. But Red Bull had engine worries today with Webber forced to change engine after the morning session.
Lewis Hamilton who was on pole in Valencia, could manage only 12th today.
For the man who is widely tipped to drive the second Ferrari at Monza and beyond, this was an amazing moment to show what he can do. Although maybe now he may feel he’s better off staying at Force India! Fisi was at pains to point out that so far he has had no contact with the Ferrari team. That may change now. “It’s a dream to drive for Ferrari, especially for an Italian driver. So far it is still a dream. But considering the result of today I’ve got to think about whether they are going to call me!” he said.
Luca Badoer, who is currently in the second Ferrari, had another disappointing day. He was again last, 1.5 seconds off the pace of his team mate Kimi Raikkonen. To compound his misery he crashed, damaging the rear left suspension. This surely spells the end of his tenure of this prestigious race seat.
Fisi’s pole was not out of the blue, in the context of the way the afternoon went. He and Sutil were fast all weekend and he was fast in the second part of qualifying, which gave the team confidence to believe that if they went aggressive on the fuel strategy in Q3 they could get a really eye catching result. And so it proved.