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Thoughts on how the Belgian GP may unfold
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Thoughts on how the Belgian GP may unfold
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Aug 2009   |  7:23 pm GMT  |  25 comments

Today was nothing short of extraordinary, with Giancarlo Fisichella taking the pole for Force India ahead of Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld and tomorrow should be a really exciting Grand Prix. A lot is likely to change from the top ten we have on the grid and any one of three or four drivers could win the race.

The pace of Fisi and the BMWs in particular caught out the Red Bull team who were competitive in Q2, especially with Sebastian Vettel and so went for the slightly higher fuel load in Q3, as part of their standard tactic of countering the KERS threat from Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

Fuel adjusted, Vettel set the second fastest lap behind Trulli, but a mistake by Vettel meant that instead of being around where Barrichello is, P4, with a great looking strategy, he is in P8 with some work to do. Judging from the long run times in Friday practice the Red Bull is easily the fastest car in race trim. But Vettel has to attack at the start and try to make up as many places as possible if he is to try to challenge for the win tomorrow.

Barrichello will fight Trulli and Raikkonen for the win. The Brazilian has a bit of a compromised strategy, pitting on lap 10, but the field will have spread out a lot by then, especially as many of the cars outside the top ten have put a lot of fuel in. Jenson Button has gone for a long first stint and like all the big names who are outside the top ten, he’s hoping for a safety car.

The Toyota was pretty quick on long runs and cannot be discounted while Raikkonen has the advantage of KERS on the opening lap so he should be able to get into a position to challenge. He has a great chance of getting Ferrari’s first win of the season

Pos Driver Weight (kg) First stop lap
1. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 648.0 11
2. Trulli Toyota 656.5 13/14
3. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 655.0 13
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 644.5 10
5. Kubica BMW-Sauber 649.0 11
6. Raikkonen Ferrari 655.0 13
7. Glock Toyota 648.5 11
8. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 662.5 15
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault 658.0 14
10. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 670.0 17
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 678.5* 20
12. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 693.5* 24
13. Alonso Renault 684.4* 22
14. Button Brawn-Mercedes 694.2* 24
15. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 697.0* 25
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 685.0* 22
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 704.5* 28
18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 706.1* 29
19. Grosjean Renault 704.7* 28
20. Badoer Ferrari 691.5* 23

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25 Comments
  1. Nick Pauro says:

    I can only hope you are right about Kimi! I am gutted McLaren got to a win before Ferrari… but I would like Trulli to go on and win it if Kimi can’t… he deserves a reward for years of trying hard only to see the sunday fall away… but then again, come on Kimi!

  2. We have three old drivers on first places. No one has a great career (Heidfeld never has won).
    But Spa is an opportunity to them. Althought I believe in Raikkonen’s win at race.

  3. Mark A. Stephens says:

    Kimi for the win… He will have superior speed down the straights and Kimi prefers fast tracks anyway!

  4. silverstoned says:

    If KR wins tomorrow he will surely be the undisputed King of Spa. A couple of words on his team’s judgement.
    A- Giving Badoer this drive is daft
    B- Kers was declared a failure by Domenicali not long ago. Now it is the saving grace for Ferrari [and McLaren] along with Kimi’s matchless ability when he is on it : another asset Ferrari appear not to value sufficiently.

  5. Radi says:

    I think
    Hamilton has a big chance as well. He needs to put KERS to good use and be in a position to make up some time being out 10 laps longer in his first stint before pit. I believe smaller teams overshot their strategy for PR reasons and they, including Barichelo, will fall behind halfway during the race.
    Regards

  6. hamilton fan says:

    Mclarens today seemed to have dropped behind. However, having seen the weights, it seems they are not in a bad position after all.

    Lets hope this year the Spa race is as good as last year’s.

    GOD FORBID FIA DOES THE SAME IDIOTIC DECISION TO STRIP A WINNER OF HIS WIN ON A POLITICAL GROUNDS.

    1. christiaan W. Lustig says:

      Let it go, just let it go. ;-)

    2. krad says:

      They went out in q2 though so they were on vapours, so the were actually slow

    3. Sam98 says:

      It wasn’t political!! He took an unfair advantage!!! Speaking as a McLaren fan, anyone with half an objective brain cell could see that before any investigation was announced. The antics at the start of this year only prove they were right to penalise last year.

  7. Red Kimi says:

    come one Kimi!!!!!!!!! get a clean start and get up to 4th or maybe 3rd by the end of lap one and you can win this thing

  8. Grabyrdy says:

    What you’re in effect saying, James, is that Rubens will be faster over the distance than his corrected time indicates, to bring him up to Trulli and Kimi. And you may well be right. I do wonder, though, why you count out both BMW’s. Both drivers are fast, so it’s not a one-off, and both are capable of winning. For Heidfeld, it would certainly be overdue. Maybe that’s the kind of weekend it’s going to be.

  9. Omar Kamal says:

    Even if Fisi was heavier on fuel, I wont bid on him. He isnt good on the long runs and always do some mistakes even in a winning car like Renualt in 2006. Anyway a point finish will be a fair result for him.

    Trulli and Heidfield have good chances as long as they are in the mood!!!!! If not, then it may be Kimi’s day.

    Weather will play a big role in such long track. It may help the big names starting from the middle of the grid

  10. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    I just see tomorrow unfolding to be a really weird race. For one, a number of drivers have said that the option tires were doing weird things, and now everyone knows that primes are the way to go.

    To me, Hamilton and the Red Bulls seem to be in the best position strategy-wise. To come out ahead of the Red Bulls, all the guys ahead of them will have to be going two seconds a lap quicker than them, and I just don’t see that happening with Red Bull’s long run pace. And while Hamilton is struggling in Sector Two, the car does seem to be quick on primes (his runs on option tires really weren’t good), and he’s going to run nearly double the laps of everyone in the top-10 save Rosberg (who he will probably nip at the start with the KERS boost, anyways).

    Of course, if there’s rain, that could change everything for everyone.

    1. Thomas says:

      While Red Bull thoretically have a lot of pace, their car has proven to be very aero-sensitive over the year. With the low starting position will suffer from field spread and be held up by slower cars. Also the kers-equipped cars are unbelivably fast in sector one, I’m thinking they’ll get in the slipstream up eau rouge and then do the pass on the straight following.

  11. JD says:

    Is Vettel the only driver from Red Bull?

    The lack of respect Mark Webber gets from the european media is staggering. If he was from the UK he would be getting alot more respect.

    1. Sam says:

      Well, he was on p8 and has a better chance of scoring a podium or a win which is why James mentioned him. Recently, that European media has compared Mark Weber to Nigel Mansell.

      It is ridiculous that some people expect James to mention their favorite driver every time he blogs.

    2. Z says:

      yawn. webber has been outperformed by vettel even after he made a mistake and is heavier on fuel. and he is “bemused”. forgive the world for not putting webber in headlines.

  12. LeighJW says:

    If everyone gets through the first corner this should be a classic!

    Do you think Jenson would risk a one stop? If anyone can make the soft tyres last a whole stint it is the Brawn (but will the softs be fast enough for a long stint?) He could start on the softs and then finish on the others.

    I fancy Kimi for the win and a surprise BMW podium.

  13. Peter says:

    I would bet on Kimi- as he is the King of Spa in my opinion – if he can make up a few places at the start. However the first straight is not long enough. Barichello or Trulli for the win and Kimi for a podium finish.

  14. BrightMinds says:

    I think we’ll see another Suzuka 2005…

  15. Martin Collyer says:

    James, what is the BMW long-run pace like, Nick Heidfeld looks well placed with a sensible fuel load?

    To JD, I respect Mark Webber, I don’t know about ALL of the British press, never mind the rest of the European, but Autosport and F1 Racing seem to like him.

  16. Carl M says:

    I think Barrichello will win followed by Kimi.

  17. Erik Cramer says:

    On Brazilian tv comments were made during the race about an investigation of Piquet´s crash in Singapore. Did Briatore order him to crash at a predetermined place and time to bring out the SC. Anybody have any info on this?

  18. LynnD says:

    Looking back on this now James – it was a fairly hefty mistake to leave Fisi out of it wasn’t it? Were you expecting his race pace to be a problem, or expecting a very early stop?

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