This is going to be close!
In Practice 3 this morning, Rosberg was fastest by a tenth, from Webber, Massa and Trulli, the three of whom were separated by a few hundredths. Then Trulli, Glock, and Vettel were all within six hundredths of each other.
The question mark hangs over Brawn. There is no doubt that their margin over the rest is not what it was in Melbourne, certainly as far as single lap performance is concerned. Jenson Button’s long runs yesterday were competitive, but he has been struggling with understeer in fast corners and today he’s losing time in the slow speed corners. He and Rubens may well have been carrying more fuel than the cars in front of them in that practice session, but we’ll really only find out this afternoon, where Brawn is relative to the rest.
At one point there was a plume of smoke coming out of the back of both Brawn cars, but it was just an overfill on the oil, nothing to worry about.
It will be a hell of a scrap between Rosberg and Webber this afternoon, both are capable of front row slots. The temperature is likely to drop as we get to 5pm when qualifying starts and the cars with extra downforce will benefit because they’ll be able to keep more heat in their tyres.
What we do know is that this is a very strong KERS track, so cars like Red Bull, Williams, Toyota and Brawn will not want to be behind the Ferraris, because they will never get past. KERS is believed to be worth between 3/10ths and 4/10ths per lap and is a major advantage tactically in the race, both defensively (relelling attackers) and offensively (passing cars).