The fuel weights have been published for the British Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel is in even better shape than he looked after qualifying. The Red Bull has taken a huge step forward this weekend and Vettel took the pole with four laps more fuel in the car than Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn. Vettel will stop on lap 23.
For once the luck was with him too, because his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber had set the fastest time after the first runs in qualifying, but hit traffic on his decisive lap in the form of Kimi Raikkonen, so the threat from him was neutralised.
Red Bull had two equally matched cars and drivers so they had to give one an advantage in qualifying and the other an advantage in the race. They have told the drivers that there are no orders at this stage, they are free to race. Webber was given the qualifying advantage by running three laps less fuel than Vettel, but he wasn’t able to convert that into his first F1 pole. This surely was his best chance of making that breakthrough, so no wonder he as so annoyed with Raikkonen.
Meanwhile Vettel’s main rival, Jenson Button suffered badly from not being able to get his tyres warmed up. Barrichello is more aggressive on the tyres and this hurts him relative to Button in the race (as we saw in Monaco) but is an advantage on cold days like today. Meanwhile it is clear that the Red Bull is able to warm its tyres up very quickly. We will see what that does to their longevity in the race tomorrow,
Vettel is in a position to dominate the race, from pole. The main areas of interest will whether Webber can get past Barrichello. He should do, he has the crucial extra lap advantage on the first stint which means if he is behind on the first stint, he can take on more fuel to leap Barrichello at the second round of stops. Button will be aiming for a podium, but might have to settle for fourth place, while the battle for points between Trulli, Nakajima and Rosberg, Glock and Raikkonen will be interesting. Nakajima looks the most vulnerable with only 17 laps of fuel in the car.
Pos Driver Weight (kg)
1. Sebastian Vettel 666.5 Lap 23
2. Rubens Barrichello 657.5 Lap 19
3. Mark Webber 659.5 Lap 20
4. Jarno Trulli 658.0 Lap 19/20
5. Kazuki Nakajima 652.5 Lap 17
6. Jenson Button 657.5 Lap 19
7. Nico Rosberg 661.5 Lap 21
8. Timo Glock 660.0 Lap 21
9. Kimi Raikkonen 654.0 Lap 18
10. Fernando Alonso 654.0 Lap 18
11. Felipe Massa 675.0 * Lap 27
12. Robert Kubica 689.5 * Lap 33
13. Heikki Kovalainen 695.5 * Lap 35
14. Nelson Piquet 682.5 * Lap 30
15. Nick Heidfeld 665.5 * Lap 23
16. Giancarlo Fisichella 668.0 * Lap 24
17. Sebastien Bourdais 687.5 * Lap 32
18. Adrian Sutil 692.0 * Lap 34
19. Lewis Hamilton 666.0 * Lap 23
20. Sebastien Buemi 672.5 * Lap 26