F1 Winter Break
Malaysia thriller in prospect as big names misjudge Qualifying
Malaysia thriller in prospect as big names misjudge Qualifying
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Apr 2010   |  10:33 am GMT  |  165 comments

Ferrari and McLaren were left with egg on their faces after totally misjudging the weather conditions in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Their four drivers will start from the back of the grid after their teams held them back at the start of a rain soaked first part of qualifying.

They presented an open goal to their title rivals Red Bull and Mercedes, who took full advantage.

Mark Webber was the only driver to gamble on intermediate tyres in the final session and took pole by a big margin, with team mate Vettel third. Nico Rosberg did a great job to take second, his first front row start and a full second ahead of his rain master team mate Schumacher who starts 8th.

The session was full of drama. The track was damp at the start of Q1, but there was more rainfall during the session. So it was important to be out on track at the right time.

While Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel got on with it early on, both Ferrari drivers, both McLarens and Mercedes stayed in the garage. Unfortunately for them the track was its fastest in the first 10 minutes and the rain began falling more heavily as those cars went out on track.

Button and Schumacher were the first of those cars on track and just managed to get in, but Button subsequently aquaplaned off the track having set 13th fastest time at that point, meanwhile Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were forced to go for full wet tyres in an attempt to get into the game. They failed, Alonso having a lurid triple spin.

It was extraordinary that the leading teams should have misread the weather situation so badly, especially as the rain had been falling pretty consistently at that time of day all week.

“We got it wrong, we thought that first rainstorm was it, ” said Button. “I aquaplaned off and got stuck in the gravel. Very disappointing, strange session with both Ferraris and both McLarens off. I’m in front of three of my championship rivals, but behind others.”

The top teams’ misfortunes were good news for Virgin Racing and Lotus, who both got a car through to Q2. Kovalainen qualified 15th, with Glock 16th.

The second session challenged the drivers’ and teams’ tactical acumen. It started on a damp track but with rain forecast five minutes in. Most runners took a second set of intermediates, Red Bull went for full wets.

The Renault was handy in these conditions, with Kubica fastest in Q1 and second in Q2 as was Adrian Sutil in the Force India. Sebastian Vettel judged it perfectly and was fastest in Q2. The rain held off until two minutes before the end and the track was at its fastest in the few minutes before that. It was a question of being out there on the intermediate tyres with fuel in the car at the right moment.

Both Williams drivers made it through to the top ten shootout as did both Force India cars.

The decisive final part of qualifying was held in traditional Malaysian monsoon conditions. Robert Kubica cheekily drove around the queue of cars in the pitlane to get out on track first. But the session was stopped after three minutes before any of the cars had managed a lap.

At the restart, with seven minutes left on the clock, most drivers went for full wet tyres, Webber went for the intermediate. Initially it looked like the wrong choice, but on his second flying lap he took provisional pole and then found another 1.1 secs on his third lap.

Team principal Christian Horner confirmed that the decision to take the inters was Webber’s own.

Adrian Sutil qualified fourth and Nico Hulkenberg an impressive fifth.

1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:51.886 1:48.210 1:49.327
2. Rosberg Mercedes 1:52.560 1:47.417 1:50.673
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:47.632 1:46.828 1:50.789
4. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:49.479 1:47.085 1:50.914
5. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:49.664 1:47.346 1:51.001
6. Kubica Renault 1:46.283 1:46.951 1:51.051
7. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:50.301 1:48.371 1:51.511
8. Schumacher Mercedes 1:52.239 1:48.400 1:51.717
9. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:48.467 1:47.792 1:51.767
10. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:49.922 1:48.238 1:52.254
11. Petrov Renault 1:47.952 1:48.760
12. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:47.153 1:48.771
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:48.945 1:49.207
14. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:48.655 1:49.464
15. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:52.875 1:52.270
16. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:52.398 1:52.520
17. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:52.211
18. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:52.884
19. Alonso Ferrari 1:53.044
20. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:53.050
21. Massa Ferrari 1:53.283
22. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:56.299
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:57.269
24. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:59.977

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Woo hoo Webbo! Funny, fewer distractions means a faster Mark. Go figure.


What an intense qualifying session. The race is going to be a cracker for sure, with Hamilton stuck in a Ferrari sandwich down the back and a very interesting grid lineup in general. The start and in particular, the first few laps are going to be among the most exciting of this season.

Webber... go you good thing!!!


I agree the race will be amazing tomorrow, the Ferraris and the McLarens moving through the pack, hope that red bull dont have another mechanical.

oh and lets pray for more rain...then we will have a race to remember!


Incredible, Fascinaiting, Unbelievable ....weather( oh yes, and qualifying)


With Button, Alonso, Hamilton and Massa at the back of the grid, I can smell an interesting race unless they collide on the race start or heavy rains ruins it like last year!!!


What can i say... can't wait for tomorrow! It can not be anything else than exiting.


Can't wait for the race James!! IT'S GOING TO BE A BLOCKBUSTER! Most of the "big guys" at the back, will make it an overtaking festival out there! I just hope the weather will be dry tomorrow!!


What a shame!Such a good circuit has such big rain for two years in a row! Maybe they should change the calendar next year for Malaysia.


Great idea, and logical as well!



The only reason Australia and Malaysia are so late in the day is to keep Europe happy.

I live in Melbourne and having a race so late is weird. Theres now way Sliverstone will have a twilight race. TV more important than track fans.

Everyone knows its monsoon season in that part of the world. A late start will always be a wet race. May not be a bag thing?

James love your work on ONE HD


yeah they changed the date to be right in the monsoon season - a lil bit of rain can get things exciting, but in the rain season a called off race is always a risk!


The fast and furious ones starting from the back ann the probability of multiple waves of rain should bring out the lots of excitement and surprises in tomorrow's race. Hopefully, the rain tomorrow do not get too heavy to cut short the race.

Show time !!


I'm getting Japan 05 flashbacks already! Fingers crossed for an incredible thriller!


That would be immense!


One big problem: Kimi isn't there :(.


owmygod … two ferraris behind a virgin and both lotus cars!

Montezemolo is not going to like that 😀

This is going to be one hell of a race!


Why oh why do they time the qualifying and race in Malaysia so late in the day? I've holidayed there a number of times and you can almost set your clock by the daily 16:00 downpour! Obviously, it is to bring it into prime viewing time in Europe, but running it at a noral 14:00 would only mean that we'd need to be up for an 07:00 start. It's about time sensible planning went into F1 rather than doing the best thing for Bernie's pocket.


Absolutely correct, Richard. Actually I don't understand why he's even worried about making money any more, unless he wants to be the richest man in the cemetry!



Do you think this has happened by accident? Bernie knows as well as anyone that rain makes F1 more dramatic.


Sure, but it's no fun when the sessions/race gets red-flagged.



You are so right...it's not just the time of day, but the time of year. Malaysia should be the last race of the season, in early November. The rains have gone by then and its much, much cooler.


Could not agree more, it is ridiculous to have qualifying start at this time just so Ecclestone can maximise his profit.

I'm al for a bit of rain to spice things up but there's rain and there's rain and I suggest there is not a single F1 anywhere in the world who wants to see the race stopped as it was last year as a result of the precipitable rain and bad light.


The boys at McLaren seriously need to pull their fingers out.

That's two weekends in a row that their strategies have handicapped their drivers.

Too clever for their own good if you ask me.

We should at least have some decent racing, with Jenson, Lewis, Alonso and Felipe coming through the field, i wouldn't be surprised if they all score points.


lewis is gonna have the "drive of his life" again. I wonder who will ruin it for him this time?


They never handicapped their drivers at the last race.

Bridgestone came out and said that Lewis' tyres would not have lasted a race distance.

They also confirmed that Button's tyres were marginal and would have only survived 2 more laps.

Apparently Alonso's tyres were in the best condition.


marginal yes. but he didnt need to go any further with those tyres. he saw them through to the end and thats wat was needed. doesnt matter if they wud hav lasted only two more corners as long as he made it to the chequered flag first.



yes, but these are the tyres that LH changed.... They would never have made the finish (According to Bridgestone anyway!)


Bridgestones comments here for anyone who wants to see them:


Perhaps Lewis should be a bit less critical of the team, think first etc. His moment of madness was very Rubens rather than Schumacher-esq!


Hi James, First of all, great seeing you on "ONE" here in australia. really enjoy listening to your opinions on F1.

Great to see Webber bounce back after his home GP, How do you see the begining of the race tomorrow concerning with a few of the fast guys having to make there way up through the order? especially if it is wet?



"First of all, great seeing you on “ONE” here in australia"

Ho w do we Brits get access to this. Is there a live feed via the internet?


No but don't worry, ONE only uses the BBC feed & then has its own special coverage for the Melbourne GP in between sessions, for the rest of the year, ONE only broadcasts the BBC's coverage of Qualifying & the Race (no practice sessions grrrr) & even then its with ALOT of ad breaks.

+1 but James, great to see your commentary on ONE over the Melbourne GP weekend, the ONE guys occasionally get a bit excited with all the "headline" media stories so it was good to have someone there that knows how to sort the wheat from the chaff...


You might be able to get access via the net or through your cable tv provider.Check it out on the ONEHD website or call your cable tv provider. It is pretty good what we get over here. The only problem is too many commercial break in the middle of important sessions.


Leave our toys alone. 🙂

Looking at the One HD website there is nothing obvious, and I've seen nothing advertised during the telecasts.


..The same way us Aussies get access to all the excellent BBC coverage. You don't. (sorry, sore point for me)


Great to see Mark on pole. Mark has obviously taken my advice from a previous Comment to rely on his own judgment on tyre choice than wait for the team to make a decision.


don't you think james, that the reason why alonso and hamilton made the same mistake, it's because they are covering themselves up?

They see each other as the bigest threat, as prost and senna did.


So do we see Red Bull and Mercedes in the podium tomorrow? I was surprised by rain master Schumi being outqualified but as they said, it was all about the timing. Great call from Webber on the inters, so do we now expect most drivers to start calling the tyre changes just like JB in Australia? I think qualifying confirms that RBR do have the best downforce. McLaren's top speed was rendered useless by the rain. I'm pretty sure it's more rain tomorrow so I'm betting on Vettel who is quite the rain master himself.


Why don't McL just crank on more wing to gain more d/force? Maybe they think it's more important to be quick on the straights than in the corners.



I think there are limits on wing size on the rules and fundamentally the car is lacking downforce compared to the best in the field. Top speed doesn't hurt as it helps in overtaking, but overall teams want the best lap time, otherwise you are just defending from mid-field.


Do meteorologist get it right ever?

I have the impression that teams use meteorologists when they don't know what to do, only as a way of justifying a final decision. They could toss a coin, but it would look less professional.


The weather in tropical climates is hard to predict. The rainfall they get is not frontal like the rainfall which occured in Australia last weekend or indeed accross Europe.

Tropical storms can boil up in a matter of minutes and strike one place, but 5 miles down the road there could be no sign of rain at all. It's a tough one to call in tropical areas. Basically, all the weather men and women have to do all year is say "a chance of an afternoon storm" and they're more or less spot on.


But they shouldn't even have thought about making the call. With 15 or so cars out at the start of Q1, all McLaren and Ferrari had to do was follow the pack as soon as they saw them all lining up and post a time to get into Q2. Why risk waiting to try and beat each other, Red Bull or whoever in Q1? Makes absolutely no sense! This was Monza 2008 again with McLaren/Lewis messing about with his tyre choice.


Totally agree. It was Q1 after all and they only had to finish 19th or better. I could understand them taking this risk in Q2 but not Q1


james or anyone else well informed- so the top ten have to start the race on quali tyres yes? what if its dr tomorrow? assuming that it would be stupid to start them on wet tyres in the dry do they all gain an advantage by getting new tyres? or do they have to use some used tyres?


As Ben dz says. It's a safety issue.


so they do technically gain as they use brand new tyres. do they choose there compound they should be sent on practice slicks.


would be interesting if that were true, but no.

The rule for qualy tyres is similar to the rule for mandatory use of two tyre compounds... If a session is deemed wet then the corresponding tyre rule for qualy/race does not apply.


I am with Jordan here, what are they (Ferrari & McLaren) thinking?

It was no brainer to secure a lap, Q1 lasts very long for NOT doing it. All the money they spend on IT and simulations and fail on a very elemental judgment. Shame on them!

Anyway, at least we have a great race ahead of us tomorrow. FA, coming from the back, has to do it again all over again like Australia.


this looks like it will be a amazing race with lots of overtaking - can't wait to see Lewis going through the pack.


Good luck to you both


from 20th to 6th !!!!


Nice one


Hello James,

Fantastic blog as always! Really enjoy reading your articles.

Could you enlighten us more about Michael Schumacher? I mean what on earth is up with him?! He seems out of sorts.I know I may be expecting too much from him, given that he has been out 3 years, but this just doesn't seem to be like him.

His teammate's had the best of him for the past 3 races when it mattered most. I hope he still has what it takes to get back to his peak level -- the same way he bounced back after his injury in '99. It's just weird seeing him languish in the mid-field (bar 2005).


I'm no Sandshoe Fixer fan, but I wouldn't be surprised if he (and Merc) become more competitive as the season goes on.



Schumacher was quicker than Rosberg in FP2 & 3 in Australia and in FP3 this weekend.

It looked like he was going to have the beating of his teammate until qualifying was declared wet. Let's wait and see how he gets on in the race.


We might see an interesting race tomorrow, but in my opinion the race organizers have made a massive blunder (once again). They are the ones with egg on their faces. You can't have a Formula 1 race in a monsoon. You just can't. If the race gets red-flagged again someone will have to pay.

On a different topic, Schumi once again seems completely off the pace!


Bernie specifies the race start time. In fact, after last years race the track management released a statement suggesting the start be moved earlier.


Bernie should release his iron grip on F1 its bad for the sport in general. I honestly can't believe that all the teams haven't gotten together at some point in the past & bought the rights out from under him anyway, it would make more sense that they recieved ALL the money generated by F1 than one old guy [mod]



If it's red flagged again, I'll be seriously pissed off!

Last year they went against every better judgment but they could pretend they didn't know.

This year, they are just plain stupid to keep race that late.


Let's not take away Red Bull's good work along with Webber's great call to change tyres. It's good to see big teams at the back of the pack sometimes. As JA said in one of the articles that it is way too early to say that there will be no more boring races. Let's enjoy some thrill while we can. Even as a Ferrari fan i'm saying that it is McLaren & Ferrari's own fault that they misjudged the weather.


They have bought the race forward an hour this year


I know but it obviously isn't enough.


Ask Bernie ...


Button didnt get it right here then?? since hes been praised as a genius in making these decisions from the last raise.

Still looking forward to a good race though. Hope its not redflagged and finished prematurely. FIA shd really think about racing a bit earlier as they know it pours around evening time.


Well Jenson made it to Q2 Lewis did not so buttons timing was just fine. (had he not slid off he would have been looking good)


Hi James, what are the rules on cars queuing in the pitlane? I was surprised to see Kubica driving past the other waiting cars and was wondering if there's just a driver's gentleman's agreement to join the back of the queue or was this a case of mass-overtaking in the pitlane, which I would have thought was against the rules? I was surprised by Kubica's arrogant behaviour and hope there's some kind of punishment, otherwise all future pitlane queues will have to double up like Force India did to stop someone sneaking through again, which could lead to collisions when the lights go green.


The pit lane is as much as part of the race track as anywhere else. As long as you don't break the speed limit between the markers you're free to overtake at any point along it as I understand it. The only other limitation is the width of the lane.

Good move by Kubica. I don't really understand why others didn't line up behind him. It'd be a travesty if there was any punishment or regulation change to prevent it. Let them slog it out from the pit box to the first corner - it's the next best chance to pass after the start.

Maxime Labelle

It seems you can use this spot at the end of the pit lane if you perform a race start simulation, which Kubica did...


well it was an engaging show today wasn't it

luckily I didn't made any bets today

tomorrows race will be a cherry on top of the cake unless there will be another monsoon


Couple of thoughts here.

1. If we got a wet race tomorrow, we can officially name Malaysian GP as Wet GP.

2. Ferrari and McLaren should fire their weatherman. Ferrari seems extremely incapable of making right call during changing weather condition.

3. Really hope Sutil will not mess up his chance again.

4. Finally for Webber, you are in front now. Make it to the end like this.


Good thinking mate.

1: It's not Malaysian race organisers' fault that the weather is so bad. Bernie pushes everything to the limit for the commercial factor of F1.

2: Ferrari can't make it right in changing weather since Ross Brawn left. Likewise Ron Dennis for McLaren.

3: Yep, Sutil is always a worry.

4: Webber deserves this. People seem to forget that Red Bull is a strong him today because of people like Webber. He believed in Red Bull & stuck with them. Of course Vettel is a great young driver, but Webber is no monkey with the car either. I hope he wins the race as well. Reliability is always a concern though



I wonder if you can recall the largest qualifying margin 1st – 2nd in recent years.

Today’s margin would have to be close to some kind of record wouldn’t it?


I don't know about record gaps, but on a dry Spa track, Mansell was 2.2 seconds faster than second in 1992. I suspect the record gap is probably from an earlier era. In the fifties there were 9 minute lap times at some of the longer tracks. The Pescara race in 1957 had a two minute field spread in qualifying.


It looks like we'll have an interesting race now! Both of the Ferraris and McLarens are going to be fighting each other, and the rest of the field as they try and get into the points. I don;t see it being so exciting at the front, and won't be surprised if Webber runs away with it... until his car hold on anyway.


What a cockup by McLaren & Ferrari, this was, I believe, Hamilton's chance to grab pole and give us all a really good race at the front.

For once I agree with the BBC's Eddie Jordan. what both McLaren and Ferrari did today was utter arrogance and not befitting a top F1 team.

For sure we'll likely get some great overtaking during the race but I think 4 of the top 8 have no chance of winning.


Yeah but we all make some mistakes, even Eddy J, and I supose you have, too.



they were coverying each other, and got distracted while doing it.


What is arrogance in it ? Just like everyone does, they took a gamble which failed miserably, nothing else. To call it arrogance is kinda laughable.


Absolutely right Faisal. I don't understand why it is a big factor that two of the biggest teams made mistakes. We don't want Bahrain back anyway. I'm a life long Ferrari fan & I loved the qualifying. It took me over two weeks to get over the Bahrain misery. However, wet race always brings twists back into the championship. This is Red Bull & Merc's chance to get themselves back to the fight again. Even though Ferrari & McLaren are at the back of the pack, it doesn't mean that they are not going to score good points either. Wet race is anybody's game. I'm bloody excited


What were McLaren and Ferrari hoping to gain by not going out? It's only a gamble if there's the chance of an upside - do you see one? (I don't!)


Congratulations to Webber and the big boys at the back should make for some interesting overtaking tomorrow.

BUT why-oh-why can't they move the race back to a sensible time slot - surely that would mean that the weather would be slightly improved! And getting up at silly o'clock to watch a race is all part of being an F1 fan!

Another option, maybe move the race to later in the season...I guess we will never know what goes on in the minds of the decision makers!

Looking forward to the race none-the-less


I'm sure whoever gave the big teams the weather report was playing an April's fools joke!!! Priceless!! Lol


Great grid for tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the Barrichello/Schumacher battle from 7th and 8th. Those wise heads could well make good progress if (when) it rains again.

It's surely time to move this race earlier in the day though. Chances are we won't get a race distance out of it tomorrow!


"Ferrari and McLaren were left with egg on their faces"

I hope that wasn't an Easter pun 😉


Incredible that teams with such resources and such sophisticated approaches to strategies, etc. make such schoolboy errors.

A lot was made of Hamilton's comments last weekend and them hinting at Hamilton's immaturity. If the discussion was valid last weekend, it's interesting to note the tones of Alonso's and Massa's comments this weekend.

Worryingly for Mclaren, this isn't the first time this has happened and it adds to the list of strategic bloopers that they've made over the last couple of years. Reminds me a little of Monza in '08 and Brazil last year. Though in the latter, the strategy adopted once the safety car came out ultimately helped recover third place, it's difficult to fathom why they manage to consistently make life so difficult for themselves.


I totally agree that the top teams heve made very dreadful errors by trying to play clever...it is common sense that tropicall rainfall is unpredictable and it was outright silly or mediocre for the Feraris and Mclarens loosing close to first ten minutes of Q1 WHILE SITTING in their cars waiting for optimum conditions...i have been watching very keenly the way Mclaren run thier pits and from what i can gather..they have never left the pits on time during qualification and they always leave the drivers to do it the hard way...AND the only team that leaves the pit lane late as part of the stategy is Red Bull...but this time ..they sent Vettel/weber out early ...ANY WAY Roseburg and Schumacher have the potential to rob the Weber/Vettel pair certain victory on sunday..and we cannot rule out red flags caused by wet weather and colisions amongst the new kids on the block..


From an entertainment perspective, this could be an excellent quali result.

Having Hamilton, Alonso, Button, and Massa at the back, pushing through the field will hopefully be immense.

I fancy the McLarens to do better with the straight line advantage, although you can never write of Alonso.

A bit of a concern over the first few corners though - with some slower cars in front, I get the feeling that a couple of the big boys won't make it through in one pieice...


Thats what I was thinking. A Virgin Car infornt of a Mclaren and or Ferrari could cause massive problems


Not the first time the top teams have misread Malaysian weather. Remember Ron Dennis before Malaysia 2001 saying something like "all the data and wind direction indicates that we will have a totally dry race".


Hope truli have a good start tomorrow, and we'll get to see truli train again

Andy Thomlinson

That is a very exciting grid for tomorrows race and with more rain expected during the race it should hopefully be a very entertaining race.

James do you think they will throw the red flag out as quickly during the race as they did during Q3 today?

If they do I think the Alonso and Hamilton have a real chance of winning or at least a podium tomorrow as the spread of the field would be wiped out and any lead Vettel and Webber could build from a dry start will disappear.


It'll be really disappointing if the red flag does go out so easily on race day. It was premature this morning - it was very wet but at the moment the flag went out, not so wet the drivers weren't able to attack the track.

There is a point where it's undriveable but the guide has got to when the drivers are actually proving unable to drive on it. That wasn't the case this morning.


It looked like they put out the red flag to stop drivers setting a time before the real rain hit. The grid might have been very mixed if they hadnt - not a bad thing! But you can understand their fast decision under the circumstances.

As for the race, here's hoping we get to watch a full distance gp today.


Who makes those calls? Ex-drivers would be an ideal choice (I don't remember whether the Todt-appointed stewards make this kind of decision or not).


I still can't get my head around my they took that gamble. Had it paid off, so what? As long as you're not one of the slowest, Q1 times count for nothing.

If you've gone one of the top cars, just go with the majority and you've got an excellent chance not not being one of the slowest seven. Even if the majority are on track at the wrong time, in the wrong conditions, you're wrong together, and you can reply on the car and driver to beat the back markers.


The thing is it was not a gamble, everybody simply got it wrong apart from Webber (for once).

I honestly thought they were all going to go out on inters and was surprised when they did not. It stopped raining so why full wets? That is what I cannot get my head around.


From what I got out of it, their thought process was not so much "we only want to go out when it's optimal" but more of "if we go out early when it is not optimal, then we're going to get screwed when it IS optimal because our tires will be shot".

That's what I understood from the BBC commentary anyways.


I think we need to be careful sounding off about the race time. After Bahrain, everyone was justifiably whinging about what a boring race it was. Melbourne was a great race, due to the key ingredient of... rain.

So if holding the race at 4:00pm guarantees rain, then you are kind of guaranteeing an exciting race. I for one can't wait for it.

Oh and another thing... where are all the people saying Webber's past it or Webber can't drive. I know the race is on Sunday, but what a good job he did today. Go Mark!!!


It's basically what Tim already said...

The problem in malaysia is that when it rains, it rains HARD and we just don't want to see another red-flagged race.

Let us not forget Spa 2008 - what I believe was possibly one of the most exciting finishes to a race in a long time. The majority of the race was dry but then near the end it started to rain - this made for an extremely exciting finish as teams had to decide whether they wanted to pit for new tyres or not.

My point is that you can have a great race by having it rain near the end as opposed to for the majority of the race...especially if it's rain that could get the race red-flagged.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Intermediate tyres....not Webber genius.

Robert in San Diego

Idiot. Horner already said it was Webber's choice. Some people only read what they want to hear, Idiots!


Rain improves the racing no doubt about it. But having rain as early in the race as we'll probably see tomorrow, as heavy as it might be, means no racing. Which isn't much good!

If the bump everything forward by an hour, the chances of a mostly dry race distance would seem to increase dramatically.

Going to be great tomorrow, so long as they get in a reasonable number of laps without the safety car and before the heavens open.


just hoping for rain again.


I see trouble... bet Kobayashi runs into Schumi for the first safety car!! =]


Surely Schumacher is regretting his return by now - i have a feeling he may not see out the whole season and quit in a spectacular PR fireball.

And surely heads should be rolling at McLaren...?

Hopefully it stays dry for a great race 'cos a wet one will be chaotic and confusing!!!


Think of it this way, in years gone by Schumacher would have done as much running as he has in the last two races just in pre season testing, to get on top of the car. So using that yard stick he should only be coming up to speed over the course of the next race or two.

+ He has the added pressure of all the media & public "commentary" during this process. Give him a chance, its not like you just "forget" how to be fast, he's just learning all the ins & outs of how the new Cars/Tyres etc react in certain situations.

+ Rosberg is at the top of his game & has already said that he is learning new techniques to get the most out of the car by watching what the Schu is doing in the sister car...


Hi James,

It's certainly not the first time it has happened for the top teams when being arrogant with the weather and so - what was the strategic downside for going out at the beginning, putting a lap on the board, and then parking up in the garage into the last minutes of qualifying? It must be a huge downside.

I can't see any kind of downside to putting a lap on the board at the start.




saving tyres?


If Schumacher gambled on a wet weather setup (more downforce) unlike the others and if it is a full wet race, he could be a handful particularly if the start is wet, i.e., behind the safety car.

The reason why I am saying this is because he was much faster than Vettel during in sector 1 in the closing stages of Q2 but lost time in sector 2 due to a spin but his intermediate time was still marginally faster than Vettel.

Therefore, I won't write him off just yet.


james after bahrain everyone has been scratching heads as to how to make the show better. hasnt the weather here told us. everyone s expecting a great race tomorrow simply becos 4 quick cars are starting from the back and wet or dry they are expected to charge through the grid. so the solution is simple really: reverse the grid n voila - more overtaking!!


and forgot to add australia was superb becos the slight rain there had again given us a lopsided grid as well. alonso and hamilton charging their way through. great fun


I hope it rains (at list very little) in every race this year. That will keep us awake. Otherwise, Bahrain will be back soon again


Must be really tempting to gamble on a wet race and put in less fuel than is needed to reach the chequered flag on a dry track. Or will running very rich fuel mixtures be enough to keep the fuel consumption high when the lap times are slow?


absolutely el shish made a very good point it look like mclaren have a big brain damage how can anyone forget monza 08 and brazil 09 it's beyong belief ,at least we are in for a fantastic race finger cross


Really confused about Schumacher in qualifying. He seemed completely on the pace in the first two sectors but then lost huge amounts of time in the final sector of his last few runs.

His face said it all when he was going to be weighed. Im really baffled by him. It seems his new outlook on F1 has cost him half a second at least in pace. Wheres the ruthless Michael? He needs to kick himself up the backside. As a Schumi fan im really disappointed that the fact he is being outpaced by Rosberg doesnt seem to bother him that much at all.


I share your frustration on this one. It took me a long time to grow to like Schumacher but once I did I fully admired his brilliance behind the wheel, his ability to extract the maximum out of his machinery.

I fully expected him to excel today in the wet and it did not materialise. I think this was in part to not being on track with the right tyres at the right time and partly to do with his mental approach.

My own view is that he can be just as fast as he was before but he needs to be prepared to put himself out there completely on the edge. At the moment he seems to be driving very conservatively and well within himself - maybe for the first few races he just wants to get through them, get plenty of laps under his belt and score some points but we will see. The three years out must have had an effect of his mental approach - not only has he got older (which in itself has probably made him more risk averse) but also having left the sport he has probably had chance to reflect that he does not want to put himself on the line as he did in his first career in F1. I think Q3 today summed this up, the other drivers just seemed to be prepared to risk more whilst Schumacher appreared to be making sure he got round safely. Those drivers in their 20s and early 30s will be slightly more reckless in their approach and will be prepared to put themselves and their lives completely on the edge.

There has been a lot of Schumacher bashing going on, I think for a lot of people it is just a matter of taking the opportunity to belittle his earlier achievements. It is unfair. Everyone has to remember that he is 41 and is basically on the pace of others that are 15+ years his junior. How many of the current drivers do you think will be around at 41, still in F1 and be able to match the pace he is able to set? I can't imagine any especially any making a three year absence.

Michael is good for F1 - he has brought a lot of publicity back to F1. He is good for Mercedes too.

The Mercedes car is not on the pace of the front runners and is well behind the top three. Nico is doing an excellent job and all credit to him. Perhaps everyone (including myself) underestimated how fast Nico actually is. The final comment I will make is that Nico is clearly on top at the moment. There is only one way to go from there as I can only see Michael getting better as the season goes on as he is able to develop his car to his particular liking


great comment.

I am slow to judge his approach, though. He has done what he said he was going to do, and in that way he seems even more self assured than before. He knows what he is doing (in his approach to re-entering the fray), and for that reason, I find his comments on being able to fight for the championship next year, both ominous and encouraging.


Well said Ric. I agree with your view. Sooner or later Schumacher will be back at the front. Not only because of his age but also the cars & rules are completely different than what he is used to. 3 years gap in F1 is like eternity. The funny thing is if Schumacher was leading the championship at this stage people would've been bashing him even more. People would've been saying that the F1 is boring because the same old man is dominating again. Nothing is right for some. Still there is a long way to go in the season. I believe even with the 3rd best car Schumacher will be on the podium more than once this season once he gets the hang of the car/rules & able to develop the car for his own liking


"Mark Webber was the only driver to gamble on intermediate tyres in the final session"

Weren't Sutil and Kovalainen also on intermediates?


Kovy wasn't in the final session?


of course, if the track is flooding Sunday Webber will not survive the first lap.

So farthis year we've had two smartish calls on tyre changes: from Button and from Webber. None at all from Schumacher and Ross, which is a little surprising... We wait in hope?


"of course, if the track is flooding Sunday Webber will not survive the first lap".


They can start the race on any tyres they like tomorrow.


I really cannot understand RBR letting Webber go out on intermediates? All the major competition is on the back row and all you are doing is risking starting from 10th. The gain to loss ratio just does not factor.


In the words of one and only Del Boy of Peckham:

He who dares, wins!

That's why. 🙂


And about the same level of common sense as Del boy. You have the best car on the grid, everyone is on wets and you want to risk it all by going with inters, totally dumb. The case with Button was completely different, he had nothing to lose. Even if inters were better, you have by far the best car and all you need to do is not out smart yourself.


They don't have to start on the tyres they qualified on because it was officially wet. So if it's dry tomorrow, they can pick their dry tyres to start on.


I think Frankie was more concerned with the qualifying position. Webber on wets would probably have qualified top-3 anyway - why risk starting 10th?


It was his call. Mark is way back in the championship. Big gamble like this is the only way to close the gap with the leaders. Jenson's gamble paid off here in Melbourne. Now it paid off for Mark. Good on him & his engineer for judging the track perfectly. Even though it was raining like crazy the track was still warmer than Melbourne. It was still a little humid out there. I have been to Malaysia several times & trust me even the rain is pretty warm there. The grip level & tyre tempareture should be pretty good in inter even if it is like a ocean out there. Even as a Ferrari fan I'm saying it is Ferrari & McLaren's fault their genius people in massive payroll got it wrong. They got what they deserve for making that kind of calls. Simple as that


Oh,in remembrance of last year: besides the bubbly maybe the winners can sport a cone of vanilla ice cream as well in honour of the absent Kimi??


Ha! Maybe they could enjoy icecream in a white visor?


Good idea, Enrico.



That is quite funny!.

I can imagine everybody having an ice cream before the race starts (except the Ferrari people). That will be a nice touch.


This remind me of Japan 05,I think that was the year when Alosno and kimi started from the back and the race was great,a lot of overtakes.

I just hope there will be no accident on the first couple of corners.


Great qualifying, it should make for a great race. Very pleased for force india and williams, hope they can be in the hunt for a podium.


listens guys i really like the faith and everything about ms but you need to get real his done finitto over,good tv rating but that's it, so please dont go to the bookies yet, but u can still put something on rosberg, and that is the real deal for now.

David Jerromes

Great qualifying, looking forward to an exciting race tomorrow.

Really want to see Schumi shine in the race, especially if its wet which looks a high probability.

Congrats to Nico, good job!

Anyone's race tomorrow by the look of it; will Red Bull last the race or need wings to make the finish line?


Why is everyone bagging Schumi for? When he moved to Ferrari in '96 did he dominate straight away? No. It took a few years of hard work to get everything working just how he wanted and then he cake walked it. Now he is at a new team with new regulations and because he hasn't won everybody seems to think he is past it. There is the amount of testing allowed these days that there was back in his Ferrari days. Am I a Schumi fan? No. Kimi's my man. But we shouldn't hang him out to dry over two races and three qualifying sessions (especially yesterdays lottery).


Some people have nothing better to do mate. If Schumi came back & won races straight away & lead the championship some people will still find something wrong or boring about it. If he didn't win 7 WDC, then people would've been offering him Nobel prize for his great work so far this season. The season is still very long. Didn't we see him coming back to championship with 26 points adrift in 06? Even if he doesn't win any races this season, we must find a way to thank him for lifting F1 during such a tough time. Over the past few years the sport was hurt big time. Now most people seem to have forgotten all of those stuff thanks to Schumacher's return. Don't forget he is the biggest sporting personality in terms of donation & dedication as far as wellfare work goes. This guy donated more money than any other sporting personality in the history for wellfare work thorugh UN. It's amazing that people don't even mention those things. Well I'm not a Schumi fan either, but the out cry about his results so far this season is way over the top


"isn't the amount of testing..."


i wonder if ferrari and mclaren share some fancy approach to a weather prediction system, while everyone else stuck their head out of the garage.


I am under the impression that all the teams get their weather from Météo-France, although perhaps that's only European weather...


Absurd that a F1 Race can be determined by guessing what the weather is going to do.Why not use a length of string or a pack of cards! It would probably be cheaper


I think Schumacher is quite fast, at this moment faster than Rosberg already.

It just doesn't show in the final results yet, down to one nagging annoyance after the other. Bahrain was the only race where conditions remained constant for both drivers, the other two races till now just had TOO MANY variables that affected the final outcome.

Think about this, - four months ago Schumacher raced in some kart race in Las Vegas and finished 7th. The drivers who finished 1st till 6th were,

Bas Lammers

Norman Nato

Jeremy Iglesias

Arnuad Kozlinski

Marco Ardigo

Tony Lavanant

My challenge is, put any of these drivers in an F1 car right now. I would love to see how they perform!

I don't believe that Schumacher has anything to lose in this comeback. In fact, it just goes on to highlight how immensely superb he was when he was in his prime, that even now after having switched off for so many years he's still ONLY one-tenth slower than Rosberg, probably in 'human' sense which probably means just a little less urge to throw the car around like a mad man through a corner compared to before.

But doesn't mean that he can't do it, sure he can and will do (in due time). I just don't believe that he's gonna do it just for the sheer excitement of the fans, nor just in order to make the front page headline and awe the world. He's smarter than that, just taking his sweet own time. Slow, steady and mature.

And it makes sense, whatever he's doing. Imagine this, he had the banker lap from Q2 which really saved his life as in still hung him on to P10. So why wouldn't he be enthusiastic to do another banker early for Q3? He did push hard on lap one, in fact he was so fast that he caught up Kubica and got stuck behind him. In the end his lap one lap-time only mirrored that of Kubica.

He hasn't even made even one single driver-error type mistake on track ever since his return. Alonso, Massa, Button, Rosberg have all spun or gone off track in miserable conditions but this old guy is keeping still it clean. One might argue that the old guy isn't pushing hard enough, true. But wouldn't you normally expect an old guy to make so much more mistakes when performing at this level in this young man's sport?


Spot on Alias. Those karting drivers will be lapped in Q1 most likely. I say give any of these young drivers 3 years gap with 41 year body. Plus a car that's not even the fastest. Then we will find those critcs on the same armchairs without any legs. People seem to find nothing better to talk or do about. F1 had its worst time in last 3 years. Now thanks to Schumacher's return those things are all forgotten as well as the the popularity is soring more than ever before. No idea how people are keen to overlook the good things so easily


I'm inclined to agree with you, AliasJ. There are a lot of armchair critics around.


Steve Greenwood

absolutely agree, after 3 yrs out of the car he's doing a fantastic job. In my opinion, if he didn't believe he was able to be competitive then he wouldn't have made a comeback, he's that hard on himself. He might have been out of the car for 3 yrs but he's doing a far better job than Fisi, Badoer or Gene.


force india for the win today and Button for a a 3rd place finish


Eddie Jordan giving it large today saying both McLaren and Ferrari were arrogant, this from a failed team owner who spent money on a nose job and cleaning his boat, didnt pay HHF is retainer and lied in the high court about vodafone, you Mr Jordan are the arrogant one.


Yeah, I totally agree, Darren, and the way he tries to assert his "wisdom" on us is a bit ott.



I do not quite understand why some people will be upset about the red flag. I prefer a race like last year before seeing Bahrain 2010.

I want drama, rain, overtaking, leaders from the back... otherwise, honestly, I do something else like playing golf. Almost for sure I skip Hungary, Valencia and Barcelona.


Totally agreed Frank. Otherwise I'll have to go & play golf with you too. Even though I love playing golf I'd still rather watch F1 that's full of drama & twists


Can't wait for the race, for the second weekend in a row I'm staying up all night with my mates. Bit longer to wait but it'll be worth it. I just can't see both Mclarens and both Ferraris making it through the first lap...


From the big names that start form the back I predict Alonso will finish highest, then Hamilton maybe, Button and Massa.

Vettel to win from Rosberg and Kubica.

Have a good Easter everybody.


James, I have a question. You know in one of the post you talked about Ferrari's wheel thing and McLaren's F-duct and you said rivals cant copy it because they cant make changes to the chassis, but how come Williams implemented the F-duct in a very similar position like the McLaren's?? and I'm guessing it effected their pace in the quali.


I didn't say they couldn't copy the wing, only that they cannot copt the inlet hole in the chassis, which is on the optimum place.


Any idea how Sauber and Williams have implemented this system?


The irony in the situation is that Ferrari was making fun of the new, inexperienced teams, even insulting them before the season started. Yet, they got it right and Ferrari/McLaren got egg on their face 🙂

All the expensive computer simulations and millions spent on equipment and they still don't know that in changeable weather they need to go out and be out there to exploit the conditions as they unfold. Staying in the garage means doing nothing while most of the grid is out there trying to set times.

So much for the "young and inexperienced" Domenicali. An apology for Ferrari's remarks against the new teams should be coming right up!! Don't hold your breath though..........


Great job by Mark to grab pole. I predict he will be 4th by the first corner.


Sod the race I want to see if jordans leaky armpits will be on show again 🙂 red bull 1-2 me thinks

Val from Montreal

Schumacher is going to finish on the podium for sure !



In the Bahrain aftermath I'd suggested that formally reversing the grid for the start of the GP would be a great way to spice up F1, so today I should be happy?

Far from it.

Once again McLaren have left me feeling cheated. Again today the team have made the same level of fundamental mistake they made in Monza 08 and China 07 (albeit in the race that time). Do the established teams need to hire some sort of arbiters of common sense (obviously I'd consider myself for the role)?

Irrespective of what the technology's telling Ferrari and McLaren, all they need to do is beat the back markers in Q1 so surely it would be sensible policy to get a banker in at the start of a qualy session and worry about setting a competitive time later.


Sitting here waiting for the race to being. Can't wait to see the first lap.

With the stalled rear wing I'd expect the McLarens to make some progress (famous last words...).

Yet again, the rain shakes things up and makes the big boys work for a living. Great to see some big names with egg on their faces and having to push to unpick the mess.


It was very funny what Nico Rosberg and Seb Vettel talked about after the race. It seems that Nico had a cold and "Durchfall".... A bowel problem I will only say. LOL Go Seb!! Go Nico!!


James I think it is a little disappointing the media are placing all of the blame on the teams. Yes, Ferrari and McLaren probably should have set banker laps, but then again other drivers used the same strategy and made it through to Q2 (Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber were the last to leave the pits and set their times as the McLarens were spinning off and Alonso was unable to get through).


Great point Nico. Great point. Everyone read Nico's comment. It's spot on. I repeat, it's spot on.

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