Formula One : Brazilian Grand Prix 2009 Qualifying and Preview

GP España 2009: Repostaje Rubens Barrichello
Image by Salva Mendez via Flickr

A sodden qualifying session in Sao Paolo this evening barely managed to get past Q1 with contender Sebastian Vettel failing to make the cut. Not much fun to sit and wait – flicking between coverage of Strictly Come Dancing – but then the Beeb’s Ted Kravitz could have avoided whinging at Red Bull boss Christian Horner about the delays. Having expected Jensen Button to drift into 6th place on the grid after Q1, he simply could not get on the pace on full wets when qualifying resumed on a drying track, tip-toeing around in Q2 to miss the cut and be plonked on the grid at 14th, only 2 places ahead of challenger Vettel.

Q3 finally proved entertaining, some 2 and half hours into qualifying. Barrichello judged the timing perfectly to ensure that he could maximise the benefit of the drying surface and lock out following cars from beating his pole position time which, it must be said, was up against considerable competition from 9 of the 10 Q3 qualifiers (Alonso doggy-paddling back to the pits at the end for 10th). Home advantage be damned as the locals have rarely given him the time before – the shouts of ‘Rubinho !’ must have been musical as he climbed out of the cockpit in the parque ferme.

Button has work to do and is in a dodgy position for that risky first corner at Interlagos – the graveyard of so many championship hopes. Wet or dry, we could see a huge pile-up at turn 1, with Barrichello sitting pretty up front. Not all plain saaling, as Red Bull might still haunt Brawn with Mark Webber in 2nd alongside Rubens. It would be a brave pundit who could call tomorrow’s race which does stand to be one of the most entertaining of a bloody good season so far. Force India look strong; Glock-stand-in Kobayashi in the Toyota drove well and may join fellow bandits and cause a stir – or a complete pile-up. Only one prediction – that Jensen is unlikely to sew-up the championship tomorrow.

So, the Interlagos grid for 2009 is

1 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault
3 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
4 Jarno Trulli Toyota
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
6 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
8 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber
9 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
10 Fernando Alonso Renault
11 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota
12 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
13 Romain Grosjean Renault
14 Jensen Button Brawn-Mercedes
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
16 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
17 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
18 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
19 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber
20 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari

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