23 Jun 2012

F1 - Valencia - Qualifying

Vettel on pole. Who expected that? Well, lots of people did. This correspondent's judgement was clouded, as it often is, by who I WANT to see on pole rather than who actually ended up there. And if that had been the case then it would have been shared by Paul DiResta, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button Q1 - a close session with two major shocks. First news - Timo Glock who, with a stomach bug, probably watched the race from the comfort of his hotel room toilet on his iPad. The usual contenders - HRT, Marussia, Torro Rosso (the forgotten team put in another dismal performance) and Caterham were knocked out. No, hang on. That's what normally happens. Not this time. One lap specialist and Angry Bird aficionado Heikki Kovalainen actually managed to make it into Q2. Hurrah for the plucky underdogs! And then, shock of shocks, Mark Webber sets a lap time slower than David Coulthard on a golf buggy. Various bits of his car went wrong - all attributable, apparently, to his hydraulic system. Q2 - more shocks. Jean Todt was at the track looking like an out of date turnip. He was in the company of Luca DiMontezelemo who also resembles an out of date vegetable. In this case, a parsnip. So the Ferrari's were going to do well weren't they? No. They didn't. In fact they were pretty awful. Massa's lack of pace is expected but Alonso's wasn't. Is it the heat or has their poor performance just been masked by incredible drives by Alonso over the past few races? Whatever, the local fans, and the boss, weren't happy. Also out was Scumacher, living up to his own gloomy prediction of Friday, Senna, Perez and Kovalainen. Incredibly the entire top 10 was covered by 0.2 seconds. Q3 - frankly any of the top 10, with the exception of long-faced Jenson, was in with a shout of pole. Rosberg set the early pace then Maldonado got everyone excited (he's much quicker now he's lost 1kg of steel from his teeth) then Vettel came along and stomped all over everybody else's toys with a time that was nearly half a second faster than Maldonado's. Hamilton seemed to be on it but couldn't quite beat Vettel and came in 2nd. our favourite dour Scot DiResta was 10th and Jenson 8th. If he put on his happy face he surely would be in the top 3. Prediction for the race. Schumacher will come charging through the field, closely followed by Kamui Kobayashi. On the last lap Schumacher will run out of petrol 50 yards from the line and Kobayashi will win. Well, maybe not. It'll be Vettel, Hamilton, Maldonado (unless he does something stupid) in which case Grosjean will be 3rd.