Saturday, 4 April 2009

Grid and Saturday Prediction

Qualifying was uninterrupted by weather, and featured a notable mistake by Ferrari - they assumed that there were at least 5 cars who wouldn't beat Massa's time, and in fact it was only 4. So Massa will start 16th. Penalties for Barrichello and Vettel also affect the grid, which I inlcude below with predicted first stop laps:

Front row: Jenson Button (19) Jarno Trulli (17-18)
2nd row: Timo Glock (17-18) Nico Rosberg (17)
3rd row Mark Webber (17) Robert Kubica (20)
4th row: Kimi Raikkonen (20) Rubens Barrichello (21)
5th row: Fernando Alonso (26-27) Nick Heidfeld (31)
6th row: Kazuki Nakajima (28) Lewis Hamilton (22)
7th row: Sebastian Vettel (14) Heikki Kovalainen (29-30)
8th row: Sebastien Bourdais (23) Felipe Massa (30)
9th row: Nelson Piquet Jnr (27) Giancarlo Fisichella (27)
Back row: Adrian Sutil (17) Sebastien Buemi (29)

KERS cars in bold, penalised drivers in italics.

Scenario 1: Dry, no forecast rain. Vettel, Sutil, one Toyota and possibly Rosberg or Webber start on softs. Rubens drops further places off the start, to 3 men on 2 following rows with KERS. Heidfeld, Kovaleinen, Massa try one-stopping (start on hard, judge softs based on Vettel, etc and then either 1- or 2-stop). Button favourite, but we'll find out on the day.

Scenario 2: Starts dry, rain forecast: Most teams start on hards, Vettel on softs. Someone will "luck in" on the timing of the rain. Note: if it rains, the drivers are no longer required to run both dry compounds (for obvious reasons). Favourite: still Button, but Vettel, Kimi and Rubens all stand a good chance, if the rain falls conveniently for them.

Scenario 3: Starts wet, but drying. Whoever has the lightest car that will go until the track suits dry tyres will be in the box seat. Ferrari would therefore be well placed.

Scenario 4: Wet, not drying. Whoever copes best, wins. Favourites: Button, Glock, Raikkonen, Barrichello, Vettel, Heidfeld, Hamilton.

I think scenarios 1 and 2 are most likely and therefore predict the following top 8:

Win Jenson Button
2nd Timo Glock
3rd Rubens Barrichello
4th Jarno Trulli
5th Fernando Alonso
6th Nico Rosberg
7th Sebastian Vettel
8th Kimi Raikkonen

We'll find out tomorrow how good these predictions were.

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