News and views on motorsports

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bahrain Qualifying: A Red Day

I still think an unlimited lap or 12 lap qualifying would have been better but this new qualifying system has its moments. The first part was particularly fraught as cars rushed to get their laps in and make it to the second part. Once again Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren succumbed to mechanical failure though this time not because of the accursed Mercedes engine. This time it was a rear lower wishbone failure.

Michael Schumacher has finally equalled Aryton Senna's record. Whilst his lap time were mere hundreds away from teammate Filipe Massa and tenths away from the Honda of Button and Renault of Alonso and Montoya's McLaren, one would have thought that he would he could have gone quicker still. Indeed this was confirmed by tech boss Ross Brawn. According to Brawn they went for a conservative qualy strategy.

What has impressed is the Ferrari's pace all weekend during practice. During the final practice session, the Ferraris and Michael in particular seem to have been able to turn on the speed at will. Whilst Button's Honda made it to the top of the timesheets, nevertheless Button drove twice the number of laps that Michael did. Every time someone did a few laps and went to the top of the timesheets, Michael simply went out and easily blitzed them. An ominous sign for the rest.

The world champion is incorrect in saying that those who had been testing in Bahrain were wasting their time. Its clear the Ferraris have stolen a march on the rest of the field. Well, lets see how those Bridgestones compare with the Micheins in the race today. However, the Ferraris look very impressive to me at this stage. Darn it.

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