Sunday, 30 August 2009

Belgian Grand Prix - Fisichella takes first pole for Force India

Picture by Eugene Flores

Veteran Italian F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella has claimed a shock pole position for tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa which promises to be a classic (at least compared to last weeks run round the "Tesco car park" as Mark Webber described it!).

Fisichella's pole, the first ever for the Force India team, was gained in dry conditions so could not be put down to inclement weather and was therefore on merit. After fuel correction he would have been fourth - still an excellent achievement.

The Force India cars were consistently fast in all three qualifying sessions today.

After a poor showing in Valencia, the Toyota and BMW teams each qualified both of their cars in the top ten. Trulli (Toyota) is second on the grid with his team mate Glock seventh. Heidfeld is a season's best third for BMW with his team mate Kubica fifth.

On the other end of the scale Luca Badoer put in another lacklustre performance in what could/should be his last qualifying session for Ferrari. He spun off the track and will start plum last - again.

Jenson Button's title push was dealt another blow. He qualified in fourteenth on the grid whilst his team mate Barrichello, still on a high following victory in Valencia last weekend, was fourth. Button was some 0.4 seconds slower than his team mate.

I can see Button being overhauled in the Championship before the end of the season. He has been mediocre in the last few races and does not seem to be holding up to the pressure.

At the beginning of the season, the Brawn car was without doubt the best in the field, especially in the hands of Button.

Since then, the likes of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have gradually caught up and now there is little to chose between them at most circuits.

At the same time, Barrichello has raised his game perhaps realising that at this stage of his career this could be his last tilt at the driver's Championship. His issues with the Brawn team earlier in the season now seem to have been ironed out.

When everything is going swimmingly Button is fine. As soon as things start to get difficult he seems to lose the plot and his head goes down.

The Red Bull's were having a poor day by their standards. Vettel qualified eighth after making a mistake and Webber ninth. Rosberg for Williams struggled into tenth but is fueled heavier than the other top runners.

I have not mentioned Kimi Raikkonen so far. Although he qualified sixth he is definitely a possible contender for the victory tomorrow. He will have the benefit of KERS so should make up a few places off the start. He also has a string of Spa victories under his belt.

Others to watch will be Trulli and Barrichello. Having said that, if the weather changes, as it often does without warning at Spa, anything could happen!

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