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French Grand Prix - qualifying 
21st-Jun-2008 07:52 am
Massa was fastest in the first of Friday's practice sessions, with both McLarens right behind him; Alonso was fastest in the second practice session, followed by the two Ferrari drivers; Renault also headed today's earlier practice session - this time it was Piquet, and he was followed by a Red Bull (Webber) and Toro Rosso (Vettel) so there must have been some very different things being tested this morning.

Don't forget that Hamilton and Rosberg each have a 10 grid spot penalty after the pit lane fiasco in Canada two weeks ago.

The forecast is for thunderstorms but right now it's dry; air 27°C, track 41°C.

As usual, my notes are behind a cut
Qualifying session #1 (Q1)
SB is first on track, followed by GF & SV
SB 1:17.101
(GF P2 1:17.732)
SV 1:16.303
(TG P2 1:16.426)
FM 1:16.107
(KR P2 1:16.136) - did he run too wide in the final corner?
HK 1:15.965
LH 1:15.634 - I think they can safely park the McLaren now :)
(KR P2 1:16.766)
(FA can only manage P4)
5mins left; bottom 5 are JB, RB, NH, AS, GF
NH unable to improve on his position - looks like BMW have got problems
3mins left; bottom 5 are JB, RB, NH, AS, GF
FM fastest in Sector 1 and S3
FM 1:15.024
KR 1:15.133
1min left; bottom 5 unchanged
HK tries to move out of the way of those on a flying lap but there's nowhere for him to go
Chequered flag is out
NH struggling with the backend but he scrapes through in P12
Bottom 5 are: P16=KN, 17=JB, 18=RB, 19=GF, 20=AS

Qualifying session #2 (Q2)
Session started but the track is empty
3mins into Q2 and SB is first to leave the pits again
SB has to move around a Ferrari - that could result in a penalty
SB 1:16.045
SV 1:15.870
MW 1:15.488
FA 1:15.483
(LH P2 1:15.484)
KR 1:15.161
FM 1:15.041
(HK P8!)
3mins left; bottom 5 are DC, SV, SB, NP, NR
HK can't improve on P8
1min left; bottom 5 unchanged; everyone except FM & KR are on track
Chequered flag is out
(JT P3)
(LH P3)
(NP P10)
(DC P9) but that was a scrappy final corner
Bottom 5 are: P11=NP, 12=NH, 13=SV, 14=SB, 15=NR*
*remember NR (& LH) has a 10 spot penalty awaiting him, so now NR is on the back row of the grid

Qualifying session #3 (Q3)
Battling for the top 10 spots are: FM, KR, LH, JT, FA, MW, TG, HK, DC, RK
What will McLaren's strategy be for LH? Fuel him light and do a 3-stopper, or fuel heavier and have him fight with the midfield pack?
TG is first on track
ITV-F1 think the plan is to light-fuel LH; I think that makes sense, but we'll see shortly
TG struggling to keep the Toyota on track
TG 1:21.242
JT spins his Toyota; MW makes his way round the incident
FM 1:16.597
(DC P2)
(FA P2)
KR 1:16.449
(LH P6) - replay shows he ran wide in an earlier corner
3mins left; order is KR, FM, FA, HK, RK, DC, LH, TG, MW, JT
Some cars are staying on the harder compound for their final flying lap
1min left; everyone is on track, as you'd expect
Chequered flag is out
(FM P2)
(FA P3)
KR pits - he's still on pole
(LH P3)
(HK P6)
Order: KR, FM, LH*, FA, JT, HK, RK, MW, DC, TG (*LH will start in P13)

So Raikkonen records Ferrari's 200th pole position

Provisional grid: KR, FM, FA, JT, HK, RK, MW, DC, TG, NP, NH, SV, LH, SB, KN, JB, RB, GF, AS, NR
*LH dropped from P3 to P13, and NR from P15 to P-very-last, because of the pit lane accident at the previous Grand Prix
22nd-Jun-2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Kovalainen has given a five-place penalty for blocking Webber, which means HK will now start in P10 :(
22nd-Jun-2008 11:42 am (UTC)
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