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Belgian Grand Prix - Qualifying 
6th-Sep-2008 07:59 am
As forecast, there's been more rain at Spa.

Today's practice session was declared wet; fastest was Heidfeld (1:47.876) followed by Kovalainen and Alonso. (Compared to Friday's practice sessions, which had Massa (1:47.284) fastest in the first practice session and Alonso (1:48.454) in the second.)

As always, my notes are behind this cut...

Button's Honda had problems this morning - it's suspected to be a fuel pressure problem, but hopefully it can be fixed before qualifying.

Just before qualifying starts, the weather conditions are 17°C (track and air temp), wind 5.4m/s (that's pretty windy!), 67% humidity, but at least it's dry.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
NP is first on track, followed by Renault teammate FA
NP 1:48.727 - sector times 32.1, 47.3, 29.2
The top qualifying time is expected to be a low 1:46
(GF P2)
LH pit-car says there's a small vibration; team say they'll change the tyres; looks like he's going to do a flying lap anyway
TG 1:48.496
DC 1:48.322
FM 1:47.686
(SV P2)
LH 1:46.887
(HK P2)
(FM P2)
(KR only P4)
10mins left; yet to set a time are NH, RK, FA, NR although all are on track
(KR P2)
DC is the first to take on the option (medium compound) tyre ... no, JB was on options for both his runs and he's still only in P18 :(
AS jumps the Force India to P15 - can they make it to Q2?
(DC P5 - that's better)
HK fastest in Sector 1 (31.2) but only an average S2 (46.7) ...
5mins left; bottom 5 are MW, GF, RB, JB, KN
HK 1:46.812
Most cars are in or heading back to the pits, preparing for a final flying lap
FM back on track - surely he's safe? (He's P5) And he's on the harder tyre, so maybe he's checking something out?
2mins left; most cars are on track now - only the top 4 (HK, LH, KR, NH) are still in their garages
(FM P2)
1min left; bottom 5 are MW, GF, RB, JB, KN
(AS P14 - can he make Q2?)
DC sets fastest S2
Chequered flag is out
GF to P16
MW to P8
NP to P5
DC to P6
SB 1:46.777 - that's P1 for the Toro Rosso
JB only P16
RB P16, but still both Honda drivers fail to make it out of Q1
So the bottom of the grid are: P16=RB, 17=JB, 18=AS, 19=KN, 20=GF

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
KR first on track for Q2
Spots of rain?
KR 1:46.298 - that's faster than SB's Q1 time
(JT P2)
HK 1:46.037
(LH P2) - could have been P1 if he'd better controlled the wheel spin out of the final turn
(FM P4)
On-board with RK - he's struggling to get it turned in neatly - but goes P6 behind FA
5mins left; bottom 5 are TG, MW, JT, DC, NR
Everyone from P6 down take to the track for a final flyer ... and NH (P4), so that's just HK, LH, KR and FM stay put
FIA say no rain expected for rest of qualifying
Chequered flag is out; bottom 5 are TG, MW, JT, DC, NR and of course they're all on track
TG P11
DC P12
MW P10
That means the middle of the grid are: P11=JT, 12=NP, 13=TG, 14=DC, 15=NR

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Battling for the top 10 grid spots are HK, LH, KR, NH, FM, FA, RK, SB, SV, MW
Lights go green for the final 10 minute session
FM is first on track ... followed by SB .... then everyone else, except SV still in his garage
FM 1:48.666 after a scrappy chicane
(SB P2)
KR 1:48.513
(MW P3)
LH 1:47.973
(HK P2)
(NH P4)
SV still in the pits; order is LH, HK, KR, NH, FM, MW, FA, RK, SB, SV
Everyone pits for fresh rubber - everyone on the option tyre
FM seems slower on his out lap than LH - different strategies re: warming the tyres vs saving them
FM fastest in S1 ... LH faster in S1
Chequered flag is out
FM fastest in S2 ... LH faster in S2
FM 1:47.678
LH 1:47.338
(KR P3)
(HK P3)
Pit-car for LH: team tell him he's P1; he says "that's a pretty good lap"

Provisional grid: LH, FM, HK, KR, NH, FA, MW, RK, SB, SV; JT, NP, TG, DC, NR; RB, JB, AS, KN, GF
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