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Brazilian Grand Prix - Qualifying 
1st-Nov-2008 11:59 am
Qualifying for the final race of the season; see my notes from Friday practice (including who needs to do what to win the Championship) and this morning's final practice session. Massa was fastest in the first of yesterday's sessions (1:12.305) and second quickest in the afternoon session behind Alonso (FA posted 1:12.296). Alonso was also fastest this morning (1:12.141) followed by LH, HK, FM, SV, NH, SB, MW, NO, JT, NR, RK, KN, DC, RB, JB, GF, AS.

The weather is fine; air 22°C, track 38°C, wind 6.8m/s, humidity 62%

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
NP is first on track
NP 1:13.208
TG 1:13.023
(Local boy RB P2)
JT 1:12.226
(HK P2)
(FM P3)
(KR P6)
LH 1:12.213
(KR P4)
10mins gone = halfway through Q1; bottom 5 are MW, SV, FA, NH, RK ... although the bottom 3 have yet to set a time
TG spins in T2 (Senna S); takes a moment to find a gear and sets off again
Both BMWs finally on track
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are NR, DC, GF, SB, AS
Great on-board pictures from DC's helmet camera
(DC P12)
3mins left
FM 1:11.830 ... and you can hear the crowd cheer
That's the first sub-1:12 of the weekend
(KR P2)
LH stays in the garage - you only need to be in the top 15 to move to Q2; the actual positions count for nothing so there's no point trying to re-take P1
Also staying in their garage: HK, NP and JT
Chequered flag falls; bottom 5 are JB, KN, NR, GF, AS
(FA P4)
(KN P16)
JB pulls off track at Turn 14 and gets out of the Honda
Flying laps finished; bottom 5 grid spots are: P16=KN, 17=JB, 18=NR, 19=GF, 20=AS

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Pit lane lights turn green; TG first on track
TG 1:12.331
JT 1:12.107
KR 1:11.950
FM 1:11.875
LH 1:11.856
(HK P4 even though he was fastest in S1 and S3)
(TG P3)
5mins left; bottom 5 are MW, DC, RB, NH, RK (bottom 2 yet to set a time)
(RK P11)
(NH P6)
HK 1:11.768
Almost everyone on track for a final flying lap - even LH
Chequeured flag is out
(SV P2)
(SB P8)
Mid-grid positions: P11=NP, 12=MW, 13=RK, 14=DC, 15=RB

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
The big deciding session, setting the front of the grid for tomorrow's final race
Battling for the top 10 spots are KR, FM, NH, FA, JT, TG, SB, SV, LH & HK
Pit lane lights turn green - no rush to get out on track
TG first out of the pits
TG 1:14.311 - obviously carrying a heavier fuel load than when he set 1:11.909 in Q2
SV 1:13.155
FM and LH both on flying laps; FM ahead in Sector 1
FM 1:12.453 - he must be quite light
(LH P3)
(KR P2)
(HK P4)
Everyone except SB has completed one flying lap; order is FM, JT, KR, HK, SV, LH, FA, NH, TG, SB
FM makes a brief pit stop and is back on track - he's determined to be on pole
FM not improving on his previous lap time
LH is on a personal best
FM 1:12.368
(LH P2)
Chequered flag is out
(KR P2)
(FA P5)
(JT P2)
(HK P5)
So the front of the grid is: P1=FM, 2=JT, 3=KR, 4=LH, 5=HK, 6=FA, 7=SV, 8=NH, 9=SB, 10=TG
As one of ITV's commentators pointed out, JT's Toyota has a Ferrari engine; I don't believe the conspiracy goes that deep though :)

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

Rain is forecast during the race tomorrow.
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