Saturday, August 29, 2009

12 2009 FORMULA 1 ING BELGIAN GRAND PRIX (Spa-Francorchamps)

Raikkonen wins Belgian GP at Spa
Kimi Raikkonen came through to take the victory at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday for Ferrari - but only just ahead of Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella.

Raikkonen took the lead from pole-man Fischella on the run to Les Combes after the re-start. The safety car had been deployed following the incident on the first lap, which saw four drivers retire, including current championship leader, Jenson Button and fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel meanwhile took the final spot on the podium, followed by the BMW Sauber's of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld.

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen rounded out the top six, with Rubens Barrichello seventh, despite problems late on, which culminated with his Brawn GP car finishing the race on fire!

Nico Rosberg took the final point in eighth for Williams with Mark Webber and Timo Glock completing the top ten.

Belgian Grand Prix - Race result
1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 44 laps 1hr 23m 50.995s
2. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes +0.9s
3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +3.8s
4. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +9.9s
5. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +11.2s
6. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +32.7s
7. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes +35.4s
8. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +36.2s

9. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +36.9s
10. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +41.4s
11. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +42.6s
12. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari +46.1s
13. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +54.2s
14. Luca Badoer Italy Ferrari-Ferrari +98.1s

Rtd. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 26 laps completed
Rtd. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 21 laps completed
Rtd. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 0 laps completed
Rtd. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault 0 laps completed
Rtd. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 0 laps completed
Rtd. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 0 laps completed

Fastest lap:
Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 47.263s

Fisichella Surprised with Pole Position
Giancarlo Fisichella has admitted that securing a maiden pole position for the Force India F1 team was beyond his wildest dreams heading to the Belgian Grand Prix, despite acknowledging that Spa-Francorchamps is a circuit where he always expects to go well.

A force, albeit unexpected, throughout qualifying, the Italian veteran topped the first phase of qualifying and was only toppled from P1 late in Q2, before bouncing back to turn the tables on countryman Jarno Trulli and claim an historic first pole that marked by far the best qualifying result for the Indian team. A nail-biting third phase ended with Fisichella posting a 1min 46.308secs lap just seconds from the end of the hour, leaving little time for Trulli - or anyone else to respond, as Ferrari's Luca Badoer crashed out and forced a yellow flag zone at Les Combes.

The 36-year old, who has been tipped as a contender for the soon-to-be-vacant second Ferrari for the Italian Grand Prix, will start from pole for the fourth time in his lengthy career, although for the first time since heading qualifying for the 2006 Malaysia GP.

"This is one of my favourite circuits," Fisichella admitted, "I did well here in the past, and I was sure we would be competitive again this year, but I didn't expect to be on pole!

"It feels just great, like a dream. I am so happy for myself, for the team, for the mechanics, the engineers, all of whom have done a fantastic job. They made a great step forward for Valencia for the last race, especially considering our budget and our resources. Now I am not only looking for points, but for more... We've got this far we need to finish the job!"

Fisichella, however, had to overcome a minor setback during morning practice, which had limited him to eighth place on the timesheets as Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil claimed third fastest time.

"We had a small accident when I hit a rabbit, but my engineer said it would be lucky - and it was!" Fisichella revealed, "What a result."

"It was simply an incredible result, and full credit to Giancarlo on a series of fantastic laps," chief race engineer Dominic Harlow concurred, "We started today a little unsure of our performance, and knew we had to work on the understeer that was in the car yesterday, but the engineers tried a few things in FP3 and found the right direction. From there, both drivers were much happier. Giancarlo concentrated on the soft tyre in Q2 and I think the track improvement came in that direction."

Sutil could have joined his team-mate in Q3, having looked strong throughout the day, but narrowly missed out on a slot for the second time this year, after trailing Nico Rosberg by just a tenth of a second.

"This is an unbelievable day for the team, and congratulations to Giancarlo - it was an amazing result for him and such a good boost for the team," the magnanimous German commented, "We've worked hard, so the guys really deserve it.

"For me, it was quite a good session, but I'm still a little bit disappointed as I couldn't use the soft tyre set effectively. The hard set was much better on my car - we don't know why, but we will look into it as, normally, we should have been Q3 - as Giancarlo showed. However, from eleventh, I still think points are possible. We are quite good on the long run pace, the car feels good and it was from this point of view I am quite happy."

Belgian Grand Prix - Qualifying times
1. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 46.308s
2. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 1m 46.395s
3. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1m 46.500s
4. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1m 46.513s
5. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1m 46.586s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 46.633s
7. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota 1m 46.677s
8. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 46.761s
9. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 46.788s
10. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1m 47.362s

11. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 45.119s
12. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 45.122s
13. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 1m 45.136s
14. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1m 45.251s
15. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1m 45.259s

16. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 45.951s
17. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 46.032s
18. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1m 46.307s
19 Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault 1m 46.359s
20. Luca Badoer Italy Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 46.957s