Button takes thrilling Spanish pole
Jenson Button has secured one more pole position in a thrilling final lap. The Brit only managed to start his pole lap 2 seconds before the end of the session. Sebastian Vettel put his car in second to prevent a Brawn front row, while Barrichello was a close third.
The first European qualifying session of 2009 is kicked off by Heikki Kovalainen and both Force India drivers. The air temperature at Barcelona is 23°C and the track 40°C. From the three starters, Sutil is the fastest in 1:23.544.
At this weekend, many teams have brought considerable updates on their cars. Barceloa is known as a circuit where aerodynamic performance is vital for a good lap time.
After initially various drivers came out on track with the harder tyre compound, it quickly appears that it will not be enough to be safe to go through to Q2. Hence in the end of the session seemingly all drivers switch to the option compound.
Even the Brawn's can't manage anymore with the prime as Barrichello didn't get further than 18th while the option compound put him in 5th place. Basically all drivers are out and consistently improve on their earlier laps.
Even with a lot of updates, this results in Raikkonen to be out in 16th place, ahead of Bourdais, Kovalainen, Sutil and Fisichella. While Raikkonen's lap is simply disappointing, Kovalainen's performance is nothing but stunning as he was performing very well in the free practices.
In stark contract to Raikkonen is Felipe Massa, fastest in Q1. Mark Webber was seconds fastest, ahead of Button and his Red Bull colleague Sebastian Vettel.
3 minutes into Q2, Buemi goes off in turn 16. He is able to rejoin without apparent damage but in the event brings up a lot of gravel onto the track. At the same time Webber again puts in a very good lap and looks to have a chance for pole position today.
Again the session proves to be a tight battle in which Fernando Alonso just manages to get through to Q2. Behind him and thus eliminated are Nakajima, Piquet, Heidfeld, Hamilton and Buemi. Interestingly, Massa and Kubica are both through to Q3. The numbers 2 and 3 of 2008 were struggling badly so far this season but their cars' updates should help them a little.
First out are Trulli and Glock, they are joined on track by Barrichello and Rosberg. When all other cars have completed their laps, Vettel is on top, ahead of Barrichello by 0.140s. Button is third, ahead of Webber and Massa.
Barrichello is then the first to complete his second attempt and improves on his previous time by half a second. So does however everybody else, including Sebastian Vettel. The last man out however is Jenson Button who simply outclasses everybody else.