Formula 1 Insight

Friday Practice in Barcelona

Looking at both practice sessions, it seems that most of the teams went for a quick blast in the first, then concentrated on race fuel loads and set ups in the second. Certainly, the first session times conformed to expectations, with the Ferraris comfortably quickest, followed by the McLarens and BMWs squabbling amongst themselves. Only the speed of the Renaults in sixth and seventh fastest spots surprised.

Kimi Raikkonen

Lower down the table, things became the usual confused struggle, only the tail enders, Force India, Toro Rosso and Super Aguri, posting neat one-two times. The midfield is a fierce battleground these days, very little separating the quickest from the slowest, and team mates can find themselves several places apart.

Come the second session and everything fell apart. Raikkonen kept Ferrari ahead but it was the Renaults that were quickest for much of the time, the two Williams also finishing close to the front. Massa was pushed down to fifth fastest and the McLarens fiddled about in midfield, still accompanied by the BMWs. Suddenly the Force Indias appeared in the top ten to underline the unusual character of the session.

Most were not trying for quick times, of course, and went slower than they had in the morning. Everyone is taking a leaf out of the BMW notebook and preparing for the race, it seems, rather than showing their true speed too early. All that really matters is what happens in qualifying tomorrow.

The signs all point to Ferrari domination, just as expected. The McLarens are close but it will need one of Hamilton's perfect laps to steal the pole, I think. Any hope for an upset in grid position must come from BMW; they were quicker than usual in the first session and, if adhering to their careful preparation policy, may have a good deal more speed than appears.

Against my expectations, Renault seem to have made more progress than the rest of the chasing group. Both Alonso and Piquet are in with a good chance of top ten grid spots on this form. Red Bull and Williams should be next up, perhaps with Toyota raining on their parade, although the Japanese team was a little disappointing today.

Honda have become the most unpredictable team on the grid, Button and Barrichello sometimes posting wildly different times, on occasion near the front of the midfield, otherwise playing amongst the tail enders. At a guess, I would say that they will make it into Q2 but Q3 will be beyond them.

Of the rest, Force India should be able to get at least one of their cars into Q2 and Toro Rosso might manage that too. And there will be no prizes for putting Super Aguri in the last two spots - their current problems are only too well known.

As for the race, it is lining up to be another Barcelona borefest. The Ferraris really ought to be untouchable, BMW and McLaren will slot into their appointed positions (in whatever order you wish to guess at), and the rest will follow along dutifully. Fortunately, I have the Murray Walker touch when it comes to predictions, so I could be completely wrong. And I hope I am.


Felipe Leite
Ok, I'll do my predictions too :)

Renault have surprised me today. But not enough to go further than a 6th place for Alonso and 8th for Piquet when the race ends.

Only Ferrari will be fighting for the race, and whoever exits the first pit stop ahead will win, whether it's Raikkonen or Massa. McLaren and BMW seem very close to each other, so I predict a mix between them from 3rd to 5th place. I am also predicting that one of them won't finish the race.

That leaves me only the 7th spot. And that would go for Nico Rosberg, his car seems very good in Barcelona, since the pre-season testing.

So my predictions are:

1 - Raikkonen
2 - Massa
3 - Kubica
4 - Hamilton
5 - Heidfeld
6 - Alonso
7 - Rosberg
8 - Piquet
9 - Trulli
10 - Bourdais

Hmmm, will I get anything right?
Date Added: 25/04/2008

I'm not convinced yet BMW and McLaren will be strong in this race looking at the practice times of Friday. Of course, trophy's are not handed out on Friday or Saturday and qualifying this year has not matched practice times very well this year.

I think I just said nothing is decided yet, except Ferrari will be fast on Sunday.
Date Added: 25/04/2008

Pink Peril
At least Super Aguri are on the grid !

Dunno about Piquet for eight though. Seems a tad optimisitic !

Happy for the boy to prove me wrong though ;)

Date Added: 26/04/2008

Sorry, am a bit late getting to these - had a hectic last few days. Will post on the Spanish GP this morning but must say that Felipe's predictions are pretty close to what actually happened. How about doing my predictions for me in future, Felipe? ;)
Date Added: 28/04/2008

Felipe Leite
Well, my predictions were good enough for me :p

If Alonso's and Rosberg's engines did not blow out and if Heidfeld had not been penalised by a SC entry at the wrong time, I would probably have the first 7 places almost exactly :)

The rest was just BS... I was too optimistic for Piquet and Bourdais and downplayed Webber and Trulli too much.

Well, let's see if my Turkey predictions will go better or not.
Date Added: 28/04/2008

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