Qualifying Analysis – Italy

Yay! Qualifying Analysis for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza!  After another fantastic qualifying session at Monza today we have another surprise grid.  Hamilton grabbed pole with suspicions of running a light car in case he was penalised for blocking Buemi in Q1, Sutil was narrowly pipped to pole, which would have been the second in a row for a Force India car.

Speaking of which, Liuzzi managed to get into the top 10, however ex-Force India and now Ferrari driver Fisichella crashed in Morning Practice, meaning that he did not get enough practice in a car with KERS and failed to get out of Q2.  A shame really, because an Italian driver in a Ferrari at Monza sounded like a really good reason to support Ferrari this weekend!

Also, Brawn were happy with where they qualified (as they admitted they are running heavy) and Raikkonen even managed a smile in the press conference!  Shock Horror!

Let’s have a look at the Q3 times:

Ita09_q3times

The field is very close here – much closer than most other circuits, but then this is a ‘point and squirt’ circuit with few corners, so all that matters is a good engine and low drag around here.  KERS helps too, which is why so many of the non-KERS cars may be running heavy and near the back of the Top 10 because they know they will be passed at the start anyway!

I was watching the Qualifying today and commenting on Sidepodcast (which is the only place to be for live commenting!), I asked people to give me predictions on who they thought was light or heavy.  Here are their predictions:

James:

I haven’t seen quali yet but I’m going with they all have some fuel onboard clip_image001

Bassano Clapper:

93 bottles of Watermelon Breezer in Sutil’s car.  That’s the best I got.

Alex Andronov:

Lewis light, Heikki heavy, Sutil light, Webber heavy, Alonso heavy.

RG:

Liuzzi heavy, Kovy one stopping, Sutil one stopping and Toyotas very, very, very, i.e. going 40 odd laps into the race.

rowley:

Heaviest: Button, Rubens, Liuzzi and Webber.  Lightest: Lewis, Sutil and Kimi. Medium: Kovi, Alonso and Vettel.

Speaking of which, let’s have a look at the fuel weights…

Ita09_fuelweights

So over the course of a 53-lap race, all except the top 3 are on a one-stop strategy.  The interesting thing is that two of the KERS cars (Kovalainen and Alonso) are heavy.  Also, both McLaren and Force India seem to be hedging their bets by having one car heavy and one car light.  I think Hamilton is running light in a bid to get pole because McLaren feared he would be penalised after he apparently blocked Buemi exiting the pits in Q1.  This did not happen however…

Finally, it is worth noting that the top three guys are possibly running a three-stop strategy.

From this information, we can work out how fast the drivers would have gone if they had been running on fumes like in Q2.  I linked to it earlier but if you want to know how it’s calculated, check out my post on Qualifying Analysis here.

Anyway, here are the fuel-corrected lap times:

Ita09_q3times_fuelcorrected

Barrichello gets the fuel corrected pole, with Button less than a tenth slower – which is why they were so happy with their pace!  To be so close on time when they are so much heavier means that they are in a good position to let the KERS cars scamper off while they run longer and overtake them in the pits.  Also, look how much faster Kovalainen is than Hamilton – a mega effort and hopefully he can translate it into a good finish tomorrow.  Amy must be happy!

Finally, putting it all together, we have the mega graph…

Ita09_q3times_fuelweights corrected

…and the fuel corrected times vs. Q3 times:

ita09_q3times corrected

Race Predictions:

From all of this, I really really hope Button can use his advantage and have a strong performance – he is well overdue for a good result.  I don’t think Force India can repeat their performance at Spa here, but it is possible.  What is interesting is how well the KERS cars will do against the non-KERS cars – I don’t think we have conclusively seen that KERS cars will dominate here, which is odd because you would think on a circuit where long straights and power is important that they would?

Anyway, that’s enough from me.  Let me know what you think and who you think will win tomorrow.  And remember to join me in Live Commenting during the race over at the good guys on Sidepodcast ;)

UPDATE: Poll Results

I ran a Polldaddy poll to see who you guys thought would win.  I have had trouble closing it, so here is a screen shot of the results:

PollResults

Interesting how many people think Kovy will win and how few Barrichello would… I guess we will just have to wait and see ;)

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7 thoughts on “Qualifying Analysis – Italy

  1. Great analysis as usual. you are my first stop after qualifying weights have been discussed on the forums. Don’t you think it’s strange how conservative most of the teams are being this year? As a team manager I would be splitting strategy far more than we have seen this year – just to cover all options. It should be a good race tomorrow but I predict first lap drama for Brawn and Red Bull!

  2. I’ve gone for a Barrichello win. As long as he doesn’t choke off the line again I think he can just shave the result.

    Gutted to see the Williams languishing at the back. Their old achilles heel of a bad areo package comes back to haunt them again.

    • It’s the best I could do, sorry!

      Four people have already clicked on it however, so you better get writing!

  3. Great analysis again. I’ve put Kovy for the win I think it’s the best chance he’s had to really try to take some of the limelight from Hamilton. Barrichello I would put as a good podium finish. Raikkonen’s Ferrai also seems to be thirstier than the Mercedes powered cars

  4. Pingback: Qualifying Analysis – Italy « Making Up The Numbers | Italyt Today

  5. Pingback: Fantasy Racers Scores – Italian Grand Prix « Making Up The Numbers

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