Saturday, August 29, 2009

This is a joke, right?

Fisichella nabs first Force India pole in Belgium
Face it, you would, too. Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella did a radio double take -- "pole position?" -- as his crew informed him he had nailed top spot for Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium. He turned a lap of 1 minute, 46.308 seconds on the 4.3-mile forest course that dates to the 1920s, nearly a tenth of a second ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli. Hey, lookie, an all-Italian front row.
Eh? What? Weren't the Brawns and Red Bulls supposed to resume normal service here? And what about the McLarens and Ferraris that were ready to pick up the slack if either of the two front runners faltered?

This is unbelievable.

Just about the only thing from today that went as predicted is that Luca Badoer is still stuck at the back.

For some random reason I actually recorded qualifying today, and after I read the result I just had to watch it. And the Toyotas and Fisichella and the BMWs were legitimately quick today, while the usual front runners struggled for unknown reasons.

I mean -- who could predict the McLarens barely scraping into Q2 and being almost invisible in Q3?

Normally you have a feel for how things will play out in the race based on qualifying, but here I don't know. Sure, Barrichello's Brawn is well placed to run here, but it is not impossible that Raikkonnen's Ferrari will ride KERS past him either into turn 1 or on the run down to Eau Rouge. If that's the case, the Ferrari will be a threat for any step on the podium.

I'd say that of the top three qualifiers, my money is on BMW making the podium. As for the rest, the scramble around the first lap will decide much of the finishing order.