What a difference a year makes. This was the race in 2007 when the McLaren team began to tear itself apart as Hamilton and Alonso worked to their own agendas during qualifying. 12 months later, Hamilton and Kovalainen are best mates after giving McLaren the front row for the first time since Monza last year.
Robert Kubica was happy to talk, fourth place being even better than he expected after struggling during the first two phases of qualifying, particularly after flat-spotting a tyre at the first corner in Q2. Nick Heidfeld, on the other hand, was fit to be tied when blocked by Sebastien Bourdais at the end of the BMW driver’s last lap in Q1. Bourdais may have received a five place grid penalty for his trouble but you had the feeling that, even if Heidfeld had made it into Q2, he would have been continuing the struggle he’s experienced all weekend. Heidfeld starts from 15th, a complete disaster at a track where overtaking is… difficult, if not impossible.
Two drivers who have been on the case all weekend: Timo Glock and Nelson Piquet. Glock qualifying handsomely in fifth place and it makes you wonder about the effect of a good accident similar to the big shunt when the German driver’s rear suspension broke during his home Grand Prix. Piquet, his confidence soaring after finishing second at Hockenheim, made it into Q3 after attacking the track (where he dominated GP2 two years ago) from the moment practice began on Friday.
Remember where you heard it first.