The true picture?

It’s hard to come to terms with all the stories that have just been generated by that qualifying session! Is your head as muddled as mine? I’ll do my best to un-muddle but it isn’t easy!

Let’s put Brawn to one side for a minute and think fuel loads. Bit boring given the sensational pole for a team that was dead a few weeks ago – how must the Honda top management be feeling, losing all this incredible publicity for their brand? – but I can’t wait to hear what the fuel loads are. Only then will we get an impression of who’s really on pole.

If the Brawns are heavy, or equal to the others in the top ten, then it’s amazing, but I’m looking at fourth place and Kubica as the potential pole-sitter here. That BMW must be fast given all the development they’ve done on it. I wonder whether he’s got some laps in hand? And given the way Williams goes racing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rosberg (fifth) running with plenty of fuel as well.

Vettel’s performance was stunning – comes to a new team and puts his established team-mate in the shade. There is an amazing driver and if he’s got fuel on board, he’s driving an amazing car, too. He might score a couple of wins this year and would be a good outside bet for the championship. Webber will fight back but that’s a huge body-blow for the Aussie.

The Ferraris are nowhere. And Massa yet again has beaten Raikkonen. Kimi’s contract with Ferrari extends through to the end of 2010 but if he is consistently outperformed by Massa, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him disappear a little earlier than that, either by his own choosing or more likely, that of the team.

Then there is the absolute shock of seeing the McLaren’s nowhere too. Ferrari and McLaren not competitive? Surely this is a sign that F1 really is more open to smaller teams now, more open to brilliant engineers and clever thinking rather than just big budgets? And maybe that’s why Branson is finally dipping his toe into the sport… it’s becoming more of a sport!

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