So can Mercedes finally turn a pole into a win in Barcelona?

Italian Grand Prix 09-12 September 2010Do we finally get to see a Mercedes turn a pole a position in to a win tomorrow? Nico Rosberg starts from pole position for the second race on the trot and, just to be sure, team-mate Lewis Hamilton starts alongside. And remember, Spain is a race that is won from the front. More to the point, Mercedes has looked confident all weekend, confident enough not have chased outright speed in practice, and concentrated instead on finding a reliable race pace that won’t destroy the tyres.

Can the Silver Arrows do it? Will it Nico or will it be Lewis? And if it’s not Lewis, how is he going to feel about that? And what about those team orders we’ve already heard on the pits-to-car this season? This could be good Sunday Afternoon, Clubbers.

If it’s not a Mercedes, it looks like it will be Red Bull and Vettel as — once again — the partnership delivered on a Saturday, having only been there or thereabouts yesterday. Vettel starts third. The Lotus and the Ferrari (Kimi next to Seb on the outside of row two, ‘Nando behind next to Massa on row three), looked to be the class chassis yesterday, but it was not to be. Alonso especially will be disappointed with fifth in front of the home crowd.

The last four spots in the top ten went to Grosjean, Webber, Perez (yes, Sergio Perez, who’s really finding his form) and Paul Di Resta. It was a great last two minutes of Q3, wasn’t it? Only five drivers had two runs so all ten cars were on the track when the flag fell for the end of the hour.

Quick all weekend Toro Rosso will draw a lot of faith from topping the list of Q2 exit-ers, and keeping Sutil from joining team-mate Di Resta in Q3. McLaren meanwhile managed once again to lose one car in the midfield round. Only this time, as you will have gathered, it was Jenson Button’s. Oh dear.

You have to wonder whether McLaren can fix this with the structure it has; money, facilities and experience are hardly the problem, after all. Button has been quick this year to give the team the Big Up on the radio, but is he really the champ the team can rally around, rebuild and go forward, as Ferrari have with Alonso, Red Bull with Vettel and now, quite possibly, Mercedes are doing Hamilton? Button has looked down all weekend and today’s result won’t help as, after Bahrain, he’s fighting to prove himself team leader. Perez might now be showing his speed, but McLaren need someone with experience, with results surely?

Ferrari, Red Bull and Merc’s champs are not in the market for a new car 2014. Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen might be, but he’ll need McLaren to prove to him it can build a quicker car than Lotus can and right now that looks unlikely. This could be the start of a long quiet period for the archivists who so lovingly log every new trophy to arrive at the MTC.

Meanwhile one year after the team had won the race, both Williams cars joined the Caterhams and Marussias in the Q1 drop for the first time this year. The much-hyped Bottas ended up ahead of a pumped-up Maldonado who had, just as the session started, been passed a picture of him celebrating last year, as if Maldonado has an adrenalin problem. It’s going to take more than that, just as it will at McLaren for Williams to sort this one. Astonishing to think that McLaren and Williams delivered 15 out of the 20 world champions between 1979 and 1999…

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Tomorrow’s first corner will be the most important in the season so far. Hope Alonso gets off the line quicker than Vettel so we don’t have a snoozefest.

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Not too sure on the Merc’s tyre management but I’m reasonably sure the next 6 cars have solid race pace and tyre management. Hopefully it’ll be a good race. Maybe Merc will get their first win, who knows.

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not bad Qualfying session, Ferrari underperformed with
the car performs from pratice sessions.

Rosberg and Hamilton, are dangerous and are
worth watching for in tomorrow race.

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The Mercs will very likely be eating their own tyres again, so I don’t expect them to finish anywhere near the top. The McMercs meanwhile have been having issues in qualifying all season, but are really not too bad during the race, and if Perez is still as commited as he was in Bahrain, it’s definitely not impossible for him to end up on the podium. In third place, of course, because first and second will most certainly be Vettel and Alonso, in either order…

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Taking into account that Lewis is in the 2nd spot… Nico will just be told to “rev down” his engine so Lewis can get ahead on the first turn. Just wait and see…

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While i am rooting for Rosberg and Hamilton, going of the last few races i would say they will drop to around 2-5 position and vettel will pick them off in the first few laps. Though it would be nice to see them get a 1 2 finish.

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I’m sure first corner for Niko will be a race turning point… losing there will eventually mean losing couple more spots during first lap… needless to say that first pitstop for him WILL become sooner than any other in top5 (if there won’t be some breaking of front wings/tires at the first corner).
Kimi will be on the podium again.. not as a winner… :(

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kimi to win watch the renaults go button and perez well maclarens got a lot to do
alonso got a good chance if the ferrari s on song

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This is how i think it’ll end: 1- Vettel, 2- Kimi 3-Alonso or Hamiliton.

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Anything can happen during the race, I wont predict. It would be nice to see Mercedes get on the podium, lets see if upgrades help with tire wear. Ferrar and Renault are lite on the tires. RBR is not as good on tires but better than Mercedes, lets see if this changes. Looking for a good finish from Force India as well.

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Feelin a lil sad for Massa, I really want him to come up real strong in some race and hope it is jus round the corner…
And as for vettel, i want him to fail very bad in the first corner itself cause vettel should have his own share of badluck!

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Nicely written piece, thanks.

Prediction? Why not? Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Räikkönen, Grojean and Webber will get past Rosberg by the end. And so will Hamilton – methinks Lewis isn’t best pleased with being out-qualified by Rosberg again. It’s still 3-2 in favour of Lewis, but he’ll need to put him in his place. So Hamilton and Rosberg will be 7th and 8th assuming there are no mishaps up front.

It’ll be an interesting first phase as the quicker cars get backed into each other by the Mercs. Alonso seems to get rocketship starts so wouldn’t be surprised to see him in third by the end of the first lap.

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