Massa shunt shafts Schu

Rubens Barrichello, Honda, Melbourne, 2006The vagaries of 2006-style qualifying combined to claim a few noteworthy scalps ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. The first was Rubens Barrichello, who failed to get beyond the first session and quaified 16th, bumped down by Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Scuderia Toro Rosso-Cosworth.

Barrichello’s early hot lap was thwarted by Yuji Ide who spun his Super Aguri (Honda’s junior team, remember), bringing out the red flags as he struggled to find reverse gear. Ide scuppered Barrichello’s final attempt too, by blundering into the Brazilian’s way. Barrichello’s mood will not have been improved by the sight of team mate Jenson Button sticking the car on pole.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2006The other Brazilian was also in the wars – Ferrari’s Felipe Massa binned the car at Waite, causing another session stoppage. This had ramifications for team mate Michael Schumacher as the delay to the session meant that a rain shower, that would otherwise have fallen during the interval, fell while Schumacher was out trying to set a quicker time, causing him to miss the final cut.

Whatever Ferrari may say about the changes to their controversial wings having ‘improved’ the car, it certainly was not borne out by their Australian qualifying performance.

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