Strategy could hand Barrichello an advantage (European GP fuel weights)

Barrichello has the strategy to take on the McLarens - but has he got the speed?

Barrichello has the strategy to take on the McLarens - but has he got the speed?

Rubens Barrichello is fuelled to pit three laps later than the two McLarens in front of him – but will it be enough to overcome the silver cars’ performance advantage?

Jenson Button also has three more laps’ worth of fuel than Sebastian Vettel, giving him a strong chance of increasing his advantage in the championship over the Red Bull drivers. Here’s the fuel weights in full.

ER

Grid Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 Lewis Hamilton 653 48 16
2 Heikki Kovalainen 655 50 17
3 Rubens Barrichello 662.5 57.5 20
4 Sebastian Vettel 654 49 17
5 Jenson Button 661.5 56.5 20
6 Kimi Raikkonen 661.5 56.5 20
7 Nico Rosberg 665 60 21
8 Fernando Alonso 656.5 51.5 18
9 Mark Webber 664.5 59.5 21
10 Robert Kubica 657.5 52.5 18
11 Nick Heidfeld 677 72 26
12 Adrian Sutil 672.5 67.5 24
13 Timo Glock 694.7 89.7 32
14 Romain Grosjean 677.7 72.7 26
15 Sebastien Buemi 688.5 83.5 30
16 Giancarlo Fisichella 692.5 87.5 31
17 Kazuki Nakajima 702 97 35
18 Jarno Trulli 707.3 102.3 37
19 Jaime Alguersuari 678.5 73.5 26
20 Luca Badoer 690.5 85.5 31

It’s also interesting to see Nico Rosberg out-qualified Mark Webber with a slightly heavier car.

Strangely, BMW have put Robert Kubica on a fairly light strategy despite there being little chance he was going to qualify anywhere other than the lower reaches of the top ten. Nick Heidfeld’s strategy looks a lot more realistic.

Hamilton has slightly less fuel on board than Kovalainen but if he can eke out enough fuel for an extra lap while holding the lead of the race, he may be able to force Kovalainen to make his stop first, denying him an early chance to get ahead. Teams often give priority to their leading driver in the event of both drivers needing to stop on the same lap (we’ve seen this at Red Bull this year). Hamilton abandoned his final attempt to set a lap in qualifying, leaving him with more fuel than he might otherwise have had.

The start

Valencia has an unusual first corner sequence, with a long-right hander leading into a tight left-right chicane partly bordered by barriers. It invites mistakes and there is not much room to avoid an accident. In the GP2 feature race today pole sitter Nico H???lkenberg ran wide at the corner and only just missed the barrier, dropping down to third in the process.

In theory the pole sitter has the maximum advantage because they start from the inside on the cleaner racing line. Off-line the track is quite dusty. However as McLaren have locked out the front row of the grid and have KERS power boosts at their disposal, the chance of anyone beating Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen into turn one are slim. They’ve probably devised a strategy for keeping the rest at bay.

As at the Hungaroring, Sebastian Vettel finds himself on the dirty side of the grid in fourth and will be especially keen to keep Jenson Button, fifth, at bay. Both face a serious threat from Kimi Raikkonen’s sixth-placed KERS-equipped Ferrari.

The other championship contender, Mark Webber, ideally needs to clear Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg to make some progress.

Finally, what will happen to Luca Badoer at the start? He’s been off the pace all weekend but starting from the back of the grid with KERS power he will surely be able to pick off some of the cars in front of him. Whether he can keep them behind is another matter.

Read more: Hamilton leads McLaren one-two (European Grand Prix qualifying)

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95 comments on Strategy could hand Barrichello an advantage (European GP fuel weights)

  1. And Trulli is fuelled for half the race again :)

  2. Hakka said on 22nd August 2009, 18:26

    From the press conference, With P3, Barrichello says:
    In one way, I’m not on the very good side of the grid because I think that this year they’ve turned (the grid around) and it’s not very clean, so we need to see what that brings but I hope I have a really good start and I can be with the guys and if I have more fuel, to be able to win.

    Anyone know more about this?

    • Hakka said on 22nd August 2009, 18:30

      Sorry about the blockquotes. This is what Barrichello said:

      In one way, I’m not on the very good side of the grid because I think that this year they’ve turned (the grid around) and it’s not very clean, so we need to see what that brings but I hope I have a really good start and I can be with the guys and if I have more fuel, to be able to win.

      DId the switch it around? We’ll know in the GP2 start as well.

  3. Rahim said on 22nd August 2009, 18:29

    Hope Kimi is the Driver of the day

  4. Paige Michael-Shetley said on 22nd August 2009, 18:59

    The McLaren’s are light, but they’re also quicker than the Brawn’s this weekend. Hamilton set the pole lap on his first lap in Q3 and then aborted a flying lap that would have been even quicker. Both laps were his first laps on sets of the option tires, and the options have been picking up pace over multiple laps. Barrichello set all of his competitive laps while multiple laps into the run. My prediction is the McLaren’s will rocket away from the start into turn one and not be seen again until the parade laps, barring mechanical failures.

    As mention earlier, Raikkonen is the one who is really going to ruin some races. He’ll definitely jump ahead of Button, and he’ll likely get Vettel as well. He could also get Barrichello, which would basically put a rubber seal on victory for McLaren.

  5. David said on 22nd August 2009, 19:45

    Complete domination of qualification by Hamilton; he even had Kovi’s last minute threat covered.

    Should be another win for LH easy. But something tells me there’ll be a safety car or two tomorrow, anything but a procession. Plus tyre and brake wear could prove critical.

  6. This could be an interesting race.. Lets hope its better than last years!

  7. sagar said on 22nd August 2009, 20:02

    Hasn’t vettel got a 10 place penalty because his engine blew up? So he will be starting from 14th right? which means kimi will be on the clean side of the track?! A possible 3rd place by the 3rd corner and could challenge for the win?!! None of the websites have mentioned vettels penalty and the change in grid! or have I missed something?

    • Robert McKay said on 22nd August 2009, 20:18

      No, there’s no penalty until you go on to the 9th engine.

    • Kherubim said on 23rd August 2009, 7:55

      I see that someone else has been given bad info, courtesy of ESPNStar… I caught grief for it yesterday when I lost track of how many engines Vettel has left…

      Any chance of a Vettel-Kimi-Button sandwich going into turn 1???

      If Kimi stays in front of Button and uses KERS to defend until the first fuel stop, Button’s race is spoiled if they are on similar strategies…

  8. Patrickl said on 22nd August 2009, 20:42

    “In theory the pole sitter has the maximum advantage because they start from the inside on the cleaner racing line.”

    I’m confused now. I assumed pole would be on the clean side, but in the post qualifying press conference Rubens said that he was on the dirty side. He claimed they swapped the grid around.

    Which is it?

    • SaloolaS said on 22nd August 2009, 20:55

      Hamilton is on the inside – Heikki on the outside

      • Patrickl said on 22nd August 2009, 21:28

        OK, so that’s indeed the dirty part of the track.

        • Patrickl said on 22nd August 2009, 21:56

          Re-reading Keiths quote (in my first post), he claims the inside is the clean side. Lol.

          • Austin said on 22nd August 2009, 22:14

            Check the onboard video Link with Massa from last year. This will make things clear which is the racing line. Rubens aint getting past the McLaren even on the cleaan side anyway.

          • Patrickl said on 22nd August 2009, 23:19

            Massa runs the race line over the inside line of the grid. So then Rubens (and Hamilton and Button) are on the clean side.

            This’ll be the end of me ;)

    • Austin said on 22nd August 2009, 21:37

      They swapped it around last year. It was to be on the left for the pole sitter, but moved to the right which is the dirty side. So yes Rubens is on the dirty side.

    • Austin said on 22nd August 2009, 22:04

      Actually I’m confused now, if Rubens is right about the grid change then Hamilton is on the dirty side and kovalainen is on the clean. We’ll see tomorrow anyway.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd August 2009, 9:11

        In the GP2 feature race Nico Hülkenberg starting from pole position on the clean, inside line (i.e. the right hand side of the rid as you line up on it).

  9. sumedh said on 22nd August 2009, 21:08

    Weird strategy by Kubika.

    By the way, a stellar job by Kovalainen. He has a less-upgraded car. Carried more fuel than Lewis. And inspite of that, was on course for pole. I hope that mistake isn’t too costly.

    Rubens holds the key tomorrow. If he can somehow start properly, and stick at the back of Mclarens through the first stint, he will be in a good position to win.

    Everyone in top 10 is fuelled pretty much in the same range, thus anyone outside the top 4 challenging for victory seems unlikely.
    In all, too many IFs to make tomorrow’s race exciting.

    Let the snorefest begin!!!

  10. I was shouting at the TV for Mac not to send Hamilton out again – I really thought he’d have the pole with that lap and didn’t need to burn the fuel. I think he’ll be safe for the race though anyway.

    • I was surprised how close Kov came to snatching it, goes to show that he can do it and just needs a bit of pressure to get the best out of him.

      • John H said on 23rd August 2009, 0:14

        Indeed. He’s always been quick, but his race pace and at times clumsy manouvres are what lets him down.

        I hope he wins tomorrow however, as he certainly deserves an outright win by now.

  11. I am going to win this race!

  12. Prisoner Monkeys said on 23rd August 2009, 1:17

    I expected Hamilton to be light … but not that light, whichI don’t think bodes well for them. When was the last time the pole-sitter won with less fuel than anyone?

    If Hamilon wins, it’ll be evidence that KERS was a bad move.

  13. Snoopy said on 23rd August 2009, 2:53

    I just wonder where is so called “equal” treatment of drivers in Mclaren :( Heikki heavier flue load…again and Hamilton have updated car, not heikki….again sigh.

    Kimi said that ferrari is ok to drive, not just fast enough and because ferrari have stopped this year car development it wont get any better.

    I think this race is McLarens if they wont do any stupid mistakes.

    I wish win to Barrichello or to Heikki, both of them deserve it.

  14. Blue_linksys said on 23rd August 2009, 3:15

    This is gonna be a procession. Also, along with the quali timings, can you plz put Kers or no??

  15. Q2 times show Hamilton and Barichello have about the same ultimate pace, n/w/s the supposed advantage Brawn had in Q3. With the weight advantage and the button—Hamilton may get 2-3 seconds on him alone by turn 1—Barichello will not be in a position to leap frog both silver cars with 3 laps of fury. He has to hope for an SC period, or that Hamilton comes out in a Raikkonen Train.

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