Raikkonen and Fisichella are F1’s best starters (Belgian Grand Prix analysis)

Timo Glock would have scored points but for his fuel rig failure

Timo Glock would have scored points but for his fuel rig failure

The Belgian Grand Prix was fought out between the two drivers who’ve made the best starts in F1 this year: Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Plus, where would Timo Glock have finished without his fuel rig problem? And just how bad was it for Luca Badoer? Read on to find out.

Lap 1

Belgian Grand Prix - lap one (click to enlarge)

Belgian Grand Prix - lap one

Kimi Raikkonen got off to his usual KERS-assisted flier. He picked up four places on the opening lap, and has gained a total of 23 places on the first lap of races this year – more than any driver bar Giancarlo Fisichella, who has also gained 23.

Further back the destruction at Les Combes cut a swathe through the field and helped several other drivers make big improvements. Rubens Barrichello, however, had his worst start of the season, losing ten places. He also gave away nine at Istanbul and five at Melbourne, and is statistically the worst driver at getting away from the start line this year.

Raikkonen vs Fisichella

Kimi Raikkonen vs Giancarlo Fisichella (click to enlarge)

Kimi Raikkonen vs Giancarlo Fisichella (click to enlarge)

The fight for the lead was close but you couldn’t really call it a battle. With KERS at his fingertips, Raikkonen was easily able to keep Fisichella at bay.

Still Fisichella kept up the pressure in the hope of a mistake from Ferrari or Raikkonen.

P14 BAD

Kimi Raikkonen and Luca Badoer (click to enlarge)

Kimi Raikkonen and Luca Badoer (click to enlarge)

Duncan Stephen asks on his blog whether Luca Badoer achieved a record by being the first driver to finish last yet still be on the lead lap. At Singapore last year Fisichella matched his feat of finishing 14th and last of the runners while still being on the lead lap. However Raikkonen was officially classified 15th in that race after crashing out four laps from the end. Has any other driver finished last, lower in the standings, while also being on the lead lap?

What impresses me is that, putting Badoer’s lamentable performance to one side, the rest of the classified runners finished within 55 seconds of each other. Unfortunately Badoer was almost as far behind 13th-placed Kazuki Nakajima as the Williams driver was behind Raikkonen. The yawning gaps between Raikkonen and Badoer’s lap times above tell the story.

Race charts

Belgian Grand Prix race chart (click to enlarge)

Belgian Grand Prix race chart (click to enlarge)

It’s worth looking up Timo Glock on the race chart above and noting that, if he hadn’t lost five seconds with a refuelling rig problem at his first pit stop, he would have been in the points. Certainly he would not have ended up behind Nico Rosberg. At the end of the race he would have been somewhere near the front of the Heikki Kovalainen, Rubens Barrichello, Rosberg and Mark Webber battle.

Belgian Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

Belgian Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

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36 comments on Raikkonen and Fisichella are F1’s best starters (Belgian Grand Prix analysis)

  1. I don’t know if it has been answered yet anywhere on the site, but did Red Bull go back to using the narrower front nose at Spa?

    • Yeah they did. Red Bull and Toro Rosso both brought the old thin noses and the new wide ones. But only Red Bull used the old ones. Apparently it was because the old ones have less downforce.

  2. It is difficult to see how Badoer can have contributed much to Ferrari as a test driver when he is so slow!

  3. mclarenproject419b said on 1st September 2009, 20:19

    great analysis

  4. mp4-19b said on 1st September 2009, 20:42

    great analysis!

  5. wasiF1(groans) said on 2nd September 2009, 5:09

    Timo Glock would have scored points, but for his failure to supply himself with sufficient petrol hose.
    Plus, where Timo Glock finished it without his problem in the system of supply? And how bad it was for Luca Badoer? Kimi Raikkonen took four seats on the first lap, and has earned a total of 23 seats in the first round of races this year – more than any other driver at BAR Giancarlo Fisichella, who won 23.
    Further back the destruction of Les Combes cut a through the field and contributed to several other drivers, improve. Rubens Barrichello, however, had his worst start to the season, losing ten places. He also gave away nine in Istanbul and five in Melbourne, and is statistically the worst drivers away from the starting line this year. Timo Glock is worth watching the race on the card mentioned above and noting that, had he not lost five seconds with a fuel rig problem at his first pit stop, he would be in the points. He certainly would not end up behind Nico Rosberg. At the end of the race he was somewhere near the front of the Heikki Kovalainen who has a lost the plot!

  6. pSilent said on 3rd September 2009, 3:15

    Assuming Webber had close to Vettel’s pace, where would he have finished without his penalty?

    It looks like he would have been in the mix with the top two as he quite a bit ahead of Vettel.

    His pace being stuck behind Glock, Rosberg and co. hides this I think.

  7. I’m really amazed by how consistent are Kimi’s lap times.

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