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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Saturday, 25 April 2009 13:22 UK

Bahrain GP qualifying as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1320: Time to go. All set up for another intriguing race tomorrow - which Timo Glock will definitely, definitely win. Unless Sebastian Vettel does, or Jenson Button. Or maybe even Lewis Hamilton? Anyway, race time: 1300 BST. Me time: 1130 BST. Looking forward to it already.

1314: Sebastian Vettel seems fairly confident that he has more fuel in his Red Bull than either of the Toyotas. As soon as those fuel loads are published, we'll have the fuel-adjusted grid positions in the qualifying report:
Trulli on pole as Toyota dominate

1311: The Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen will start from eighth and 10th. At least an improvement on the last two races, albeit not much of a one. If they finish out of the points tomorrow, that will be their worst start to a season - ever.
Blog - Prancing horse goes lame

Brawn's Jenson Button: "We don't have the pace of the Red Bulls and the Toyotas. It's good over long runs but not in one lap."

Toyota boss John Howett: "It's a combination of aggressive strategy and raw speed. I don't think we're excessively light on fuel but we'll have to see when the loads are published."

BBC pundit Eddie Jordan: "I don't think Toyota's performance is a great surprise. I think they could be a big threat going forward. They're two drivers who work extremely well together."

1303: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has to settle for third and will share the second row with Jenson Button's Brawn. We'll see what the fuel loads have to say later...

1302: Celebrations in the Toyota garage as qualifying specialist Jarno Trulli snatches pole ahead of team-mate Timo Glock. That's a first front row lock-out for Toyota.


1259: Lewis Hamilton pops up in second - but both Toyotas are coming to get him and Button.

1259: A minute left and Jenson Button is flying... and he goes top with a 1:34.044.

Robert Kubica on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: "We are just too slow, but we knew that already. We are lucky we have got Kers here in Bahrain or we would be even worse (he is 13th, team-mate Nick Heidfeld is 14th) We just have to stay cool and wait for Barcelona where we will have a new package."

1256: Into the pits now for a quick change of tyres. "It looks like Raikkonen is running with an awful lot of fuel," says Martin Brundle.

1255: At the halfway mark, we have a Toyota front row with Trulli leading from Glock.

BBC Sport analyst Martin Brundle: "Jenson Button does not have the speed advantage here that he had in the first two races. That's for sure."

1252: Kimi Raikkonen top, but Timo Glock is flying in his Toyota... and he posts a 1:34.366 to take P1.

1250: The 10 minutes of the top-10 shoot-out begin. For the first time this season, it features both Ferraris and a McLaren.

1248: P11 is Heikki Kovalainen's best qualifying position so far this season. The Finn isn't all that happy about it though. "It's frustrating. We always aim for the top 10, but I had no more to give."

1245: Sebastien Vettel quickest in Q2, ahead of the Toyotas of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli. Kimi Raikkonen goes quicker than both Brawns.

1244: "Sorry guys," says a rather forlorn Nelson Piquet Jr over the radio.

1242: Q2 over and the unlucky five are: Heikki Kovalainen, Kazuki Nakajima, Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld and Nelson Piquet Jr.

1241: Robert Kubica definitely out of the running.

1238: More pictures of flames coming from Robert Kubica's BMW. Not sure if that's the same incident as before. Same bottom five as it stands. Vettel top, ahead of Raikkonen. Business time now, with a bit over a minute remaining.

1237: Five minutes remaining and the drivers in danger are: Hamilton, Massa, Piquet, Kubica, Heidfeld.

Adrian Sutil on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: "I didn't know Mark Webber was on a flying lap, I was trying to leave space for Alonso, I think there was a little misunderstanding, we will have to wait and see what happens."

1233: Seb Vettel - now Red Bull's only runner - smashes four-tenths of a second off Kimi Raikkonen's best to post the quickest lap of the weekend so far.

1232: The times are coming down very quickly, as Raikkonen takes over from Trulli, who took over from Button.

1230: Incidentally, a hearty slap on the back for Nelson Piquet Jr, who makes Q2 for the first time this season. An encouraging start to a big weekend for the Brazilian.

From Ian in Dover, via text on 81111: "Seeing the Sutil incident, do you not think he may have been moving over to let Webber stay on the racing line?"

1227: The 15 minutes of Q2 are under way after which we'll lose another five cars. It's usually where we get an idea of the true pace of these cars as they'll run with minimum fuel.

Mark Webber after missing out on Q2: "You don't usually get caught out in traffic and that was the worst corner to get blocked. Absolute disaster. [Will you complain?] Doesn't make any difference. My race is screwed."

Anthony Davidson on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra: "Ridiculous driving from Sutil, he was holding Mark Webber up there I think he could well be fined or even get a grid penalty for that."

1224: "I expect penalties," says BBC pundit David Coulthard of the Sutil/Webber incident. Replays show the German weaving about in front of Webber. Incidentally, Sebastian Vettel was quickest there with a mighty impressive 1:32.680 ahead of Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton.

1222: Fernando Alonso reports that he was held up by Adrian Sutil's Force India - but the Spaniard is safely through. What about Mark Webber? The Red Bull driver becomes the third consecutive big name to fall in Q1 after Massa in Malaysia and Kubica in China.

1221: Q1 over and we lose: Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber, Sebastien Bourdais.

1220: Chequered flag drops, and Mark Webber has definitely gone.

1219: Problems for Mark Webber, who appears to be held up by Adrian Sutil on his flying lap. He's only 15th. Less than a minute left.

1217: Flames coming from Robert Kubica's BMW - quickly extinguished. Fuel leakage? BBC Sport's Martin Brundle is predicting "definite surprises" in Q1.

1216: Less than three minutes remaining and the bottom five are: Fisi, Alonso, Bourdais, Webber and Glock. Cripes.

1215: Ferrari and McLaren went straight out on the super-soft tyres, while Brawn, Red Bull and Toyotas were hoping to away with mediums. That plan is being hastily revised and the quicker teams will be out on super-softs shortly.

1214: Robert Kubica pops up in sixth...and now seventh as Nelson Piquet rockets up to fourth in his Renault.

1211: We've also lost a big name in Q1 at the last two Grands Prix: Robert Kubica in China and Felipe Massa in Malaysia. Kubica - last year's pole sitter in Bahrain - is down in the drop zone at the moment.

1209: Nelson Piquet Jr has not reached Q2 this season. Nelsinho is sitting a precarious 15th at the moment...

1207: Hamilton, Kubica, Heidfeld and Nakajima still yet to make it out of the pits.

1204: An early top six: Bourdais, Rosberg, Sutil, Piquet, Kovalainen, Fisichella.

From Blue Nosed Fox on 606: "Re 1155: My tongue-twister of the season: 'Brawn boss Ross Brawn'."
Join the debate on 606

1202: No prizes for guessing that Force India are among the first to show. Giancarlo Fisichella will be the first to post a flying lap.

1200: Off we go in Q1. 20 minutes and we'll lose the bottom five.

BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Most of the drivers kept their race suits on between practice and qualifying in order to acclimatise to the conditions - apart from Kimi Raikkonen."

From siu99spj on 606: "So, here I am in the middle of the desert in Qatar, just a short hop from Bahrain, reading the BBC website. Just for info, it's a relatively mild 38C and 37% humidity, so quite nice (summer is 50+). Can't wait until tomorrow when I'll actually be in Bahrain getting deafened by all the cars for real!"
Join the debate on 606

1155: This is your five-minute warning... Eddie Jordan is tipping Toyota for the win this weekend, which coincidentally is the team that my eternal tip Timo Glock drives for.

Brawn boss Ross Brawn: "It's actually too hot. I think all the cars are at the limit of what they can cope with. It's due to be cooler tomorrow."

James, Ealing, via text on 81111: "Williams are due a big helping of points - Rosberg for a clean sweep this weekend."

Sebastian Vettel on Bahrain: "It's a tricky, tricky circuit because it doesn't give you the usual rhythm."

From gomesthegoal on 606: "I reckon Rosberg is gonna sneak pole with Brawn two and three."
Join the debate on 606

Eddie Jordan on the British GP at Silverstone: "If Bernie Ecclestone says it definitely, definitely won't happen, then that means it probably will happen. I was encouraged when I heard him say so emphatically that we wouldn't be returning to Silverstone because Bernie is the master of the curveball. I really hope there is a British Grand Prix and to be honest I don't really care where it is held."
Hill backs Silverstone's GP bid

1144: And a weather update: 34C and breezy today in Bahrain - but there is still talk of a possible sandstorm on race day.

1141: News reaches me that Timo Glock's Toyota suffered an electrical problem this morning.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "Bahrain's warm climes have lured a few more famous faces to the Grand Prix this weekend. Phew, after a lack of celebrities in Malaysia and China, I was beginning to think the glamorous image of F1 was just a myth. Guitar hero Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason are here - no doubt hoping for a guest spot in Eddie Jordan's band The Robbers. Jermaine Jackson, a former resident of the kingdom, has also been spotted, as has comedian Rory Bremner."

1135: Bit harsh Robin (see below). Sebastian Vettel? Mark Webber? And that's just in one team...

From Robin in Dundee via text on 81111: "Re 1123: No offense to young Mr Buemi, but he, along with almost the rest of the track, seem to be almost boring at times. Do you think that there are no more charismatic F1 racing drivers?"

1130: The Crown Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, is being interviewed by the rather less glamorously named Eddie Jordan. "It's important for me to say congratulations to Abu Dhabi for getting a race," he says. "It can only enhance all the activities we do."

BBC analyst and former team boss Eddie Jordan: "I'm yet to be convinced about the logic of the kinetic energy recovery system (Kers) that gives drivers an extra boost of power per lap. However, this is one circuit where it should give a huge advantage because of the long straights and big braking zones. Both McLarens, Ferraris, Renaults and the BMW Saubers will use it in qualifying, despite the fact that Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and BMW's Robert Kubica have both experienced teething problems with the system. Could we see the first Kers car on pole in Bahrain? Well, I don't think so, but it will be interesting to see how they go."

SimpreZola on 606: "I'm going for Hamilton to separate the two Brawns at the top of the starting grid."
Join the debate on 606

Red Bull driver Mark Webber: "It's definitely warm - but I much prefer these conditions to Malaysia. Dry heat is OK. I hope qualifying goes better than practice this morning. We're now focusing clearly on Q3 - and then get ourselves the most fuel as possible but also to start as far up as possible."

From anon via text on 81111: "Re 1107: Certainly sour grapes from Flavio there! He needs to focus his rants in house and interpret the rules correctly!"

Eddie Jordan returns to the BBC team: "My bus pass doesn't get me as far as Shanghai so I had to stay at home."

1112: By the way, if you had Sugababes in the 'BBC's Shanghai music montage' sweepstake, you're a winner. Not sure what China victor Sebastian Vettel would make of it though.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "I heard a Mole-like whisper this morning that there could be a very good reason why Fernando Alonso is driving with extra care at the Bahrain track. The two-time world champion finished a fairly anonymous 13th in final practice but on the way to the track the Spaniard was the centre of attention. His silver car was pulled onto the hard shoulder with a police car on either side. Alonso, dressed in his Renault shirt, was out of his car, talking enthusiastically to two policemen."

From mkremer on 606: "Brawn have been fairly quiet this weekend so far. Wonder what they may have up their sleeves for qualifying? (and just my opinion, but Flavio Briatore is a major windbag)"
Join the debate on 606

1107: Flavio Briatore has been talking again. The Renault boss just can't help himself can he? Last week, he was taking a sideswipe at Brawn and their drivers, this week Kers takes a hit. "The Formula One Teams' Association wants to ban it from 2010," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "We understood immediately that Kers was a money-sucking genius, and the FIA should have taken note of that. It should have been discussed before the start of the season, and the same goes for the diffusers. Having failed to do that has forced on us expenses that are crazy as much as useless."

1103: Timo Glock went quickest in practice this morning - but then his Toyota died. Work to do in that garage, as well as Toro Rosso's. Sebastien Bourdais was forced to sit out much of the session due to an unspecified problem with his car. More on all that as soon as we hear it.

1100: Ah, you're back, good. Time to stop the mind games and get down to the real business: qualifying (in an hour).

1013: That's all for now - but I'll be back at 1100 BST as we begin the build-up to qualifying. See you then...

1009: As well as Toyota, Toro Rosso will be busy between now and qualifying at 1200 BST as they try to patch up Sebastien Bourdais' car. The Frenchman managed only seven laps in final practice.

From njbh86 on 606: "It's Saturday practice, it means nothing, there's no indication of true pace here."
Join the debate on 606

1003: Timo Glock may be top of the pops but his Toyota team now face a race against time to fix his car in time for qualifying. The Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello lie 15th and 16th respectively. The BBC 5 Live team reckon that's because they are preparing for the top 10 qualifying shoot-out with the race fuel load.

1001: All done, and your top six are: Timo Glock, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Nelson Piquet Jr.

1000: The chequered flag is out, but there are a few cars still on flying laps.

Maurice Hamilton on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra: "That's bad news for Toyota. There's not a lot of time to get stuff sorted between now and qualifying, and once that's over, you can't touch the car for the rest of the weekend."

0955: Oh dear. Timo Glock comes coasting to a halt. BBC 5 Live Sports Extra analyst Anthony Hamilton wonders if the Toyota has run out of fuel, which would explain that flying lap... but no, it looks like it's electrical.

BBC 5 Live Sports Extra's David Croft on this week's McLaren hearing: "I wouldn't be surprised if McLaren got a three or four race ban. The FIA take misleading stewards very seriously indeed."
Blog - What will happen to McLaren?

0953: Timo Glock hasn't just beaten Lewis Hamilton's time - he's absolutely ruined it. The Toyota driver takes 0.370 off Hamilton's best to go top with a 1:32.605.

0948: If Caroline is still with us (see 0928), I'm told the little man on the side of Lewis Hamilton's helmet is the logo of one of his sponsors - a well-known brand of whisky.

From prakhar1 on 606: "Have I just gone back in time? Hamilton first, followed by two Ferraris, who would have thought it?"
Join the debate on 606

0943: Last year's pole time has been beaten by.... Lewis Hamilton, who posts a very impressive 1:32.975 on the board. The Brit is on super-soft tyres, while Felipe Massa, who has just gone second, is still on the mediums.

0940: Turns nine and 10 are proving tricky for everyone, Nick Heidfeld the latest driver to lock up his brakes. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso have Sebastien Bourdais' car up on the jacks. Not good news for the Frenchman.

0938: A little over 20 minutes remaining and it's still Hamilton on top. Fernando Alonso brings up the rear in his Renault, a position he held for much of yesterday before a late leap up to second quickest in second practice.

BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "There were three teams that started the season with double-decker diffusers. Interim diffusers have now been fitted to Renault, Force India and McLaren. Coming up, Ferrari and BMW will have them in Barcelona. Toro Rosso and Red Bull are looking to fit them for Monaco."

From Matt in Poole, via text on 81111: "Re 0928: the little man on Lewis's helmet is a Bernie Ecclestone life size portrait."

0931: Lewis Hamilton takes us into the 1:33s - but only just, with a 1:33.999. Last year's pole time was Robert Kubica's 1:33.096. Kubica's sole pole last season remains the only time a Pole has claimed pole in F1.

0928: Lewis has a little cartoon of him DJ-ing on his helmet, not sure if that is the "little man" to whom Caroline refers. Still Glock on top, Hamilton second now ahead of Vettel.

From Caroline, Bristol, via text on 81111: "Lewis Hamilton appears to have a little man on the side of his helmet. Does anyone know who this is?"

0921: Hurray, Timo Glock leads the way with a 1:34.386. King of practice Nico Rosberg is second, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

BBC analyst and former team boss Eddie Jordan: "It should be a very interesting final practice session ahead of qualifying in Bahrain, not only are the Red Bulls on the coat tails of the Brawns but others are starting to emerge from the pack having modified their diffusers. I see Lewis Hamilton doing a good job again this weekend. He drove like a world champion at the Chinese Grand Prix, where he finished sixth, even though he made a few mistakes in the wet. He showed a lot of fighting spirit and I see more good things to come from him here."

0914: Felipe Massa blinks first, posting the day's first time of 1:36.119. It's the Brazilian's 28th birthday today. Feliz aniversario, Felipe.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Kovalainen's car: "Heikki has a new engine - unusually he's only used one so far - and a noisy throttle sensor signal caused the engine to stall. The engineers are just checking it's nothing mechanical, but we don't think it's major."

0909: All quiet on the track, a fact which may be explained by Nico Rosberg's message to his Williams team: "Do you think we should be running? The track seems really poor..."

Alex, procrastinating brilliantly, via text on 81111: "Oh the eternal dilemma of revision for incredibly important legal exams next week or GP... I think we all know which wins! I fancy Mark Webber to pick up his first win with both Ferraris either crashing or breaking down!"

0903: Miserable start to the day for Heikki Kovalainen, whose McLaren stalls as he tries to exit the pits. He has to be rolled back into the garage by his mechanics.

From Paul, N Yorks, via text on 81111: "Re 0830: I have to go for a medical for my racing licence. Surely that excuses me!"

0900: Off we go then. Felipe Massa is out quickly - and locks up going into turn 10 on his installation lap.

0859:BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos reveals that McLaren, BMW, Renault and Ferrari will be using Kers this weekend.

0858: Briatore was also asked about one of F1's many hot topics at the moment: namely the future of the hapless Nelson Piquet Jr. "It is what you see. What can I say? It is a difficult moment for him and we need to support him. In a moment like this you don't kill anybody. This is the first race with the normal situation and let's see. Sunday or Monday maybe we have a different idea, I hope a better of idea, of what's going on."

0856: Renault boss Flavio Briatore faced the press yesterday, and wasn't in the mood to suffer fools gladly. Question: "Flavio, your engine won (in China) but not your chassis. What makes the difference?" Answer: "The chassis." That's cleared that up then.

From Matt via text on 81111: "Hi Caroline, should be a good one today."

0849: BBC commentator Jonathan Legard hasn't even got Timo in his top eight, which is surely just an oversight. He's gone for a 1-2-3 of Button, Barrichello and Vettel.
Jonathan Legard blog

0846: Did I detect a hint of smugness in Sarah's last missive? Little does she know she missed the British summer this week, as temperatures rocketed to a baking 22C... Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing from you today - via text on 81111. And don't forget to include your name and your tip for the race. Mine, as always, is Timo Glock.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "Salut from the Sakhir circuit. I hear it is going to be wet back home in Britain this weekend, which would make it perfect weather for a 2009 Grand Prix BUT here in Bahrain we are bracing ourselves for extreme conditions at the opposite end of the scale. The forecast is set at an ice-cream melting 39C - the hottest weather of the week so far. The track is surrounded by desert and that unique geography means the cars and drivers have to deal with track temperatures of up to 50C, wind and drifting sand that gets embedded in the tyres. We will find out who deals with those conditions best when qualifying begins at 1400 local time - and if it is rainy in Britain you've no excuse to miss it right?"

0835: Having said you'd be a fool to go anywhere, if you happen to be in the UK, you could always head for your nearest telly and press the Red Button (in about 20 minutes) and you'll be able to actually watch final practice with your very own eyes. Alternatively, it's also streamed on this here website.

0830: Hello you. Preparations are well under way for final practice in half an hour's time, ahead of the thrills and spills of qualifying at 1200 BST. Frankly, you'd be a fool to go anywhere.

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see also
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying result
20 Apr 09 |  Results
Trulli on pole as Toyota dominate
25 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying photos
25 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren make apology for 'lying'
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Rosberg quickest as Alonso shines
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain GP practice as it happened
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix practice results
20 Apr 09 |  Results
Bahrain Grand Prix practice photos
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen rues Ferrari slowness
23 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso maintains title ambitions
22 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1

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