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Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Saturday, 9 May 2009 14:43 UK

Spanish GP qualifying as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)
606: DEBATE

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By Sam Lyon

1430: Well that's it from me, folks, thanks for your company. I'm off to calm down after a terrific day's racing and I expect to see you all back here bright and breezy at 1130 BST tomorrow at the latest. Bring your very best chat, your nerves of steel and a nice comfortable cushion to sit on. I reckon it'll be an atypical squeaky-bum Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, I really do. Nice.

1431: "This shake up in the standings is making things more exciting than it has been since Alonso started turning Schumi over!"
jamieslucky7 on 606
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1427: Well well well, Jenson Button pulls it out of the bag once again. A cracking hot lap in the nick of time sees him snatch pole position - and given the last eight winners at this circuit have come from pole position, you wonder just how crucial that qualifying run will prove. It'll be interesting to see the fuel loads later today - but the suspicion is that the Brawn GPs are hardly on a lighter load than their main rivals the Red Bulls. Mixed fortunes for Ferrari as Felipe Massa grabs their highest qualifying position of the season so far in finishing fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen crashes out in Q1 thanks to an error of inexcusable proportions on both sides. The Toyotas look strong again despite coming into this weekend without any changes to their car, but it looks like being a long ol' race for Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in their McLarens. Where's ya money folks?

1420: "That was a great qualifying session with some surprises, still another mess-up from Kimi by being over-confident and not putting in another lap in Q1. It's all Bs in Barcelona - Brawn, Barrichello and Button. I still fancy Rubino to beat Jenson and Lewis to pick up a point or two."
PhilSlocombe on 606
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1417: "Jenson has been struggling with his balance this weekend a bit and I didn't think he was going to do it today but he really showed his class."
Ross Brawn on BBC One

1414: "It was a great effort from Jenson Button, unbelievable, but it came as a surprise I think. I think we have a very good car for the race and I am still fighting. I just have to try harder and harder to keep up with Jenson!"
Rubens Barrichello on BBC One

1412: "I would've liked pole, obviously, but second position is OK. I think the car feels good and I'm very happy with it."
Sebastian Vettel on BBC One

1411: "That's by far my best lap of the weekend - it's a bit of a surprise in a way - and to squeeze in the time when I did was probably more luck than judgement! Credit to Sebastian Vettel, he has looked so strong all weekend, but obviously I'm delighted to be P1."
Jenson Button on BBC One

1408: "Not bad for someone who didn't like their car!"
DeleriumDon6345 on 606
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1406: "You could hear it in his voice - he is ecstatic. That is a huge qualifying display," says Eddie Jordan on BBC One. "That was an amazing performance," adds David Coulthard, "he's come from nowhere, and I'm sure he has a good level of fuel on board too. Brilliant."

1403: That looked a hugely special lap from Jenson Button, the Briton finding something quite remarkable in the final sector to pip Sebastian Vettel by 0.133 seconds. Vettel will start from second, Rubens Barrichello third, Felipe Massa fourth and Mark Webber fifth. Timo Glock, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica - in that order - complete the top 10.

JENSON BUTTON GRABS POLE POSITION

1359: Rubens Barrichello sets the time to beat - it's 1:20.762, half a second faster than Vettel's best time in this session so far. All nine other cars are out on track.

1357: Rubens Barrichello on his hot lap.

1356: Sebastian Vettel from Rubens Barrichello from Jenson Button - that's how it stands with a few minutes remaining.

1354: Word from the Brawn GP garage is that they fancy Rubens Barrichello for pole - Jenson Button is not happy with his car, apparently.

1353: Timo Glock is top of the charts with just him and team-mate Trulli on the time-sheets so far - his time of 1:22.198 will surely be improved on, though.

1351: Lewis Hamilton: "I guess it's a bit of a disappointing qualifying for us. We did the best we could but the laps weren't fantastic. We had hoped to be higher up. It's not last and there's lots that can happen. It's a long tough race. I hope we can get a point, that would be great." Asked if the upgrade package had helped improve the performance of his McLaren car, Hamilton simply said: "No".

1348: More from Kimi Raikkonen: "It's really disappointing because the car was looking in good shape this weekend. I was not too keen to go out again either really because I thought the time we had done would be enough."

1347: Kimi Raikkonen gamely suggests "it does not matter whose fault it is, the qualifying position is not good but I will race my hardest tomorrow". Still, that's a heinous error from Ferrari you have to say, though Eddie Jordan is unrepetentent in suggesting Raikkonen has to take his share of the blame. "This is schoolboy stuff, it's unforgivable. He should be carrying this team over the line on his back if he has to and he needs a good talking to".

1344: That's that - Lewis Hamilton is out after Q2, limping to 14th fastest in that session. The others out are Kazuki Nakajima, Nelson Piquet Jr, Nick Heidfeld and Sebastien Buemi. A shot of Hamilton in the paddock suggest he is not a happy bunny.

1341: Jenson Button is struggling for pace a touch, he's only fifth fastest at the moment with a minute left.

1340: Lewis Hamilton was a second and a half quicker then Kovalainen in Q1 - just shows what a fantastic job he is doing in a car that is really struggling with the high speed corners."
BoingBoingWBA1 on 606
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1337: The Red Bulls are racing round, now, with Mark Webber fastest with a lap of 1:20.007, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel and BMW's Robert Kubica.

1335: Poor start to Q2 for Sebastien Buemi as he spins out on Turn Nine and ends up on the gravel, clipping the tyre wall.

1333: "Hats off to Nelson Piquet Jr - it would have been very easy for him to get over excited there knowing that his lap could effectively knock out Kimi Raikkonen. But he stayed cool so credit where credit is due."
Anthony Davidson on Five Live

1328: Heikki Kovalainen explains to BBC One that his car "just didn't have the grip and I had no confidence to push it whatsoever". BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz, meanwhile, confirms Ferrari have held their hands up and admitted they simply "miscalculated" and thought Raikkonen was safe. Oops.

1325: "He thought he was home and hosed and just gave up on the job. We've seen it before in the race in Malaysia, he goes away and he gets his ice cream, I just don't think he's got his head in the right place at the moment."
Eddie Jordan on BBC One

1322: Shock! Kimi Raikkonen is out! The Finn only did five laps and Ferrari have done it again - he slowly slid down the time charts and then fell out at the death. The five out are Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastien Bourdais, Heikki Kobvalainen, Adrian Sutil, and Giancarlo Fischella.

1319: A minute to go in Q1 and it's Massa from Vettel from Nakajima - bottom five are Bourdais, Kovalainen, Barrichello, Fisichella and Sutil.

1317: Kovalainen is really struggling. He's 14th fastest but Trulli, Barrichello, Glock and Alonso have yet to complete a flying lap...

1315: Heikki Kovalainen is struggling down in 16th in his McLaren - and that last lap was on the soft tyres too - but Robert Kubica eases some nerves in the BMW garage by posting the fourth fastest time.

1312: "It looks like most teams have realised at least one set of softs - probably two - will be needed to get through Q1, at least one in Q2, and then possibly more in Q3..."
BBC pit lane reporter Ted Krabvitz

1310: Sebastian Vettel posts his fastest lap of the weekend so far with a 1:20.715.

1308: Jarno Trulli sets the quickest time so far with a lap of 1:22.369 - about the pace we're expecting in this session - and that was despite losing pace in the final sector. That should bode well for the Toyotas. Almost immediately, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel posts 1:22.192 and then Timo Glock 1:22.185.

1306: Nick Heidfeld goes out on an installation lap, as his car has a new cone following his error in practice this morning. His hope is to get into Q2 you would think.

1304: "As I understand it, the hard tyres are taking quite a while to warm up this weekend so that might explain Heikki's relatively slow time then."
Martin Brundle on BBC One

1303: Heikki Kovalainen - on the hards - goes round in 1:23.718. That's not fast.

1300: Qualifying for the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix is under way people and, just for a change, the Force Indias are first out on the track. Do Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella not like it in the paddocks that much that they have to go on the 'b' of the bang every time?

1257: "Did Nelson Piquet Jr just say this track is one of his favourites? For what, spinning off or going backwards! Sorry, couldn't resist that one. Button or Vettel to take pole today for me!"
Emmagirlracer on 606
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1254: "Regardless of all the changes being introduced here this weekend, I'll be very surprised if it isn't all this season's usual suspects at the top of the grid come the end of qualifying."
David Coulthard on BBC One

1250: Less than 10 minutes to go before qualifying starts, so why not take the opportunity to check out a classic race? I present to you the 1986 battle between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell, but there's plenty others to view so kick back and reminisce...
The 1986 Spanish Grand Prix

1244: "Ferrari look to have taken a massive step forward. Thankfully I've got Kimi at 12/1 to win."
bringthejungleback on 606
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1240: As well as finding out the Ferraris' real race pace this afternoon, it'll be interesting to see to what extent Red Bull were 'sandbagging' in final practice. Many are expecting Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel to challenge for the podium despite finishing 13th and 16th fastest this morning and, talking to BBC Sport earlier in the week, Webber said: "In Barcelona on Sunday we will find out which teams are most likely to be in good shape for the rest of the season." We shall see, then Mark...
Mark Webber column

1234: "It's all go here, but there is a lot of interest in seeing just how genuine the Ferrari's pace is after their blitz in practice - though both are expected to make it through to the top 10 shootout in qualifying for the third time this season. The team are positive about the updates to the F60, and technical director Aldo Costa says more modifications are coming, including an updated diffuser at next month's Turkish Grand Prix."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona

1231: "Sebastian Vettel has been a bit quiet this weekend, I do think he'll pull something out."
MrSport88 on 606

1229: And talking of the 2010 season, Bernie Ecclestone has revealed a second American team is looking to join Formula 1. US F1 announced their potential entry earlier this year, although confirmation of that will have to wait for the political row between the current teams and the FIA to be resolved. And now speculation will surround the 'second' US team, with giants such as Penske or Andretti Racing Green sure to be linked. "There's two American teams," confirmed Ecclestone. "It will be good to see some new faces. Something like that (a change) is always good. When you think about it, who would have thought we would be talking about Brawn and Red Bull the way we are talking about them now."

1226: "I hope Kubica regains some dignity with a Top 10 qualifying position!"
Macheda Stole My Hair Gel on 606
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1222: "Does anyone care that Ferrari may not be on the grid next season?"
Alan via text on 81111
I'd suspect a huge amount of people Alan, though that might be your point...

1219: Of course the big news this week in Formula 1 has been the introduction of the £40m budget cap for the 2010 season - and it is at least part of the reason behind Raikkonen's reticence to to commit himself to the sport beyond his current contract - but what's it all about? The big fear is that such regulations will create a "two-tier" championship between those enjoying the benefits of operating within the budget restrictions and those who aren't. General consensus appears to be that most teams are behind a cap - in theory - but it's fair to say the proposal as it stands is far from everyone's preference. This one will run and run I suspect...
F1 teams handed £40m budget cap

1216: "Fernando Alonso has brought a new dimension to Formula 1 in Spain - he's an amazing character, a two-time world champion - and he's prompted fanatical support here. Who'd put it past him to do something special this weekend."
Eddie Jordan on BBC One

1211: "Arghhhhhh - I just can't decide on the top eight - it's so hard making predictions this season - only an hour before I have to submit my prediction list ...... and I'm a gibbering wreck!"
ElNano4Eva on 606
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1208: And, for the misty-eyed among you, why not have a butchers at F1 legend Murray Walker's video preview ahead of tomorrow's big race? If only to check out what appear to be a lovely couple of bits of artwork on his office wall.
Murray Walker's video blog

1205: Just a reminder - Jake and the Gang (as his made-up hugely successful pop jauntee was labelled) will be bringing you live coverage of qualifying from 1210 BST on BBC One, so get involved. In fact, why don't you have Jake et al on the TV, Crofty and Davidson on the radio, my good self on your web page, and Aunty Margaret from next door bringing you a steady supply of hot beverages and sandwiches from now until, erm, about 1500 BST? Nice.

1202: "Come On Alonso! Bang it on pole!"
King_Alonso786 on 606
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1200: Oh hello, fancy seeing you here. I hope you've taken the opportunity to grab a spot of Battenburg and a brew because the main event of your Saturday is a mere hour away. Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, has spent some of his morning threatening to quit the sport over the proposed budget cap introduction in 2010. "I have a contract for next year then it's more or less my decision what I want to do," he told BBC Sport. "We'll see how it goes and how F1 is going. There are a lot of question marks." I don't know, first he sandbags (maybe) and now he wants out of the sport (maybe). Never a dull moment, hey?
Wary Raikkonen ponders F1 future

1115: It's all set up isn't it? Another cracking qualifying session awaits - the Brawns are looking strong, expect the Red Bulls and Toyotas to be right up there despite a below-the-radar final practice, and it will be interesting to see just how fast the Ferraris are come crunch time. I'll be back at 1200 BST to talk you through it - in the meantime, why not learn some Spanish slang? Jubbly.
Cool Spanish - a guide to Spanish slang

1111: "I think the only thing we can take from the three practice sessions is that the Brawns are still very, very fast. They were competitive in every session, despite experimenting with setups. JB on pole."
-Time-4-Heroes- on 606

1106: "The Ferraris must be running very light as they were much slower yesterday with heavier fuel."
LewisHamiltonMcLaren on 606
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1103: So it's a Ferrari one-two in practice for the first time this season - how significant might that be? - and they are a full half second quicker than the Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, who are next fastest. Anthony Davidson does not believe that is representative of the Prancing Horses' race pace, though. Red Bull appeared to hold something back in that session, as did - we suspect - the Toyotas. Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, pushed his McLaren to the maximum as far as we can tell and still only finished 7th fastest. He wasn't a happy bunny yesterday, and one suspects he won't exactly be bringing out the robot in the pit lane now either.

1059: Fernando Alonso re-emerges and goes ninth fastest. The Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen top the charts.

1057: "We can see Nick Heidfeld's BMW in the garage and it doesn't look pretty - it's never a good state to see a Formula 1 car in - I reckon he has done about £300,000 worth of damage there. These cars are expensive to fix and they don't like going into tyre walls. It's always a bit awkward as a driver knowing that the whole factory have put their faith in you and you do feel a bit bad."
Anthony Davidson on Five Live Sports Extra

1055: With five minutes of the session remaining, Timo Glock sits top of the tree with a lap of 1:21.377 - that's blooming fast - ahead of Jenson Button, Felipe Massa, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel sit mid-table, while home hero Fernando Alonso - it was his Renault with the problem I mentioned earlier, not Nelson Piquet Jr, sorry - may want to get his act together quickly, given he is currently 19th fastest.

1052: "The big story of the session so far for me is that we are seeing race pace now. Ferrari have made a big step, they seem to have taken up to half a second of race pace out of McLaren, who are going to have a really tough weekend by the look of things, but at the front it's still between Brawn and Red Bull."
BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz

1051: "Hamilton, in my opinion, is pushing that McLaren to the limit - I don't that he can get any more out of that car to be honest."
hammydigrassi - Anthony Davidsons Number 1 biggest fan
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1047: And Timo Glock, on the softs now, goes round in 1:21.419 - the times are falling faster than the FTSE index at the moment. Jenson Button, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber - in that order - are the next fastest.

1046: Anything Barrichello can do... Felipe Massa takes another chunk out of the fastest lap times with a circuit of 1:21.510 - that's over a second faster than the previous quickest lap set here by Raikkonen last year.

1043: And the Brawn GPs come to the party as Rubens Barrichello rips a full half second off Sebastian Vettel's fastest lap time to go top of the charts with a lap of 1:21.906 - much more like the pace we were expecting from him. Lewis Hamilton goes out on the softs - the first of the drivers to do so in this session - and Kimi Raikkonen does a full 360 spin on Turn Two. A couple of mistakes being made in this session by a few of the drivers.

1041: "Robert Kubica's workload has just doubled because Nick Heidfeld is out of practice. If BMW didn't have it hard enough already, then it just got a lot harder. If Heidfeld can recover and make Q3 later on, you'd have to say that'd be a fine achievement."
BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz

1037: "I think Heidfeld had a little bit of lock up there because it's quite a rare place for a driver to make a mistake. This is a track where drivers don't have any excuses, everyone has spent a lot of time on this track so there is nowhere to hide."
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra

1035: "All respect to El Eyebrows for the respect he showed Lewis yesterday, it seems to have changed a few Spanish fans attitudes towards the Briton."
PhilSlocombe on 606
Alonso offers advice to Hamilton

1032: Oopsa-daisy - Nick Heidfeld, rather inexplicably, goes off at Turn 12 and his car is having to be recovered by a crane. He walks away apparently unharmed, but the session is yellow flagged nevertheless.

1031: "It looks like there's been some sort of problem, possibly with the central pillar of the rear wing, and the teams are taking pictures of the area - not a good sign."
BBC pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz on Fernando Alonso Renault

1027: Ferrari pair Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen now top the charts and the Prancing Horses are looking impressive out there.

1024: "We have got a 7 foot 6 inch red-eyed robot lurking in the back of our garage - it's part of our link up with the new Terminator Salvation film. It's stalking the back of Ruben's Barrichello's garage at the moment so anyone that does anything wrong today is likely to be attacked from behind by this gruesome beast."
Brawn CEO Nick Fry on BBC Radio 5 Live

1022: Fernando Alonso - a man almost solely responsible for Spain's current love affair with Formula 1 and he of the finest eyebrows seen this side of Norman Lamont - is the fastest man on the track right now with a lap of 1:23.074. He had some lovely words for Lewis Hamilton yesterday didn't he? Fantastic to see Alonso and the rest of Spain putting last year's crowd shambles in the shade with a warm embrace of the reigning world champion this season. Lovely.
Spanish F1 track honours Hamilton

1018: Nick Heidfeld goes top of the charts with a lap of 1:23.712 - he is one of six drivers, including Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso, who have times down out there.

1016: "I'm a Williams fan and cheer on the Brit drivers, but you've got to have a soft spot for Adrian Sutil. Everyone loves an underdog, he was so unlucky not to come 4th in Monaco last year (darn you Kimi!) and to aquaplane off late on in Malaysia the other week... Gotta feel somewhat sorry for him and Force India."
JVGazeley on 606
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1011: Timo Glock is the first to stick a time on the charts with a lap of 1:25.987 - last year Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen nailed down pole position with a time of 1:21.813, just so you know. The lap record, also set by the flying Finn, is 1:21.670.

1008: And if you've ever wondered what it's like to rip round the Circuit de Catalunya at near warp speed, check out our circuit guide. It's almost like being there. Not. Still, it is rather enlightening...
Spanish GP circuit guide

1006: Lest we forget, this Grand Prix is supposed to unveil a host of changes to the cars after a two-week break following the early-season long-haul races. I'm talking 'double-decker' diffusers, aerodynamic upgrades, Kers and so on. Check out The Mole's look at things - he/she/it outlines the potential impact beautifully, especially considering he/she/it had to type it out with a set of claws.
Who will reign in Spain?

1000: Final practice gets under way and it looks like all the teams are looking to get out early and test things out. Nelson Piquet Jr starts as he means to go on - by stalling in the pit lane. Oh dear.

0957: "Why can I still see Nelson Piquet Jr's name on the timesheet? I wouldn't trust him to drive me home in a taxi..."
Anon via text on 81111

0955: So with final practice commencing in just under five minutes, why don't we take time out to have a prediction or two? BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard is tipping another cracking weekend for the Brawn GPs, with Red Bull following closely behind, and Kimi Raikkonen, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton sharing the rest of the points. Me? Apart from leaning towards another Button race win, I'm predicting Sarah Holt will return from the Circuit de Catalunya more pink than a Flamingo laying on a BBQ.
Jonathan Legard's predictions

0949: "Re: 0945 - Impossible to overtake? Isn't most overtaking done in the pits nowadays? I can see the order changing a few times over the course of the race as fuel strategies come into play. I think the Brawns will qualify on the second or third row but with massive fuel loads putting them on a one-stop or two-stop... Or not."
Bronco Billy on 606

0945: "In my opinion, whoever is on pole after today will win the race (regardless of fuel load) - the past pole-race winner record speaks for itself and it's impossible to overtake here."
Mourinho_Fan on 606
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0942: Apparently, one thing we did learn from Friday's practice is that Adrian Sutil has the potential to be the new superhero of the Formula 1 text commentary? Cheesey tells me the German was getting a lot of love via text and on 606 yesterday? So, I thought, why don't we put it to the test? Today, you have you chance to nominate your F1 text commentary hero - and I need to know why. Whoever comes out on top will get a plaque of honour and a kiss on the cheek from Cheesey. (This is probably a lie).

0939: "I hope Lewis can climb the time charts again today, I want a fight for the title between Lewis and Jenson, the British ruling all!"
GraymeadYNWA on 606
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0937: "The sun is peaking through the clouds here at the Circuit de Catalunya, where it looks like we will be in for a dry qualifying session - though there is still a 60% chance of rain for race day. It's all sunshine and smiles now, though. For the first time since Australia's opening Grand Prix the route up to the track was flanked by fans decked out in their team colours. Spirits are fairly giddy at BBC HQ - no tea rounds this morning from presenter Jake, instead a rendition of Lady GaGa's Poker Face. And we could all see some poker faces from the drivers in final practice before the teams, with their updated cars, unleash their true form in qualifying at 1300 BST."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona

0934: And don't forget folks, this is your special day, so why not drop me a line on 606 or via text on 81111 and let me know what nuts and bolts are bouncing around in that headshell of yours huh?
Join the debate on 606

0931: So what did we learn from Friday practice then? Well, amid suspicions that the European leg of the season would see major adjustments to the cars and a rerrangement of the hierarchy at the top of the time charts... well, not a great deal seems to have changed. Yet. Brawn GP once again looked on the money, Red Bull and Toyota showed glimpses of good pace, and Nico Rosberg, not for the first time, showed that if points were handed out for practice placings he'd be top of the pile and laughing all the way to the Championship. Except they're not, bless 'im. That said, BMW duo Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld came to the party in second practice didn't they? I wonder if that's a sign that some teams (*cough* McLaren, *cough* Ferrari) are just holding something back ahead of today?

0925: Hola, como es usted? Dos cervezas por favor. Erm, yeah, that's my guidebook Spanish pretty much exhausted I'm afraid - well, we can't all be multilingual experts like Miss Cheese can we? Are you ready for what is already being dubbed "The 2009 Spanish Grand Prix final practice and qualifying"? People, start your engines...



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see also
Last-gasp Button grabs Spain pole
09 May 09 |  Formula 1
Spanish Grand Prix starting grid
05 May 09 |  Results
Spanish GP qualifying photos
09 May 09 |  Formula 1
Spanish GP practice as it happened
08 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1


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