In a banner qualifying session for the Toyota duo; Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock have taken first and second place on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Bahrain. Toyota have struggled to find their way in F1 since joining the series but this year has seen a resurgent program intent of making their investment justifiable. Taking pole in Bahrain is a good step but Toyota desperately need a win this year to solidify their relevancy in the sport. At a time when the Toyota F1 program is laying off up to 150 people; today’s results are critical.
Timo Glocks qualifying performance is all the more astounding considering the young German nearly missed the entire qualifying session with an electrical problem that stopped his car in the practice session just prior to the start of qualifying. Jarno Trulli, no stranger to good qualifying performances, feels confident with his fuel strategy and race outlook. This weekend just may give Toyota it’s best opportunity to take their first win in F1.
Third place on the grid is Sebastian Vettel who is capitalizing on his new-found form and speed after winning last weeks Grand Prix of china. The young German found pace in the dry, hot sand of Bahrain and even suspects the Toyota’s will be stopping before him which is comfort for Red Bull fans as it signifies that Vettel may not be running as light as some would suggest. By all measure, Sebastian Vettel may just be making his mark in F1 this year and starting his rise to stardom in a car that many would have suggested was a liability for his career before the season started this year. opting for Ferrari, McLaren or BMW was the conventional wisdom but Vettel’s decision to go to Red Bull for two years may pay off in spades if the German can work with Adrian Newey and the team to keep him up front. The type of situation that is reminiscent to the Fernandon Alonso/Renault rise to championship form.
The temperature soared to 100 degrees Fahrenheit with a track temperature of 125. This caused serious concerns about engine and brake temperatures up and down the paddock as well as driver comfort. Lewis Hamilton had a brighter showing than expected in his McLaren placing 5th and both Ferrari’s made it into Q3 while his visibly upset teammate Heikki Kovalainen was relegated to 11th.
Perhaps the head scratching moment was the performance of the Brawn GP cars nestled in 4th and 6th but then one can never rule out fuel load and race strategy of Ross Brawn. Both BMW’s as well as the STR’s suffered today in less than satisfactory form.
1. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:32.779 1:32.671 1:33.431
2. Glock Toyota (B) 1:33.165 1:32.613 1:33.712
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:32.680 1:32.474 1:34.015
4. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:32.978 1:32.842 1:34.044
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:32.851 1:32.877 1:34.196
6. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:33.116 1:32.842 1:34.239
7. Alonso Renault (B) 1:33.627 1:32.860 1:34.578
8. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:33.297 1:33.014 1:34.818
9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:33.672 1:33.166 1:35.134
10. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:33.117 1:32.827 1:35.380
11. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:33.479 1:33.242
12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:33.221 1:33.348
13. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:33.495 1:33.487
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:33.377 1:33.562
15. Piquet Renault (B) 1:33.608 1:33.941
16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:33.722
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:33.753
18. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:33.910
19. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:34.038
20. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:34.159