Raikkonen on pole, Alonso next up – no surprises there. Even the four tenths of a second gap was about what we expected. Massa might have been able to make it a Ferrari front row but a broken gearbox put paid to that. It was a good reminder that nothing can be taken for granted in this first race of the year, however; there will be more retirements to come and they could easily make a mess of any predictions.
The second row is interesting: Heidfeld and Hamilton. The BMW could be even better than anyone suspected, likewise Lewis Hamilton. No wonder Ron Dennis was fairly chortling with glee afterwards – he has picked a winner in the young Brit and can look forward to a great season for McLaren. And, with Kubica confirming the pace of the BMW with his fifth grid slot, maybe even Mario Theissen will consider the possibility of victory in this race.
Fizzy did as much as could be done with the Renault in hauling it into sixth, but Mark Webber worked wonders to grab seventh in the Red Bull. For the Toyotas to be next up is also something of a miracle, especially as both had trouble in the second period of qualifying. Any bets on how long they will last in the race?
As for the Super Aguris being tenth and eleventh, I don’t have to say anything – Colin Kolles is shouting loud enough for his protest to be heard back in England. At least it shows that sometimes it’s better to go with development of last year’s chassis than a completely new car – Honda are mystified by their RA 107′s refusal to perform.
Otherwise the grid is more or less as one would expect, although the Williams cars were a little disappointing. But allow me to point once again at Scott Speed; he was almost a second faster than Liuzzi and for a while looked as if he would make it into Q2. The guy is in F1 on merit, I tell ya.
And now we will all sit down to see what happens when the red lights go out; for me, it will be 10:30pm Saturday, others will be in Sunday. All around the world there will be sighs of contentment as our withdrawal symptoms are eased. It has been a long wait but at last we begin – and this season looks to be a humdinger.