Fernando Alonso starting second the favorite for his home race

Fernando Alonso starting second the favorite for his home race, by Bertho RF1

There has been talk of rain all week for Sunday at the Circuit de Catalunya:, though this now looks unlikely it is overcast and there’s a strong breeze: this is one reason why race performance may not reflect qualifying performance; a quickly evolving Barcelona circuit though is another.

 

Even in qualifying changing conditions caught out some, Button especially, and gave a grid that looked a little different from what we would have expected from practice: Hamilton had tipped teammate Button for Pole. The weather for the race could be such that a different set of drivers, those who struggled in qualifying, will find performance come to them in the race and with the amount of long run data from pre season testing and practice some drivers may have gone for a setup to suit the race more, Webber and Button fans will certianly hope this is the case for their drivers.

 

For Hamilton though he seemed to have a perfect setup for qualifying to initially get an outstanding pole, could the difference between him and Button be due to splitting stratgey for race and qualifying performance? Well Hmailton is now at the back of the grid having been disqualified from qualifying, he therefore gets in on the same basis as Karthikeyan for having posted a representative time in earlier practice sessions. Jenson too, in tenth now,  is further back than he would have expected even if he has compromised on setup.

 

Fernando Alonso has to be the favorite for the win and could become the first driver of the year to win two races, we wouldn’t discount Maldonado who is undoubtably fast but sometimes his race craft seems a little rough around the edges and he is accident prone. His starts though have often been good, though especially at Australia.

 

The Lotuses are now expected to win a race sometime this season but the next couple of races are likely to be their best chance as they may fall behind in performance as they did last year due to slower development than the top teams: Grosjean and Raikkonen start 3rd and 4th respectively. Having said this we expected the status quo to be resumed here in Barcelona with the top teams getting a march on their smaller rivals with less resources to spend on development: it seems though that that isn’t the case and with more potential in their cars some midfield teams may have jumped forwards as well; as have Marussia who now have a very nicely sculpted front wing.

 

The Saubers and the Mercedes don’t seem to have the pace to challenge for the podium spots though this could change in the race, even a short shower though could change things around and all but perhaps the top 4 will hope for this, Perez from a career best qualifying position of fifth especially may fancy a little rain. Vettel and Schumacher though having not set any times in Q3 have more tyres and a choice to start on, will the soft tyres have a big advantage though or will the tougher hard tyres actually be used for two or more stints with the softs only used once.