Robert Kubica today became the first Pole to take a pole position in Formula One as he charged around the dusty Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. In what should have been a Ferrari wash-out BMW have set the cat among the pigeons and Kubica has now disrupted the Scuderia’s plans of a second easy-win. Massa redeemed himself slightly to take second but it was clear the intention was pole position. In that respect the plan hasn’t worked. Hamilton ended Saturday in third.
Takuma Sato caused the only hindrance during qualifying today, the Japanese driver running wide and getting his rear wheels on the dusty apron that lines the track. The resulting pirouette led Sato in the barrier and a red flag from the race control. This caused a few drivers to abandon their laps and Massa caused a bit of controversy by setting his fastest lap of the session with waved yellows in the area of Sato. However, it would appear the Brazilian has escaped penalty.
McLaren performed well considering this is meant to be a Ferrari circuit, Lewis Hamilton qualified in third and on the clean side of the track, while Heikki Kovalainen is directly behind in fifth. Given the fact that it is quite windy in Bahrain at the moment, I can see both McLarens getting good starts tomorrow afternoon and jumping a Ferrari each.
Williams have also improved in Bahrain. They ran well in Australia but looked ominously off-colour in Malaysia. However, ico Rosberg has pushed his FW30 to eighth and Kazuki Nakajima starts in sixteenth. Honda are another of the improvers, with Jenson Button hauling his RA108 into Q3 for the first time this year. And to cap off a good session for the Briton he even managed to out-qualify Fernando Alonso. Rubens Barrichello missed out on Q3 but only by a small margin. The experienced Brazilian starts tomorrow’s race in twelfth.
Force India had been keen to get into Q2 this race, and while it does look as though the VJM01 has improved, neither driver could manage it. Giancarlo Fisichella is in eighteenth while team mate Adrian Sutil is in twentieth. Super Aguri prop up the grid as usual, with Anthony Davidson ahead of Sato due to his connection with the barrier early on in Q1.