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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
Hamilton struggled with his balance on Friday, complaining of too much oversteer leaving him unable to make the progress he had wanted. Kovalainen, too, was disappointed to lose time when his gearbox oil pump developed a problem. Third and fifth in the morning, the duo slumped to 11th and 16th in the afternoon. Qualifying went far better and the McLaren drivers lined up fifth and sixth on the grid. They were both, however, surprised by their apparent lack of pace and inability to fight for the first few rows. The race began well for Hamilton, as he took third at the first corner. Kovalainen, too, was running well, taking the lead when the pit-stops started. But a suspected wheel rim failure resulted in a huge crash. It took a number of minutes to retrieve Kovalainen from the wreckage of the car, but reports soon came back that he had miraculously escaped uninjured. The team decided not to pull Hamilton in, and the Brit duly went on to take third place. Force India had a productive first day, fresh on the back of the previous week’s test. Sutil and Fisichella took 16th and 17th in the morning, and jumped up to 10th and ninth respectively in the afternoon. The pair had topped the timesheets for the first half hour of the afternoon session before concentrating on longer runs, and both declared themselves very happy with the pace of the car. Both drivers had a difficult qualifying session. Fisichella complained of low grip while Sutil was hampered by traffic. The duo lined up 19th and 20th respectively. Sutil’s race was to end in now nigh-on predictable disappointment as he made contact with a number of his rivals around turn four on the first lap. Game over for the German and another early flight. Fisichella, meanwhile, fared far better and fought a great race to take a season best 10th for the team, after enjoying a good battle with Heidfeld for a number of laps. SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM 18 19 FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM 20 21 VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES 22 23 The fact that Super Aguri was even taking part on Friday was reason enough for the entire sport to be happy, and following a nightmare week the team was happy to be able to turn attentions back onto the racing. Sato was relatively happy with the balance of his car, while Davidson complained of a long brake pedal and was unhappy with rear set-up. Qualifying was never going to be a glory run for the team, but with life tough at SAF1 Davidson’s ability to take the car to within a tenth of Sutil’s Force India was worthy of praise. Davidson and particularly Sato got good starts in the race, but in the mess created by Sutil’s accident fell back to the rear of the field. Davidson soon picked up debris however, which went through his radiator and curtailed his afternoon. Sato, despite a hole in his nose, ran all the way to the finish. He fought hard with Coulthard and gave the team something to be very proud of following one of its toughest weekends. F1 BARCELONA >> 31