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GP Week : Issue 27
>>F1BELGIUM nd Prix, Spa-Francorchamps An electrical problem for Jarno Trulli meant the weekend got off to a tricky start for Toyota, but with one driver inside the top 10 in each session the team did at least have reason to be optimistic. Qualifying, however, simply didn’t go their way and both Trulli and Glock were relegated after Q2. Both drivers complained of being unable to generate enough tyre heat, and with the race Toro Rosso must be wondering what it has done to please the racing gods so much of late, as their pace in recent events has been the talk of the paddock. With both Vettel and Bourdais well within the top 10 on Friday morning, things looked to be going their way again in Spa. Qualifying merely reflected the lengths the team has developed as both drivers again made it to Q3, with Bourdais Another race weekend ticked off for Honda, as the team can now surely only be hoping to end 2008 as quickly as possible. The Monza test had suggested even Force India had raised its game to sit above Honda in the performance stakes. First practice confirmed the team’s worst fears as the Honda drivers propped up the final positions. That the cars didn’t make it out of Q1 A promising start for Force India and their seamless shift gearbox in Spa, as the team’s drivers were nowhere near the bottom of the timesheets in practice. Sutil even made it as high as eighth in the afternoon. Unfortunately for his team-mate, Fisichella was caught out on water running across the track, a result of Raikkonen’s shunt, and ended Friday in the barrier. Ferrari was the faster team in Spa, and there was little doubting this fact from the earliest running of the weekend. McLaren has recently admitted that it had been fuelling too heavy in qualifying so most expected to see a light Hamilton challenging for pole. He duly took his fifth pole of the season, with Kovalainen appearing a touch upset with third. Come the race and it was a nightmare. expected to be held in similar conditions there was little reason for optimism. Trulli got a belter of a start, but suffered for it as Bourdais used him as an extra brake. The resultant mess jumbled up the order but screwed the Italian’s gearbox and subjected him to a difficult afternoon. Glock raced well, only to have the final points place taken from him after the race for overtaking under yellows. outqualifying Vettel. The race itself was one of contrasting fortunes as the team got a double points finish but Bourdais lost out on a potential podium as the Sebs decided against changing onto wet tyres. While it cost them a bit of glory, the result was nevertheless a promising one and the team left Belgium hoping to get that podium on merit in Monza. was no great shock. That they didn’t line up in 19th and 20th, was. 16th and 17th was way better than expected but the team knew the race would be tough. Button came home 15th on Sunday and was disappointed that the car had not reached his expectations. Barrichello lost sixth gear and retired before causing undue stress to the engine he will have to use in Monza. In qualifying the team was just a tenth off Q2, and had to settle for 18th and 20th. It is a sign of how quickly they are developing that the drivers were a touch upset with their positions. Sutil raced admirably in the changeable conditions, making up five places from his starting slot to come home 13th, despite a spin. Fisichella came home 17th, up three places from 20th on the grid. Kovalainen slipped way down the order and then got a drive-through for his rambunctious move on Webber. He raced hard and fast all afternoon, however, and looked impressive until pulling to a halt moments before the flag fell. Hamilton, well that’s been written about already. A brilliant race in which he did everything right, only to have the victory stolen from him. 31