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September 27, 2008

F1: Singapore Qualifying

Neat new circuit. I like the “kart barrier system” of linked barriers that are often found at kart tracks. Unfortunately Giancarlo Fisichella did not get a hot lap as he experienced impact with said barriers pretty much as soon as he left the pits.

This track looks really neat but is a little too slow with an average speed around 110 mph. Because it’s so narrow, there probably won’t be much passing unless it rains.

It looks like the main issues for tomorrow’s race will be weather which will dictate tire choices, as well as visibility due to it also being a night race, brake temperatures (lots of corners), tight chicanes, and the pit entrance which requires cars entering to essentially stay on the racing line and block the cars behind, which will be running at high speed.

But the biggest question to me is the turn 10 chicanes. It looks to me that because it is so narrow there, as well as there being so much run off room (relatively) we’re going to see people going off there while attempting to race side-by-side. That would just lay the ground work for more Spa Francorchamps-like penalties. Let’s hope not.

Lewis Hamilton was lucky to make it into Q1 as he was 10th in Q2 because he waited too long to go out, overdrove by locking his tires frequently, and then ran into some traffic. The harder compound tires don’t seem to suit the McLarens as well as the Ferraris under those conditions. Also, Kimi Raikkonen seems to have a narrow operating window with his setups – maybe the front tires aren’t gripping quickly enough.

Felipe Massa is on pole by 0.6 s, Hamilton second, and followed by Raikkonen. Let’s hope for an exciting race tomorrow with lots of overtaking. No idea what fuel strategy anyone is running.

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