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Europe 2008 - Qualifying - The first ever qualifying at the brand new Valencia street circuit

Published by Christine

Perhaps it was the rain that meant we still didn't learn much from FP3. Overnight showers cleaned up the track and meant we were basically starting from scratch again. Or perhaps this is the way Valencia is going to be, with the lower teams getting an advantage from some unknown element.

I think all will become clear in qualifying. If Räikkönen really was sandbagging down in 15th, we'll know. If Toro Rosso really are strong enough to be in third, we will find out. My money is on things shaking out to normality, so the usual three will be fighting for pole and the others scrapping to get in to the top 10.

Particular things to watch out for are Force India's last ditch effort to get into Q2. They've been trying all year, and if they can't do it now, with a mixed up grid and a brand new gearbox, they never will. I hope they'll manage it if only as a boost to the team. We also need to keep our eye on Trulli who had apparent gearbox problems in FP3. If he ends up with a penalty, he'll need to qualify well, which isn't out of the realms of possibility for the one-lap specialist.

Hamilton has been quite vocal about the problems he's experienced with traffic, apparently finding the behaviour of some of his fellow drivers not up to scratch. A lot of the corners in Valencia are blind, so discovering a slow moving car at the last minute can be an issue. I imagine if ever this was going to be a problem, it will be in qualifying. There are always traffic issues especially in the last two sessions, and even though it's a long track, timing will be crucial for all.

Let us know how you are set up to enjoy the race, watching tv or online, listening to 5live or simply sticking with the numbers. We'll be doing a combination of all of the above, plus commenting via the Live Commenting Live... Thing. It's gonna be a qualifying not to be missed, if only so we can get our head rounds what we've seen so far.




Perhaps it was the rain that meant we still didn't learn much from FP3. Overnight showers cleaned up the track and meant we were basically starting from scratch again. Or perhaps this is the way Valencia is going to be, with the lower teams getting an advantage from some unknown element.

Event start

13:00GMT +01:00

23 August 2008