Detailed below are the weights of all the cars post-qualifying. With this information now available from the FIA, we can assess the competitiveness of each of the drivers in qualifying and also have a few guesses at their strategies for tomorrow’s race. Safety car periods negate any prediction though, as the pilots can conserve fuel when following the Mercedes, although in previous Chinese Grands Prix, Bernd Mylander was rarely pressed into action. The results are listed in order of qualifying lap times, and it should also be noted that although Timo Glock set the fourteenth fastest time in Q2, the German has been demoted to nineteenth due to a penalty.
|1.||Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing||644|
|2.||Fernando Alonso Renault||637|
|3.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||646.5|
|4.||Rubens Barrichello Brawn||661|
|5.||Jenson Button Brawn||659|
|6.||Jarno Trulli Toyota||664.5|
|7.||Nico Rosberg Williams||650.5|
|8.||Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari||673.5|
|9.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||679|
|10.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||673|
|11.||Nick Heidfeld BMW||679|
|12.||Heikki Kovalainen McLaren||697|
|13.||Felipe Massa Ferrari||690|
|14.||Timo Glock Toyota||652|
|15.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||682.7|
|16.||Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso||690|
|17.||Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault||697.9|
|18.||Robert Kubica BMW||659|
|19.||Adrian Sutil Force India||648|
|20.||Giancarlo Fisichella Force India||679.5|
From the table above, we can see that both Red Bulls are much lighter than the Brawns and that Sebastian Vettel will likely pit ahead of team mate Mark Webber. Although the first of the stops will be most likely be made by Renault, with Fernando Alonso being the lightest on the grid by some margin. The next heaviest car to the Spaniard is Vettel’s Red Bull, but even then the difference is a substantial 7kg.
Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastien Buemi are all heavy and thus qualified in the final three positions of the top ten, although this is perhaps the best they could achieve in reality. Having said that though, this trio is not the heaviest of all, not by a long-shot. Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr have 697kg and 697.9kg of fuel onboard respectively. My initial reaction to this was a daring one-stopper, but there is no way the tyres would be able to withstand that kind of pressure on the abrasive Shanghai surface – they would be worn down to the canvas and beyond. Instead, it is likely that both Kovalainen and Piquet will just run deep into the first stint.