So much for Mercedes giving McLaren a 25 horsepower advantage – the engine doing the business at Valencia this weekend is the Ferrari. Here’s who set the top four maximum speeds in the second sector of the lap at Valencia (where the highest speeds are reached) during qualifying today:
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||308.4kph|
|3||Sebastien Bourdais||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||308kph|
The same four Ferrari-powered drivers were also quickest through the speed trap in sector one:
|2||Sebastien Bourdais||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||287.1kph|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||285kph|
The Ferrari-powered Force Indias were further up the maximum times sheets than they had been at Hungary as well, with Giancarlo Fisichella 12th at the finishing line and he and team mate Adrian Sutil sharing a 13th each in the other two sectors.
Unlike Ferrari and probably Mercedes, Renault have not been using the opportunities affored by the rules to develop their V8s. As far as Mark Webber is that is a significant part of the reason why the Toro Rosso-Ferraris are now ahead of the Red Bull-Renaults, both of which share very similar chassis:
[Toro Rosso] have been coming and with that sort of horsepower you can’t deal with it. Their drivers are doing a good job – you can’t drive around here doing that sort of time without doing a good job, that’s clear, but they do have a stronger package at the moment.
It seems to be more evidence that, despite the supposed freeze on engine development, some engines are more powerful than others and are being developed more quickly.
With Valencia clearly a track that rewards a strong engine, and Felipe Massa starting from pole position tomorrow, a win for the Brazilian driver looks very likely.
Unless of course he falls victim to another characteristic of the Ferrari engine that has not been so favourable – its unreliability, which cost him a win at Hungary.