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Raikkonen and Fisichella dominate intriguing Belgian Grand Prix

NEWS STORY
30/08/2009

In light of yesterday's almost unbelievable qualifying session and a grid that looks as though the order was decided by lottery, we are tempted to put a few quid on Luca Badoer winning the race from Kazuki Nakajima and Nigel Mansell being brought in to drive the second Ferrari at Monza. After all, did he ever actually retire from F1.

Other than the shock - for want of a better word - of seeing Fisichella on pole, with the BMWs and Toyotas in close proximity, it is the sight of Button, Hamilton, Kovalainen and Alonso so far back that has really thrown today's race on its head. And let's not forget that the Red Bulls are starting eighth and ninth.

On the face of it, if one really had to pick a winner, one would either have to say Valencia winner Rubens Barrichello or perhaps Kimi Raikkonen. However, this is Spa, and over the years we've seen some very odd results here, so why not Fisichella or Heidfeld, and maybe Trulli could finally give Toyota that elusive maiden win.

Being extremely tough on engines, Vettel and Webber are, to a certain extent, going to be racing with one hand tied behind their backs today, with the Australian having to change his powerplant yesterday morning.

On the other hand, despite the assurances, the tyre problem which so affected Brawn prior to Valencia appears to have returned, leaving Button, in particular, really struggling.

In terms of fuel, Barrichello is even lighter than Fisichella, so that gives some idea of the problem Brawn is facing, while Trulli is the heaviest of the Top 6.

On paper almost anything could happen this afternoon, and knowing this place it probably will.

In terms of the weather, one of the great unknowns at Spa, the sun is shining, much as it was this morning for the GP2 race, with no rain forecast. However, from experience we know that things can change very quickly here. Furthermore, to add to the fun, when the weather does change, it can often result in part of the track basking in sunshine while rain is falling on the other side of the circuit.

Half-an-hour before the start of the race, there's more bad news for Badoer. Ferrari have opted to change the gearbox in his car, consequently he drops five places on the grid. "Seriously!! He will start in Stavelot," texts Bob Constanduros mischievously.

While predicting the race result is an unknown we don't event want to go into, it could have a major outcome in terms of the World Championship and even the future of the Toyota F1 team.

With Toyota waiting to see if its 2010 budget will be signed off, thereby giving the Cologne based outfit to continue, a good result for Barrichello could see the Brazilian take a further chunk out of teammate Button's championship lead. Then again, Red Bull needs to make up for the misery of Valencia.

Fifteen minutes before the start of the race the sun is shining but there is a lot of thick white cloud in the distance over the Ardennes.

Kimi Raikkonen is the driver nearest to the front with KERS, however, with the short run up to La Source he probably won't get to use it until the run down the hill towards Eau Rouge, that's assuming there is no silliness at the start.

As the field prepares to head off on the warm-up lap, the air temperature is 16 degrees C, while the track temperature is 32 degrees.

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