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Fisichella wins Belgium pole
Spa-Francorchamps, Aug 29 (Agencies):
Published on 29 Aug. 2009 11:17 PM IST
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Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella took a surprise pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix as championship leader Jenson Button qualified 14th. Button was 0.4 seconds slower than team-mate Rubens Barrichello in the second part of qualifying and expressed mystification at his lack of pace. Fisichella’s achievement marks Force India’s first pole in Formula 1. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start second for Sunday’s race ahead of BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld and Barrichello’s Brawn. A high-profile cast of casualties were knocked out of a remarkable second part of qualifying as McLaren’s world champion Lewis Hamilton, who came first and second in the last two grands prix, came 12th ahead of Renault’s Fernando Alonso and stuttering Button. Even more remarkable than the relative failures is underdogs Force India leapfrogging a host of teams who would not usually consider them rivals, but may now have to revise that opinion at Spa. Into their second season, the team have yet to win an F1 point. The Vijay Mallya-backed team have steadily introduced a series of updates to their cars in recent races and showed real signs of improvement at the grand prix in Valencia where both drivers ran well. They added new front and rear wings in Belgium to the new diffuser and barge board that were introduced at the European Grand Prix on 23 August. Fuel loads, however, are yet to be released and there is always the possibility that Fisichella may be lighter than those who have qualified behind him on the grid - meaning he would have to pitstop earlier for extra fuel than the other cars he is racing against. “I don’t know how it’s happened,” said 37-year-old Fisichella. “It’s unbelievable - I didn’t expect to be on pole position. With Heidfeld third and team-mate Robert Kubica fifth, BMW Sauber appeared to reap the benefits of a new diffuser and a lighter chassis, which they first used at the European GP. Barrichello won his first race of the season in Valencia to move to within 18 points of Button in the drivers’ championship with six races remaining, and professed himself happy with fourth on the grid as he seeks to eat further into that lead.

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