The final qualifying session of the 2010 season ended up with Jaime Alguersuari taking seventeenth place on the grid and Sébastien Buemi eighteenth.
There was an air of inevitability about it as we had been in or around these places throughout the weekend, like a needle in a record groove. Our Spanish driver has been marginally quicker than our Swiss one for much of the weekend, but until the dying moments of Q1 it looked as though Sébastien was going through to Q2. However, a slight brush with the wall at the tricky Turn 19 cost him a couple of tenths and meant that he was bumped off the time sheet by his team-mate. Then in Q2, there was a slight chance Jaime could outpace Liuzzi in the Force India, but it did not happen. The jury is still out on whether or not we made the right tyre choice: this track is unusual as there is very little performance difference between the Prime and the Option, the latter usually being the best choice for a quick qually lap, but last year here the Prime worked better over a single lap. In the end, Jaime stuck with doing a few laps on the Prime while Liuzzi did just two on the option and this might have been a factor.
Tomorrow, we have one last chance to try and add to our points tally: it won’t make any difference to our championship position, but it is important all the same and would be a great end-of-season morale boost for everyone at the track, as well as for those back in the Faenza factory and the Bicester wind tunnel.
The final few minutes of Q3 was a hectic affair, with Sebastian Vettel eventually taking pole with Lewis Hamilton second for McLaren. Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari, ahead of Jenson Button in the second McLaren. Mark Webber is only fifth in the other Red Bull, with Felipe Massa alongside him, so it looks like there is not much Vettel can do to help the Australian overhaul Fernando by a big enough margin to take the title. It is going to be one heck of a nail biting race under the desert night skies, or more accurately a barrage of artificial lights.