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BBC Sport's fuel-corrected Bahrain grid

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F1 Mole | 16:59 UK time, Saturday, 25 April 2009

Jarno Trulli was the out-and-out quickest guy around the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit on Saturday - the Italian won pole position, and he was also fastest of all once the amount of fuel in the cars is taken into account.

The cars in the top 10 shoot-out are not allowed to refuel between qualifying and race, so their speed in the final part of qualifying is dictated by their fuel load. The fuel load also dictates how many laps a car can do before making its first pit stop.

Every extra kg of fuel costs a Formula 1 car 0.035 seconds around the Sakhir circuit, and the cars use an average of about 2.6kg a lap.

Once that is taken into account, along with the fuel used by the cars on the laps before the start, the Bahrain fuel-corrected grid, with estimated first pit-stop laps, looks like this:

1 Trulli - lap 13
2 Vettel +0.216 - lap 17
3 Button +0.4725 - lap 15
4 Glock +0.473 - lap 11
5 Hamilton +0.6247 - lap 15
6 Barrichello +0.79 - lap 13
7 Massa +0.827 - lap 20
8 Rosberg +0.933 - lap 21
9 Alonso +1.076 - lap 14
10 Raikkonen +1.144 - lap 22

A couple of things can be extrapolated from that.

Firstly. Vettel has to be the favourite to win the race - which would be his second victory in a week following his brilliant drive in the rain in China last week. On one-lap pace at least, he has the edge on Jenson Button, and the German is also stopping two laps later than the Englishman.

Button believes his Brawn has better and more consistent pace over a long run, but Vettel has two more laps than his rival before his first pit stop so the world championship leader will not be able to use that superior pace to get track position - at least not before the first stops.

On paper, Trulli has better pace than either of them - at least over one lap. But it remains to be seen whether the Italian can translate that into the race.

Lewis Hamilton is right to be happy after qualifying

The second big conclusion is that McLaren have made a genuine step forward on pace this weekend - Lewis Hamilton's fifth place was won on merit.

And although his car is not as strong as the Red Bull or the Brawn, he could mess up the races of Vettel or Button if his Kers power-boost system allows him to jump one or both at the start.

Given that this will probably be the first time the true pace of the cars will be seen throughout a whole race this season, it promises to be an intriguing Grand Prix.

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