Brawn GP opted for race pace over one-lap form, the Red Bulls headed out lighter in Q3 in a bid to snatch pole and Fernando Alonso was practically running on fumes in order to grab a front row grid slot – those are some of the conclusions seemingly to be drawn from the post-qualifying car weights published by the FIA in Shanghai ahead of tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso came out of nowhere to split the Red Bull Racing duo of pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the front of the pack in the top ten shoot-out, but the disclosure reveals that the Spaniard's Renault weighed in at just 637kg – the lightest car in the field by some seven kilos, and more than 20kg less than the Brawn GP pairing of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.
The Red Bulls also look to be fuelled for comparatively brief opening stints, at just 644kg (Vettel) and 646kg (Webber) respectively. Nico Rosberg, too, would appear to have less fuel in his Williams than many of his competitors around him on the grid, casting a somewhat disappointing light on the young German's seventh place, his lowest starting spot of the season to-date.
Elsewhere inside the top ten, Toyota star Jarno Trulli looks in strong shape in sixth – and heavier than all five drivers ahead of him – whilst at the foot of the top ten, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, defending Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes and impressive Scuderia Toro Rosso rookie Sébastien Buemi all seem to be in for the long haul at more than 670kg each.
As far as the intra-team comparisons are concerned, the greatest discrepancy is at Renault, which has the lightest and heaviest two cars in the field (Nelsinho Piquet carrying 60kg more than team-mate Alonso), with significant differences also at Williams (Kazuki Nakajima's car 32.2kg heavier than the sister machine of Rosberg) and Force India (Giancarlo Fisichella weighing in at 31kg more than Adrian Sutil). The most closely-matched team-mates – both in terms of weight and also grid position – are Vettel and Webber at RBR, and Brawn GP's Barrichello and Button.
The full list is as follows (their actual starting position is in brackets at the end):
Red Bull Racing-Renault 644.0kg
Red Bull Racing-Renault 646.5kg
Force India-Ferrari 648.0kg
Brawn GP-Mercedes 659.0kg
Brawn GP-Mercedes 661.0kg
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 673.0kg
Force India-Ferrari 679.5kg
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 690.0kg