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Germany race analysis - Red Bull have Brawn on the run

Posted by éndér_48 on Pazartesi, Temmuz 13, 2009 No comments

Anyone claiming Red Bull’s Silverstone win two weeks ago was a one-off was forced to eat their words on Sunday. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel ran riot at the Nurburgring, as title rivals Brawn GP again struggled with tyre temperatures and set-up. Championship leader Jenson Button could manage no better than fifth, with Brawn’s woes compounded by the ever-improving form of the midfield competition. Tellingly, Red Bull, Renault, Toyota and Williams all clocked faster race laps. We take a team-by-team look at the German Grand Prix…

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P1
Sebastian Vettel P2

What a day for Webber! He was so far ahead when he served his drive-through penalty on lap 14 for the brush with Barrichello approaching the first corner that he was able to rejoin still in the lead. Five laps later his first refuelling stop dropped him to eighth, but once he regained the lead on lap 33 nobody could touch him and he sped home to a popular triumph. Vettel had a tougher time after losing ground behind the KERS cars of Kovalainen and Massa early on, but good strategy helped him to climb up to second for Red Bull’s second consecutive one-two and their third of 2009. Both drivers moved ahead of Barrichello in the drivers’ world championship, and with 92.5 points the team are fast catching Brawn in the constructors’.

Felipe Massa, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, Retired lap 35, coolant loss

Massa’s first podium of 2009 came courtesy of a KERS-assisted start and a feisty drive from the Brazilian. He rubbed wheels with Vettel and generally gave no quarter, while Raikkonen was on for points before Sutil ran into him in the first corner. Resultant damage lost the Ferrari coolant, and forced him to retire on the 35th lap. Ferrari aren’t quite there yet, but progress continues.

Nico Rosberg, P4
Kazuki Nakajima, P12

Rosberg drove a very strong race with a high initial fuel load, starting 15th and finishing fourth after an excellent start. What made this an even better result for the team was that the German had a fuel problem which obliged Williams to give him 15 kg more fuel than he needed from his first pit stop onwards. Nakajima lost time on the opening lap, but set the race’s fifth fastest lap. Like Ferrari, this is another team making progress.

Jenson Button, P5
Rubens Barrichello, P6

While Button was philosophical about the tyre warm-up problems that stymied both Brawn’s challenge, and also had to recover after being swamped by KERS cars at the start and then being trapped behind Kovalainen as Barrichello and Webber escaped, Barrichello initially ranted at his team over their choice of three-stop strategies. The Brazilian also lost time with a refuelling rig problem at his second stop. Nurburgring was always going to be about damage limitation, but the team need to do something urgent about their performance at low temperature races. They are now just 19.5 points ahead of Red Bull.

Fernando Alonso, P7
Nelson Piquet, P13

Alonso lost his chance of a better than seventh place finish right from the get go, as he made a poor start and completed the opening lap in 11th place. Thereafter he got stuck in traffic for a long time, but once he finally got some clear road towards the end he set a couple of fastest laps as he closed in to hound the Brawns to the flag. Piquet also lost ground at the start as he struggled to get temperature into his Bridgestones.

Heikki Kovalainen, P8
Lewis Hamilton, P18

Hamilton made a blinding start thanks to KERS and momentarily edged into the lead on the run to the first corner, but he was unfortunately on the outside and thus unable to maintain that momentum. When Webber clipped his right rear tyre, puncturing it, Hamilton’s race was effectively over, especially as damage that the undertray sustained from the damaged tyre as he limped back to the pits was to steal downforce. He was last throughout and the only lapped runner. Team mate Kovalainen also made a strong start and ran third, holding up Button, Massa and Vettel for many laps, before slipping back. He just hung on to eighth, challenged strongly by Glock, Heidfeld, Fisichella and Nakajima.

Timo Glock, P9
Jarno Trulli, P17

Frustration set in early for Toyota as Trulli got snagged by somebody in the first corner and suffered front wing damage which required an early remedial stop. Glock managed to climb into a challenging ninth place by the finish, right with Kovalainen, but the only real highlight of a point-less race was that Trulli set the second fastest lap to give an indication that the TF109 could have shown strongly in better circumstances.

BMW Sauber
Nick Heidfeld, P10
Robert Kubica, P14

Tenth and 14th places for Heidfeld and Kubica showed that BMW Sauber have still to turn the corner in a difficult season. The German said he was disappointed because he thought his F1.09 had the speed to score points. A combination of strategy and having to wait momentarily in the pits as a Renault swept in ahead of him cost him dear. Kubica made a great start to run 10th initially, but that momentum did not last as his prime tyres had incorrect pressures after his first stop.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, P11
Adrian Sutil, P15

The race that promised so much for Force India effectively ended on the 28th lap. Until then Sutil had driven beautifully, climbing steadily up to second place as he just kept running with his heavy fuel load. Then, as he rejoined, he had a needless clash with Raikkonen in Turn One, which necessitated another stop for a new front wing. This dropped him down to an eventual 15th place finish and cost the team any chance of desperately needed points. Fisichella, meanwhile, started slowly but drove aggressively, overtaking several cars as he climbed to 11th place.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, P16
Sebastien Bourdais, Retired lap 18, loss of hydraulic pressure

Buemi was one of many to struggle for grip on the super soft Bridgestones, while Bourdais’ race ended in retirement on the18th lap with a loss of hydraulic pressure which affected the power steering and clutch.

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