Sunday, July 12, 2009

Aussie Rules as Webber wins in Germany

I know I'm a Brawn girl, but I'd have to be a really heartless witch not to be pleased for Mark Webber as he celebrates his first Grand Prix victory after 7 years in the sport.

Just 8 months ago, he was nursing a badly broken leg from a horrendous accident, not at 200mph on the race track, but during a charity cycling event.

It's amazing that he was able to deal with physically and mentally getting himself back into shape to even be able to get in the car at the beginning of the season and he thoroughly deserves this win.

He was so thrilled. I thought it was really funny that DC compared his post race emotional cheering fit to THAT scene in When Harry Met Sally. Not a film I really ever thought DC would have watched, but you learn something new every day.

Today's victory was all the more remarkable as he managed to stay ahead despite getting a drive through penalty for a swerving into Rubens Barrichello's path at the first corner. I think he was pushing his luck, but no harm was done to either of them and the stewards were probably a bit harsh in the circumstances. However someone at Red Bull had been kissing black cats and picking up pennies because he managed to regain the lead. The team's brilliant decision to take the drive through during Barrichello's first pit stop saw to that.

Rubens actually got past him at the first corner but ended up trailing behind Massa after his first pit stop. Massa wasn't due to stop for a further 11 laps. The only chance he had of winning was to pass this countryman and put in some stonking lap times but he wasn't able to do that and ended up losing valuable time which let Webber catch up with him. The Brawn team, with their magical strategic sense, decided to take him down from a 3 stopper to a 2 stopper but unfortunately the fuel rig had other ideas so he had to come in again.

Jenson Button had a pretty miserable start and ended up exactly where he didn't want to be, behind Kovaleinen with some Ferraris up his backside. He managed to pass the McLaren though

Before the last stop he found himself behind Barrichello and felt he was being held up and we heard an angry radio transmission to the effect that they had to get him ahead. They did in the third and final pit stop and that's how they finished, in 5th and 6th, a second apart. Rubens had a total strop about that at the end, but I'll cover that in a separate post.

This was always going to be a tough weekend for Brawn. There is a certain irony of having a British car that doesn't go well in British style weather and the relatively cold conditions at Silverstone and the Nurburgring just didn't suit them and help them get heat into their tyres. As the F1 circus moves south, it'll get better again, but the seeming invincibility they had in the first part of the season has been dented. This was the first race all year there hasn't been a Brawn boy on teh podium which is not good relative to Red Bull who are now creeping up fast on them in the Constructors' Championship. The Red Bull drivers have now leapfrogged Barrichello to take second and third places. I'd say they shouldn't get too comfy there, though - there's only 3 points between Vettel in second and Barrichello in 4th and Jenson still does have a 21 point lead.

If Brawn had a bad day, Lewis Hamilton had a terrible one - he almost got the lead off the start into the first corner but ended up puncturing his tyre on Mark Webber's rear wing and ended up spending his afternoon in the position he's become accustomed to this year - at the rear of the pack. It must have hurt to see Kovaleinen pick up the last point of the day when all the upgrades had gone on his car.

It's been a good week for Felipe Massa, though. He announced that he's not going to be the most baby faced one in his family as his wife is due to have their first baby in November and he ended up being the first Ferrari driver on the podium this year.

The Nurburgring provided us with one of the most exciting races from the year. It wasn't obvious from the start who was going to win - we knew that Barrichello's lead at the start was fragile because of the relative fuel loads.

The scene is set for an action packed, tension filled second half of the season - and that's just on the track!

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John said...

Correction: Kimi Raikkonen got Ferrari's first podium of this year in Monaco.

Caron said...

Of course you're right - it was Massa's first podium.



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