Monday, June 22, 2009

British Grand Prix Winners + Losers

Sunday 21st June 2009

Star of the Race
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Winner
After Vettel set nine fastest laps in the opening 13 he never looked like he was going to be threatened for the win. Had his team-mate not done so badly in qualifying on Saturday, then it might have been a fair old ding dong at the front. But from the moment he got into Copse first (and didn't put it off the track in the opening lap) with Webber tucked up behind Barrichello, his win was assured.

He went into the first pit-stops with a 23-second advantage and though Nigel Mansell has hauled that back in as many laps at Silverstone, that was in the days when cars could overtake.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 22, Lewis Hamilton on Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld emerged from the pitlane and must have been told that he had a fast-approaching Lewis Hamilton exiting Copse. As the McLaren's momentum took it alongside the BMW you feared for a 190mph collision as they both competed for the single line through Becketts. It looked like the sensible move for Hamilton was to lift and let Heidfeld have the place because there must have been an element of doubt in the World Champion's mind that he'd seen the approaching McLaren.

Lewis didn't lift and Heidfeld had to yield at the last moment. So instead of being 19th, Lewis was now 18th...

It was a similar kind of thing though the 185 mph Copse Corner with Alonso, but in that overtaking scrap both cars knew exactly where each other was.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, 2nd

Mark knew that his chance of a win on Sunday was compromised by his Saturday grid slot, and it's unlike him to make excuses. He blamed Kimi Raikkonen for ruining his hot lap on Saturday, "Kimi was dreaming", but as he had two chances to beat Vettel, he must have blown one of those laps all by himself. He dropped 0.6 in Sector 1 of his penultimate hot lap in Q3 and didn't improve, before going just a little quicker in the final lap when he encountered the wandering Ferrari.

In the race he knew he was stuffed after two laps of following the BrawnGP and finding no way past. Still, the strategy got him second and he's just 3.5 points behind his team-mate which will guarantees no thought of team orders for a few races to come.

Rubens Barrichello, BrawnGP, 3rd
Rubens managed to work all the buttons and got a great start and almost had a look at Vettel going into Copse. Had the start/finish straight been the one in Barcelona he might have led on Lap 1. ow that would have made for an interesting race...

After Webbo got past he had a relatively easy run to third place given the fact that he was always going to be running longer than Rosberg and Massa in the second stint.

It means he's edged closer to Jenson's points total and is still ahead of Vettel with some nice warm races to come.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 4th
Felipe Massa surprised his fans, his team-mate, his team-manager and himself by coming fourth in a race where he was probably targeting a 6th or 7th place finish. It was an unfortunate slip-up at the exit of Stowe that let Jenson Button by on Lap 2, but it didn't interfere with his race strategy at all. Last year he spent the race gently spinning, this year was a lot better. This is probably the result he was expecting in Istanbul.

Nico Rosberg, Williams, 5th
Rosberg made an important pass on Trulli on the opening lap which ultimately helped him keep Button at bay till the end of the race.

Jenson Button, BrawnGP, 6th
Jenson got tucked up behind a slow-starting Jarno Trulli at the start and it was just too tight to have a go up the inside line, and too busy to try the outside. There are very few other tracks where his options will be so limited. We have seen Barrichello try stupid and risky moves to get places back in other races this year and Button decided very sensibly to go for the percentages - though that was after he thought about muscling past Massa into Becketts.

BBC's Jake Humphrey
When it comes to interviewers, Max Mosley probably thought that a former host of children's television programme Bamzooki wouldn't present too much of a challenge to his condescending platitudes at Silverstone. He came out of the interview with Humphrey having called certain members of FOTA "loonies" and having labelled Flavio Briatore as the man who wants to succeed Bernie Ecclestone. Those were surely not part of the presidential script.

Humphrey is just getting better and better at his role, there was less inane banter this time; if only they could lose the small eejit and the prep school latin master. Transfer Crofty from Five Live, bring in Mike Gascoyne again and use Ted Kravtitz more and there you have it.


Ferrari might have started the season in a similar hole, but whereas the Maranello team has started showing signs of getting near the podium, McLaren, if anything, are going backwards. They were the slowest Mercedes team at Silverstone and both drivers looked like they had a real battle to control their cars. Hungary can't come quickly enough.

Hamilton threw everything he had to gain the slightest of places but knew he was just there as cabaret from the moment his car refused to grip in Q1 on Saturday. Kovalainen had an anonymous race with a big fuel load. Anonymous, that is, until Bourdais tried to pass him into Vale. The Frenchman was right when he said he shouldn't have been wandering across the racing line more than once. You can block, then adopt the racing line for the corner; you can't block, go back, then block again, which is what the Finn appeared to do. Such was the speed of impact that it looked like Bourdais was only just beginning to make his dive down the inside when Kovalainen hit the brakes, so there can't have been that much room left for a successful move.

And just a word (very important this) about Lewis's girlfriend. It always looks like Nicole comes to grands prix dressed as though she were about to open a fete.

Toro Rosso
With Force India's rapid improvement, they are now the slowest on the grid.

World Cricket Superstar Kevin Pieterson
He was Vijay Mallya's special guest at the British Grand Prix and was ambling about the grid in a Force India jacket, yet Martin Brundle failed to spot England's finest, most spectacular batsman.

Bernie Ecclestone
Having said for a year that if Donington isn't ready in 2010 they won't go back to Silverstone, this weekend Bernie said they would. Perhaps it's the fact that 300,000 people were prepared to put up with the squalor of not having pit buildings in the shape of mock castles or faux stately homes that's made him change his mind.

For a litigious man who might be about to lose his main source of income he looked remarkably calm. That was the biggest mystery of the weekend, Bernard's lack of anger. Max named his co-investor in Queen's Park Rangers - Flavio Briatore - as the man who wanted to be the new Bernie and yet from Ecclestone's demeanour it seemed like it was just another F1 race weekend. Come to think of it, the FOTA session in Monaco was held on Flav's boat with Bernie attending, and the pre-Silverstone FOTA meeting was held at Flavio's HQ. Hmmmmm.

Max Mosley
Max was supposed to reveal the new teams that were going to join the mighty USF1, Campos, Manor Motorsport, Force India and Williams this weekend. He said this was the latest he could leave the announcement because they had to start work on their new cars immediately. As he has got interest from seven more teams (there being 12 to start with, three already announced and two have backed out), then he could outline the 2010 grid straight away.

He has already said that the FOTA teams would be free to start their own series and that F1 can survive without Ferrari, so why doesn't he just get on with it? Or is he just posturing?

Eddie Jordan
Memo to Jordan from the producer:
* Make your questions less than eight sentences long. People are dying from malnutrition during them
* Stop crawling up Bernie Ecclestone's arse, he doesn't owe you money any more.
* Don't mention the Jordan team all the time, nobody really gives that much of a *****
* Try and make sense at least 50% of the time

Source : Planet F1

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