13 Jul 2009 Germany race analysis - Red Bull have Brawn on the run - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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13 Jul 2009 Germany race analysis - Red Bull have Brawn on the run

13 Jul 2009
Germany race analysis - Red Bull have Brawn on the run

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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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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James Allen's German GP verdict

James Allen's German GP verdict

Sunday, 12 July 2009 22:11
James Allen's German GP verdict - Feature - F1 | ITV Sport

Red Bull Racing’s second dominant win on the trot established Mark Webber as a grand prix winner and also confirmed a shift in momentum at the top of Formula 1.

James Allen says the Nurburgring proved that RBR now has the fastest car on the grid, considers whether the pendulum might swing back to Brawn in the coming races, and highlights the other key points of note from an intriguing German GP.

This was a very popular win for Mark Webber, who dominated qualifying and the race this weekend in much the same way as Sebastian Vettel did at Silverstone.

The 32-year-old Aussie has always been fast but he’s had a lot of bad luck and also made his fair share of errors in races in the past which have made it hard to be consistent.

This season he started gingerly as he recovered from his broken leg but he’s been increasingly strong in the past few races.

Since Silverstone he has had the metal removed from his leg and here he delivered a virtuoso performance.

The team helped a lot by making the right call on the tyres – putting both drivers onto the hard tyre for the middle stint, something Brawn were not able to do.

Red Bull have made a huge step with their car, there is no doubt about that.

We saw it at Silverstone, with what was almost a new car. It had 67 new parts on it, including the revised double-deck diffuser.

But it was hard to be sure of the significance there because RBR had always enjoyed an advantage on tracks with fast corners – although their speed in the final slow complex of corners suggested that they had improved in all areas.

This weekend we learned that the car is greatly improved and is now clearly the fastest in F1.

We still cannot be sure how much faster it is than the Brawn because here the Brawn was very limited by its use of the tyres on offer.

The Brackley squad had to go with three-stop strategies on both cars because they couldn’t get the hard tyres to work and they were limited to short stints on the softs because they were graining so badly in the cold conditions.

So Brawn were sitting ducks to some extent here. They could have done with the wet and messy race the forecasters promised us.

In Hungary we expect Brawn to be stronger as the track temperatures are always high there, but it looks like they have lost the initiative to Red Bull and, what is more, they are caught in a tricky situation now on the development side.

They would like to be able to save some money for next season as they are not sure of their budget yet for 2010, but they no longer have the car advantage to be able to afford to do that.

Red Bull are aware of this and are pressing hard on development with further steps coming at each of the next races and a big step coming in Singapore for the final push.

They have increased their manufacturing capability and taken on new staff on contract, many of whom were laid off by Brawn earlier this year.

It’s hard to see how Brawn can compete with that and it may well be the story of the second half of the season.

Their situation is not helped by the internal row with Rubens Barrichello getting very annoyed by the refuelling problem which cost him a shot at the win and at the way the team switched the order of the final stops, bringing him in first when all through the race he had been pitting after Button.

Jenson was quicker at that stage of the race and it meant that he jumped Rubens at the final stop to gain what may turn out to be another vital point.

Button has scored just seven points in the past two races, where prior to that he was averaging eight per race.

This weekend we also saw big steps from Renault, McLaren and Force India.

Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap of the race at the end on the hard tyre.

This shows you how hard it is to read the performance of the various cars; depending on tracks, tyres, conditions and even different days, cars can perform really well or really poorly.

It was good to see Felipe Massa and Ferrari back on the podium.

Massa made maximum use of his KERS button at the start and in his battle with Sebastian Vettel, which Vettel was not shy about pointing out afterwards.

They had a great scrap throughout the race and it is a positive sign for Ferrari that they could do that.

There is some more development to come for them, but I think that after Valencia they will put most of their effort into the 2010 car.

For the third race in a row, Nico Rosberg managed to fight his way up through the field to get a strong result. He has now finished fifth, fifth and fourth in the past three races.

It was achieved here by running a very long first stint and capitalising on the problems the Brawns were having with the tyres. He jumped both Brawn cars when they made their third and final stops.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 06:01 AM
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Who would have thought we'd have such an entertaining season with so many players? The second half looks even better than the first!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 07:21 AM
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Yes, it seems at least some teams have caught up.
Let's see some racing!
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