Red Bull Charges at Silverstone British F1GP

Published on July 25th, 2009

While this side of the world was celebrating the winners of the Super GT, which was held on June 21st, another race was just about to start on the other side; the British Grand Prix.

We can almost safely say that the world was amazed if not shocked with the way Brawn GP was held back on the 6th position while Filipe Massa was stuck in 4th. Vettel, with teammate Webber conquered the podium with a distant of 15.1s in between.

Closing on 3rd was Barichello, with Massa trying to slap some senses into Barichello closely. Vettel’s RB5 was the heaviest on track, carrying more fuel to avoid frequenting the pit. As soon as the red light came on, Vettel was leading Barrichello, Webber, Nakajima, Raikonen and Trulli. Vettel made the fastest lap of 1:20.735, two seconds longer than lap record holder Michael Schumacher (1:18.739) in 2004.

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On lap 40, Kovalainen retired into the garage from his McLaren as a result from back-collision coming from Bourdais, who also retired from the Toro Rosso. Kovalainen exited the pit and gave way to Hamilton to enter Stowe*, but with cold tyres Kovalainen saw Bourdais trying to cut in into Club. Bourdais’s Toro Rosso made contact with Kovailanen’s McLaren on lap 35 and both teams retired after five laps.

At this point, both Brawns were struggling and pushing hard wrung out the best from their tyres (both using hard compound tyres). Button was risking losing his championship lead to Vettel.

Vettel changed to hard compound on lap 45 while Massa changed on lap 46. Massa changed to hard on lap 48.

Button changed back to soft tyres on lap 50 and rejoined the race ahead of Trulli and Raikkonen. On lap 57, Button was less than a second behind Rosberg and was considering a risky passing attempt on lap 58.

A disappointing race for McLaren Mercedes and 2008 race winner Lewis Hamilton with the team recorded 16th position and never completing the race. Hamilton gave a hands-on action with former teammate Alonso but a spin at Club* late in the race dropped him down the ladder with an even more disappointing performance from his McLaren.

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Vettel took the chequered flag, a one-two for RBR with Webber coming in second and Barichello making up the podium. With RBR Renault’s perfect performance, they’re now back in the title hunt, putting a lot of pressure on Brawn.

Here’s a bit on Brawn’s take on the race:

RUBENS BARRICHELLO

It’s been a tough weekend for the team and we knew that if the track temperatures didn’t increase, then it would be incredibly difficult to beat the Red Bulls. The car has been well balanced and we certainly haven’t lost performance since the last race, it’s just that we have suffered badly in the cool conditions with our tyre temperatures. I had a good start to maintain second but Sebastian then disappeared in front of me and we knew that we were competing for third. There’s been very little difference between the two tyre compounds this weekend but the softer tyre was definitely better in the race so it was tough for us to do the long middle stint on the harder tyre. Still to come away with third and the best position that the team could have achieved this weekend is very satisfying and I’m happy to have taken some points out of Jenson’s lead.

JENSON BUTTON
I had a bad start as Trulli was slow off the line in front of me which left nowhere to go. I tried the inside and then the outside but everyone shot by me. From ninth place it was never going to be an easy race. I was stuck behind Trulli for the first stint which was really frustrating as the car felt good on the softer tyre and I was much quicker than him but couldn’t overtake. We then had a long middle stint on the harder tyre and both Rubens and I struggled to get the tyres into their working range in the cool conditions with a heavy fuel load. On the softer rubber at the end of the race, I was able to close right up to Rosberg and Massa very easily so the pace of the car was actually pretty good but it was so difficult to overtake that I couldn’t make any improvement on sixth position with only a few laps left. We need to understand why our car doesn’t work so well at low temperatures and hope for warmer races to come.

ROSS BRAWN
We knew from the outset that our car does not work particularly well with the tyres at lower track temperatures and this was clearly evident at Shanghai earlier in the season. The balance of the car and the pace shown by Jenson in the last few laps of the race are however encouraging and we will be taking a close look at the issues that we experienced with the tyres to see what countermeasures can be taken. Congratulations to Red Bull for a superb one-two finish today and we look forward to taking the fight to them in Germany.

Massa’s comment on the F60 and the race.

Felipe Massa

This weekend in Silverstone, Ferrari was the only team to use KERS. We continue to use it, because our car was designed around it and we will probably use it for the rest of the season. developing the KERS cost a lot of money and we’ve ended up with a car that is not strong enough. The KERS has been useful to me and Kimi, especially at the start of the races, but in some ways, maybe if our car had been better and we could have started from the front, then we would not have needed the KERS so much to move up the order! As for the new components we brought to Silverstone, maybe our development was not really enough, if you look at how some of the other teams had moved forward. We need to keep working and trying and bring bigger developments to the next races if we can, but possibly we are reaching the limitations of the car that we’ve got. Of course, you can always improve a car, but maybe now, the work on next year’s car should be our main concern.

*Stowe and Club are corner names on the Silverstone track. More info on www.formulaone.com.

words: Syawal Ahmad  pix: BrawnGP and Ferrari

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