Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 European GP: Barrichello wins to reignite Brawn Wars

What should have been a first one-two of the year for McLaren ended in a disappointment as Rubens Barrichello wins ends his race victory draught and wins his first race after 5 years. It was a very important win for Barrichello as he is now #2 in the drivers’ championship and he can once again resume his rivalry with Button for the title. Having both Barrichello and Button score is good for Brawn as it makes the gap between them and Red Bull wider and gives them the advantage in the constructor’s championship.

McLaren who clearly looked like the team which would dominate Valencia in the end had to be content with Hamilton coming in 2nd while Heikki Kovalainen was demoted to the 3rd spot after an inspired drive from fellow Finn and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who scored his 3rd podium of the season. Kimi’s performance was the only thing to look forward for the Ferrari team after a very poor performance by Luca Badoer. It is highly unlikely that Luca would be given another chance after his miserable race which saw him start from the back and he managed to come 17th out of 18 cars and this too due to a tire puncture for Kazuki Nakajima.

Red Bulls had a race to forget as the car lacked the pace of McLaren and Brawn in the qualifying and though Vettel had a decent start, due to a fuel pump problem had to pit twice within a span of few laps finally had to retire from the race due to an engine blow-up. A major worry for the team as Vettel just has one more engine to use for the remaining of the season and if he has to use anymore he will have grid penalties. Teammate and fellow title contender Webber looked like he may squeeze in a few points but Jenson Button did well enough to not only finish ahead of him but also score 2 useful points while Webber came in 9th and failed to score any points.

Nico Rosberg once again had a very good race for the Williams team and he nearly caught up with Heikki Kovalainen towards the end of the race though he may not have caught up Heikki, he has done well enough and if the rumours are true, he would join Hamilton in a dream team for McLaren for 2010. Williams are also slowly catching up with Toyota and it would be a great feat for them if they could overtake the Japanese team as so far Rosberg is the only driver who is scoring while Nakajima is there to make up numbers.

Renault and Alonso were allowed to race at the last moment and though the team did not perform any miracles, it was great to see Alonso once again score points by coming in 6th while Romain Grosjean had a promising debut and proved that Renault was right in sacking Nelson Piquet. Robert Kubica scored the final points and it was good to see the BMW team score some points. It is very important for both the drivers and the team to do well till the end of the season as for both Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, it is important to do well in order to secure drives for the 2010 season while if the team does well, it would be an attractive option for any new buyer.

Toyota once again had a disappointing race as Trulli and Glock could finish only 13 and 14. The team has to do something really fast and they have been in F1 for some time now and after spending soo much on the team, they are yet to win a race and if the team continue to perform the same way, the head office may just pull the plug of the program. Force India once again had a very good weekend and will be disappointed in not scoring points as the team not only was faster than Toyota but also now has clearly proved that it is better than STR though Toro Rosso leads them on the table.

It was nearly an uneventful European GP till McLaren decided to give away the race to Barrichello and some last minute catching up by Rosberg and Button did provide some excitement. There are talks that this could be the last European GP in Valencia, but no one would actually miss this circuit as there is nothing special to this place.

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