Vettel leads Red Bull Racing one-two at Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel claimed his first dry race victory after leading from start to finish at Silverstone. It was a faultless performance from the young German and this one-two result for Red Bull Racing ends the recent run of success by Jenson Button.

The championship leader was never a factor in his home Grand Prix, struggling with a lack of balance in the Brawn. Despite the result – qualified in sixth and finishing in the same position – Jenson still leads the drivers’ standings with 23 points ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello and 25 points over race winner Vettel.

This result means Red Bull Racing are now the leading contenders for championship honours against Brawn GP. The new aerodynamic updates including the double diffuser, nose cone and engine cover certainly improve the performance of the RB5. So to achieve a perfect one-two with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, all that hard work in the factory has finally paid off.

Rubens Barrichello finished in a solid third position for Brawn GP ahead of fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa, who drove a fine race in the Ferrari to come through from eleventh on the grid.

Nico Rosberg finished fifth for Williams, ahead of home crowd favourite Jenson Button and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli.

As for the three world champions – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton respectively – the 2009 British Grand Prix was a difficult race for the trio.

In Raikkonen’s case, eighth was the best possible outcome and the Finn just managed to hold off Timo Glock’s Toyota in the late stages of the Grand Prix.

What about Alonso and Hamilton? Well, to see the Renault and McLaren struggling at the back was heartbreaking. For Fernando, to finish in fourteenth place was a major disappointment for the Spaniard and it didn’t help that he was stuck behind Nick Heidfeld’s extremely slow BMW Sauber, which was dropping up to three seconds a lap to those ahead due to front wing damage.

Last year’s winner Lewis Hamilton could only finish in sixteenth position. His wheel-to-wheel battle with Alonso was a highlight of the British Grand Prix but in the end, a lap down on the leaders and a quick spin at Club corner ended his miserable day.

Sebastien Bourdais and Heikki Kovalainen were the only retirements. The Finn emerged from his sole pit-stop just ahead of his McLaren team-mate Hamilton and he allowed the Brit through at Stowe. Sensing the opportunity to overtake, Bourdais tried a move at Club corner but contact was made as Kovalainen defended, breaking the Scuderia Toro Rosso’s front wing and giving the McLaren a puncture. Both dropped out for good soon afterwards.

So win number three for Sebastian Vettel and the perfect result for the energy drink sponsored-team with this one-two finish at Silverstone. The next race is Vettel’s home event at the Nürburgring, so expect strong support from the German crowd. This year’s championship is becoming more fascinating at every turn but we will have to wait in three weeks’ time for the next battle between Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing. Jenson Button versus Sebastian Vettel. Nevermind the politics, the racing is what counts in Formula One 2009.

Race results from Silverstone, 60 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault       1h22:49.328
2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault       +15.188
3.  Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes      +41.175
4.  Massa         Ferrari                +45.043
5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota        +45.915
6.  Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes      +46.285
7.  Trulli        Toyota                 +1:08.307
8.  Raikkonen     Ferrari                +1:09.622
9.  Glock         Toyota                 +1:09.823
10.  Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes  +1:11.522
11.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       +1:14.023
12.  Piquet        Renault               +1 lap
13.  Kubica        BMW Sauber            +1 lap
14.  Alonso        Renault               +1 lap
15.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            +1 lap
16.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      +1 lap
17.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  +1 lap
18.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +1 lap

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:20.735

Not classified/retirements:

Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari       37 laps
Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      36 laps

World Championship standings, round 8:

1.  Button        64
2.  Barrichello   41
3.  Vettel        39
4.  Webber        35.5
5.  Trulli        21.5
6.  Massa         16
7.  Rosberg       15.5
8.  Glock         13
9.  Alonso        11
10.  Raikkonen     10
11.  Hamilton       9
12.  Heidfeld       6
13.  Kovalainen     4
14.  Buemi          3
15.  Kubica         2
16.  Bourdais       2

1.  Brawn GP-Mercedes     105
2.  Red Bull-Renault     74.5
3.  Toyota               34.5
4.  Ferrari                26
5.  Williams-Toyota      15.5
6.  McLaren-Mercedes       13
7.  Renault                11
8.  BMW Sauber              8
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari      5

Next race: German Grand Prix, Nürburgring. July 10-12.

Vettel takes pole position at Silverstone

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s British Grand Prix in pole position after a commanding performance in qualifying at Silverstone.

This was Vettel’s second consecutive pole and his lap time around the former RAF airfield was an impressive one minute, 19. 509 seconds. Rubens Barrichello managed to split the two Red Bulls for Brawn GP, while Mark Webber was disappointed to slip down from provisional pole to third place. The Australian blamed Kimi Raikkonen for distracting him on the final qualifying run in a bid to improve his lap time.

Championship leader and home crowd favourite Jenson Button will start sixth on the grid, behind Jarno Trulli’s Toyota and Kazuki Nakajima’s Williams. Button complained later about the unusual call made by his team to abort his qualifying run that would have moved him up the grid order. In addition, Jenson moaned about a lack of rear-end grip in the BGP-001.

But at least Jenson is at the front end of the grid compare to last year’s winner Lewis Hamilton. The current world champion will start his home race down in a miserable P19!

Why so far back? Lewis was simply unlucky to be caught out on his final qualifying run by the red flags due to Adrian Sutil crashing heavily at the Abbey chicane.

The Force India driver was unhurt, but his incident at Abbey brought the first qualifying segment to an early end and there wasn’t enough time to go for another run.

Meaning Lewis Hamilton will start his home Grand Prix in 19th position – his worst qualifying result by far in Formula One. This is a major setback for the world champion and what a difference a year makes… from winning this event last time around to starting right at the back. This season’s MP4-24 just doesn’t provide confidence to the drivers and on the quick and demanding Maggotts/Becketts sequences, the McLaren looked awful.

Heikki Kovalainen fared a little better compare to his team-mate (the Finn will start in P13) but overall this year’s car is certainly a challenge to drive.

After setting the pace in the final practice session leading up to qualifying, Nico Rosberg will start the race for Williams in seventh position, ahead of Timo Glock’s Toyota.

As for Ferrari, this was another poor performance by the Scuderia with Kimi Raikkonen in ninth followed by team-mate Felipe Massa in eleventh. In between the red cars is Renault’s Fernando Alonso.

Even though the home crowd are at trackside supporting Jenson Button, a British home win for the series leader is looking unlikely due to the strong pace by the Red Bulls. The Renault-powered RB5 is going really well around the fast and flowing 3.194-mile circuit, thanks to the new aerodynamic upgrades including a re-profile front nose cone and engine cover.

Vettel is hoping to make amends from his first lap mistake at Turkey with race victory number two (for Red Bull Racing) while Webber is still searching for that elusive maiden win. As for Barrichello, the Brazilian has the chance to out-score his Brawn GP team-mate for the first time thanks to a higher grid position.

Qualifying times from the British Grand Prix, Silverstone:carrier to noise ratio

1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:19.509
2.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:19.856
3.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault     1:19.868
4.  Trulli       Toyota                1:20.091
5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       1:20.216
6.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:20.289
7.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       1:20.361
8.  Glock        Toyota                1:20.490
9.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               1:20.715
10.  Alonso       Renault               1:20.741
11.  Massa        Ferrari               1:18.927
12.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            1:19.308
13.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:19.353
14.  Piquet       Renault               1:19.392
15.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            1:19.448
16.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes   1:19.802
17.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:19.898
18.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes   1:19.909
19.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes        1:19.917
20.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:20.236

Formula One splits into two as FOTA announce new breakaway series

After months of bitter words between the sport’s governing body (FIA) and the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) over the controversial cost-cap scheme set to be introduce next year, the eight remaining FOTA teams have announced they are to form their own racing series for 2010.

This shocking news story broke last night on and it seems that Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are set to create their own series independent of Formula 1.

As you can read in this extract below, the reason for the split is FOTA had grown increasingly frustrated with the FIA’s stance against the organisation, and had no option but to create a series of their own.

“The teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship,” said a statement issued by FOTA after the meeting.

“These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners. This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.

“The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.”

So what’s left on the FIA series? Well, next year’s Formula 1 world championship will feature only five confirmed teams: Williams, Force India, Manor Grand Prix, USF1 and Campos Grand Prix. But, we could see the likes of Prodrive and Epsilon Euskadi on the grid to fill up the remaining places.

This split in Formula One is the worst possible outcome between FOTA and the FIA. The negotiations between both parties over the issue of reducing costs dragged on for months and this split is a devastating blow not only for Formula One, but also for the hardcore fans and motor sport in general.

We now face the prospect of a divided world championship next season, with neither of the two resulting series enjoying the strength that Formula 1 has accumulated in its 60-year history. At a time of such economic turmoil, it is a desperate course of action to take.

Not surprisingly, the FIA has blamed factions within FOTA for the failure of the two parties to reach agreement on the future of the sport, following the announcement that there will be a rival series next year. In an extract below, you can sense the bitterness in the press statement.

“The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA’s inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport,” said the statement.

“It is clear that elements within FOTA have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussions in good faith.

“The FIA cannot permit a financial arms race in the championship nor can the FIA allow FOTA to dictate the rules of Formula 1.”

This is a sad day in Formula One and yet again the politics of the sport has completely overshadowed the events at this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Racing is what matters to the fans… not this.

Button extends championship lead with victory in Istanbul

The Button and Brawn domination in Formula One continues with the Englishman taking his latest victory at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Button’s triumph matches the record of Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in winning six races out of seven races and it is remarkable that his lead in the drivers’ standing has extended to a mammoth 26 points.

His closest title challenger Rubens Barrichello suffered a horrendous afternoon that resulted in his first retirement of the year. The Brazilian had a clutch problem at the start in which he stuttered off the grid and by the time he crossed the start/finish line a lap later, Rubens had tumbled back to an unlucky 13th position.

Barrichello tried to make amends after a poor start, but unfortunately in doing so, the Brazilian made contact with first Heikki Kovalainen – which resulted in a spin – and later with Adrian Sutil – damaging his front wing in the process. Eleven laps from the chequered flag, Rubens returned to the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. It was a frustrating end for the Brawn GP driver as his team-mate went on to record his sixth race win of the season.

As for Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole position, to finish in third was a major disappointment for the Red Bull Racing driver. The young German lost the lead to Button on the opening lap after making a mistake exiting Turn 9, running wide and losing momentum.

This gave the opportunity to his championship rival, who took the lead and never look back.

Despite losing the lead on the first lap, Vettel came right back at Button after the first round of pit stops. Running on a three-stop strategy and benefitting with a lighter fuel load, the Red Bull was now only a few seconds behind the Brawn.

But there was no way past and after 13 laps of trying to get by Button, Vettel was forced to make his second pit stop, dropping him down to third behind Mark Webber (who was running a two-stop strategy) and out of contention for the race win.

Without the pressure of the Red Bull looming in his mirrors, Button was able to relax and rolled off the remaining laps to seal another victory. Behind the race-winning Brawn GP, it was a Red Bull Racing formation finish with Webber ahead of Vettel.

Jarno Trulli took a well respectable fourth for Toyota despite losing that track position to Nico Rosberg’s Williams at the first round of pit stops. The Italian reclaimed it back from the German in the second pit stop sequences, although a fifth place finish was still a good result for Rosberg given his frustrations in the previous couple of races.

As for Ferrari, in particular Felipe Massa who won this event three times, this latest result was a major disappointment. The Brazilian finished a distant sixth while his Scuderia team-mate Kimi Raikkonen lost significant ground on lap one – damaging his front wing against the back of Fernando Alonso’s Renault – and ended up just out of the points with ninth.

BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica has finally scored some championship points this season by beating the long-stopping Toyota of Timo Glock to seventh.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso struggled with pace in his Renault and could only managed a tenth place finish despite starting the race in eighth.

And what about McLaren? Well, after setting some promising lap times in opening practice on Friday, the race on Sunday reveal the silver cars simply lack downforce with the world champion Lewis Hamilton coming home in P13 (running one stop) with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen doing no better with P14 (on a two-stop strategy).

The Formula One World Championship now heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time and you can expect a hero’s welcome from the passionate crowd. This will be the last race at the former RAF airfield and Jenson Button will be seeking a home win as he moves ever so closer towards the drivers’ title.

Race results after 58 laps at Istanbul Park:

1.  Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes       1h26:24.848
2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault      +6.714
3.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      +7.461
4.  Trulli        Toyota                  +27.843
5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota        +31.539
6.  Massa         Ferrari                +39.996
7.  Kubica        BMW Sauber              +46.247
8.  Glock         Toyota                  +46.959
9.  Raikkonen     Ferrari                 +50.246
10.  Alonso        Renault                 +1:02.420
11.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber              +1:04.327
12.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       +1:06.376
13.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      +1:20.454
14.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      +1 lap
15.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari      +1 lap
16.  Piquet        Renault                 +1 lap
17.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  +1 lap
18.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     +1 lap

диваниFastest lap: Button, 1:27.579

Not classified/retirements:
Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes         49 laps
Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes      5 laps

World Championship standings, round 7:

1.  Button        61
2.  Barrichello   35
3.  Vettel        29
4.  Webber        27.5
5.  Trulli        19.5
6.  Glock         13
7.  Rosberg       11.5
8.  Massa         11
9.  Alonso        11
10.  Hamilton       9
11.  Raikkonen      9
12.  Heidfeld       6
13.  Kovalainen     4
14.  Buemi          3
15.  Kubica         2
16.  Bourdais       2

1.  Brawn GP-Mercedes      96
2.  Red Bull-Renault       56.5
3.  Toyota                 32.5
4.  Ferrari                20
5.  McLaren-Mercedes       13
6.  Williams-Toyota        11.5
7.  Renault                11
8.  BMW Sauber              8
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari      5

Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. June 19-21.

Vettel beats Button to take pole position in Istanbul

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel took his third career pole position by snatching the all-important grid slot from his championship rival Jenson Button, in the closing stages of qualifying in Turkey.

In the closing seconds of Q3, Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber set the pace with his second run as he lapped in one minute, 28. 613 seconds. But moments later Button took that away with a time of one minute, 28. 421 seconds with his Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello backing him up with one minute, 28. 579 seconds.

But Vettel’s final run around the challenging anti-clockwise circuit that is the Istanbul Park meant he grabbed his second pole position of the season with a time of one minute, 28. 316 seconds. The margin between the Red Bull Racing driver and the series leader was just over a tenth of a second.

This was a great performance by the young German and after setting the pace in sessions one and two in qualifying, it wasn’t a surprise to see the energy drink-sponsored car heading the field after Q3. Indeed, this result is a major boost to Vettel’s title hopes after crashing out early in the Monaco Grand Prix. Sebastian really needs to score big in order to close the margin of 28 points to Jenson.

Even though Jenson Button was denied a third consecutive pole position by a tenth of a second, he is still on the front row. His Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello did well to recover from a poor first run in Q3 to take third spot, while Red Bull’s Mark Webber earned a respectable fourth position.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli will start the Turkish Grand Prix in fifth, ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa respectively. This was a disappointing performance by Massa, as he was seeking for a fourth straight pole despite setting the quickest time in final practice leading up to qualifying. Felipe’s chances of going for a fourth consecutive victory on his favourite circuit is looking quite slim.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso lines up eighth in the Renault ahead of Nico Rosberg’s Williams and the improved BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica. In fact, this was a better showing from the BMW squad following a disastrous Monaco Grand Prix weekend a fortnight ago. Kubica’s team-mate Nick Heidfeld will start the race in P11.

But the biggest disappointments would have to be McLaren. After setting some promising lap times in the two practice sessions on Friday, the pace and handling of the Mercedes-powered MP4-24 made it quite a handful for both Heikki Kovalainen and world champion Lewis Hamilton. The pair struggled to set decent lap times due to a lack of grip and will start the seventh race of the season down in a depressing P14 and P16 respectively.

As for the under-pressure Brazilian that is Nelson Piquet Jr, he yet again failed in qualifying and was eliminated in the early stages following two spins in the Renault. First he ran wide upon exiting the demanding Turn 8, then later on plunging into the Turn 3 gravel (no thanks to a brake problem) – all of which left him 17th on the grid.

Qualifying times – Istanbul Park

1. Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:28.316
2. Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:28.421
3. Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:28.579
4. Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1:28.613
5. Trulli       Toyota                1:28.666
6. Raikkonen    Ferrari               1:28.815
7. Massa        Ferrari               1:28.858
8. Alonso       Renault               1:29.075
9. Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       1:29.191
10. Kubica       BMW-Sauber            1:29.357
11. Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            1:27.521
12. Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       1:27.629
13. Glock        Toyota                1:27.795
14. Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:28.207
15. Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1:28.391
16. Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes       1:28.318
17. Piquet       Renault               1:28.582
18. Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.708
19. Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes   1:28.717
20. Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.918