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
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.