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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Barrichello’s back!

Rubens Barrichello finally got his wish, leading Brawn GP to victory over Lewis Hamilton and McLaren in Valencia.

F1 Grand Prix of Europe - Race

The 37-year-old made good on a day where his teammate could only manage seventh and Red Bull saw Sebastian Vettel suffer another engine failure, giving Brawn a health boost in the constructors standings.

It was Hamilton leading from pole at the start ahead of teammate Heikki Kovalainen. Barrichello slotted into third, while Jenson Button clashed with Vettel for fourth.

The result wasn’t good for Button, who soon fell back into eighth.

Hamilton stopped early, as predicted, and handed over the lead to Kovalainen. The heavier-fueled Brawn was able to overtake the Finn in the first round of stops, and was soon in pursuit of Hamilton.

It was Hamilton’s second stop that proved most costly, though McLaren denies it was the reason for losing the race. Stopping on lap 36, the team did not have his front tires ready. When Barrichello pitted four laps later, the delay allowed him to get past the Briton.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen was able to get past Kovalainen, and with Vettel out on lap 24, the Ferrari driver was solid in third.

And that’s how it ended. Crucially, Red Bull came away empty handed, with Mark Webber finishing just out of the points.

As for the newcomers, Romain Grosjean wound up 15th in his Renault debut after damaging his nose at the start, but considering Nelson Piquet’s performance this season, the team didn’t lose much. Jaime Alguersuari finished 16th, and Luca Badoer’s return to the big show after a decade was unimpressive even before he got a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line exiting the pitlane. He finished 17th.

Button maintains a sizable lead in the driver’s championship, with Barrichello once again moving ahead of the Red Bull duo. Brawn, too, benefits, extending its lead to almost 30 points in the constructor’s championship. After another poor weekend for Toyota, it looks like Ferrari and McLaren are battling to see who will be best of the rest.

After almost a month off, this time there is a much shorter break between races. The circus is back in action next weekend at Spa.

European Grand Prix results (57 laps)
  1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  6. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  7. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  9. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault
  10. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  12. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes
  13. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  14. Timo Glock, Toyota
  15. Romain Grosjean, Renault
  16. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
  17. Luca Badoer, Ferrari +1 lap
  18. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota +3 laps
  • Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari +15 laps (Brakes)
  • Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault +33 laps (Engine)


Vitaly Petrov took his third win in three years in in race one, while Nico Hülkenberg won his fourth of the season in race two at Valencia.

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