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Monday, 30 March 2009

Melbourne GP – Race Review – Brawn GP

Well to start with I have to say a huge congratulations to the team, Ross, Jenson and Rubens for a fantastic start to the season. I for one had huge anticipation for this season even before Honda decided to withdraw as I'd heard that massive progress was being made at Brackley. When Honda decided to withdraw I was utterly upset and wondered if I would sit a season out not supporting anyone. Ross and the rest of the management however came up trumps as they were obviously aware of the BGP001's potential.

With Jenson and Rubens flying in qualifying it wasn't long before we had the front row of the grid locked out for the Melbourne GP. Our one lap pace on the super softs was awe inspiring and left the others in the shadows. This was only further proved to be super fast when the car weights were announced by the FIA a few hours later. The boys had managed to out qualify the chasing pack with at least 10kg's more fuel on board.

To the race and although a little bleary eyed (think it took about 30 mins of the leadup commentary for me to wake up) I sat up in bed biting my fingernails waiting for all the red lights to go out.

Jenson flew away from the start getting what all Brawn GP fans and the team hoped for. Rubens on the other hand was a little more unlucky and ended up in the pitbox in anti stall, luckily he managed to get it out of neutral and into 1st rather rapidly meaning he only dropped a few places off the grid, this however forced him into the 1st corner melee something he would have wanted to avoid. He reached the 1st corner in around 9th position but a collision with Mark Webber which will have rattled the natives. The incident was compounded by a small shunt from the rear by Heikki which launched Rubens forwards under breaking. Now with Rubens front wing damaged in normal circumstances I would have expected him to have to pit, however it seems that the BGP001 is a little more resilient than some of it's competitors as it only damaged part of the endplate and this didn't seem to cause Rubens too much of a detrimental effect. He didn't change this damaged component until his scheduled fuel and tyres stop. After the 1st corner melee Rubens continued to push hard from 7th position unfazed by his aero issues. Jenson was making great progress and had pulled out a 4.5 second lead over Vettel, they then began trading fastest laps as Vettel tried to make an impact on Jensons race. Rubens whilst trailing the Williams of Nico and Ferrari of Kimi just sat and bid ed his time. Sure enough on lap 9 Nico pushed it up the inside of Kimi on the 1st corner and this destabilised Kimi leaving Rubens to charge for 6th position, he stook it down the inside of Kimi at turn 3 but realised he was entering an ever declining gap. Rubens stood on the brakes but with the bumpier surface on the inside edge of turn 3 he lost the rear end and just touched the side of the Ferrari. The impact took the endplate completely off of the already damaged wing.

Lap 17 saw Nakajima put his Williams into the wall and this called out the safety car, a touchy moment for Jenson as it was just in his pit stop window and although this years rules allow for pit stops under the safety car it could have still made a massive impact if timed wrong. Luckily for Jenson the safety car was deployed after his stop which also gave him a lap to put some temperature into the tyres. Rubens came in just before Jenson and gave Rubens a new nose, both stops went off without a hitch which is a great credit to the team.

We spent 5 laps under the safety car and unfortunately for Jenson he locked his front left tyre just as he exited the last corner onto the pit straight to restart the race. Even with this Jenson carried on pushing hard and extended his lead to Vettel rapidly. With tyres being so cold under a safety car we lost Picquet to the first corner he hadn't measured the braking zone correctly. After the pit stop's Rubens had emerged 7th which was a great result considering he needed a new nose too. With the Ferrari's seemingly out of sink with everyone else's strategies and along with Jarno and Kubica. Kubica put on the main tyre having already run the super softs in a previous stint (which will feature later) this all aiding Rubens, he managed to haul the car back into 3rd.

With 12 laps to go Jenson entered the pits to receive the super soft tyres and the remaining fuel to complete the race. Tyres were all changed without a hitch but the fuel rig didn't fire properly so had to be re installed and compromised Jenson's time. However he had managed to pull out enough of a gap to stay ahead of Vettel. At this point I was shouting at the TV as the commentators kept saying Rubens may have enough fuel to finish the race. That may well have been the case but he hadn't used the supers softs yet so had to pit. When Rubens pitted (7 laps to go) it gave Kubica the free track to mount a challenge, whilst Jenson and Vettel were on the super softs Robert was on the prime tyre (which was performing a hell of a lot better) Coming back into the mix Rubens found himself behind Rosberg, Rosberg found himself useless to counter Rubens charge as his tyres had started to degrade. Kubica was storming and quickly found himself onto the back of Vettel, with 3 laps to go and Roberts charge going strong he made a move on Vettel who had previously made a small error coming in/out of turn 1. In turn 3 Robert stuck it down the outside as Vettel positioned himself well to defend. Robert clearly had the faster car and Vettel out braked himself, in my opinion what happened next was clearly Roberts fault (although the stewards saw it otherwise) he gave Sebastian no room, even though Sebastian had the racing line and left Sebastian with no alternative but to collide with the BMW car. This was catastrophic for the pair and destroyed both their front wings and part of the nose/undertray. Both cars then hit the wall a little further around the lap. This promoted Rubens to 2nd and left Jenson breathing a sigh of relief that the BMW wouldn't be filling his mirrors in the last 2 laps. The safety car was deployed for the last laps and only peeled away to allow Jenson to take the chequered flag under race conditions.

A thoroughly action packed race with a great maiden 1-2 for the team, Jenson and Ross!

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About Me

I have been an F1 fan from a very early age, however in my very early years I didn't really support a team just loved the racing. Since the BAR years I have been supporting this team through it's highs and lows. I'm confident under Ross Brawn's control the team will go from strength to strength and hopefully Jenson and Rubens can find themselves in a competitive car once more.


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