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Monday, 6 April 2009

Sepang - Brawn GP - Race Review

Firstly I would just like to say a huge congratulations to the Team, Jenson, Rubens and Ross for another great GP and another victory for Jenson. The Sepang GP always had weather issues written all over it. Teams were reporting rain for the start of the GP and when it rains there it pours. With Jenson starting from Pole position and Rubens back in 8th (5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change) we were looking in a great position. Jenson had a bad start from the grid and lost ground to Rosberg, Trulli and Alonso who all had fantastic starts. Rubens however had a little better start and pitched the car into 6th by the 2nd corner. Rubens quickly dispatched of Kimi and started to hunt both Alonso and Jenson. Turn 13 and Jenson dispatched of Alonso who had really put himself out of sync in the race as he was running with a substantial fuel load. Alonso was really easy pickings in this part of the field due to his weight disadvantage, Rubens passed him before having to yeild as he ran wide into the last corner on lap 2. He used the slipstream down the pit straight following this corner to easily sail past Alonso into turn 1.
With Rubens released from behind the slower Renault he could lead an assault on the 3 in front, Jenson meanwhile also released from the Renaults grasp set a fastest lap and charged towards Jarno.
Rubens responded to Jenson recording the next fastest lap, trying to reel in the front 3. The next few laps are the front 4 trading fastest laps and sector times, all of which are running similar fuel strategies.
Lap 10 and Alonso can no longer keep Kimi at bay and goes to deep into a corner allowing the Finn to fly past.
Some great racing followed in the midfield with Webber, Alonso and Glock all battling for 5th position.
Lap 15 and Rosberg is the first frontrunner to make his pitstop taking on fuel and new tyres (soft tyres) This promoted the BGP's to 2nd and 3rd still to stop. Jenson at this stage started to step rather loudly on the loud pedal and reeled in Jarno at a staggering pace. Jarno peeled away to the pits another lap later at the end of lap 17. So commencing lap 18 Jenson has an open field and pushes the BGP001 to it's limits for the next 2 laps. Rubens meanwhile now in 2nd also has some clean air and is pushing hard.
Kimi decided at the end of lap 18 to pit and go to the full wet weather tyre, a gamble (although in the opposite direction) we have seen him make at Silverstone last year. The rain although spitting was not warranting the full wets.
Jenson came in at the end of lap 19 for fuel and new tyres taking another set of the soft tyres and a little less fuel than Rosberg and Trulli, Jensons pitstop timing in at 8.7 secs compared to the nearer 10 secs stops of Rosberg and Trulli. This coupled with the storming 2 laps in clean air allowed Jenson to easily clear the Williams and Toyota's of Rosberg and Trulli. The pit stop timings were something that were clearly missed in the UK commentary and I believe this was a crucial tactical decision taken by Ross and the team to get Jenson out in clear air at the front of the field. Ultimately this is what gave Jenson the win in my opinion.
Rubens came in for his pitstop at the end of the next lap and took a 9.4 sec stop, unfortunately for Rubens the slippy gearbox situation reared its ugly head as he tried to exit the pit box and lost him some valuable seconds. Had he cleared the stop cleanly he would have jumped Jarno in the pit stop instead he came out level with Jarno into turn 1 and had to yield the position and take 4th.
Lap 21 and Rubens was starting to make a charge on Jarno but the heavens started to open and put pay to any overtake being able to stick.
Jenson was the first to come in and change onto the wet weather tyres (with the exception of Kimi and Bourdais who had previously gambled and not paid off) The same lap saw everyone coming in for a change of tyres. Almost everyone going for full wets (Except for Glock).
The next few laps saw a great battle emerge between Webber and Hamilton with Lewis using all his might and KERS to keep Mark at bay all until Lewis had a problem reaching the rev limiter in 6th and Mark went passed.
In this stage of the race RBR and Glock really starting to relish the conditions and seemingly putting in some great lap times.
Rubens still pushing hard and on lap 26 he passes Jarno for 3rd, Rubens then at the end of lap 26 puts a move on Nico for 2nd place and with that Nico goes into the pits (taking intermediate tyres) and leaves Rubens in 2nd, the grid starting to turn upside down as the wet weather tyres on a dryish surface starting to fade. Glock is storming through the field even passing his team mate Jarno and taking 4th place behind Webber. Rubes unfortunately couldn't hold on in one corner due to tyre degradation and let Webber and Glock through. A great bit of racing between Mark and Timo followed where Timo overtook Mark and then we saw the side of Timo's car from Mark's perspective as they exit the last corner onto the pit straight.
Just behind this battle Rubens comes to the pit box and takes the inters and also loses out to Jarno in the pit stop. On their outlap Rubens manages to squeeze Trulli out and take back the position.
The following lap sees Jenson come into the pits for a set of inters and a tweak on the front wing and due to Timo's timely change of tyres he now takes charge of the race with Jenson slotting in 2nd. Jenson made up the 3.3 sec deficit in the following lap to take the lead from Timo once more. Timo decided to yield and went on into the pit lane to take a set of full wet weather tyres.
The rain is really lashing down now along with some lightning, and the track is starting to get quite trechorous with cars flying off all over the place. Jenson and the team make the sensible decision to jump in for Full wet weather tyres again and manages to jump both Timo and suprisingly Nick Heidfeld who's long fuel stratergy played into his hands and is now placed 3rd (But struggling on inters). Rubens follows everyone else into the pits taking the full wets option.

Lap 31 and the safety car is deployed as its just terrible out there with some corners looking more like rivers. With that the race is red flagged and everyone dispatched back to the grid slots to await a restart. This leaves Jenson in 1st, Glock 2nd and Heidfeld 3rd. The race was abandoned after the red flag due to poor weather conditions and the inability to make 75% race distance.

In this circumstance the result goes to count back by one lap and only half the championship points are given out.

1st Jenson Button 5 Points
2nd Nick Heidfeld 4 Points
3rd Timo Glock 3 Points
4th Jarno Trulli 2.5 Points
5th Rubens Barrichello 2 Points
6th Mark Webber 1.5 Points
7th Lewis Hamilton 1 Point
8th Nico Rosberg 05. Points

Something I noticed from some of the in board views of Vettel is just how much flex is in the top fence of the RBR's front wing. Questionable legality?

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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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