Webber overcomes penalty for first win
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, July 12th 2009, 13:43 GMT|
Mark Webber overcame a drive-through penalty to finally take his first Formula 1 victory as Red Bull Racing scored its third one-two of the season at the Nurburgring, but this time with Webber ahead of Sebastian Vettel at last.
The Brawns could not compete with the Red Bulls and fell back to fifth and sixth - Jenson Button ahead of Rubens Barrichello - behind Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg when their three stop strategies unfolded.
The result reduces Button's championship lead to 21 points over Vettel, with Webber and Barrichello a further 1.5 and 3.5 points adrift respectively.
An eventful start saw the KERS cars thrust forward, with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren charging down to the outside to go three-abreast with Barrichello and Webber - who had already banged wheels as the poleman defended off the line - into Turn 1.
Hamilton arrived at the corner fractionally ahead, but had picked up a rear puncture from a brush with Webber's front wing, and had to limp back to the pits, his race ruined within yards of the start.
Barrichello emerged from the complex in front of Webber, with Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) and Massa (Ferrari) also benefiting from their KERS boost to jump to third and fourth places, ahead of Button and Vettel.
Button dived inside Massa to take fourth at the start of lap two, but Kovalainen proved a tougher obstacle and the Brawn remained bottled up behind the McLaren until the points leader made his first of three stops on lap 13.
Meanwhile Webber's move towards Barrichello off the line had attracted the stewards' attention, and it was soon announced that he would receive a drive-through penalty.
He served this on lap 14, just as Barrichello made his first pitstop, and with the slower Kovalainen and Massa having bottled up the rest of the pack, Webber was able to emerge in the lead. He then pulled away during the five laps he still had before his first scheduled stop, while his likely challengers stared at the back of Massa's Ferrari, which was not due to pit until lap 25.
This effectively neutralised Webber's penalty and brought him straight back into contention for victory, especially as he was only making two fuel stops, whereas the Brawns were to pit three times.
As those on long first stints finally pitted, Barrichello led again, but had lost a lost of time following Massa until the Ferrari stopped - and now had Webber closing on him rapidly despite the Red Bull being heavier, such was the latter team's pace advantage today.
When Barrichello was delayed by fuel rig trouble at his second stop, Webber was left with a clear lead over his team-mate Vettel, who had jumped Massa at the first stops, then extended his advantage with a handful of laps a second quicker than the field before easing off, his overdue win secured.
The Brawns' third stop guaranteed that they would fall behind not only Massa, but also Rosberg (Williams), who had crept into contention in the queue behind the Ferrari early on, then gained a lot of ground thanks to a long first stint and some very rapid mid-race times, duly taking fourth from 15th on the grid.
Button caught Barrichello in the third stint and then jumped ahead at the final stops, after which the duo tried to chase down Rosberg while simultaneously coming under pressure from the flying Fernando Alonso.
The Renault driver appeared destined for the midfield as he spent lap after lap trapped behind one-stopper Timo Glock following his first stop, but once he had passed the Toyota, Alonso really came alive - setting the fastest lap of the race even on heavy fuel following his last stop. However despite his best efforts, he could not get around the Brawns at the end.
A short first stint and long middle stint did not work well for Kovalainen, dropping him from his early third to eighth at the finish, as he fended off pressure from Glock, Nick Heidfeld (BMW), Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) and Kazuki Nakajima (Williams).
Fisichella had briefly run in the top eight thanks to a bold early charge on a three-stop strategy, while Glock made up for his pitlane start following yesterday's poor qualifying and blocking penalty by running 37 laps on his first tank of fuel. His team-mate Jarno Trulli went in the opposite direction - pitting for repairs on the first lap and never featuring afterwards.
Kimi Raikkonen had run close behind team-mate Massa until retiring with a loss of power, shortly after an incident with Adrian Sutil that ended the German's chances of taking Force India's first points.
Sutil had driven a brilliantly first stint, tagging on behind the Ferraris and then running as high as second thanks to staying out until lap 27 before pitting. But as he rejoined, he made contact with Raikkonen at the first corner and ripping a chunk from his front wing, forcing another stop.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The German Grand Prix Nurburgring, Germany; 60 laps; 306.458km; Weather: Cloudy, dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1h36:43.310 2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 9.252 3. Massa Ferrari (B) + 15.906 4. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 21.099 5. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 23.609 6. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 24.468 7. Alonso Renault (B) + 24.888 8. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 58.692 9. Glock Toyota (B) + 1:01.457 10. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 1:01.925 11. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 1:02.327 12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 1:02.876 13. Piquet Renault (B) + 1:08.328 14. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 1:09.555 15. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 1:11.941 16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1:30.225 17. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1:30.970 18. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 1 lap Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:33.365 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 35 Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 19 World Championship standings, round 9: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Button 68 1. Brawn-Mercedes 112 2. Vettel 47 2. Red Bull-Renault 92.5 3. Webber 45.5 3. Toyota 34.5 4. Barrichello 44 4. Ferrari 32 5. Massa 22 5. Williams-Toyota 20.5 6. Trulli 21.5 6. McLaren-Mercedes 14 7. Rosberg 20.5 7. Renault 13 8. Glock 13 8. BMW Sauber 8 9. Alonso 13 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 5 10. Raikkonen 10 11. Hamilton 9 12. Heidfeld 6 13. Kovalainen 5 14. Buemi 3 15. Kubica 2 16. Bourdais 2 All timing unofficial