Barrichello wins again five years later
|By Simon Strang||Sunday, August 23rd 2009, 13:42 GMT|
Rubens Barrichello took an emotional tenth grand prix victory and his first in any car other than a Ferrari with a fighting performance for Brawn GP in the European Grand Prix at Valencia.
The 37-year-old Brazilian drove aggressively and with consistent pressure to pass a McLaren in each of his two stops and drive home relatively un-pressured to score the team's sixth win of the season.
Having dispensed with Heikki Kovalainen from second place in the first stops, the groundwork for Barrichello's first win in five years came from a superb middle-stint where he matched race leader and eventual second-place finisher Lewis Hamilton for pace.
He delivered a sequence of fastest laps around the time Hamilton pitted on lap 37 - three sooner than the Brawn.
Barrichello needed to get the gap down to two seconds, but in reality a slow pitstop by the McLaren crew, who appeared to dither in preparing the world champion's tyres, gave Rubens the space he needed to move into a lead he would never relinquish.
Hamilton, who along with his team-mate Kovalainen started on the super-soft tyres in a decision that opposed that of the rivals around them on the grid, did his level best to make a getaway at the start, and made no errors.
But as Barrichello waited patiently behind Kovalainen until the first stops, it was clear that the MP4-24 was perhaps not quite a match for the Brawn on pace.
After he'd lost the lead following the second stop, Hamilton still didn't give up and began to close the gap in the closing laps, but Barrichello had him covered.
Kimi Raikkonen took a well-worked third place, having jumped Kovalainen in the second stops, setting a fastest lap of his own as he emphasised his pace up to his stop.
The Ferrari driver pitted later than his countryman in both of his first two stints and consistent driving did the rest.
Kovalainen eventually finished fourth, having lost a position in both of his stops. He never quite had the pace of Hamilton in the early laps and Barrichello had little trouble jumping him at his first stop. The same proved to be the case for Raikkonen in the second.
The Finn found himself defending fourth from Nico Rosberg in the closing laps as black dust began to kick out of the McLaren's front wheels – suggesting significant brake wear towards the end of the race.
Rosberg delivered more points for Williams in fifth with another consistent run. Fernando Alonso did a similar job for Renault in sixth – which at least was a finish in front of his home crowd. This time last year it was an early bath after a collision with Rosberg's team-mate Kazuki Nakajima.
Jenson Button had a difficult race. Similar in style to that of his British Grand Prix, a late-charge saw him take seventh place having found a pace that wasn't there in the early laps.
The world championship leader was caught behind his title rival Sebastian Vettel at the start and the resulting first lap squabble saw him miss a chicane at Turn 5 while running side-be-side with Mark Webber.
Two laps later and he was forced to hand eighth position to the Australian to avoid a penalty. In the early laps, Button then appeared to struggle and it was only when he got into clear air that the Brawn came alive.
He was caught for a while behind a long-stopping Giancarlo Fisichella in the middle stint, but an excellent out-lap from his second stop, combined with a problematic one for Webber saw him overtake the Red Bull.
Robert Kubica passed Webber too, handing the troubled BMW team a poignant point given the events of the last month.
Red Bull, then, failed to score. Webber was ninth, while Vettel watched his title hopes become significantly slimmer with his second DNF in succession and his second engine failure in two days.
Sebastien Buemi was the only other retirement with late-race brake failure.
Adrian Sutil finished in the top ten for Force India, ahead of Nick Heidfeld (11th) and Giancarlo Fisichella (12th).
Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock were next, the German setting the fastest lap of the race – two from the end.
The rookies took the final positions, with Romain Grosjean leading home Jaime Alguersuari and Luca Badoer last. The Ferrari stand-in produced a wayward performance that involved a drive-through and a spin.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The European Grand Prix Valencia, Spain; 57 laps; 310.080km; Weather: Sunny. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1h35:51.289 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 2.358 3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 15.994 4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 20.032 5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 20.870 6. Alonso Renault (B) + 27.744 7. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 34.913 8. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 36.667 9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 44.910 10. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 47.935 11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 48.822 12. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 1:03.614 13. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1:04.527 14. Glock Toyota (B) + 1:26.519 15. Grosjean Renault (B) + 1:31.774 16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap 17. Badoer Ferrari (B) + 1 lap 18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 3 laps Fastest lap: Glock, 1:38.683 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 42 Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 24 World Championship standings, round 11: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Button 72 1. Brawn-Mercedes 126 2. Barrichello 54 2. Red Bull-Renault 98.5 3. Webber 51.5 3. Ferrari 46 4. Vettel 47 4. McLaren-Mercedes 41 5. Rosberg 29.5 5. Toyota 38.5 6. Hamilton 27 6. Williams-Toyota 29.5 7. Raikkonen 24 7. Renault 16 8. Trulli 22.5 8. BMW Sauber 9 9. Massa 22 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 5 10. Glock 16 11. Alonso 16 12. Kovalainen 14 13. Heidfeld 6 14. Buemi 3 15. Kubica 3 16. Bourdais 2 All timing unofficial