In the advent of Mercedes’ emergence as the dominant force in Formula One, the term ‘on a knife edge’ has seldom been used. However, there is now no better way to describe the season...
By Tamhas Woods at Motorsport24.com On Sunday afternoon in Shanghai, reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton quickly silenced his critics (not to mention Team Ferrari!) with a resounding victory over rival Sebastian Vettel. In the...
Only team-mate Mark Webber could stop Sebastian Vettel from recording a perfect weekend this afternoon in Japan, as the young German romped clear from pole position to win his third race of the season, leading every lap of the race in the process. Had it not been for Webber’s late pitstop for new tyres on low fuel, Vettel would also have recorded fastest lap, but more significantly his 10 points and Brawn’s struggle to 7th and 8th means he remains in title contention with just two races remaining.
From the start, Vettel was challenged strongly by the KERS-boosted Lewis Hamilton, and after successfully fending him off, was never again under pressure for the lead. With more fuel on-board than his nearest rivals, he kept the lead even during the pitstops, and shrugged off a late-race safety car period to record a comfortable five-second victory.
Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position in tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix after an action-packed qualifying session at Suzuka this afternoon. The scheduled qualifying hour was delayed by three red flag periods courtesy of three separate crashes in Q2 and Q3, eventually ending half an hour late.
With Red Bull’s Mark Webber having been ruled out of qualifying after damaging his chassis in final practice, just four drivers would be eliminated in Q1. After a largely trouble-free session for most drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella (1m31.704s) dropped out at the first hurdle for the second successive time, followed closely by home hero Kazuki Nakajima (1m31.718s) who was unable to turn local knowledge into a Q2-worthy laptime.
Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello led home a deserved Brawn 1-2 at Monza this afternoon, taking full advantage of a one-stop strategy to leapfrog pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton. The Briton had been set to take a comfortable third place but crashed on the final lap after pushing too hard for second.
At the start, top-three starters Hamilton, Sutil and Räikkönen all had reasonable starts, with Räikkönen getting the best getaway only to have his chance of taking the lead scuppered by being pushed onto the grass by Hamilton. Behind, Heikki Kovalainen lost three places on the opening lap, as Barrichello, Button and Liuzzi all found their way by.
Hamilton was the first of the two-stoppers to pit as planned on lap 15, four laps earlier than then rival Räikkönen. Nevertheless, Lewis was able to keep ahead of the Finn, but a sterner challenge was coming from even further behind from the one-stopping Brawns.
Kimi Räikkönen took Ferrari’s first victory of 2009 in a thrilling Belgian Grand Prix this afternoon, after being pushed until the very last lap by Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella who scored his team’s first podium and points in second place. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel put in an equally impressive drive to finish third.
After starting sixth, KERS helped Räikkönen to consolidate second place by the end of the first lap, by which time the field was bunched up behind the safety car following a four-car crash at Les Combes, taking out championship-leader Jenson Button. But once the safety car pitted, the crucial moment of the race saw Räikkönen overtake Fisichella out of Eau Rouge thanks to his KERS.
Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello secured his first Formula One victory in almost five years with an impressive display on the streets of Valencia this afternoon. Despite starting third, and keeping his position off the line, Barrichello picked off Kovalainen and Hamilton in consecutive pitstops, to eventually win with ease and put him back in the championship fight.
With fellow championship contenders Button, Webber and Vettel falling from contention for the win early on, Barrichello has jumped to second in the championship fight, 18 points behind team-mate Button, who scored two points today. Both Webber and Vettel failed to score after a disastrous race for Red Bull.
It’s been over nine months in waiting, but Lewis Hamilton has finally secured his elusive tenth Grand Prix victory with a faultless drive from fourth on the grid, beating former world champion Kimi Räikkönen and Mark Webber to complete an unlikely podium. With the Red Bulls and the Brawns unable to provide a stern enough challenge to McLaren’s impressive pace, the Woking-based team ran home comfortable winners to take a victory that looked impossible just two races ago.
With Hamilton, Räikkönen and Webber locking out the podium places, Nico Rosberg secured his second consecutive fourth place finish. He just missed out on the podium when Mark Webber emerged ahead of him at the final round of stops and the German fell back from the Red Bull as the race neared its end. Heikki Kovalainen had to work hard in the final few laps to hold off Timo Glock for fifth, while Jenson Button picked up just two points for seventh after struggling with tyre wear and graining throughout the race. Jarno Trulli picked up the final point for Toyota, after getting pushed hard by Nakajima and Barrichello throughout his final stint.