Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Red Bull Racing celebrate their first ever Grand Prix Victory with a one-two finish in Shanghai, while the Scuderia's run of bad luck continues.

This weekend Sebastian Vettel recorded the second ever win in his career and the first ever for his team Red Bull Racing. Vettel's first career victory was with Toro Rosso last year in Monza. His Red Bull team mate Mark Webber finished alongside him in second to give a one-two finish for the Milton Keynes based team in celebrations for their first ever Grand Prix victory. And it was a deserved win as well. The two RB5s looked fast throughout the qualifying session and they also led the pack throughout the race. What probably caught current championship leaders BrawnGP off guard is the RB5s pace under wet weather conditions. In fact it was raining throughout the entire race, which saw drivers running on full wet tyres for the entire race duration. In that torrential rain, the Red Bulls clearly had an advantage as they were maintaining a much tighter line, looked to be having greater downforce in the rain and while every one else was making mistakes by spinning off the track from time to time, the two Red Bulls kept pulling away from the field. Particularly special was Sebastian Vettel who finished the race 10 seconds ahead of his second place team mate Webber and a full 44 seconds ahead of current Driver's Championship leader Jenson Button, who finished in third.

The race started under the safety car, because heavy rain meant that there was quite a bit of standing water on the track and the cars were struggling for grip. This was bad for the drivers who were running light on fuel, particularly Alonso who started in second, and to some extent the two Red Bulls as well, as they wanted to pull away from the field early on in the race before coming to an early pit stop. So the first 4 laps being under the safety car meant that this strategy was pretty much out the window. At the end of lap 4, the safety car went back in and this is when the race really started. So when Alonso did make his first pit stop just a few laps after, it pushed him near the back of the field which is why he eventually finished in ninth.

As soon as the safety car was in though, race leader Vettel immediately started pulling away. Webber in the other Red Bull was also looking phenomenally quick. Although the two Brawns were looking pretty quick as well, they were not really being able to challenge the two Red Bulls up front.

In the mid-field, both the Ferraris had a pretty decent start. Particularly Felipe Massa, who started with a heavy fuel load, and along with that the fact that the first 4 laps were under the safety car meant that all the cars used less fuel than normal, opted for a one-stop strategy. This was proving to be very successful for him because it would mean that he would going in for his one and only pit stop some time around lap 28 or 30. By the time it was lap 20, most of the front runners have already pitted and on top of that put in some great overtaking, and Massa was running in 3rd position when his car had a catastrophic electrical failure forcing him to retire. His team mate Raikkonen had a good start as well from 8th position and he was looking to make up some places, but following his first pit stop and as the race continued he started falling back because of a lack of grip from the tyres. Coupled with that the fact that he had no KERS in his car, meant that he could only manage a tenth place finish.

The two McLarens were running pretty good though, and all the aerodynamic improvements they have made to their cars coming into Shanghai have obviously had a positive impact on performance. So reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton finished in sixth while his team mate Heikki Kovalainen a place ahead. In fact for Kovalainen this was not only his first full race this season but was also the first time he managed to get past the first lap and not retire. At the back of the field, Robert Kubica's car was struggling for performance as well. The aspiring driver pushed as hard as he could, but his car would just not give him that extra bit of edge. When he had a crash with Toyota's Jarno Trulli, that saw Trulli being forced to retire, Kubica not just rammed into the back of Trulli but pretty much climbed over his car. That greatly affected Kubica's car as well, specially the underbody, although he was able to finish the race. The crash though was not really Kubica's fault, because with that much rain Formula 1 cars running at 200 miles per hour create a lot of spray making it really hard for the drivers to see. But it was unfortunate for both the drivers though.

In spite of all this action though, this race was all about one driver and one driver only, Sebastian Vettel. The 21-year-old drove his car beautifully, an almost flawless performance, and he shows real promises to be the next legend in the world of Formula 1. As BBC's presenter Jake Humphrey said in his closing statement, that 'he is cool, he is calm, he is imperious and he is German. Now does that remind of somebody?' It does to me indeed, and if any German is out there capable of carrying on Michael Schumacher's legacy, it's no else apart from Vettel.

So that's it for now. Formula 1 returns to the track again this coming weekend for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the last of the fly-away races before we move back to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on the 10th of May.

No comments:

Post a Comment