September 13, 2009
The Brawns came up off the mat and just pummeled the field today, finishing 1-2, with Barrichello taking his third career Italian Grand Prix. The beauty of the race was that it was, first and foremost, a strategy win.
The first brilliant move was that Ross Brawn, certified F1 genius, sent his boys out onto the track in quals with a snootful of fuel, enough to run a one-stop strategy on a circuit that rewards such things, and trusted them to make it work... which they promptly did, ending up fifth and sixth on the grid.
The second brilliant move was that the drivers, Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, managed to make their tires last while still going fast, despite having heavy loads of gas. On a day when the "bogie time" for a pitstop was 25 seconds, only pulling a single stop on the fastest track of the series while the other leaders were going for two meant that the Brawns basically had a 25 second lead to start the race... if they could make it work. They did.
The third brilliant move was Jenson Button managing to keep calm under the pressure of Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps of the race. Hamilton was faster and had KERS to help him take advantage of any mistake Button made. The problem is, Button didn't give him that chance, and it eventually was Hamilton that made a mistake, going a little wide in the Lesmos, catching a little too much curb, and winding up sploinking into the tire barrier on the last lap. Button didn't win the race, but it was a great performance for the driver leading the Championship points, and who may have been feeling a lot of pressure because of it.
The story of the day, though, has to be Adrian Sutil. Qualified second in the Force India, turned fast lap in the race, and just missed a podium by ending 4th. Only a bad entry into his pit box (running down two FI mechanics in the process) while Kimi Raikkonen stalled his car during his simultaneous stop kept him from leapfrogging the Ferrari for 3rd. It's no longer a secret that the Force India is a fast, fast car... lets just see if it's still quick on a track that requires manueverability.
Fun race, and I'd like to thank Steven for his impromptu coverage of Quals. We'll make a F1 fan out of you yet, Steven!
One thing, though: Vitantonio Liuzzi isn't a new NKOTT, just for this season. He drove for Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007 (not to mention a few races in 2005 for Red Bull proper), so he can't qualify for NKOTT status. He DID show that he's the real deal, though, and I honestly didn't think that before today. He qual'd 7th, and was running very nicely until he ended up with a gearbox full of neutrals early in. No question he would have been in the points, and possibly right behind his teammate, if that didn't happen.
Sorry for the unF1U!, folks... hope it was a little entertaining at least.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 13, 2009 08:37 PM (+rSRq)
There are only 4 races left and Button has a 26 point lead over Vettel. It ain't impossible, but it would take a miracle at this point for Vettel to overtake Button -- or a disaster (e.g. Button having a season-ending crash in the next race, and let's hope not).
Barrichello is 14 points behind Button, so he's the only one who has a reasonable chance now to overtake, and even for him it would be tough. (He only gained 2 on Button today.)
As to the teams, Brawn now has a 40 point lead over Red Bull, and 84 points on Ferrari. It ain't over until it's over, but it's hard to see how Brawn can fail to be the winning team. Again, it would take a miracle, or a disaster.
It's been a hell of a year for Brawn.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 13, 2009 08:44 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 13, 2009 08:45 PM (+rSRq)
However, Rubens Barrichello is in a lot better shape. A win in Singapore while Button crashes out and suddenly it's a four point season with three races to go.
I have a feeling we might be have another Brazil 2008 coming...
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 13, 2009 09:14 PM (/O6qY)
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