May 10, 2009
*THEIR MOTHERS WOULD BE SO PROUD: Another race, another dominating win for BrawnGP. Rubens Barrichello led until the first round of pitstops, though not without some yelling and exhorting from the pit wall. Surprisingly enough, both drivers were on three-stop strategies, though Jensen Button was switched to a two-stopper after the first... um... stop. That turned out to be the correct strategy, as Button inherited the lead when Barrichello made his stops, then ran away and hid. Afterwards the first cracks appeared in the happy smiles of the team when Rubens began complaining that he didn't intend to play second fiddle to anybody. Unfortunately that's exactly what his career has been, first to Michael Schumacher, now to Button. We'll see how that plays out down the road, but for now Brawn is just as dominating as ever.
*FACES ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE: Another disasterous day for the so-called Big Three. Felipe Massa got into the points for the first time this season, true, but Ferrari quite nearly threw his 6th place away when they screwed up on their fuel calculations and didn't put enough gas in his car to finish the race at normal levels. With six laps to go, Massa was in fourth when the team told him to dial down the fuel mixtures and the revs to conserve fuel. The Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, with no such restrictions, blew past the limping Ferrari like it was standing still. With four laps to go, Massa was 16 seconds ahead of the Renault of HWMNBN. On the backside of the track on the final lap, HWMNBN zipped past Massa to drop him to sixth. At the finish line, Massa was only 1.5 seconds ahead of 7th and fading fast, and it was all self-inflicted by the team. He eventually ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap. Meanwhile, Massa's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, had a hydraulics-based throttle problem that stopped the car after 17 laps, but only after the car's KERS unit had failed. Again.
Meanwhile, BMW was 7th and 11th. That may sound pretty pathetic, but it's an improvement over their previous results. McLaren nearly got Lewis Hamilton into the points, but had to settle for 9th place from the reigning world driver's champion. His teammate, Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, had a broken gearbox that forced him to retire to the pits on lap seven. Bizarro Season continues.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Jensen Button drove another flawless race to win, which against his teammate he had to do. He could have fought Barrichello at the start but refrained. He could have thrown it away by a slip or a bobble, but there wasn't one to be seen. When he needed to increase the size of his lead, he poured on fast lap on top of fast lap. It was, dare I say it, a Schumacher-esque performance.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: BrawnGP is dominating the series right now, but without becoming the unlikeable-800lb-gorilla team (see Ferrari). While some teams have gambled needlessly in previous races (see Ferrari, rain tires, Kimi Raikkonen), BrawnGP made sure they'd win the race by switching their drivers onto differing fuel strategies early. They ended up 1-2 on the podium, no mistakes by the team anywhere.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: At the beginning of the race, a vicious crash took out both Toro Rossos, the Farce India of Adrian Sutil, and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. Almost immediately a Safety Car was called out while the track workers cleaned up the immense debris field left on the track afterwards. On lap 7, the SC came in and the race was back on. HWMNBN got a great tow behind the Red Bull of (eventual third-place finisher) Mark Webber down the straightaway, then dove to the inside near the pit out. Webber forced him even farther inside until HWMNBN was actually on the grass, but he still powered past the Red Bull. A very nice pass, but not the reason we're talking here. As the Renault cut in front of Webber to gain the line for the fast approaching Turn 1, Webber swooped behind HWMNBN for an instant, then set up on the inside, just off the Renault's starboard quarter. As HWMNBN braked for the turn, Webber somehow held off the brakes and streaked past, tires screaming in protest as he threw himself through the bend. The Renault tried to do a "reverse under-over" in counter-attack, but couldn't pull it off as the Red Bull stayed glued to the track and kept the power on. WHAT reduction in downforce?
*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Adrian Sutil's attempt to avoid the coming first turn schmozzle that put him in the perfect place to be speared by the spinning Toyota of Jarno Trulli would at any other time earn him the Moooooo-ooove (he never even bothered to try to make the first couple of turns, instead just diving into the run-off area. Trulli, having been punted by Nico Rosberg's Williams, spun and lanced across the track, ending up exactly where Sutil was re-entering the circuit) However, since it happened on the first lap, it is ineligible by rule for the award. Instead, we're giving the coveted award to Scuderia Ferrari for screwing up their sums and not putting enough fuel to finish the race into Felipe Massa's car and costing them a fourth-place finish. First they screw up in Quals with Kimi Raikkonen, now this? And Ferrari is supposed to be the premiere team in F1???
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:
"Another win. Ho-hum, this is getting dull. *pause* Nah, I'm just joshin' ya, this is great!!!" - Jensen Button
"*dirty glare*" - Rubens Barrichello
"We’re working incredibly hard and the guys’ eyes are falling out of their heads with all the late nights and long hours." - Mark Webber (note: real quote)
"After being unable to pass him all race, suddenly I went by him like he was running out of fuel! *pause* What? *pause* He was? Oh, man, that's great!" - Sebastian Vettel
"Fscking Webber." - HWMNBN
"What do you mean, reduce fuel and revs? I'm racing here!!!" - Felipe Massa (note: not a real radio quote, but boy it sure sounded like that's what he wanted to say)
"I turned 32 today. I weigh 120 pounds. I'd like some cake, but the team'd probably make me chop off my feet to compensate." - Nick Heidfeld (note: happy birthday, Grizzly!)
"I really believe we could have taken fifth place today. I also believe that unicorns fart rainbows and that America never landed on the moon." - Nico Rosberg (note: only the first sentence is true... I think.)
"I did the best I could with the piece of crepe car I was given today. Yeah, nice 'upgrade package' you guys back at the factory gave me." - Lewis Hamilton (note: in reply, the factory staff mooned Hamilton, undid the lugnuts on his road car's wheels, and short-sheeted his bed)
"I don't believe I was ever on TV today. Why are you even interviewing me?" - Timo Glockenspiel
"Last year, I was being hailed as The Next Great Driver. Now I'm not even being hailed as The Current Best Polish F1 Driver." - Robert Kubica (note: he's the only Polish F1 driver in history)
"What do you mean, 'pink slip'? I don't wear women's lingerie, that's Flavio Briatore's gig..." - Nelson Piquet Jr
"I'd like to say something interesting, but to be honest, I was invisible today." - Kazoo Nakajima
"I finished. That's encouraging for future races." - Giancarlo Fisichella
"mrmmbl mrmmblbblmmb rmlblrmmlbbr rmb mrmrmrrrmlb mrl. mrbl." - Kimi Raikonnen
"Luck just doesn’t seem to be going my way right now." - Heikki Kovaleininninnie (note: real quote)
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" - Jarno Trulli, Sebastian Buemi, SeaBass, Adrian Sutil
Thus endeth the F1 Update! for the Grand Prix of Spain. See you in two weeks for the crown jewel of the Formula 1 calendar, Monaco!
This really does seem to be Button's year. It's a long season and anything can happen, but that's 4 wins out of 5 races so far, which is seriously awesome.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 10, 2009 09:51 PM (+rSRq)
Outstanding F1 UPDATE, as always!!! And nice to see Button on the top step of the podium, as always.
Any idea about the second US Grand Prix team for next year? The announce team mentioned it once during the broadcast then let it drop.
Posted by: Mallory at May 11, 2009 06:54 AM (3sife)
Did you see Ferrarri's ultimatum? If FIA doesn't change the rules for 2010, Ferrarri will quit!
The Board of Directors also examined developments related to recent decisions taken by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile during an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 29 April 2009. Although this meeting was originally called only to examine a disciplinary matter, the decisions taken mean that, for the first time ever in Formula One, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters.
The Board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula One in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari’s uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years - the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 - would come to a close.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 12, 2009 11:43 PM (+rSRq)
Though it's not the first time Ferrari has threatened such a thing. Back in the 80s, they threatened to withdraw for one reason or another, saying that they'd enter the (now) IndyCar series. They even built a chassis for the series.
Came to nothing, of course, but history shows that Ferrari always gets it's way in matters like this.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 13, 2009 06:46 AM (hlGBx)
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