10 May 2009

How the race was lost

This time the 3 quickest cars were the Brawn, Red Bull and Ferrari. 6 drivers therefore had a good chance of winning. Here's how they went, and went wrong.

Button: Qualified on pole, but lost out on first straight. Despite slightly lighter car, he slipped to 1.5s behind Rubens. Switched to 2 stop strategy at first stop, which proved the right thing to do.

Barrichello: Poor qualifying, but recovered on first lap to lead. Stayed on 3-stop strategy but foolishly left a full length final stint on the slower tyres. Had he put, say, 4 laps more fuel on board, the fuel might have slowed him a second, but he would have recovered about 8 a the end of the stint. Emerged 7 seconds behind Jenson, which became 13 by the end.

Vettel: Qualified 2nd whilst heavier than the Brawn cars. Slipped behind Massa at the start. Stuck to same strategy as Massa, which was pure folly, as he could have been as quick as the Brawns. Ended up 5th, promoted to 4th only by Massa's problems.

Webber: Poor qualifying, left him 5th on grid. Good fight with Alonso as safety car came in. If he'd slipped behind, it would have been curtains. Went longer on 2nd stint, putting twice as much fuel in as Rubens (who stopped on same lap) which meant he was on the soft tyre longer than any other leading 2 stopper. This enabled him to leapfrog Massa and Vettel, but Jenson was long gone. Couldn't pass Rubens, but kept him in sight at the end.

Massa: Qualified really well, but only gained one spot off the grid, using his KERS. Had he managed to get in front, the race would have looked very different, and it would have taken quite some Brawn or Red Bull ingenuity to get passed him. Screwed up final stop, leaving him short fuelled, which cost him 4th and 5th places, he ended up 6th, joining Kimi on 3pts in the standings.

Raikkonen: Had the same car as Massa, but a spectacular Q1 misjudgement left him 16th on the grid. Jumped to 10th on lap 1, but problems first with his KERS and then with his throttle gave him a DNF. Never even ran in the points.

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