Archive for the ‘Ferrari’ Category

I should have done this earlier in the week but I have been very busy. On Sunday the Belgian GP was run and won by the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. It was the first Ferrari victory of 2009 and Kimi’s first for 25 races, but he did not have everything all his own way for the unlikely Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella shadowed the scarlet machine all the way to the chequered flag. Fisi would have won the race if Kimi’s car was not equipped with the magic KERS button which enabled the Finn to overtake the Italian. Third place was taken by Sebastian Vettel who now moves a little bit closer to title leader Jenson Button in the World Driver’s Championship.

The main talking points of the race would be the first lap shunts which claimed the cars of both Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Jenson Button, who were taken out by rookies Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean respectively. Mark Webber’s race was ruined by a pit error when the Red Bull lollypop man released him into the path of BMW’s Nick Heidfeld, and the Australian had to serve a stop and go penalty. He eventually finished ninth, one place out of the points.

The other talking point is the lack of pace of Ferrari’s Luca Badoer, who again was the final finisher. Badoer qualified last after crashing at the end of Q1 at Spa, a track that he wrongly predicted he would do well at because he knew it so well. His qualifying time was 1.5 seconds slower in Q1 than his teammates. He finished the race 1 minute 42 seconds behind the victorious Kimi, and 48 seconds behind the 13th placed Williams of Kazuki Nakajima. It seems that Ferrari though have finally seen the light and have replaced the hapless (hopeless) Badoer with Fisichella until the end of the 2009 season.

In the championship title race Button leads Barrichello by 16 points, with Vettel a further three points back with five races remaining. Webber too still has a chance of becoming world champion as he is just 1.5 points behind Vettel.

Button – 72
Barrichello – 56
Vettel – 53
Webber – 51.5


Rubens Barrichello won last Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Valencia to set up what is now an intriguing four way tussle for the 2009 World Driver’s Championship. The popular Brazilian has jumped to second place in the standings behind his Brawn team mate Jenson Button, leapfrogging the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Even though the resurgent McLaren of the current World Champion Lewis Hamilton lead for most of the race, Barrichello took a flawless victory after the Brit was hampered by an uncharacteristically Ferrari-esque McLaren pit stop which handed Rubens the lead of the race. Ferrari’s mullet-man Kimi Raikkonen brought his red racer home in a solid third position.

Of the other contenders for the World Championship Crown only Jenson Button scored points with his sixth placing, extending his lead over Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Webber had a rather lackluster race finishing ninth, while Vettel’s race was wrecked by a pit stop bungle and then a blown Renault engine, the second that he suffered on the weekend.

The only other talking point of the weekend was the performance, or lack of, of Ferrari’s Luca Badoer, who is subbing for the injured Felipe Massa. Badoer was a major embarrassment for Ferrari, qualifying last on the grid and then plodding around at the rear of the field, making rookie errors and even spinning one time. Badoer has not competed in F1 for a decade and it was only expected that his racing would prove a little rusty. However while Luca’s lack of recent racing may explain some of his poor performance on the weekend it should be remembered that he was never a very good driver back when he was competing in Formula 1 in the 1990s. It is with very good reason that Badoer is still the driver who has the started the most races without scoring a single World Championship point. While he has been Ferrari’s test driver for ten years and apparently a big reason for the Prancing Horse’s success in the early 2000s we should also remember that the last time Ferrari needed a substitute driver in 1999 when Michael Schumacher broke his leg, team manager Jean Todt overlooked Badoer for Mika Salo. Apparently Luca has been an ultimatum to perform at Spa this weekend or else his F1 race career will be over. Still, I think that Ferrari would have been better off using their other test driver Marc Gene, who has been competing recently at LeMans with the triumphant Peugeot team, and has been a regular member of the successful Maserati team in the GT championship.

Last night Jenson Button increased his stranglehold on the World Driver’s Championship with a dominant victory in the streets of Monte Carlo, beating his team mate Rubens Barrichello, with Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen in third.

Race Result After 78 of 78 laps

  1. J Button
  2. R Barrichello
  3. K Raikkonen
  4. F Massa
  5. M Webber
  6. N Rosberg
  7. F Alonso
  8. S Bourdais

Button holds a commanding 16 point lead over Barrichello, with the very disappointing Sebastian Vettel a further 12 points behind Rubens. 

  1. J Button 51
  2. R Barrichello 35
  3. S Vettel 23
  4. M Webber 19.5
  5. J Trulli 14.5
  6. T Glock 12
  7. F Alonso 11
  8. K Raikkonen 9
  9. L Hamilton 9
  10. F Massa 8
  11. N Rosberg 7.5
  12. N Heidfeld 6

Vettel was extremely disappointing this race. A poor fuel strategy at the start, added to by him ruining his tyres and then topped off by him putting his Red Bull into the barriers. The BMWs and Toyotas both looked extremely slow, which is a major worry as they were quick in testing and at the first GP of the season in Melbourne. Just two races ago in Bahrain it looked like Toyota could have won, but in Monaco they were the slowest of all.

Jenson Button claimed pole position for tonight’s Monaco Grand Prix, but I don’t think that this will guarantee him victory in the race. We all know how important it is to be on pole on the streets of Monte Carlo, but he did not put in a quick lap until the final seconds of qualifying. Raikkonen starts second but has a lighter fuel load and a KERS advantage that should get him into the lead before the first corner.

 Vettel is back in 4th and is very light on fuel. He will pit at about lap 12, 9 or 10 laps before Button. I expected better of the Red Bulls here, as they have performed well all week. Webber is starting in 8th place after a poor 3rd qualifying session, even though he was third fastest in Q1 and Q2. His poor strategy has put him way back, but I still think he will be quick enough to challenge for a podium.

 The way it looks at the moment, it will be Button and Barrichello, who is starting 3rd, challenging for victory. The Ferrari will lead until the first round of pit stops, but after he pits on lap 18 Button and Barrichello should then dominate the race.

 If Vettel was not so light on fuel and was not starting as far back as fourth I would have selected him as the winner, yet his only chance is to get to the front at the start and then run away with the race. Unfortunately the Ferrari has it’s KERS button that should allow it to jump to the lead, while Vettel needs to be a lot more aggressive than he has been lately and pass Button, Barrichello and Raikkonen on the track if he is to have any chance at victory.

Last night Jenson Button won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona in what was another dominant display by the Brawn Mercedes team. His teammate Rubens Barrichello finished second with Mark Webber third in his Red Bull Renault.

 There were a few interesting talking points that came from a pretty boring race.

 Firstly, Brawn changed Jenson Button from a three pit stop strategy to a two pit stop strategy but neglected to change Rubens to a two stopper. It seems that the two stop race was the optimum strategy so why didn’t Brawn change Barrichello to that strategy as well. Rubens seemed a bit annoyed that he was stuck on a three stopper and that he perhaps could have been able to maintain his lead if he had of.

 Secondly, Ferrari stuffed things up again. Massa was short fuelled at his final pit stop which meant he could not defend his position at the end of the race. He had superbly gotten his Ferrari into fourth place and had held up the much quicker Sebastian Vettel for most of the race, but had to slow dramatically in the last four laps to conserve fuel. He finally finished sixth after a very slow last lap. Kimi Raikkonen failed to finish after yet another Ferrari mechanical failure put him out of the race.

 Finally, what has happened to Sebastian Vettel? He finished fourth but he should have been challenging for a win. Instead he was held up by Massa. Sure, Massa has the advantage of a KERS boost on the straights, but Vettel did not look like challenging Felipe and it seems he was content to sit behind Massa. Contrast this lack of aggression to his teammate who pulled out yet another brilliantly brave overtaking manoeuvre on Fernando Alonso (who also had the advantage of KERS). A lot of experts believe that Vettel is the only man who can challenge Button for the World Driver’s Championship this year but if he is going to do so he needs to be able to overtake someone on the track.

2009 Spanish GP Results

  1. Jenson Button
  2. Rubens Barrichello
  3. Mark Webber
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Nick Heidfeld
  8. Nico Rosberg

It looks increasingly likely that Button will win the World Championship this year. He has won four of five races so far and has a 14 point lead over Barrichello. (If Bernie’s gold medal system was being used the championship could be over after the next four races!)

  1. Button – 41 points
  2. Barrichello – 27 points
  3. Vettel – 23 points
  4. Webber – 15.5 points
  5. Trulli – 14.5
  6. Glock – 12
  7. Hamilton – 9
  8. Alonso – 9
  9. Heidfeld – 6
  10. Rosberg – 4.5

Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona has just been completed with Brawn’s Jenson Button stealing pole position at the last possible second from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

While it is not unusual these days for Brawn and Red Bull to be fighting for the pole, it is good to see some resurgence from Ferrari with Felipe Massa placing his scarlet racer fourth on the grid just behind Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello. Australia’s Mark Webber will start in fifth place.

 Grid for the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix

  1. Jenson Button – Brawn
  2. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull
  3. Rubens Barrichello – Brawn
  4. Felipe Massa – Ferrari
  5. Mark Webber – Red Bull
  6. Timo Glock – Toyota
  7. Jarno Trulli – Toyota
  8. Fernando Alonso – Renault
  9. Nico Rosberg – Williams
  10. Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber
  11. Kazuki Nakajima – Williams
  12. Nelson Piquet – Renault
  13. Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber
  14. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren
  15. Sebastian Buemi – Toro Rosso
  16. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
  17. Sebastien Bourdais – Toro Rosso
  18. Heikki Kovalainen – McLaren
  19. Adrian Sutil – Force India
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella – Force India

 I have a feeling that this will be another Button benefit with the Brit expected to take yet another race victory, although I’d like Vettel to win. I have a feeling it will be two Brawns followed by two Red Bulls followed by two Toyotas.

 My Predictions

  1. Button
  2. Barrichello
  3. Vettel
  4. Webber
  5. Trulli
  6. Glock
  7. Rosberg
  8. Alonso

Way back in 2007 I made a post about how Larry Perkins threw away his best chance at F1 in 1976. I also posted how one of the races he drove for Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team was the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, the same race where James Hunt won the World Championship and Niki Lauda pulled out due to the horrendous weather, after making a comeback from his horrific Nurburgring crash. For those who are curious about that race and the weather conditions here is a video clip of that Fuji race.