Delayed Race Notes: German Grand Prix 2009

[Preface – Due to accountancy studies I fell behind with the editing of these posts. They were written during the live BBC coverage as usual, save for the race result and points. Anything in italics in square brackets was written during the edit, just like this paragraph.]

2009 Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland
/ 2009 Formula 1 Santander German Grand Prix
Circuit: Nürburgring
Location: Nürburgring, Eifel, Germany
Distance: 60 laps

Coverage: BBC One / BBC Radio 5 Live[*]
Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts in the paddock: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)

R5 commentary[*]: David Croft (Crofty) and Anthony Davidson (Ant)
R5 pitlane[*]: Holly Samos
Tyre selection (red): SS / S / M / H

[*for many years the BBC has held the UK radio rights to F1. In ’09 they also picked up the TV rights and they now offer an alternate feed on digital television, combining TV pics with radio commentary. I tend to use this feed.]

Coverage begins at 12.10pm.

Focus on the 5 German drivers. Soundbyte-style. Nick says his first pole position was at this track, Sebastian says he should know the circuit off by heart, Adrian says his first F3 win was here, Timo says Michael Schumacher made F1 huge in Germany in the 90s, and Nico says it was because of MS that he got a whole bunch of sponsors. Seb: “German drivers are just bloody quick!”

Jake, pink shirt, pitlane.

Qualifying report with Lee:
Drivers were sent out early in Q2 to avoid rain, but everyone got caught out on a greasy damp track, spins aplenty.
Heikki turned his engine off in qualifying because he was given tyres he didn’t want.
Confusion at Ferrari where they fitted the wrong tyres, had to delay getaway to fit the right ones.
Piquet outqualified Alonso for the first time.
Webber threw down the challenge, Vettel could not respond, he blames himself not the car. Barrichello beat Button.

Webber (pole), Barrichello
Button, Vettel
Hamilton, Kovalainen
Sutil, Massa
Raikkonen, Piquet
Heidfeld, Alonso
Nakajima, Trulli
Rosberg, Kubica
Buemi, Fisichella
(gap), Bourdais
Pitlane: Glock

Glock had a grid penalty for blocking Alonso in qualifying and so Toyota elected to start from pitlane.

Jake is talking to Lewis. He and McLaren are very happy that their new improvements to the car are working. Jake says Lewis has been bouncing around the paddock like Tigger! Optimistic of getting a couple of positions at the start.
Lewis has a new diffuser but Heikki does not, yet Kovy lines up alongside the Ham.

Recorded segment, DC with Mark Webber after quals.
‘It all came together at the crucial time, guys did a great job. 20% of the job done, its a big part of it [but got to get] track position early in the race.’
He still has metal in his leg from his pre-season crash, he was on a mountain bike when he hit a car. Says he’s on the mend and confidence is high. ‘Red Bull have been very patient with my injury.’

The pundits, DC and EJ, are saying it is Webber’s race to lose.

Ted Kravitz: No more rain for 30 minutes. Track is bone dry, not a huge crowd but plenty of money spent on the new complex to driver’s left of the main straight, including a rollercoaster running alongside the track, reaching over 135mph before doing ‘it’s rollercoaster bit’.

Pit feature with Brundle – the driver:
In the 50s a driver had to stay out of the way of the fuel hose, grab a drink, clean his own screen, etc.
These days you think about the in-lap, the stop and the out-lap – and drivers don’t always agree with the radio call. Footage of Nick Heidfeld disagreeing with the pit call at Silverstone to change his wing settings. Driver has to have a fast in-lap, you’re still against the stopwatch, remembering to hit the pitlane speed limit of 100km/h (62mph) or be penalised. Sweep in at the limit to a garage of your own guys. Remember to release pit limiter in the right place..

Lots of pit features from the BBC this year..

Straight into a discussion between Jake Humphrey and Michael Schumacher… with David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan sat right there!
Says he didn’t dream much of F1, seemed too far away. His manager Willi Weber convinced Eddie Jordan that Michael knew Spa, when he didn’t.. Eddie pipes in to say he answered the question correctly, Eddie had asked “Do you know Spa?” – they answered ‘yes’, everyone knows of Spa…

On Spa ’98 and THAT collision with Coulthard (DC raised the subject!), he says in that sort of spray you have no chance, you see nothing, no feeling of distance. He’s still sure David is responsible for the accident. He apologises to David for saying it was McLaren’s fault, he thought McLaren had arranged it because Mika Hakkinen in the other car was his title rival..
Eddie Jordan thanks both of them for allowing Jordan to take a 1-2 finish that day. Schumacher jokingly says it was a gift for giving him his first F1 drive!

On prompting from DC, he says it took a long time for him to build up the trust of people, fans, media, which is why he maybe didn’t come across so well personally.

His favourite moment from his career? He says he has too many! The most important was 2000 to win the championship, it took away so much pressure.
On working with Ross Brawn again? ‘If I had wanted to work I had all the options, I may even now have options, its not what I’m looking for.”

Back live in the paddock.. David says he was glad to still have his helmet on when MS was seeking him out in that Spa pitlane in 1998..

Cars are leaving pitlane to head to the grid.

With Martin Whitmarsh, who says this season has been painful. Eddie Jordan says he thought their car was a dog, apologises to Martin and is impressed by the rate of improvement this year.

Gridwalk

MW’s car hit a wheel gun as he parked on the grid. “I’m not happy with 2nd or 3rd place, I want to win”. Brundle can’t see why he won’t get this race done. 28 years since the last Aussie winner.

JB says the circuit feels better. Car felt stable, circuit is 10 or 12 degrees hotter than yesterday. Got a bit of stripey paint on his grid spot, that’ll make the wheels spin up, not too happy with that. Not sure if he’ll win this but he’ll give it his best shot.

We try and talk to Vettel, no, but watch as Seb grabs the Bridgestone man for a discussion… Martin speculates it is about the change in temperatures and how it’ll affect grip, says it is unusual to have that kind of talk this late on.

Mclaren people. Pat Fry. Kudos to BBC graphics team, caption straight up despite us maybe speaking to him what once this year, twice maybe? Planned? Fibreglass on the front wing…

Adrian Sutil: “Lot of fuel on board, heaviest car in top ten qualifying, looking good! The car improved in the last few races, today we have to show it in the race. Rain maybe would be easier for us. Two Ferraris, lot of KERS cars around, going to be harder to start but nobody wants to crash into my back especially not the Ferrari guys! Top ten would be good, maybe one point will be the dream.”

German National Anthem
A very American-style rendition there with the OTT emphasis on the words, is that the new trend?

Fuel-adjusted qual report:
Webber was still quickest and deserves his pole position.
Hamilton would have been 3rd on the same fuel. Button struggled.
The picture was clouded by the damp conditions.

GRID

Webber, Barrichello
Button, Vettel
Hamilton, Kovalainen
Sutil, Massa
Raikkonen, Piquet
Heidfeld, Alonso
Nakajima, Trulli
Rosberg, Kubica
Buemi, Fisichella
(gap), Bourdais
Pitlane: Glock

Engines fired.

FORMATION LAP

Legard insists on calling this the new Nurburgring despite it being 25 years old. He says we are only 15 miles from Belgium and 15 miles from Bonn.

Alonso spins. I have switched to 5Live.

Grid… 1.2.3.4.5… go!

Webber and RB bang wheels, Rubens leads through turn 1!

Lap 2, Button passes Massa into turn 1!
Right rear puncture for Hamilton on the first lap, he’s pitting. He’s going to lose a lap if McLaren aren’t quick.

Replays: Webber comes across and hits Barrichello.

Onboard Hamilton: Passes everyone at the start but runs very wide and gets the puncture, Ant Davidson says possibly on the drain off the circuit. David Croft says it could have been by touching Webber’s front wing.

Lap 4. Kovalainen found his way through the start nicely.
Barrichello, Webber, Heikki!, Button, Massa, Vettel, Kimi, Sutil, Rosberg, Kubica.

The Ferraris both got Sutil, presumably with their KERS.

Lap 5. Webber told to look after his tyres.
Button tries several times to get Kovalainen, not quite!
Hamilton is lapped by this group of cars now.

Holly: Trulli is running 19th after changing a wing after collision with Nakajima.

Very nicely positioned onboard camera with Vettel, just over his left shoulder – a much better driver’s eye view than normal! Traditionally the camera is mounted on the ‘t-bar’ above the engine air intake.

Lap 9. Heidfeld concedes to Fisichella. Fisi now 12th.

No sign of the predicted rain!

Lap 10. Vettel makes a move into the chicane! Wheel to wheel but Vettel ran out of road.
“Race Control: Incident involving cars 14 and 23 under investigation by the stewards”
That’s Webber and Barrichello!

Lap 12. A drive-thru penalty for Webber, for causing a collision! Replay from RB’s car: Big bang from Webber. I’d still call that a racing incident, Rubens’ race was not interrupted (say for repairs or a DNF).

Lap 14. Button on the radio to complain about his tyres – he pits now.
Lap 15. Both Barrichello and Webber are in. Mark is taking his penalty.
Rubens is out behind Massa and ahead of Vettel. RB and MW built up a nice margin over Kovy.

Lap 16. Kovalainen pits. Webber leads but he does need to make his first fuel stop soon.

Lap 18. Replay: Button passes Buemi around the outside, through the Mercedes section for 12th.

Lap 19. Fisichella pits from 9th position, Force India should have a good day today. Meanwhile Button continues to work his way through the slower traffic who are on longer, heavier stints. Taken Heidfeld.

Bourdais is off the course, he rejoins and makes his way very slowly to the pits. His fault or a technical problem? This could be his last day in a Formula 1 car if Alguesuari takes his place as rumoured.

Lap 20. Mark Webber makes his scheduled stop, takes the hard tyre and gets out ahead of Button.

Lap 23. Webber is caught behind Kubica which is allowing Button to catch up, Jenson looking left and right but can’t quite make the move.

Lap 24. Bourdais goes to the STR pit wall and practically says goodbye to his race engineer – hugs are involved.

Lap 25. Raikkonen pits from 5th. Massa leads but has yet to stop, he should be up next.
Holly with Bourdais:
“We had a good strategy, we had the primes on the car and we were still in contact with the guys ahead of us so it was looking good, we’ll look forward to Hungary.”
Holly: You’ll be in Hungary?
Seb: “I have a contract so yeah.”

Lap 26. Massa is in, and out behind Vettel.
Adrian Sutil hasn’t pitted but he is 1.2 sec behind Rubens and catching fast! What price an underdog podium??

Lap 28. Sutil pits, out with Kimi outside of him, they touch!! Adrian’s front wing is damaged by Kimi’s left front tyre, lots of debris comes off both cars.

Lap 29. Sutil pits for a new nose.

Lap 31. After all those stops Webber has emerged up front again:
Barrichello, Webber, Button, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, Nakajima, Fisichella.

Incident involving Kimi and Adrian will being investigated after the race.

Lap 32. Button makes his second stop.
Lap 33. Rubens in now, so Webber leads once again! Long stop for RB, he’s beaten Raikkonen for 5th.

Jenson didn’t beat Kimi in the pits and now passes him on the track! Davidson says he saw smoke from Kimi’s car, sounds okay but something is wrong.

Turns out Rubens’ long stop was down to a fuel rig problem, they had to switch to the spare.

Lap 35. Raikkonen pits. He’s out of the car. Helmet off, oversize cap on.

Lap 37. Webber is absolutely flying, he’s setting Fastest Laps every lap now and he’s 1sec/lap quicker than anyone else.

Kimi with Holly:
“We kept losing power, [the thing with Sutil] was more or less a normal racing incident.”

Black clouds have been seen by Lewis Hamilton – he’ll hope it will rain because he’s still a lap down.

Lap 42. Kovalainen pits.
Replay: Heidfeld passes Kubica for 9th position.

So both Brawns have pitted twice and the Red Bulls only once. Webber leads Vettel, Massa (1 stop), Rosberg (1), Barrichello (2), Button (2), Alonso (1), Heidfeld (1), Kubica (1), Piquet (1).
Kovalainen has dropped back because after his second stop.

Lap 43. Mark Webber pits with a 20 second lead over his team-mate. Good stop. Vettel takes the lead temporarily.

Lap 44. Vettel is in and out, falls behind the Brawns.
Button is having to weave from left to right to get some heat into his tyres, yet he’s catching Barrichello.

Lap 45. Massa pits, he’s back behind Vettel for 6th.

Lap 48. Lots of midfield pitting over the last few laps.

Lap 49. Alonso just set a 1m33.744s laps! That’s a third of a second faster than Webber’s best which itself was miles faster than the others.

Brawn are getting ready again, a 3-stop race for them.

Lap 50. Alonso just went even quicker, he’s working on catching Rosberg 9 seconds ahead of him.

Lap 51. 10 laps to go and Barrichello pits.
Brawn getting ready for Button as the clouds look ominously dark. Will we get this race completed before the rain comes, or will the whole thing be turned to chaos?

Button pits, will he beat Rubens out? Yes he does!
Jenson put in a good lap.

Lap 53. Alonso is right behind Barrichello now – those stops put both Brawns between Rosberg and Alonso. Will Fernando make the move?

Order:
Webber, Vettel, Massa who I’ve hardly mentioned, Rosberg, Button, Barrichello, Alonso, Kovalainen, Glock, Heidfeld.

Kovalainen is slow and holding up a train of four cars, but he’s seems able to hang on for that point for 8th – he and McLaren need that point!

Lap 56. Sutil is now 15th after that wing change. This is the second time Raikkonen has ruined a good points finish for Sutil, after Monaco 2008.

Lap 57. Fernando Alonso is pushing the Brawns hard.

Lap 58. Webber has backed it off to save the car, the gap has dropped by 5 seconds. Vettel is now only 10sec back but with 3 laps to go there will be no change.

Lap 60. FINAL LAP

CHEQUERED FLAG – MARK WEBBER WINS!!!

Absolutely brilliant drive from Webber! Top class.

Radio – he shouts in delight! screams even! Brilliant!

The first Australian win since Alan Jones in 1981!

Parc Ferme

Big congratulatory hug for Mark from Seb Vettel.
Shame the mechanics are kept so far back from the drivers, that sorta sucks the life out of it.

Podium

Advance Australia Fair for Mark.
The Austrian one for Red Bull.
Horrible corporate trophy.
Champaaggnee!!
Seb and Felipe soak Mark in the stuff, and deservedly so.

Conference

Webber, winner:

“The only thing that was going to beat me was the rain and that held off. It was a bit testing, I lost Rubens at the start and moved over and hit Rubens, I got a drive-through for that. Sebastien showed what the car could do in winter testing while I was hurting a lot, it keps my motivation going.”

Vettel, 2nd:

“Congratulations, today he was unbeatable. I am very happy with the result, all the KERS cars around me, it was quite difficult to start 4th and go into the first corner maybe 8th.”

Massa, 3rd:

“To be honest I missed to be in the top three. Fantastic race, passed many cars, struggled with soft tyres like most people. Put down a good pace with 2nd set of tyres. Very happy. Podium will help the people to push hard.”

BBC Interviews:

Rubens, where did it go wrong?:

“On the strategy. It was a good show from the team for how to lose a race today. I’m upset. I did all I had to do, get first on the first corner that’s all I did, they made me lose the race. If this is what’s going on we’re gonna lose both championships and that’s even more terrible. I feel sorry for myself, I feel sorry for the team. I wish I could get on the plane and go right home. All the team will be bla bla bla bla and I don’t want that.”

Does this mean they are favouring Jenson?

“I’m not saying they are favouring anyone.”

Wow! Harsh stuff from Rubens. He may well be right but you don’t do this in public! Anyone think there will some driver shopping for that seat for next year? Maybe he already knows?

David Coulthard says it is ‘remarkable’ that he’d say such things, he’s very surprised.
Eddie Jordan knows him, Rubens drove for him for 4 years. ‘He wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s not to know the fuel rig gave up, that there was a mechanical error. He’s made a mistake, he’s opened mouth’.

I don’t note-take the F1 Forum after the race, just to say Sir Frank joined the guys and watched Rubens’ comments with them: “That’s a red card job.” Says he’s not impressed with an outburst like that – you save it for behind closed doors.

Okay that’s enough from me for this race, let’s round things up:

Result Result

Driver Gap Pts
1 Webber 60 laps 10
2 Vettel 9.2sec 8
3 Massa 15.9sec 6
4 Rosberg 21.0sec 5
5 Button 23.6sec 4
6 Barrichello 24.4sec 3
7 Alonso 24.8sec 2
8 Kovalainen 58.6sec 1
9 Glock 61.4sec
10 Heidfeld 61.9sec
11 Fisichella 62.3sec
12 Nakajima 62.8sec
13 Piquet 68.3sec
14 Kubica 69.5sec
15 Sutil 71.9sec
16 Buemi 90.2sec
17 Trulli 90.9sec
18 Hamilton 1 lap
DNF Räikkönen radiator
DNF Bourdais hydraulics

Drivers’ Championship

Driver Prev GER Total
1 Button 64 4 68
2 Vettel 39 8 47
3 Webber 35.5 10 45.5
4 Barrichello 41 3 44
5 Massa 16 6 22
6 Trulli 21.5 21.5
7 Rosberg 15.5 5 20.5
8 Glock 13 13
9 Alonso 11 2 13
10 Räikkönen 10 10
11 Hamilton 9 9
12 Heidfeld 6 6
13 Kovalainen 4 1 5
14 Buemi 3 3
15 Bourdais 2 2
16 Kubica 2 2

The two Red Bulls have overtaken Barrichello, pushing him down to 4th. Massa makes up a position on Trulli while Rosberg lines himself up to do the same.

Constructors’ Championship

Constructor Prev GER Total
1 Brawn 105 7 112
2 Red Bull 68.5 18 86.5
3 Toyota 40.5 40.5
4 Ferrari 23 6 29
5 Williams 15.5 5 20.5
6 McLaren 13 1 14
7 Renault 11 2 13
8 BMW 8 8
9 Toro Rosso 5 5
10 Force India 0 0

Red Bull score more than double Brawn in Germany, hopefully making the title fight last as far as possible. Ferrari and Williams are gradually moving their way closer to Toyota who’s advantage was built up early in the season.

That’s all from Germany! The next race is the Hungarian GP on 26 July.

German flag courtesy of 4 International Flags

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2 thoughts on “Delayed Race Notes: German Grand Prix 2009”

  1. I cant wait until next year for Hockenheim. Nurburg is nice, but Hockenheim's mad dash into turn 4 is always action packed.

    Like

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