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European Grand Prix – Valencia Race Day

August 23, 2009

It’s hot again, and humid, according to the people at the track. My hoped-for podium looks extremely unlikely, and the chances are good that the race will be as dull as dishwater.

Off the line, the McLarens are quick, further back there’s a three-way scrap between Button, Alonso and Webber, resulting in Button cutting a chicane and being ordered to yield the resulting place to Webber. Button did not have a good first lap, but Raikkonen has shot from sixth to fourth. The circuit is no better than last year, and after the first few corners, it is clear that there will be no overtaking. Special mention to Luca Badoer. He is slow.

Hamilton and Kovalainen are being hunted down by Rubens Barrichello into the first round of pitstops, and duly manages to jump Kovalainen to take second, setting off after Hamilton. Vettel has a fuel rig issue, the team think the first rig didn’t give enough fuel, and he has to come back in on the next lap, which pretty much ruins his race. Shortly thereafter his second engine of the weekend goes bang, and he’s out of the race.

Second round of pitstops, and as Hamilton comes in, there’s a bit of a mix up in the pits, the tyres are not ready for him and Rubens has been told to drop the hammer while he’s in. Barrichello was already hunting him down, and is well clear by the time Hamilton gets out of the pits. Raikkonen manages to leapfrog Kovalainen in the pits to take third, and Kovalainen is also under threat from a speedy-looking Rosberg, in fourth.

Webber’s second pit stop is a little slow, possibly due to concerns about the fuel rig, and Jenson gets past, as does Kubica, in a strangely competitive BMW, meaning no points for Red Bull at all this weekend.

Rubens Barrichello crosses the line for his first win in five years, and first win for Brawn GP, and is very emotional on the team radio. Hamilton second, Raikkonen third, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Alonso Button and Kubica round out the points. Disappointing day for Red Bull, some evidence that Brawn have solved their issues, McLaren and Ferrari seem to be back on form and someone in BMW seems to have woken up.

Overall, not a great race. Congratulations to Rubens on his win, and the tribute to Felipe Massa, now we look forward to Spa next week. The track is slated to favour Red Bull, but Vettel only has two engines to last the final six races, and he seems hard on them. Plus, at Spa, there’s always the chance of rain.

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