Apologies for the lack of articles recently. I have been spending holiday time with family.
China produced another extremely exciting race with Red Bull winning their first ever race in Formula One. The rain, which was worse than predicted gave the drivers a real challenge. They really had to work for their money, which is what everyone wants to see.
We saw a few stunning performances, along with some error strewn races, too.
So let’s have a look at the main stories to take away from the Chinese GP weekend.
Exceptional performance from Red Bull and both their drivers.
This one-two finish for Red Bull was more than deserved. In the first two races, Red Bull threatened to deliver a great result but it just didn’t happen. The potential was there for all to see though.
Vettel was second in Melbourne, until the tangle with Robert Kubica. In Malaysia Webber said he could have won had the heavy rain and red flag not arrived when it did.
In China it all came together for the team. The team opted to go light in qualifying and Vettel grabbed pole position with Mark Webber third. In the race the car was in a class of its own, and both Vettel and Webber drove brilliantly. The Red Bull seems to work really well in the wet conditions.
The car was very well balanced, and kept its heat in the tyres more efficiently than anyone else. They were so fast that their light fuel load didn’t put them at a disadvantage at all.
Vettel’s move on Jenson Button for the lead after his final pit stop (and before Jenson’s last stop) demonstrated how much quicker Red Bull was.
At times Sebastien Vettel was over two seconds a lap quicker than his nearest opponents. Unlike most other drivers in the race he didn’t make a single error all afternoon. He made it look so simple, which the sign of a great driver.
He has a great feel for tricky conditions, just as he showed at Monza last season. This race has shown us that the victory in Monza wasn’t just a one-off. If anything this performance was even more impressive
He really is the real deal and surely a future world champion. The added pressure on him this season doesn’t seem to be getting to him at all. He also isn’t getting carried away with his success. He still has the same charming personality and has his feet firmly on the ground. He has the maturity of a driver well beyond his years.
Mark Webber will be disappointed not to have won the first race for the team. However, he still finished a very strong second, and is right up there with Vettel in the championship standings. Considering the tough winter that Mark Webber has had, he can still feel very proud.
If someone had told him after his accident (when he broke his leg) that he would get a second place within the first three races of 2009 he probably wouldn’t have believed them. Apparently he is still limping slightly when he isn’t in the car.
Red Bull will now be hoping they can get their new diffuser sorted out as soon as possible. Once they have got that sorted they will be a real force to be reckoned with.
Brawn GP still have the fastest car but China demonstrated their only major flaw
Red Bull may have dominated this week, but Brawn GP are still the quickest team on the grid. Fuel corrected Barrichello was actually the real star of qualifying. Button was second quickest when you took fuel loads into account, whereas the Red Bulls would only have been fourth and fifth.
In dry conditions Brawn GP’s race pace is also still stronger. The car is easy on it’s tyres so therefore is quick at the end of a race stint. Had the race have been dry Brawn GP ought to have cruised to another one-two, once the race strategies had played out.
However the race was wet and this changed things completely for Brawn GP. Brawn GP have hardly done any running with this car in the wet. This race shows that the car doesn’t work brilliantly in these conditions. The car had trouble keeping heat into it’s tyres, and that’s why it struggled to keep the Red Bull cars in sight.
Brawn GP won in Malaysia mainly because Button had the race won before the storm arrived. In the wet they were then able to hold onto their position. Button had commented back then that the car was badly balanced in the wet.
Brawn GP will have to work on making sure the car works more effectively in the wet conditions in the future.
Finishing third and fourth, though is still a very useful result. Button has scored 26 points out of the first 30 available. Brawn GP are also still comfortably ahead in the Constructors championship. That is great championship form. If you had told Jenson last season that he would score 26 points in the first three races of 2009 he probably would have fainted.
Again he beat Rubens Barrichello comfortably. He is now starting to establish a clear gap over Rubens. Rubens needs respond to his team mate or risk ending up in the same situation as he did at Ferrari.
Overall losing this race hasn’t done Brawn that much harm, especially as Red Bull had only scored one point before this race.
If it is hot and dry in Bahrain as you would expect then Brawn GP should be victorious again. However Red Bull are closing in.