Tuesday, 28 April 2009

F1 2009 - Bahrain GP Race Results and Standings

Bahrain GP Report: Button's Back On Top
Sunday 26th April 2009

Jenson Button claimed the victory in Sunday's Bahrain GP as the Brawn driver proved he had the race pace needed to outwit the Red Bull and Toyota

Sebastian Vettel claimed second place as the Red Bull racer continued to show a maturity beyond his age, holding off the Toyota of Jarno Trulli in the final stint of the race.

Lewis Hamilton added more points to his and McLaren's tally but didn't have the pace needed to finish on the podium, settling for fourth place. Meanwhile, the three-stopping Rubens Barrichello was fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who claimed Ferrari's first points of the season.

Race Report
The temperatures on the sun-baked Sakhir circuit were slightly down on Saturday Qualifying but with an ambient temperature of 36C, the track was still at 50C as Jarno Trulli led the field round on a very slow parade lap. All the cars would take the super soft option tyre in the first stint.

As the red lights went out there was a scramble forward as the cars equipped with KERS; McLaren, Ferrari and Renault sought to maximise their advantage off the line. It was a frantic opening two laps in Bahrain.

Despite starting on the dusty side of the track Timo Glock managed to outdrag his heavier-fuelled team-mate, and Jarno Trulli had to slot in behind him going through Turn 1. Behind him Lewis Hamilton chose to dive down the inside of Sebastian Vettel in a move reminiscent of Mount Fuji 2008 but this time managed to get his car stopped in time to take P3. At the same moment Jenson Button came round the outside of the Red Bull driver to take P4 as Vettel had to back off.

Through the second turn and Lewis Hamilton was able to overtake Jarno Trulli and was briefly into P2 before running wide on the exit of Turn 3 handing the place back to the Toyota driver.

Behind Vettel in P5, Raikkonen had chosen the inside line to steal a march on his fast-strating Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. Both of them had overtaken the slow starting (or KERS-less) Rubens Barrichello who then nipped up the inside of Raikkonen again and put his car between Raikkonen and Massa.

Fernando Alonso took to the grass to get past Rosberg and almost shoved his Renault into the back of Massa in the braking zone for Turn 1.

Rubens Barrichello didn't want to stay behind Raikkonen for long and was past the Ferrari before Turn 17. Fernando Alonso would pass Massa on the opening lap also.

So, as the cars streamed over the line on the opening lap the order was 1.Glock, 2.Trulli, 3.Hamilton, 4.Button, 5.Vettel, 6.Barrichello, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Alonso, 9.Massa, 10.Rosberg, 11.Piquet. The fast-starting Red Bull of Mark Webber was up to P.14.

Somewhere on the lap there was contact and Nakajima and Kubica returned to the pits for new front wings, while the second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen had fallen back to 17th.

Jenson Button was close to the back of Lewis Hamilton from the moment he outbraked himself passing Jarno Trulli and on the second lap Button managed to hurl his Brawn GP car down the inside of the McLaren at Turn 1. It was a critical moment because it allowed him to keep in touch with the two Toyota drivers as Hamilton's pace would fall away.

On the third lap Felipe Massa cruised down pitlane suspecting a problem with his KERS device but continuing nonetheless. Heidfeld also pitted on what would be a wretched afternoon for the BMW team.

At the front, Jarno Trulli started setting a series of fastest laps to haul in Timo Glock. Trulli's pace just inspired Glock to go faster and he responded with Personal Best lap times. The published weights on Saturday had shown that both Toyotas were the lightest on the grid, indicating that they might be trying a three-stop race or a two-stop race with a very short opening stint.

Button was already being told to turn down the engine on Lap 7, but by Lap 9 he was still only 3.4 seconds adrift of Jarno Trulli, who was still two seconds behind Glock. Hamilton had been dropped off six seconds back in fourth place and he was clearly holding up Sebastien Vettel in fifth.

The strategy started to play out at the end of Lap 12 as Glock pitted and exited behind Nico Rosberg in 9th. Trulli pitted a lap later but was able to exit in front of Alonso in 7th, leapfrogging his team-mate in the process.

The Toyota team had chosen to run the prime (medium-hardness) tyre in the middle stint and it looked to be a mistake. Alonso was soon on the back of Trulli and passed him with an epic overtaking move round the outside on Lap 14.

When Button and Hamilton came in for their first pit-stops at the end of Lap 15 it left Sebastian Vettel briefly in the lead for Red Bull. The result of the stops was that Button had leapfrogged Trulli on the road and Hamilton was now ahead of Glock.

So the positions on lap 17 were: Vettel (not stopped), Raikkonen (not stopped), Button, Trulli, Rosberg (not stopped), Hamilton, Glock, Piquet (not stopped), Barrichello, Alonso.

When Vettel pitted on Lap 18 he emerged behind Button and Trulli but now in front of Hamilton. Though Vettel was just 30 metres behind Trulli when he got back on track it was enough. For the rest of the middle stint Trulli would hold up the Red Bull driver while Button increased his advantage. And got away.

On Lap 22 the Briton led by 7.5 seconds - by Lap 34 he had stretched that gap out to 15.6 seconds thanks to running on the option (super soft) tyre in the middle stint. Both he and Vettel would have to run the slower prime tyre in the final stint.

Jenson's team-mate Rubens Barrichello looked to be running on a three-stop strategy and cruised up to the back of Jarno Trulli's three-car train of Trulli/Vettel/Hamilton before pitting for the second time on Lap 26.

The sometimes frantic opening few laps of the race were replaced with an old-fashioned no-passing-on-track strategy duel in the closing stages. The faster Vettel and Hamilton could not find a way past Trulli and had to sit behind until Jarno pitted for the second time on Lap 37. The only problem for Hamilton was that he had to pit at the same time.

Button also chose that moment to pit for the final time, handing P1 to Vettel for four laps. When the German emerged from his stop he was a long way back from Button but had made up enough time on Trulli to take P2. It was then Trulli's turn to sit on the Red Bull's gearbox. Trulli still had the chance to use his faster super soft tyres to get past Vettel but the Toyota couldn't get close enough to make a move in the final stint of the race.

Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari had been running strongly all afternoon but out of phase with the front runners. When he came out after his final stop on Lap 44 he was immediately passed by Timo Glock who took P8 into Turn 1. Raikkonen, having to do his best with the slower prime tyre, managed to out-muscle the place back a few turns later.

That small fracas on track allowed Rubens Barrichello just enough breathing space to sneak into the pits from his P4 place on Lap 47 and rejoin in P5, just metres in front of the Raikkonen/Glock tussle.

So with nine laps to go it was 1.Button, twelve seconds ahead of...2.Vettel, a second in front of... 3.Trulli, eight seconds clear of... 4.Hamilton, 5.Barrichello, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Glock, 8.Alonso 9.Rosberg.

And from there it was positions held to the flag, the only notable moment coming on Lap 49 when failing oil pressure on Kazuki Nakajima's Williams-Toyota made it the first and only retirement of the afternoon.

Button eased his car back and was just eight seconds ahead of Vettel as he crossed the line for his third win in four races. Vettel had to settle for second place, his chance of winning having been ruined by falling behind Hamilton at Turn 1 on Lap 1 and thus not getting past Trulli for the middle stint.

Though Jarno Trulli was unhappy at failing to deliver Toyota's first win, when the qualifying weights had been published on Saturday it was clear that it was going to be a tall order. He looked in considerable distress after the race unlike Lewis Hamilton whose fourth place was as good as his car deserved and who had the appearance of someone who'd done about 10 laps on a kart track.

Barrichello again rode his luck to claim fifth, while Ferrari will at least welcome their first points of the year with a 6th for Raikkonen, Glock will rue an opportunity missed in 7th and Alonso ended up only 13 seconds in front of his much-criticised team-mate in 8th place.

Nick Heidfeld made it 25 consecutive race finishes for BMW-Sauber in what is probably his lowest F1 finish, P19. It had been a race where the new F1 order was established in the first non-Safety Car GP of 2009. With all the technical innovations planned for Barcelona that order will soon change again.


01. Button Brawn GP 1h31:48.182
02. Vettel Red Bull + 7.187
03. Trulli Toyota + 9.170
04. Hamilton McLaren + 22.096
05. Barrichello Brawn GP + 37.779
06. Raikkonen Ferrari + 42.057
07. Glock Toyota + 42.880
08. Alonso Renault + 52.775
09. Rosberg Williams + 58.198
10. Piquet Renault + 1:05.149
11. Webber Red Bull + 1:07.641
12. Kovalainen McLaren + 1:17.824
13. Bourdais Toro Rosso + 1:18.805
14. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Fisichella Force India + 1 lap
16. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
17. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
18. Kubica BMW + 1 lap
19. Heidfeld BMW + 1 lap
Did not finish
20. Nakajima Williams lap 49

Sunday, 26 April 2009

F1 2009 - Bahrain GP Qualifying Result

Qualy: An all Toyota front row for Bahrain

Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock locked out the front row of the grid for the Bahrain GP while for only the second time this season both Ferraris made it into the top ten.

Jarno Trulli put in a flying 1:33.431 to take pole position away from his team-mate Timo Glock as the Toyota duo dominated the afternoon session under the blazing Bahrain sun.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel continued his run of top-three grid slots as the Red Bull racer claimed his fourth of the season, edging out the Brawn GP of Jenson Button.

Lewis Hamilton was next in line ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso with Felipe Massa finally registering in the top ten for the first time since Australia as he claimed eighth place on the grid.

Qualifying 1
The sun was beating down on the Sakhir circuit as Giancarlo Fisichella's Force India got the first 20-minute session underway. The ambient temperature was at 38C with the track at a scorching 51C.

Fidichella set P1 at 1:35.931, Heikki Kovalainen, out unusually early for McLaren on what was a dusty circuit, hardly went faster at 1:35.542, Nelson Piquet edged ahead with a 1:35.455. Bourdais took almost a second off that with a 1:34.514 while Jarno Trulli then claimed it for Toyota with two timed laps and a 1:34.117 on the second.

Trulli's lap had been set on the harder tyre, but the Ferraris came out with the green-walled super-softs and Kimi Raikkonen took P1 with a 1:33.648 which was bettered by Felipe Massa with a 1:33.512. McLaren had the same idea for Lewis Hamilton who duly took P1 with a 1:33.290

Going into the final three minutes the danger positions were: 12.Vettel, 13.Button, 14.Trulli, 15.Barrichello, 16.Fisichella, 17.Alonso, 18.Bourdais, 19.Webber, 20.Glock

There were a lot of people out of position thanks to running the harder tyre first time round and trying to get away without running a set of new super-softs. They had to accept the inevitable or face the drop. Such was the rapid rate of improvement that even P1 Lewis Hamilton went out again.

The two Toyotas looked quickest of all and Glock took P1 with a 1:33.165 while Jarno Trulli dipped into the 1:32 second lap time with a 1:32.779.

Behind him Vettel came across the line in P2, Barrichello P3, Button P3 and then Sebastien Vettel's second timed lap took the P1 place off Trulli with a 1:32.680.

Buemi could only manage P13, Rosberg P10, Alonso a worrying P13, Sutil an endangered P15, which Nakajima instantly converted to P16 by leapfrogging him up the grid to P8.

Mark Webber had been looking to follow up his P2 gridslot in China but was blocked by Adrian Sutil coming into the final corner after the German mistook his lap for an outlap. Webber got past but lost so much time he couldn't improve. Sutil was suitably contrite afterwards although the Force India team should have kept him informed.

So out went:

Qualifying 2
Yet again it was Heikki Kovalainen out on track early in the session and he set a P1 time of 1:33.273 which Rubens Barrichello only just undercut with a 1:33.250.

With teams mindful of keeping a set of new super-soft tyres for Q3 there was a mixture of new and scrubbed sets hitting the 51C track. Jenson Button took P1 down to 1:33.109, Trulli reduced it to 1:32.911 and then Kimi Raikkonen grabbed the P1 slot with a 1:32.827.

Lewis Hamilton's first lap had been good enough for only P7 at the time following a disastrous middle sector. Vettel then grabbed a decisive P1 again with a 1:32.474 thatw ould mean he would not have to go out again.

As we hit the three minute mark, the danger positions were: 8.Barrichello, 9.Kovalainen, 10.Nakajima, 11.Hamilton, 12.Massa, 13.Kubica, 14.Heidfeld, 15.Piquet.

Kovalainen, out of sequence with the rest, jumped to a less-than-convincing P8, Massa crossed the line in P5, Barrichello edged past into P3, Button took P4, Hamilton made himself safe in P6, while the two Toyotas took P2 in close succession, Glock being marginally quicker this time round.

Kubica stayed in P13, Heidfeld remained in P14 and Piquet never looked like threatening the top 10. So out went:

The continuing under-performance of the BMW cars at the circuit they tested on over winter was the big story of Q2. Their winter testing had been done at 20C; now with the air almost at 40C it was 7% less dense, making the grip of the back end significantly worse than they'd enjoyed in January.

Qualifying 3
Ferrari were back with a shout and both cars into Q3 at the track they always do well at. Timo Glock set the first provisional pole time with a 1:34.366, while team-mate Jarno Trulli immediately stole his thunder with a 1:34.297.

Button could only manage P3 on his first run with an encouraging P4 from Hamilton which was taken off him by Sebastian Vettel.

After the first runs, the order was: Trulli, Glock, Button, Vettel, Barrichello, Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen and Rosberg. Both Ferraris looked to have loaded up with fuel and were a long way off the pace of the cars in front of them.

Into the second runs and Jenson Button cranked up the pressure on the Toyota team with a 1:34.044, followed home by Lewis Hamilton on a new set of super-softs this time for P2.

Timo Glock soon disavowed any notion of an all-British front row with a significantly quicker P1 at 1:33.712, Sebastian Vettel took P2 and then Jarno Trulli set the timing screens to purple with a sensational pole time of 1:33.431. It was almost too big a margin.

For a top 10 that is covered by 0.6 of second with the same fuel level, to be 0.3 in front of your team-mate and 0.6 ahead of the third and fourth-placed men shows that the Toyota team could have stuck a couple of extra laps of fuel in the tank. No surprise to learn that the Toyota top brass are visiting this weekend and a positive qualifying result was required - their best since 2005.

Given their potential race pace Timo Glock could win his debut race, but Vettel and Button are handily placed. The Brawn GP driver will be starting from the dusty side of the grid and doesn't expect to be P4 heading into Turn 1 given that he is sitting alongside the KERS-equipped Lewis Hamilton.

It could be an interesting first-lap shake-out in Bahrain with all those on the inside of the grid likely to be slow away, with Vettel not the greatest starter in the world, a nervous Jarno Trulli and a combative Lewis Hamilton in P5.


01 J. Trulli Toyota 1:33.431
02 T. Glock Toyota 1:33.712
03 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:34.045
04 J. Button Brawn GP 1:34.044
05 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:34.196
06 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:34.239
07 F. Alonso Renault 1:34.578
08 F. Massa Ferrari 1:34.818
09 N. Rosberg Williams 1:35.134
10 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.380
11 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:33.242
12 K. Nakajima Williams 1:33.348
13 R. Kubica BMW 1:33.487
14 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:33.562
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:33.941
16 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:33.722
17 S. Buemi Toro Rosso 1:33.753
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:33.910
19 M. Webber Red Bull 1:34.038
20 S. Bourdais Toro Rosso 1:34.159

F1 2009 - China GP Race Results and Standings

Saturday, 4 April 2009

F1 2009 - Malaysian GP Qualifying Result and Grid Position

Sepang International Circuit 4th April 2009
Final Qualifying
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Jenson Button Brawn GP 1:35.181
2 Jarno Trulli Toyota +0.09
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +0.33
4 Rubens Barrichello Brawn GP +0.47
5 Timo Glock Toyota +0.50
6 Nico Rosberg Williams +0.56
7 Mark Webber Red Bull +0.61
8 Robert Kubica BMW-Sauber +0.92
9 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.98
10 Fernando Alonso Renault +02.47
11 Nick Heidfeld BMW-Sauber
12 Kazuki Nakajima Williams
13 Lewis Hamilton McLaren
14 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren
15 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso
16 Felipe Massa Ferrari
17 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault
18 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India
19 Adrian Sutil Force India
20 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso