Archive for March 29, 2009

2009 Grand Prix of Australia: Button Takes Brawn GP 1-2, Disaster For Ferrari

Sunday Race Day – Raikkonen & Massa Out (Updates posted)
Full race report can be read here

Pos Driver Team Time

1. Button Brawn GP (B) 1h34:15.784
2. Barrichello Brawn GP (B) + 0.807
3. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1.604
4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 2.914
5. Glock Toyota (B) + 4.435
6. Alonso Renault (B) + 4.879
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 5.722
8. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 6.004
9. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 6.298
10. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) + 6.335
11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 7.085
12. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) + 7.374
13. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1 lap
14. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 2 laps
15. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 3 laps
16. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 3 laps

Fastest lap: Rosberg, 1:27.706

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap

Massa Ferrari (B) 46
Piquet Renault (B) 25
Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 18
Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1

Breaking News & Quotes – Updated:

Kubica says Vettel ‘too optimistic’
Vettel receives grid penalty for Malaysia
Trulli penalised, Hamilton gets third
Bridgestone Tyre Quotes
Brawn speechless after debut win 
Trulli’s third place under investigation
Button hails ‘fairytale’ result
Vettel: Kubica clash stupid racing accident

Sunday Ferrari Team Quotes – Kimi: "When I ended up in the wall
it was my mistake. A shame as, given what happened later, I could have
finished second…Definitely the main problem was in managing the tyres, but
we also need to improve our overall performance."

Q&A with Domenicali – "First of all, with regard to Felipe we had an upright that was broken
on the left hand side. So, it is a mechanical failure. We do not yet
understand what has happened. With regard to Kimi, because we
had a doubt on the differential, just a doubt, and because the race was
already finished we told him to bring the car in as there was no need
to queue there for nothing…"

Download: Race Photos & Videos – Apologies if there are problems downloading, please try again later.
1. Race Start Live  2. Barrichello hits Kimi 3. Kimi’s spin  4. Vettel and Kubica 5. Race Finish
For some videos, you may need to install this codec.

Funny double-interview with Kimi & Lewis | Post-Race Kimi interview

Courtesy of TaniaS What an opening race that was! Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed it and shared in the joy of many to see the podium ceremony, especially the little chat The Bs’ had in the back. Yes – as I’m sure you’re waiting to hear, I am disappointed with how Kimi’s race turned out but I was prepared and expected this as a possible outcome. What I didn’t expect though was Kimi to throw it away while in 5th place. Having not crashed disastrously, he damaged his front wing enough and called it a day with 3 laps to go. Earlier, Massa had a reliability problem, as feared with the F60, and also retired. But Kimi was in good position to score some points which adds to the frustration of his retirement. I assume he just dropped it, as a few others did today. Anyway, Ferrari were looking good to leave with a bunch of points but it didn’t happen. Now, they know what to do and there’s no point in whinging or despairing and I’m sure they’ve already been working hard back at base for the next races. They weren’t good enough to compete for the win today, nor was Kimi good enough to hold ground when he could and should have. Kimi’s the driver I support and while I can criticise how his race ended, I believe he was doing a good job nonetheless so I hope he’s taken a lot from today – he did a better job than Massa with the strategy which is a good thing. A podium was possible as I thought, seeing as how the drama unfolded but with that said, it is early days and the teams are getting to grips with these machines and so are the drivers. Vettel and Kubica’s messy accident proves that.

That battle for second place was brilliant. Not only did BMW not look anywhere good enough to challenge for higher positions, there was Kubica suddenly making it work and hounded a very strong Vettel in his Red Bull. Credit to the lads, they did a great job throughout the race to even make the win harder to achieve for Brawn GP. But I so expected accidents like that to happen. Yes, others had managed to overtake and pass neatly in the very same corners as Vettel and Kubica fought through but this was a much closer battle. The big front wings are tapped slightly and off they go. Poor Kubica and Vettel ended their races in tears. Kimi’s start was good but could have been better. He didn’t manage to jump anyone but later during the lap, the run up against Kubica was fantastic – Kimi was probably less than 2cms away from the wall when side by side with Kubica. This Pole is a very tough racer, as we’ve seen at Fuji last year. They’re similar drivers too, in race craft. I’m sure Kubica will be over today and ready to fight again, as will be Kimi. Vettel’s accident with Kubica was complicated, I can’t really blame either driver. Vettel didn’t seem to know Kubica was coming on the left-side into the corner, Kubica was too aggressive and they touched. It’s racing, people, racing! And I loved it! Haha. I do feel slightely embarrassed that the pit-lane starting Toyotas and a slow back-grid McLaren finished better than the Ferraris though. Williams could have had a great day as Rosberg was driving well, but it doesn’t always work out.

Button’s drive was amazing and he thoroughly deserves his victory, for keeping it clean and quick on track and handling the threat Vettel and Kubica posed. Well done Brawn GP (and Honda!) During the opening laps, Button was flying off with it and the race did look set for a bore in the front. But as ever, F1 can bring surprises! The start wasn’t too messy, accept for Kovalainen being punctured and damaged and then having to retire. Webber also getting damaged. Barrichello’s anti-stall was hilarious to see but he who laughs last laughs best indeed and he got back into second place in the end. Nakajima’s accident was strange, it seemed he just dropped it out of the corner too. There were enough battles to keep me interested all the way through and while I’m convinced the changed F1 cars have brought tighter competition between all teams (apart from Brawn GP), overtaking is still yet to be proved to be easier for the drivers. And I don’t mean with the use of the KERS. This isn’t Mario Kart. Buemi had a great debut race and he scored a point! Well done, Kimi did exactly the same on his debut F1 race. But one other driver I’m impressed with today is Lewis Hamilton. I wanted to see how he dealt with a slow car, and while it didn’t look as slow as it did yesterday, he drove a very good race starting from the back and that’s down to experience he’s had a few times I’m sure. I hadn’t expected McLaren to finish in the points at all, granted there was a bit of luck involved but that’s racing – you’ve got to be there in the first place to take that luck. McLaren will be very relieved! Ferrari very disappointed! Oh the irony a day can show.

Kimi will be back! He did it last year at Malaysia after a bad Australia! We still believe in you Kimi, we understand the sport – we’ve followed it with you for a long time.  So, whatever happened, whatever problems (if any) that you had, you can win again. This season is a whole big fat learning game with these cars and after watching today’s race, I now believe a lot will actually change as we progress through the races.

Update – After reading Kimi’s comments, finally released hours after the race, it’s obvious that tyre management is still the main hinderance of Kimi’s potential and he has also admitted his mistake by spinning off in the race. He knows what’s going on and is working hard at it I’m sure, it’s just not as easy to do as people are making it – I do not respect so called fans who tend to bring irrelevant issues such as his motivation or salary or contract or even Alonso replacing him into this subject when regarding his performance. I’m fed up with it. It makes no difference whatsoever and if people really think Ferrari are more concerned about Kimi’s seat than the performance of the cars themselves then that’s not a very logical approach to racing. Leave Kimi alone. He’s doing his job just like the rest of the team. And they fail and succeed TOGETHER.
Windows Live Spaces is currently having some problems; the photos and videos aren’t viewable, but it will hopefully be fixed soon. I’m sorry!

Sunday Ferrari Team Quotes

Kimi Raikkonen – DNF: "When I ended up in the wall
it was my mistake. A shame as, given what happened later, I could have
finished second. We lost valuable points but we will try and make up
for it starting right away in Malaysia. There, we will get a clearer
picture of the situation because this circuit is not very indicative of
performance. The KERS worked well at the start, but there was not much
room to go anywhere. If we did not think it gave an advantage, we would
not use it. Definitely the main problem was in managing the tyres, but
we also need to improve our overall performance."

Post-Race Q&A with Kimi

Q. What happened in the race?

Kimi Raikkonen:
It was my mistake to hit the wall, it was just sudden but I spun.
Looking afterwards we would probably have finished second, and it is a

Q. And for the championship it is a very bad start?

KR: Yes, but there is not much you can do. We try to do
better at the next race but definitely one of the hardest races I have
done in a while.

Q. What do you think about the challenge of Brawn Grand Prix?

KR: I haven’t seen their laptimes but it looks like they won
it pretty easily. This circuit is different compared to the others. We
sometimes see that we have a hard time here but when we go to more
normal circuit it seems to turn out pretty okay. Let’s wait and see
until the next race, and see what we can do and then make more
decisions. It is a shame that I went off. We lost some valuable points,
but that is racing.

Q. Brawn GP won without KERS. How did you find it?

KR: It worked well at the start. There was just no space to
go as I got a good start, but there were too many cars in front so I
could not use it. Like I said before, we would not use it if it was not
a help for us so it was working okay.

Q. Could you explain to us the strategy about using the softer tyres at the beginning when it was hotter?

KR: Well, because we have difficulties with the hard tyres to
get them working. In that kind of case, we need to wait and wait and
not push – so it was going to be difficult. When we go out from the pit
lane with the new tyres it is going to be okay, but for us for sure it
was a better choice to take the soft tyre.

Q. How was the performance, as you said after qualifying you thought your race pace would be better?

KR: I don’t have a really clear picture. I haven’t seen the
lap times that everybody was doing, as I was behind (Robert) Kubica and
he was pulling away a little bit. But I think he was pretty fast any
how. I don’t know where we are on speed, I haven’t had time to look,
but for sure we are not where we want to be. We still have some work to
do but we will see what we can do at the next races.

Q. When you spun did you have a problem with the differential, or was it after that?

KR: I don’t know. I hit the wall quite hard after I spun, so
I just suddenly lost the rear end and it is tricky with those tyres. I
don’t know – it was probably my mistake. It is just a shame.

Q. Massa said on Saturday that the championship could be finished
quite early with the pace of the Ross Brawn. What do you say about that?

KR: I don’t know. It is only one race, so let’s see what happens.

Q. Chris Dyer thought something might have broken at the back of your car. What happened there?

KR: I don’t know. I went as normal as always in the corner,
and then suddenly I just completely lost the rear. Probably it was my
mistake. I wouldn’t put it to anything else, but it is funny how there
was no warning. Usually you feel something if there is a bit of wheel
spin but it just went and there was nothing I could do. I just tried to
avoid the wall, but I couldn’t.

Q. How was the pace otherwise?

KR: It was a shame as we could probably have finished second
in the end, but the speed on hard tyres – Kubica was pulling away a
little bit, but then I think he did the fastest lap, so I haven’t had
time to see at all what the others were doing. For sure we still have
work to do, but this circuit is not normal compared to other normal
circuit we have seen. We have had a hard time here before and then it
is okay when we go to normal circuits. Hopefully that will turn out to
be the same this year.

Q. How were the tyres working?

KR: Both tyres were quite difficult. The soft is pretty good
from the beginning but then it goes away a lot, and the hard one is
quite tricky. You lose the grip sometimes and it is not easy to use for
us. Like I said, it was for sure a difficult race – it taught us a lot
but maybe it is going to be different when we go to normal circuits
like Malaysia.

Q. How do you see Brawn GP?

KR: If they are 1-2 in qualifying and 1-2 in the race then
they are pretty strong – but we saw that already in testing, so it is
not a surprise.

Q. How long will it take to catch them?

KR: We will see how is it in the next race. It all depends on
the rules, what the rules are going to be in the future, there are a
lot of question marks about what you are allowed to do and what not. So
let’s wait and see.