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Great Britain race analysis - Red Bull take title fight to Brawn 22 Jun 2009

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2009.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 20 June 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 21 June 2009

Those bookmakers who last week paid out on Jenson Button and Brawn winning the championship are probably wishing they hadn’t, after Red Bull’s rout in Sunday’s British Grand Prix breathed new life into the 2009 title chase. Brawn, struggling with tyre temperatures, had no answer to Vettel and Webber, who won as they pleased at Silverstone. Technical improvements to the RB5 clearly delivered. The real question, however, is whether Brawn’s poor form was simply a one-off, or whether they are now genuinely playing catch-up? We take a look at their - and all the other teams’ - performance…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel P1
Mark Webber, P2

Vettel drove the sort of dominating race that made Michael Schumacher world champion, and only lost the lead for three laps, to Webber, in his second pit stop. At one stage he was pulling away from Barrichello in the opening laps at a second a lap, and thereafter he was able to control the race as he pleased. He reported that the only problems he had en route to his first dry-road Grand Prix victory came when he had to slalom his way around lapped cars during the second stint. Webber was also pretty pleased with the way things went for him, once he was able to jump Barrichello in the first stops, but by then there was no way he could pull back the deficit to his team mate. After the disappointment in Turkey, Red Bull hit back in a manner that will have Brawn watching anxiously as the series reaches its mid-point in Germany in three weeks’ time.

Brawn
Rubens Barrichello, P3
Jenson Button, P6

Brawn knew from early on in practice that they were going to be in trouble generating decent tyre temperatures here, and after qualifying the best they could realistically hope for was third place. Barrichello made good on his promise to beat Button on home ground, but was losing time hand over fist to the Red Bulls. Button lost a load of time and places trapped behind the tardy Trulli at the start, and was lucky that a press-on drive and decent strategy hoisted him to sixth during the second stops. In the final stint he was flying and quickly closed on Massa and Rosberg, but ran out of time to seek a way by. Three points was good damage limitation in the circumstances, however, and he leads Barrichello by 23 and Vettel by 25.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, P4
Kimi Raikkonen, P8

Ferrari achieved their aim of getting both cars into the points. Massa was very pleased and surprised to finish fourth after starting 11th, and praised his KERS system and the team’s strategy. Raikkonen blamed himself for qualifying poorly given his low fuel load, and said his race was over the moment he got stuck behind Trulli’s Toyota.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, P5
Timo Glock, P9

After Trulli’s qualifying performance Toyota entertained high hopes of a podium finish, but a launch issue at the start soon damned them. The Italian dropped to seventh, and thereafter was on his back foot. Glock also lost ground in the first-corner traffic, and though his TF109 was very quick in clear air, much of the time he found himself trapped in traffic.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, P5
Kazuki Nakajima, P11

Rosberg had a really strong race that underlined the aero progress Williams made this weekend. Third fastest race lap was further proof of that. He lost time in comparison with Massa when Barrichello was slow in the second stint and got stuck behind the Brawn, and ultimately that cost him fourth place. Nakajima ran strongly initially with his light fuel load, but lost too much time in his first pit stop and finished a disappointing and disappointed 11th.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, P10
Adrian Sutil, P17

Fisichella made some great moves in the opening laps to hump up to 11th place by the second lap, despite a decent fuel load. And he stayed in distant contention for a point for the rest of the afternoon in his strongest outing so far for Force India. He was delighted to achieve the aim of a top 10 finish. The team built up the spare chassis for Sutil after his accident in qualifying, and he brought it home a subdued 17th.

Renault
Nelson Piquet, P12
Fernando Alonso, P14

When Alonso slid off the road early in the race, and then came back on right in front of Hamilton, his race was already doomed. With his light fuel load in qualifying he should have been sprinting forward. That left him to fight in the lower midfield group comprising the BMW Saubers, team mate Piquet and Hamilton. For once Piquet beat him, but he was as disappointed overall with the R29’s performance.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, P13
Nick Heidfeld, P15

Heidfeld damaged his front wing in a brush on the opening lap when he was adventurous going for a gap. That hurt his F1.09’s aerodynamics, but he had a good fight fending off Alonso early in the race despite being very heavy with fuel in comparison with the Renault. Kubica also started with a good fuel load and the prime tyres, but that plan backfired when he encountered big problems generating decent tyre temperatures early on.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P16
Heikki Kovalainen, Retired lap 36, accident damage

The British Grand Prix was yet more torture for McLaren. Hamilton was on an early charge until Alonso slid off the road in front of him, then came back on so violently that Hamilton had to surrender the place he had just made up as he had to go on to the grass himself to avoid contact. After that he was doomed to struggle round behind the Renaults and BMW Saubers, until a spin at Vale dropped him away from all of them.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Bourdais, Retired lap 37, accident damage
Sebastien Buemi, P18

This was another tough one for the two Sebs, again because their Red Bull stablemates did so well. Buemi struggled all weekend, while Bourdais’s race was ruined by a collision with the back of Kovalainen. Subsequently he retired after losing water pressure.