Vettel untouchable as Red Bull dominate British Grand Prix 21 Jun 2009
What seemed to be a foregone conclusion after qualifying became one almost the moment Sebastian Vettel launched his Red Bull RB5 into the lead of the British Grand Prix. In a crushingly dominant drive, which underlined the major step forward that the Milton Keynes team have made on high-speed circuits, Vettel pulled away from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn by as much as a second a lap in a series of quick tours, and never looked remotely challenged.
Team mate Mark Webber finally got ahead of Barrichello during the first round of stops and likewise had no trouble staying ahead thereafter. But Vettel was still 15.1s ahead when the chequered flag fell.
The Brazilian held on to take third place, 25.9s adrift, while the race was enlivened in the closing laps as Jenson Button's Brawn began to develop decent tyre temperatures. The world championship leader had run between seventh and ninth places for much of the race but vaulted ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Toyota's Jarno Trulli during the two pit stops, and launched a blistering attack from sixth place on Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari and Williams' Nico Rosberg, who were running fourth and fifth respectively. By the last lap 0.8s separated the Ferrari from the Williams and 0.3s the Williams and the Brawn.
On a day when damage limitation mattered the most, Button lost only three of his 26-point advantage over Barrichello. He now has 64 to the Brazilian's 41, Vettel's 39 and Webber's 35.5s.
Trulli hung on for seventh for Toyota, while Raikkonen fended off the Italian's team mate Timo Glock, but only just. Behind them, Giancarlo Fisichella took a fighting 10th place for Force India ahead of Kazuki Nakajima in the second Williams.
Lewis Hamilton had a terrible race. It was compromised early on as Renault's Fernando Alonso slid off the track ahead of him but obliged him in turn to go off in avoidance as he jerked back on to the tarmac. That left him embroiled in a fight with the Renaults and the BMW Saubers, which saw all of them lapped.
In the end, Nelson Piquet emerged in 12th place, just ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and Alonso. Nick Heidfeld in the second BMW Sauber was 15th, some way ahead of Hamilton after he spun his McLaren at Vale on the 43rd lap.
Adrian Sutil and Sebastien Buemi completed the finishers after Sebastien Bourdais misjudged an overtaking move at Abbey on the 34th lap on McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, and both subsequently retired because of the damaged caused.