Aussie rules! Webber romps to victory in Germany 12 Jul 2009
"Mark Webber you are a Grand Prix winner. Well done! Brilliant drive!" Those words, from Red Bull's engineers, told you all you needed to know about Sunday's German Grand Prix. No matter what they threw at the Australian, including a drive-through penalty for a brush off the startline with Brawn's Rubens Barrichello, Webber came through and delivered in devastating style.
After that brush he shadowed Barrichello as they stormed away while fast-starting Heikki Kovalainen in the McLaren held up Brawn's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. And even with his penalty stop on Lap 14, when Barrichello refuelled, Webber kept the lead.
His second stop, five laps later, dropped him down to eighth, but he was back in the lead by Lap 33 when all of the main first pit stops had been made, and he controlled it easily from there. Barrichello lost time in his second stop with a refuelling rig problem, and later, like Button, struggled to warm his tyres. Both were on three-stop strategies, which dropped them from second and third places with 10 laps left.
Thus it was Sebastian Vettel who came through to grab second, in Red Bull's third one-two of the season, after a weekend in which his team mate completely eclipsed him. Massa was strong all day for Ferrari and took third ahead of Nico Rosberg, who drove superbly early on with a high fuel load and thoroughly deserved fourth for Williams.
The Brawns switched places in their final stops, as Button made his a lap later, and they finished fifth and sixth, hounded to the finish by Fernando Alonso's Renault, which set fastest lap. Behind them, Kovalainen clung on for the final point for McLaren, with Toyota's Timo Glock, BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella and Williams' Kazuki Nakajima in his wheeltracks.
It was, after all, a terrible day for Force India's Adrian Sutil, who ran as high as second before his first refuelling stop, but then lost it all through a clash with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen as he exited the pits. He needed another stop for a new front wing and finished a tearful 15th, behind Renault's Nelson Piquet and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica. Stewards looked into the Raikkonen incident, but decided no action was necessary.
Toyota's Jarno Trulli was delayed after a brush in traffic on the opening lap and finished 17th, behind Sebastien Buemi in the sole Toro Rosso to finish. And right at the back, the only lapped runner was McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. The world champion made a brilliant start, led fractionally on the outside at Turn One, but then got his right-rear tyre clipped by Webber and had to pit at the end of the lap with a puncture. That was all she wrote.
The day, however, belonged to Webber as Advance Australia Fair played at the end of a Grand Prix for the first time since Alan Jones won in Las Vegas back in 1981. It was superb victory in the most trying circumstances, and Webber thoroughly deserved his maiden success.
Button still leads the championship, with 68 points, but now Vettel is second with 47, Webber third with 45.5 and Barrichello drops to fourth on 44.