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GP Week : Issue 42
Red Bull earns its wing Not even a Chinese flood could stop Vettel and Webber taking Red Bull’s first pole, first win and first one-two – all in one go! RED Bull and Sebastian Vettel took a famous win at the Grand Prix of China, totally dominating the rain-affected race to record the team’s first ever victory. With Mark Webber taking a career-best second position for the team, Red Bull has become only the sixth team in history to mark the occasion of its first Grand Prix win with a 1-2, joining Alfa Romeo, BMW-Sauber, BrawnGP, Jordan Grand Prix and Mercedes. “It was frustrating in the first two races not to get a podium but now we’re firmly on the scoreboard,”Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner told the BBC immediately following the race. “It’s a breakthrough result for us. It’s a long season ahead, and we can see that we’re competitive with both drivers, so I think the sky’s the limit. “The car’s been very good in the high-speed corners. It’s got a great aero package,”he added. “We’ve got a lot more development steps to come now with the clarity in the regulations, and we know there’s more performance that we can see.” Red Bull has proved the exception to the design rules in 2009, as its race-winning RB5 utilises neither a clever diffuser, nor KERS. Its conventional design has seen it feature in every qualifying and race session as a serious contender, with only the team’s fabled bad luck stopping Red Bull from achieving a podium in the first two races of the season. Red Bull’s weekend had looked in trouble on Saturday, when eventual pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel was limited to just a single flying lap in the final two qualifying sessions following an issue with his driveshaft boot. The youngest-ever race winner in F1 history, however, pulled out two remarkable laps to take his second career pole position before leading almost the entire race in appalling conditions to take a richly deserved win. Team-mate Mark Webber admitted that the team’s bad luck had played on their mind in the final laps of the race. “We were absolutely shitting ourselves that the cars wouldn’t finish the race because every time we ran yesterday the cars stopped in three laps. Basically my driveshaft boot was destroyed as well after qualifying, so it was incredible to get the cars home. “To get maximum points, for us, after the missed opportunities in Australia, and also with Sebastian’s and my missed opportunities in Malaysia, it’s a great day for the team, at Milton Keynes and also in Austria.” With a race-winning car underneath them, it is perhaps surprising that in light of the decision of the International Court of Appeal in favour of the Double Decker Diffuser concept, Red Bull’s technical chief Adrian Newey missed the Grand Prix of China to begin work on a new rear end for the RB5 to incorporate a new diffuser. The irony of that fact was not lost on Vettel “I think these cars are new, they look different and you are just at the beginning of their development, so basically the curve continues to go up and you are able to find newer and newer bits, other than the diffuser, and an update here or there, smaller or bigger can make a huge difference because the championship is very tight. “Three or four tenths up or down can have a big impact in terms of position in qualifying. You can be on top or midfield or at the back. “I think every team is pushing. We are pushing extremely hard to make the car faster. “I’m very happy that the car is fast already and able to compete with the best teams so far and yeah, hoping that it gets better and better throughout the season. Basically we will try and stay on top and make the final step to be the best team on the grid.” With Jenson Button, winner of the first two Grands Prix of 2009, 40s down the road at the chequered flag in third place, the dominance of the BrawnGP Team does not appear to be as vast as many had feared. What is clear, however, is that a new world order is taking shape in Formula 1 and with two teams taking their first F1 victories in the first three races of the season, the 2009 championship looks set to be played out on a very different battle ground to the one anybody was expecting.