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GP Week : Issue 42
Buemi outclasses Bourdais … again SEBASTIEN Buemi brought home his second points finish in his first three races as an F1 driver in China for Scuderia Toro Rosso, putting in one of the performances of the Grand Prix to once again leave desperate questions hanging over his vastly more experienced team-mate Sebastien Bourdais. Buemi, who many saw as being promoted to Formula 1 before being truly ready, has been a revelation thus far in 2009 racing with maturity, intelligence and controlled aggression to impress even his harshest of critics. The Chinese Grand Prix was no exception, and after engaging in a number of exciting battles the Swiss driver was unlucky to finish only eighth. “I am very happy as the team did a super job so that we got another point to take away from here,”he said after the race. “I am pleased that in three races, I have scored twice. Maybe I could have done a little bit better, but I’m happy all the same. We were very competitive in the early stages and I got past Raikkonen and Hamilton, but after that I struggled a bit. I think it was one of my hardest races ever.” The race could have ended catastrophically for Buemi, as he collided with eventual race winner Sebastian Vettel under the Safety Car in a moment that brought back memories of Vettel’s own blunder at the wheel of a Toro Rosso under the safety car in 2007 when he took out the Red Bull of Mark Webber. “I didn’t see him and I tried to swerve to the right, but it was not enough to avoid him,”explained Buemi. “We changed the wing on my car and I’m glad I didn’t spoil his race.” Bourdais finished 11th after again being outclassed and outraced by his inexperienced rookie team-mate. Kovalainen kick starts season HEIKKI Kovalainen, who had not completed a full lap of racing in the opening two races of the 2009 season, put in a stunning performance at the Chinese Grand Prix to lead home McLaren team- mate Lewis Hamilton in fifth and sixth positions to record McLaren’s highest scoring double points finish since the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. Utilising a one-stop strategy for both drivers, it was Kovalainen who emerged from the race in the better position after a number of mistakes by Hamilton had dropped him down the order. “The visibility was unbelievably poor, especially during the first few laps after the Safety Car came in,”Kovalainen said. “But our pace was good and, during the last 26 laps of the race, I could get close to Rubens [Barrichello], just not enough to start an attack. Our strategy was spot on: finishing higher than fifth was not possible today and I’m very pleased to have scored four solid points without making a single mistake … despite some massive moments!” “It was almost too difficult to drive at the beginning of the race,”said Hamilton, “but I found a good pace and had some fun in the opening laps, but unfortunately I destroyed my tyres quite early on. “I made a few too many mistakes today. It was very slippery and my front-left tyre was finished long before the end but I still gave it my best. This afternoon was a real struggle but I’m glad I got some points for the team.” Heartbreak f