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GP Week : Issue 51
>>F1BRITAIN A S soon as they published the qualifying fuel weights, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that there’d been something of a clerical error … According to the statistics, Sebastian Vettel had just taken pole position with the heaviest fuel- load of anyone in the top 10 shootout. Come the opening laps of the race, you’d again have been forgiven for thinking that the figure handed out after qualifying had been incorrect. In the heaviest car in the top 10, he was pulling out from his rivals. And not just by a small margin – sometimes by over a second lap. But the statistics were correct, and the weights were as advertised. Vettel was, quite simply, just too good at the British Grand Prix, for anybody to seriously think they could challenge him. He was unbeatable, and put in a truly staggering performance to record his third career F1 victory, his second of 2009, and his first ever in dry conditions. His team-mate Mark Webber could, and maybe should, have been the man on pole, but was baulked in qualifying by Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Had he been on pole, and not stuck behind Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn in the opening segment of the race, Silverstone might well have been Webber’s debut F1 win. As it is, that will have to wait for now. But another solid job from the Aussie is what Red Bull needs to get it on terms with Brawn in the championship fight. The Brawn cars were simply no match for the Red Bulls in Britain, and Barrichello’s inability to get heat into his tyres was mirrored by Jenson Button’s tyre issues. But while Barrichello was able to bring his car home on the podium, the championship leader wound up a (comparatively) disappointing sixth. Fourth went to Felipe Massa, who recovered from missing the top 10 in qualifying for a great result, while Nico Rosberg felt that a podium could have been his in fifth. With Button sixth, the final points went to Jarno Trulli in seventh and Kimi Raikkonen in eighth. The best racing in the whole Grand Prix took place between Fernando Alonso, Nelson Piquet and Lewis Hamilton who all finished a lap down (imagine that a year ago). And the only moment of any real excitement came when Sebastian Bourdais ran out of talent and road and nerfed Heikki Kovalainen. But it wasn’t one of those edge of your seat races. It was one in which you watched agog as one driver completely wiped the floor with his rivals. Vettel didn’t just win the British Grand Prix, he owned it from the second he showed up. If Jenson Button wants to get his chariot back on its wheels, he needs to flip the tables and do exactly the same next time out to Vettel … the German GP is next, and there’s no sweeter venue for revenge. 27