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GP Week : Issue 54
>>F1GERMANY victory. It has been a long time coming, and E there wasn’t a person in the paddock who could begrudge him the spoils of victory which he has deserved for so long. And he did it in absolutely the best possible way – overcoming a drive-through penalty to not only win, but completely outclass every other driver on track, including his team-mate and local hero Sebastian Vettel. Off the line, Webber had to defend his pole position from the fast-starting Rubens Barrichello, and the two made contact as they shot downhill towards the first corner. Meanwhile, the KERS-equipped McLaren of Lewis Hamilton looked set to trump them both until he clipped Webber’s front wing, cut his right-rear, and overshot Turn 1. That left Barrichello in charge of proceedings, and he and Webber pulled away from the pursuing pack of drivers, with Heikki Kovalainen sitting third ahead of Felipe Massa and Jenson Button. Button was soon past the Brazilian, but could find no way through Kovalainen. Then, drama, as Webber was handed a drive-through penalty for his part in the start shennigans. He took it at the end of lap 14, just as Barrichello was coming in for his stop. Indeed it was the timing of the Brawn pit-stop that was to decide the race; Barrichello and Button were both on three-stop strategies, while the Red Bulls were on two-stoppers. And that was some of the difference. Webber overcame his penalty, lapped harder and faster than anyone else and took his first F1 victory from his team-mate and Massa. Nico Rosberg had an absolutely terrific race on home soil to leap up 11 places from his grid position into fourth, ahead of the Brawn duo, again apparently struggling with tyre temperature. Seventh went to Fernando Alonso, with eighth and the final point landing with Kovalainen. Sebastien Bourdais and Kimi Raikkonen were the only retirements of the race, the Finn having made contact with the Force India of Adrian Sutil earlier in the race in a moment that robbed the German of a very likely and thoroughly deserved points finish. But the day was Webber’s, and it came at the best possible moment. Red Bull Racing can now claim to be the class of the field in all conditions. Brawn has a lot of work to do, not only to catch up to the Red Bulls, but for Team Principal Ross Brawn to recapture the strategic genius with which he made his name. 2 IGHT months after he was involved in a mountain bike accident that could have ended his career, Mark Webber has taken his first Formula 1