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GP Week : Issue 54
Timed to perfection ... > F1GERMANY > AS a full-time motor racing scribe, I don’t miss many Grands Prix. Ironically, it was that very occupation that caused me to miss the live coverage of German Grand Prix – and the first F1 race win by an Aussie since I was born. While Mark Webber was stomping erg) the field in Germany, I, along with half of Australia’s motor racing community, was on a plane from Townsville in Queensland’s far north back to Melbourne. The V8 Supercar Championship Series had just hosted its first race in Townsville, and the one direct flight from the small town back to the big smoke happened to coincide with what, during the 24 hours that preceded it, had become the most anticipated Grand Prix for Australians in three decades. The funny thing is, during the long flight home, I grabbed a copy of Australian Motorcycle News off a V8TV cameraman who was seated next to me. Inside was a feature story about Valentino Rossi’s 100th GP win at Assen, which included a breakout about his best wins, written by GPWeek’s very own MotoGP editor Michael Scott. Included on the list was Phillip Island 2003, where Rossi was given a 10s time penalty for passing under yellow flags, and went on and won anyway. It was an awesome ride, from an awesome rider; the sort of things you expect a superhero of the sport to do. I mean, to have to add a big lump of time onto your race is a massive disadvantage, and to overcome that by just being so much better than everyone else is, well, amazing. As suspiciously convenient as it now sounds, I was thinking that at about the same time as Webber was trundling down pit-lane to serve his drive-through. Of course, from 30,000 feet, I had no idea that was happening. When I heard what had happened, I made sure I was home in time for the replay … To say Webber’s performance in Germany puts him up there with Rossi may be getting carried away, aNdREW vaN have found himself buried in the pack. But there is no strategic gain from lEEuWEN Production Editor but to say it was a Rossi-esque (or even Schumacher-esque) win is not. Some drivers win their first race when everything goes right from the start of Friday practice, and they never look like losing it. That’s not how Webber’s first win came; it almost disappeared on the run to the first corner, and he had to fight every inch of the way. Sure, some crucial things went his way. He owes his team big time – not telling him about the penalty until they had to, to avoid an angry brain snap was genius, and the time it took for officials to make the decision helped too, because if it had been handed down on Lap 3 he would a drive-through penalty, no matter when you take it; the only way back from that is sheer hard work. And that’s what makes it a Rossi/ Schumacher-style victory. Did he deserve the penalty? The Australasian Motorsport News/ GPWeek HQ is divided over that one. I say who cares. Webber had long decided he was winning that race, and if he served three penalties and had a caravan strapped to the back of his RB5, he still would have won. The best part is, that’s an Australian way to win. Webber might have lived in England for a decade, but he knows where he’s from. And when he pointed to the Australian flag on the podium, it almost made up for England’s questionable tactics for a draw in the cricket. Almost ... Pos # Driver FoRMula 1 Round 9 NuRBuRGRING Team 1 14 Mark Webber 2 15 Sebastian Vettel 3 3 Felipe Massa 4 16 Nico Rosberg 5 22 Jenson Button 6 23 Rubens Barrichello 7 7 8 2 Fernando Alonso 9 10 Timo Glock 10 6 Nick Heidfeld RBR-Renault RBR-Renault Ferrari Williams-Toyota Brawn-Mercedes Brawn-Mercedes Renault BMW Sauber Nelson Piquet Robert Kubica Renault Laps 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 60 Toyota 60 60 11 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 60 12 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 13 8 14 5 BMW Sauber 15 20 Adrian Sutil 16 12 Sebastien Buemi 17 9 18 1 Ret 4 Jarno Trulli Lewis Hamilton Kimi Räikkönen 60 60 60 Force India-Mercedes 60 STR-Ferrari Toyota 60 60 McLaren-Mercedes 59 Ferrari Ret 11 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari Time 1:36:43.310s +9.2s +15.9s +21.0s +23.6s +24.4s +24.8s +58.6s +61.4s +61.9s +62.3s +62.8s +68.3s +69.5s +71.9s +90.2s +90.9s +1 Lap 34 laps Radiator 18 laps Hydraulics Grid 1 4 8 15 3 2 12 6 20 11 18 13 10 16 7 17 14 5 9 19 Points – Drivers: Button 68, Vettel 47, Webber 45.5, Barrichello 44, Massa 22, Trulli 21.5, Rosberg 20.5, Glock 13, Alonso 13, Raikkonen 10, Hamilton 9. Manufacturers: Brawn 112, Red Bull 92.5, Toyota 34.5, Ferrari 32, Williams- Toyota 20.5, McLaren 14, Renault 13, BMW Sauber 8, Toro Rosso 5. 31 opinion