2009 Santander British Grand Prix
Fresh life got injected into the 2009 Formula1 driver's title hunt, as Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel romped to victory at Silverstone. The Red Bull looked the best car all weekend, as the new nose cone and engine cover designs that the team introduced worked wonderfully well. Thus, for the first time this season, Brawn Mercedes was playing catch-up and Jenson Button was involved with damage-limitation on Sunday. Sebastian Vettel won his second consecutive pole on Saturday, and contrary to expectations, this time he wasn't lightly-fuelled. Mark Webber came in P3 in the sister Red Bull and was very upset with Kimi Raikkonen, who was on his in-lap while Mark was on his final-flier. Reubens Barichello did well to split the Red Bulls and start alongside Vettel in the first row. However, team-mate Jenson Button could only manage P6 and things looked very good for the young German.
The race saw Vettel geting off to a clean start and pulling away from Barichello. Unlike the Turkey race two weeks back, Vettel made no mistakes and he dominated proceedings to such a degree that at one stage, he was pulling away from the rest of the field at about a second a lap. Mark Webber was able to jump Barichello at the first round of pit stops, but he didn't have the remotest of chances of catching his team-mate. Jenson Button, meanwhile, was having the worst race of his season. He was off to a bad start, dropped to 8th, and though he managed to pass a hevily-fuelled Felippe Massa, was stuck behind Jarno Trulli's Toyota. Lewis Hamilton started from 19th on the grid, his worst qualifying position of the season, and couldn't make too much progress. Thus, both the British drivers weren't doing well-enough to please their home fans.
Sebastian Bourdais went for an over-ambitious pass on Heikki Kovalainen at Stowe, and clipped the back of the McLaren. Both drivers limped to the pits, resumed racing, only to return back to the pits and into retirement; the
only two retirements of the 60 lap race. Giancarlo Fisichella had a strong race to finish 10th, having made a double-pass on Alonso and Heidfeld on the 5th lap. Kazuki Nakajima had the best qualifying session of his career to claim P5, but was pretty lightly fuelled and moved out of contention after his first pit stop. It did seem that all the lightly-fuelled drivers lost-out, perhaps owing to the long pit lane at Silverstone. Fernando Alonso, for the first time, finished behind his team-mate Nelsinho Piquet who ran a longer first stint. Felippe Massa, although he started 11th and behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen(who started 9th), was able to finish 4th owing to his long first stint. Mark Webber also moved ahead of Barichello as he ran for a few laps longer. In the closing stages of the race, Jenson Button closed-in on fifth-placed Nico Rosberg, but coudn't work-out a pass.
Thus, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone saw some good racing. Unfortunately, this could be the last time the track would play host to a Formula1 race, as Silverstone doesn't feature in the scheme of things next season. A track that has such a long history is being scrapped for a lack-of-facilities, and not just Brits but a lot of people linked with the sport aren't particularly pleased with the decision. However, there are bigger problems the sport is facing. The cost-capping controversy has boiled over and all but two teams are threatening to break-away and run a rival league of their own. Williams F1 and Force India are the only two teams who have agreed to the terms laid down by the FIA. The coming days would give an idea about the future of sport. Formula1 fans world over keep their fingers crossed for an amicable solution. As for the 2009 season, Germany's Nürburgring is the next stop in 3 weeks time.