After a crucial misstep by the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes pit crew with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton’s front right tire, the 2009 European Grand Prix at Valencia officially became Barrichello’s to lose. So did he disappoint?
He didn’t. He dominated handily, although Hamilton managed to close the gap to just over 2 seconds (down from over 6 after his disastrous pit stop) on the last lap.
Barrichello scored a dominant win, with Felipe Massa’s name on his helmet and former teammate Michael Schumacher watching closely from the paddock. What a brilliant day for him, and one he’ll not soon forget.
Speaking of Schumi, that talk about him possibly coming back to Ferrari later in the season? Not gonna happen, says Stefano Domenicali. “I’m happy he is training, but what I can absolutely rule out is that Michael can return this year as a racing driver.” Not really a surprising verdict, given the full extent of Schumacher’s injuries from his motorcycle accident earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, Anthony Davidson is approaching Ferrari about becoming the new seatwarmer for Felipe Massa following Luca Badoer’s abysmal performance at Valencia yesterday. We’ll be sure to post Ferrari’s response as we have it, but thus far Domenicali has said Badoer will keep his seat for this upcoming weekend’s race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Finally, what a weekend for Red Bull Racing. Mark Webber managed to drag his car to 9th, scoring no points…but poor Sebastian Vettel had an astounding two catastrophic engine failures in the course of a single race weekend! One during practice (which halted practice momentarily), and one during the early stages of the Grand Prix. With this year’s eight-engine limitation per car for the whole season as imposed by the FIA, that means he’s got a measly two whole engines left to propel him through the six races remaining. Renault have apologized for Vettel’s engine trouble this weekend, but those apologies and a properly working engine are what he’s going to need at Spa. Stay tuned, it’s only one week away!
[Photo credits: Brawnfan via Flikr]