Rubens Barrichello Wins The European Grand Prix In Valencia
VALENCIA, SPAIN - Driving a Brawn Mercedes car, Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello (right in picture) won the European Grand Prix yesterday (Aug 23, 2009) in Valencia, Spain. Barrichello was able to maintain his lead over second place Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (middle) to take the chequered flag. In third place was Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari (not shown). Heikki Kovalainen (left in photo) finished the race in a solid fourth place behind Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton had pole position for the start of the race, and his teammate Heikki Kovalainen was second on the grid after the their dominating performance in Saturday's qualifying. Lewis Hamilton led the race from the start and pitted at lap 16. He took the lead again once the all the cars had completed their first pitstops. Rubens Barrichello in the Brawn Mercedes drove a very close second place to Hamilton, and on Lewis's second pit, a last minute decision to leave Lewis out for one more lap to gain a time cushion over Rubens Barrichello was not relayed to Hamilton in time, and Hamilton came in for the planned pitstop with the tires not yet unwrapped, losing a few seconds in the process. This small race error gave Rubens Barrichello enough of a margin to keep his lead when Hamilton exited the pits to re-join the race.
Lewis Hamilton had the following to say about the error, "Before my second pitstop, I'd been saving fuel and was a bit unsure if I had enough for that extra lap or not. The pitwall had initially asked me to pit - but just when I was coming in, they told me to stay out and do an extra lap - however, I was already inside the white line (entry to the pits), and committed, so it was too late."
Regarding the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 car's performance at the Valencia circuit Hamilton said, "...our overall performance this weekend confirmed the huge improvement we've made recently, but we still lack a bit of race pace compared with the very fastest cars. You can be well sure we are working on fixing that...Congratulations to Rubens - he drove a fantastic race today and really deserved this victory."
For Lewis Hamilton, last year's Formula 1 World Champion, the win brought him 6 points and took his 2009 accumulated championship total to 27 points. There are still six F1 races left before the end of the season and a possible 60 championship points to be won, but currently Jenson Button has a commanding lead with the six races that he won in the beginning of the season, and Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello also close behind Button in their overall points standing.