Barrichello’s win and Badoer’s struggle examined (European Grand Prix analysis)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Barrichello ran third at the start before moving in on the McLarens
Barrichello ran third at the start before moving in on the McLarens

All the signs before the race were that Rubens Barrichello had the strategy to take on the McLarens.

And so it proved – but would he have won without Hamilton’s problem? Let’s take a look at how the European Grand Prix unfolded.

The start

Lap 1 positions change (click top enlarge)
Lap 1 positions change (click top enlarge)

What was crucial at the start for Rubens Barrichello was not his slim chance of getting past the McLarens off the line – but the bigger concern of Kimi Raikkonen coming past him. Fortunately for the Brawn driver, that didn’t happen.

Timo Glock, and Sebastien Buemi collided, and Romain Grosjean also lost his front wing, which explains why they lost positions. But apart from the crashes and KERS cars, it was a very uniform start.

Barrichello’s fight to the front

Rubens Barrichello vs the McLarens (click to enlarge)
Rubens Barrichello vs the McLarens (click to enlarge)

Hamilton’s slow pit stop plus Barrichello’s performance advantage turned a four second advantage before his final pit stop into a six second deficit.

Had Brawn kept Barrichello out as long as they could, it probably would have been greater – but there was no need to, and with Kazuki Nakajima having shed a tyre bringing Barrichello in was the prudent thing to do.

It seems likely that, even without his pit stop problem, Hamilton wouldn’t have kept the lead of the race. But it would have been close – and that could have been enough to force a mistake out of Brawn.

Brawn haven’t always got Barrichello’s strategy right this year, but his starting fuel weight and long-ish middle stint were exactly the right choices for Valencia. But why did his team mate fare so poorly on a substantially similar strategy?

Luca Badoer

Kimi Raikkonen vs Luca Badoer (click to enlarge)
Kimi Raikkonen vs Luca Badoer (click to enlarge)

OK, his first race back wasn’t good. But just how bad was Luca Badoer’s European Grand Prix?

By the end of lap one the spread of the field meant Badoer was 17.16 seconds behind team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Come the end of the race, he was 167 seconds behind – yes, two minutes and 47 seconds. Although part of that was his drive-through penalty, which likely cost him around 15 seconds.

Looking at his lap times offers little comfort. He set his best lap towards the end of the race, signifying some improvement, but his 1’40.590 was the third-slowest of the race, only beating the Toro Rossos.

With the best will in the world, the scale of improvement needed from Badoer at Spa is massive if he is to keep his place in the car.

Race progress charts

European Grand Prix race chart (click to enlarge)
European Grand Prix race chart (click to enlarge)

The race and lap charts tell the story of a race that largely took place in the pits instead of on the track.

With refuelling being banned for next year we will see a radically different pattern to the races, with drivers adopting differing strategies of tyre use but everyone having to cope with full fuel loads from the start.

Hopefully that will provide more unpredictability and genuine on-track action. For the second year in a row, the European Grand Prix was no advertisement for F1 at its best.

European Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)
European Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

68 comments on “Barrichello’s win and Badoer’s struggle examined (European Grand Prix analysis)”

  1. Could the front wings be any bigger…F1 has turned into a real joke

  2. Keith I’d like to see a projection of a three-stop race for both McLarens. My drawing numbers in the air with my finger calculations tell me that the combined benefits of a third of tank less fuel (.3s/lap?) and the marginal gain from the ability to wring the neck of the soft tires (.3s/lap?), less time on the hard tires, plus shorter stops versus the two-stop fueling time (6s total?) would have netted Hamilton more than 18 seconds over the last, say, 42 laps.

    I also think that when it became clear that Barichello was just riding Kovalainen’s gearbox waiting to jump him, Marty should have put him on a three stopper to at least allow him to re jump Barichello and hold him up in his second stint to give Lewis some breathing space. It would have necessitated another lame, prolix defense of driver neutrality from Marty but he has practice in that now.

    1. Doing a realistic projection of that would be very difficult.

      We’d need to get an estimate of what lap times they could do over shorter stints. That wouldn’t just involve taking, say, the last 15 laps of each stint, because those laps would have been faster because they would have been run on less-worn tyres. Muddying the picture further, it’s very hard for drivers to save enough of the softest tyres in good enough condition to use for the race as they have to use them in qualifying.

      I have an opinion (or perhaps it’s a prejudice) that three-stop strategies tend to look better on paper than they work out in the race. Lose a little time here or there getting caught behind a driver on a different strategy or (worst-case scenario) a safety car, and your race is ruined.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        26th August 2009, 9:58

        Agreed Keith, the problem with a 3 stopper is that you are stopping before the rest of the field and then running out of sync, in this case Lewis would have lost any potential time saved stuck behind Kimi.

  3. Badoer’s got a big hill to climb at Spa (pun intended)

    1. Make that a big slippery hill if it rains.

  4. I can´t understand how Ferrari keeps Badoer for SPA. I still can´t understand how Badoer agrees to drive for Ferrari at Spa.
    It will be better for him to drive the pace car or the ambulance at SPA
    He is an experienced driver, and he should get the grips of the car immediately. He is not a rookie with future where you need to give him time to adjust. This is a top team and needs the best driver available. What Ferrari needs is an established driver to substitute Massa and minimize the point losses

    This is not a charity.

    For loyalty reasons he has been given a chance, and has proven to be a disaster, making mistakes, out of pace, with inconsistent lap times and now its time to leave and let someone more updated and capable to do the job.

    Place either Bourdais, Fisichella or Piquet in order of preference as experienced drivers because they have been driving this year´s spec car and are point catchers.

    And if gamble is the issue, place Hulkenberger, Senna or Bortolotti.

    But don´t replace Badoer with GENE

    It will be more of the same, a little better.

    Ferrari is known for being fast cars. With Badoer driving it looks like a taxi cab.

  5. Badoer was just damn bad… too bad they are keeping him for one race, so he wouldn’t be scared for life :)

    Gene would be better, but still I would go for a better option like Davidson!

  6. Luca Badriver sleeps with the fishes. Please put someone else in. Anyone. J.Villeneuve in at Spa would be a nice tribute to Gilles. Gilles career ended at the Belgium GP many years ago. This would probably be the only time to “repay” the legendary driver. Having his son drive for Ferrari. Marketing wise it would bring up the history of…everything. The driver and the brand. Merchandising would be off the shelves. As time and contracts come into effect, never will the opportunity present itself. If JV does well, then Monza as too. Wasting this on any other driver is blasphemous.

    1. I agree with you, however there’s a ruling that says only 4 drivers are allowed during the championship over a year, per team. That makes things easy in understanding why Ferrari doesn’t change Luca, because Michael might come into play later on.

      1. Right now F1 is dead in N/A…putting JV in would change that,but JV is racing a NASCAR race this weekend in Montreal with over 100k fans there at 1/20th the cost of putting on a F1 race…doesn’t look like f1 is coming to Montreal anytime soon, unless cvc is willing to “pay about 10m” to race there…boy did Bernie mes this up

  7. Anyone think Badoer will be in the points at Spa?
    How about the top 10?
    How about making it to Q2?
    OMG I love this stuff.
    Anyone wanna bet Gene is in the car at Monza?

  8. The tyre mix-up cost Lewis Hamilton at least 5 seconds. It was this pit-stop that cost him the race.

    1. Bigbadderboom
      26th August 2009, 10:03

      He was scheduled for an 8sec stop which ran to 10.5, so it cost him 2.5, Rubens had about 4 laps in tank when he stopped, if the Brawns had pushed it, Mclaren couldn’t get close.As Martin Whitmarsh said, they simply didnt have the pace! If anything cost Lewis the race it was the overheating rear brakes that he was suffering in the first stint, he was pushing very hard then because Mclaren knew even then that they could not match the Brawns pace. Lewis was clearly told to drive to preserve them.

  9. a much better race than last year. Fifth different winner this season which is a good statistic. Incredible to compare Barrichello’s performance to the Red Bulls. He had the total upper hand on Button. The championship is not over yet but this race has brought some useful breathing space for Brawn. Hamilton or Massa would have been delighted to have had an 18 point lead with 6 races to go last year. Button needs it. He should be the favourite but he is not looking convincing at the moment.
    A couple of question.
    Firstly, does a Toyota departure look imminent? The stories this weekend do not sound good. Again like BMW this would be dishonourable. A number of new teams wanted to enter next year’s championship. Should Toyota just pull out now thus maximising chances of a 26 car grid? Why don’t FIA accept 28 entries to cover this likelihood? Remember during the great conflict the statement that read “you just cannot trust manufacturers”?
    Secondly, I thought there might have been mention of next year’s calendar at this race. Any news? Certainly a lot of talk about Donington, Suzuka, Montreal and Valencia just recently.

  10. Mclaren are adamant that it wasn’t their day to win, but the figures seem to suggest that the mistake cost something in the order of 8 seconds, with a normal stop being around 10 secs. I guess if the mistake hadn’t happened and Barichello had carried on for the full 5 laps then he might have got past, but 8 seconds is a lot!

  11. Eddie Irvine
    25th August 2009, 5:08

    0.7 kg/litre is a typically quoted density for hydrocarbons used in fuel for road cars which would give a volume of about 1.4 litres for a kilogram of fuel.However, racing fuel will probably be blended to give the maximum weight of fuel for a given volume, subject to FIA regulations. This will bring the volume per kilogram down a bit.Isn’t science interesting?Remember the chilled fuel row at Interlagos in 2007.
    Hamilton did have the pace, but the team made a poor decision to run the first two stint on options for both Hamilton and Kovalainen. While Hamilton sprinted away in the first five laps of the first stint, the worn options compromised his pace in the middle-long portion in long runs. Furthermore, Hamilton had to back off some laps during the second stint to manage the options. Hamilton’s run on primes was quick and consistently improving lap-to-lap, which is what you want. If he had run options in the first and second stints, he would have had consistent enough pace to build enough of a margin to hold off Barrichello the overlaps. Primes were the way to go today. McLaren and a few other teams really messed up their tire choices.
    Martin is quite right here, I’m sure Lewis would have been close but overtaking in Valencia would be too risquee.Why is it that every time Lewis is at the front Button is not and Vice versa? I’d luv to see both of them at the front together before the end of the season, possibly racing each other…I don’t think it would have made a difference to the result if the pit stop had gone perfectly. Rubens was exceptionally quick over those laps and would have probably had a couple of seconds in the bag.It was a great race although I am disappointed at the negative tactics for and by Jenson Button. He needs to really go and attack the field to make sure he wins the world title.Rubens wasn’t exceptionally quick. That’s simply the lap times going down with the fuel going out.It’s like watching a fuel correction table in real timeYes I watched Martin’s explanation both times he gave it on tv after the race and in the F1 forum afterwards. It explained clearly why the delay happened, BUT he also claimed it didn’t affect the result, he even had me believing him for a while, although it was pretty obvious that no one else did.Lewis was biting his tongue in the after race interviews and supporting Martin’s story. For a while I though that an upright fellow like Martin would be telling the truth, that is until I looked at the winning times and the gap from Rubens to Lewis. There is little doubt that the 2.3 second margin by which Rubens beat Lewis was lost in the cock-up.I am afraid my opinion of Martin Whitmasrsh just went down today. Had the winning gap been 6 or more seconds then yes he would be right, but the world can see he was being economical with the truth.If he is half the man we expect him to be, he will apologise and say “Sorry I was protecting the guys in the crew, but it was our cock-up, we lost it for Lewis.”The gap would have been more than 2.3 seconds. Barichello had enough fuel for another 3 or so laps but came in early to avoid a potential safety car when it was clear he was going to get ahead. On top of that, he eased off for a while in his 3rd stint.I fully believe Barichello had enough in his pocket to leapfrog Lewis, it’s just a shame that it’s the McLaren pitcrew who are “taking the credit” for what, in my opinion, was most probably a Barrichello win anyway You need to look the time Lewis lost in pitstop and the time how much Barrichello was behind him when Lewis stopped. Winning margin has nothing to do with any of this. Barrichello had no intention to hurry once he was infront of Lewis with quite a big margin, so he could save his engine and brakes and let Lewis get close to him but not as close that he could have been threat to him.
    To be fair, Hamilton got within 2.3 seconds at the end because Barrichello backed off on the last lap. Hamilton was quicker than Barrichello the last few laps, but it was a matter of 2-3 tenths of a second.Apart from the 2.3 seconds being the wrong margin to look at, I completely agree that Whitmarsch should have apologised to Lewis.I guess Whitmarsh was trying to sound like a good loser, but who wants to see a good loser anyway? People should be upset when they lose.There is little doubt that the 2.3 second margin by which Rubens beat Lewis was lost in the cock-up.That is the wrong margin to be looking at.The margin to look at is the time difference between the end of hamilton’s pitsop and barichello going past the pit lane exit.Margins at the end of the race are meaningless, one person can have slowed down or turned down their engine etc, once they know they are in the clear.

    1. J b is just saving his engines,for the fight at the end.

  12. gazzap: That was a good conclusion. Seeing Badoer drive really does show the fans how competitive the sport is. Luca has over 150,000 km behind the wheel of a Ferrari. He is by no means a worthless or new driver, yet he looked pathetic with the rest of the grid. Talent is a must.

    Ferrari should give its fans a refund for tickets. I’m sure the Tifosi have seen plenty of Ferrari tests for free that they don’t need to come to Valencia to see them. How can a driver announce that he will essentially test during a GP. This should make Ecclestone furious.

    And all of this at the same time that Ferrari decided to ease or stop development for the 09 season. I commend McLaren for saving face and doing a superb job of improving their race cars. The championship has been over for them for a long time, but they have stuck to it, won a race followed by a one two quali.

  13. When that Ferrari…

  14. Will they forget…

  15. its an article about McLaren International and Ron Dennis, with the word replaced by , by , by and by


    1. its an article about McLaren International and Ron Dennis, with the word “McLaren”replaced by “Ferrari”, “West McLaren” by “marlboro ferrari”, “Ron Dennis” by “jean todt” and “Dennis” by “todt”


  16. DMW at 4:53 is not me (9:46). Something is off with the logins.

  17. Replace Luca B. with another driver, but I don’t think our JV is the guy. Better someone with current experience. I think Bourdais would be a good lab experiment. He is familiar with this year’s tires, the Ferrari engine, and he had push to pass I believe while he was in Champcar, so he has some KERS strategy.

    Re the comments on no fuel stops for next year…it was sometimes pretty boring back in the turbo 80’s under similar rules…the drivers could not run flat out, causing some of the charger-types like K. Rosberg to hang it up.

    Hoping for better this time around…

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