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

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)

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

  1. Bigbadderboom said on 24th August 2009, 18:42

    Great analysis as always Keith.

    As far as the start went, I feel that Vettel was over aggressive in his move on Button, to me it looked wild, but could have Button used the pit exit for more space, perhaps as already commented here he done the sensible thing and lived to fight another day.

    For the incident with Webber, Jenson rightly surrendered the position back, he might have had his nose in front but he was off line and out of space so he might not of gained a position but he gained an advantage, so fairs fair, and his team advised him correctly in my opinion.

    Bodoer was simply awful, an F1 race is not the place to reward loyalty, or even run a test. Sponsors, fans and circuit management pay enormous sums of money to watch and put on the best motor races in the world. Bodoer is not even a has been, he is a never has been. He is now out of shape and out of touch with modern F1, for him to be allowed to race at the fast Spa circuit will be negligent on Ferraris part, a driver with that level of performance is simply dangerous.

    Hamilton v’s Rubens? The Mclaren never had the pace, and the pit mistake only gave Brawn the option to bring Rubens in early, he still had a potential 4 laps to run so I think Ross had it in the bag, although had Lewis been able to push from the off without the rear brakes overheating it may have developed differently.

    The WDC now looks destined for Brawn but for me it could still be either of the cars, Rubens has tremendous experience and this may see him close the gap, but for me now its all over for the Red Bulls, too much competition for points now from Williams, Mclaren and Ferrari, combined with Vettels lack of engines and their inconsistancy for me gives it to the Brawns………”For Sure”

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th August 2009, 23:40

      Sponsors, fans and circuit management pay enormous sums of money to watch and put on the best motor races in the world.

      Badoer’s various remarks about it being just a test for him really grated with me. Yes, I appreciate it’s tough for him because he wasn’t able to do any serious testing before his return, but telling the fans you’re not even trying really is rubbing their noses in it.

      Given that Ferrari could just as easily have put Marc Gene in the car, who’s got much more recent experience and would surely have struck a chord with the crowd, I think this was a mistake by Ferrari.

  2. Salty said on 24th August 2009, 19:25

    Polishing yer boots again – great analysis as usual Keith – an off day every now and then would be nice, give us something to moan about ;o)

    Quite like this new Ferrari Loves Old People initiative, giving the elderly a free weekend away. Be nice if they could FLOP someone else in their spare shiney red machine in Spa. Maybe Margaret Thatcher or Nelson Mandela would like to FLOP in Belgium? Couldn’t be any worse than LB managed at Valencia surely.

    Seriously, with the best will in the world, Luca just isn’t going to cut the mustard, he never did ten years ago, he definitely isn’t going to now. Ferrari, as the biggest brand in motorsport, really need to find a new ‘guest’ driver for Spa.

    If I was Tifosi, I would be very unhappy about a second weekend of Luca ‘just trying to finish the race’. They should be bold and throw Nelson Piquet Jr in the car. Obviously not the best driver out there, but has current F1 experience and is AVAILABLE.

    Would love to see Alonso’s face if they did…

  3. Xenia said on 24th August 2009, 19:47

    Salty… You are right, even piquet would be better and yes, I would love to see Alonso’s face if nelsinho ended up driving a Ferrari before he did…

    I thought the race was a Tad dull but had some interesting performances. Kimi seems to have his head down and while he doesn’t seem uber motivated, he doesn’t seem unmotivated now. Maybe it’s the realisation he can be top-3 in F1 but maybe only top-15 in karting. Then again, doubt he cares.

    Alonso also did a reasonable job at bringing in more points as did Rosberg.

    “for sure” the potential driver line up for 2010 gets more exciting as various drivers pull out good performances

    Great stuff Keith, love the site!!!

    • Wesley said on 24th August 2009, 23:26

      I bet Piquet is is really unhappy now.If he could have lasted another couple of races he would have had the chance to beat a Ferrari.

  4. Oliver said on 24th August 2009, 20:15

    Ferrari doesn’t intend that Badoer be their long term driver. He is simply just a seat warmer. Lets face it, Ferrari isn’t really interested fighting for 3rd and 4th places in the constructors championship. If they were, you would see a decent driver in that car.

    • Salty said on 24th August 2009, 20:30

      I agree Ferrari arn’t looking for a long term future in 39 year old Luca Badoer. But Ferrari are the ultimate racing brand. Their sponsers are paying millions of dollars a year to see their name on the fastest, coolest billboard in the world.

      Except, we really like this guy who has done the dog-days, driving the car thousands of miles for us. We know he was slow in his F1 days, but we like him, so if you don’t mind…

      Doesn’t work. Millions of dollars for HALF the TV coverage. They have become extremely complacent if they think they can insult their investors in that way.

      Ferrari is still a business. Their product is racing. Their drivers must be the best available. And, sorry Kimi, but I suspect the current main driver is not a customer facing specialist.

      SALT

    • I think Kimi’s “no care” attitude has rubbed off on the whole team! I mean there is NO WAY they would let this happen in the old days! Its like all of Ferrari have just backed off…..?

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th August 2009, 20:20

    Thanks for all your compliments everyone. If there’s any other analysis you’d particularly like to see, do let me know.

    • Salty said on 24th August 2009, 20:44

      Don’t suppose you’d consider a run at the lottery numbers for next week?

      Nah? Well just asking…

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

  7. 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th August 2009, 23:37

      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.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 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.

  8. Brendan said on 24th August 2009, 21:53

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

  9. pride said on 24th August 2009, 22:00

    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.

  10. SoLiD said on 25th August 2009, 0:39

    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!

  11. pitt layne said on 25th August 2009, 0:42

    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.

    • 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.

      • 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

  12. Leaf said on 25th August 2009, 0:49

    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?
    :-)

  13. Hakka said on 25th August 2009, 4:52

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

    • Bigbadderboom said on 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Ronman said on 25th August 2009, 5:00

    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!

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