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. Eddie Irvine said on 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.

  2. Polak said on 25th August 2009, 6:52

    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.

  3. pitt layne said on 25th August 2009, 10:04

    When that Ferrari…

  4. pitt layne said on 25th August 2009, 10:12

    Will they forget…

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


    • 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”


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

  7. Obster said on 25th August 2009, 20:27

    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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