Rain or shine, Webber has win in his sights (German Grand Prix start analysis)

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Mark Webber is perfectly placed to win the German Grand Prix

Mark Webber has a precious opportunity to convert his first pole position into his first win – thanks in part to Sebastian Vettel failing to complete an extra lap in qualifying.

With four KERS cars in the top nine positions and rain threatening, we could be in for an exciting race tomorrow. Let’s take a look at how it may pan out.

The start

Brawn and Red Bull have locked out the top four places on the grid. But it’s the two drivers who are trailing their team mates on the front row – Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello.

Barrichello has made two particularly poor starts this year – at Melbourne and Istanbul – and will need to get off the line smartly to be sure of beating his team mate into turn one.

Starting from row two, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel could find themselves falling prey to either of the McLarens on row three, both of which have KERS. Lewis Hamilton made a particularly good start here two years ago – before he was hit by one of the BMWs – can he repeat that this year ad make a nuisance of himself for the championship leaders?

With the similarly KERS-powered Ferraris eighth and ninth, the run into the tight first corner (complete with a devilish new bump thanks to a tunnel built under the track) could be quite spectacular.

Although the Nurburgring doesn’t suffer from the clean/dirty side of the grid phenomenon as much as less-used tracks to, it can still make a difference. In this afternoon’s GP2 race Lucas di Grassi, who started third on the grid, was able to overtake second-placed Roldan Rodriguez at the start. That’s potentially good news for the likes of Button (third) and Hamilton (fifth).

Of course all this presumes a dry start to the race – if the expected rain comes we could see a much more unpredictable start. Rain is expected to reach the circuit around lunch time tomorrow, but rather than the deluge of 2007 it is expected to be more like the occasional showers we saw today. The KERS cars will have less of an advantage on a slippery track.

The strategy

The fuel weights published after qualifying revealed both Red Bull drivers are on the same fuel load. But this seems not to have been intentional – Vettel has claimed he intended to do one more lap in qualifying – reducing his fuel load further and potentially moving him up the grid – but ran out of time. That may have cost him dear.

Lewis Hamilton’s light fuel load increases the chance of him making some trouble for Sebastian Vettel at the start. And the Ferrari duo will be especially keen to clear Adrian Sutil’s heavily-fuelled Force India. The German driver successfully out-qualified the two F60s despite having a heavier fuel load, thanks in part to Ferrari running out of fresh super-soft tyres in the final part of qualifying.

Whatever strategies the teams may have in mind are likely to go out the window if we get the kind of mixed weather conditions we saw in the middle part of qualifying. One crucial thing we cannot tell is which drivers have gone for a compromise set-up on their cars which might help them in wet weather.

But however the weather pans out we look likely to have a more entertaining race tomorrow than last time out. Who do you think will win?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Rain or shine, Webber has win in his sights (German Grand Prix start analysis)”

  1. Now officially Redbull is the fastest team.
    my prediction was webber for pole and also for the win, so i am atleast happy for that even if my favourites button and barrichello are not looking good for the win.

  2. Casino Square
    11th July 2009, 21:44

    I’m really looking forward to the race, but then I was really looking forward to Turkey and GB, and they both turned out to be really boring. But enough pessimism- I think tomorrow should be great, especially if it rains, and I’m tipping Sebastian Vettel to win… we all know Webber will retire from the lead at some point!

  3. The key advantage of heavy fuel with the expected conditions will be the ability to choose the time of a tire change. Sutil could be in the pound seats, as they say—for example, if there is a gradual shift to heavy rain from lap 15-25.

    If I’m Bourdais, I switch to wets and start from the pits—got nothing to lose.

    1. Winklehock style!

      1. He doesn’t even has to start from pits.Two years back they had cause of the tyre rules.He can switch to wets and start from the track it-self.

  4. Go Webber Go!

  5. Hamilton 3rd fuel corrected

    1. If Ham is 3rd fuel corrected…then where is Kovi “corrected” who is 10 kg heavier?

      Strange days at Macca…

      1. edgelessmoocow
        12th July 2009, 9:14

        7th i believe, it says on bbc f1 website, check it out.

  6. I would love to see Webber finally deliver on his long touted talents. Especially after his injury saga this year. To get himself back on the grid is nothing short of remarkable.

    I hope the weather strategies don’t do him in, not to mention the gag possibility of starting from pole. The pressure will be incredible.

  7. webber has to win someday, and i think he can do it .

  8. I heard somewhere that heavier cars have better traction off the start… might help Barrichello keep ahead?

    1. It sounds physically improbable

  9. Why does Barrichello need to eat(sic) his team mate? :)

    1. Fixed it!

  10. I think Button can still do it, bearing in mind Brawn’s masterly strategy calls.

  11. We all know Rubens is hungry for the win, but eating Button? Haha that’s a tad over the top dont you think keith lol.

    Im not the biggest Webber fan, and seeing that awful lump on his leg getting prodded by Brett Lee made me feel sorry for him.

    Love the way how Ricky Ponting call them the Bloody Brawns, haha love it.

  12. Mark winning with Vettel on podium with one of the Brawn.
    Sutil good point finished.Key will be the start as both Ferrari & Mclaren have KERS.

    But what will happen if it rains.SUTIL,heaviest amongest the top 10.& he is a good wet weather driver.Lewis even can put up a surprise.,But if it rains after the first stint it will be awesome.

    Whats your opinion guys?

    1. Sutil has to see his back. Kimi is again behind him :)

  13. How bummed out will Webber be when Vettel gets the better pit stop and wins the race? :-)

  14. It would be lovely for Mark to get his first win, but the rain thing makes makes it impossible to believe that he can.

    WasiF1, I don’t think the Force India has the legs to stay up near the front regardless of how well Sutil qualified, but you never know.

    There are a lot of excellent wet weather drivers on the grid that know how to win a race. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fred come up from the back of the pack to win this race!

    In fact, that’s my prediction…Fred will win it!

  15. Red Bull will get another 1 – 2 finish and either Barichello or Button will get a DNF.

    Yipee, i get to get up for 8 am (i live in Canada). Thank goodness for Red Bull. I stocked up to make sure I’m awake for the whole race because its gonna be great. LETS GO RED BULL, LETS GO!!!

    1. lucky you, 6am for us oilbertans. oh and go Kimi you can do it!

      1. i got up at 3.30am for quali in nz! stop complaining, thats the worse time to get up at night

        1. edgelessmoocow
          12th July 2009, 9:15

          race starts at 1pm here :D (england)

  16. Red Bull gives you wind :)

  17. Webber for win.Hamilton on Podium.Sutil In points.

    1. no, sutil for podium!! that would make me proud.

  18. Ignoring the weather, Red Bull definitely seems to have the advantage this weekend with the cool weather conditions. If it’s a wet race, they still have the advantage, but the wet may open the door for a brilliant strategy call by Ross Brawn, especially if it’s a mixed-condition race with lots of changes in conditions like the qualis today.

    In any event, I just want to comment on McLaren’s performance. They clearly have made a big step forward, and the Nurb isn’t really a track that flatters their car as it was with a decent number of high-speed corners. Reportedly, they have more updates coming the next GP at Hungaroring and in coming GPs after that. We could see an Alonso-like second-half and close to the season from Hamilton, perhaps even with a win coming at exactly the same circuit- Singapore.

    1. i agree with you when you say mclaren have made a big step forward. especially when they’ve significantly closed the time gap to the leaders red bull, & as you say the nurburgring isn’t exactly a mechanical grip circuit, it has some high speed corners as well, so they semm to have sorted their downforce problems. but the only thing i fear when is they must not neglect the preparations for the 2010 season( if it happens :) ), cuz they are too far back to catch up on brawn. but mclaren i suppose will play spoil sport this season,cuz in the next few races i see them competing with red bull & brawn for victories.

  19. Been a long time since we heard the Australian anthem on the podium. Fingers crossed – god the tension is going to be unbearable.

    1. Pink, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Australian anthem in F1…now you’ve got me anxious!

      1. BRABHAM!

        1. you forgot alan jones,who ironically was the last aussie pole sitter i f1 & that too happened at the german gp in 1980 at hockenheimring!

  20. Heard it too much for my liking in 1980 with alan jones in the williams. Not the best season for a ferrari fan.Very much looking forward to a good race today

  21. I hope webber doesnt win, In my opinion he doesnt deserve it as he isn’t even using his own setups, he is using Vettels! Getting pole was worse enough but him winning will mean the australian commentators would never shut up!

    1. how do you know he was using vettel’s setup? were you at the garage? stop making such baseless allegations. its high time we’ve have an aussie win. they’ve waited for nearly 25 years & surely if mark wins he deserves it.

    2. Why would you say that webber uses vettles set up?

      They both learn from the sister car, but Mark has clearly used his own set up all year.

      No one deserves this win more than mark and certainly not a driver who can’t pass :-)

  22. i dont want a german winner anymore, they’ve had too many victories courtesy of the cheat,shoemaker. we need other nationalities like aussie,french,polish,indian to win races. hope a mercedes powered car wins the race tomorrow.

    1. Give up on the cheat rubbish. The big problem with him for most Brittish fans was he was german and drove for an Italian team.
      The war ended long ago but still the c**p continues.Whether you like it or not he was by far the very best and history has proven that with his records. Do you not remember what Prost and Senna got up to? Teams loading cars after the race with spanners and weights in drivers pockets to make the weight? Wake up and stop eating comtaminated bacon standing in puddles, it’s not good for your heath or mental state.

    2. it’s great that you don’t want a german winner anymore, but we don’t care, really.
      And it’s incredible that saying that, you’re supporting a racer from the most successful country in F1. Schumi was not a cheater, or at least not more than Hamilton or Alonso. And he was better.

      Do you have any words to be marked like in Monaco?

  23. I read that he uses Vettels setups a couple of weeks ago on a F1 site, i think it was autosport. Why does webber deserve the win? Why is it time we had an aussie win? If there was a good aussie driver in there then it would have happened years ago!

  24. Eating his teammate into turn one? Best typo of the year so far ;)

  25. go sutil go vettel go kimi

  26. some spanish and brasilian press have the following headlines:

    “Button says he’s the best pilot ever.”

    When the hell did that happen?

    1. He said it recently at a marathon as a joke.

      A reporter asked him “Who do you think was the best ever driver in F1?”

      His reponse was:

      “Me. I’m the best.”

      1. Spanish press is stupid. In fact I’m amazed the headline didn’t say “Button says he’s better than Alonso”.

        I don’t know about the brazilian ones.

  27. FLIG, During the 3 weeks of between the races he did a marathon and was asked a question who he thought was the best F1 driver in History and he replied with: Me, I’m the best. Thats were it came from i am guessing

  28. edgelessmoocow
    12th July 2009, 9:11

    it says 3 kers cars in the top 10, two mclarens, two ferraris is 4 kers cars.

  29. PrisonerMonkeys
    12th July 2009, 9:36

    As much as I’d love for a fellow Australian to win, I’d rather see Jenson Button take it. I also don’t want to have to put up with the morons who commentate in Australia; when Sutil blocked Webber in Bahrain, the commentators only just stopped short of calling for the German’s head, cliaming that he robbed Mark Webber of pole position and a certain victory. They’re worse than James Allen; at least when Allen did it, Hamilton had the results to show through. If Webber wins, Greg Rust and Cameron McConville will probably just cut the BBC commentary and talk Webber up ten laps from the end, increasingly sounding like they’re about to suffer brain aneurysms from the excietement.

    1. Yes i agree, i really hate them. When i went to the Aus GP this year i thought the track commentary would be the BBC one, But i was sadly mistaken, it was only the aussie commentators. At the start when Vettel jumped into 2nd place Greg Rust was yelling: WEBBER INTO 2ND! WEBBER INTO 2ND! When obviously it was Vettel as Webber had crashed out at the first corner, to make it 2 racing laps in 2 years at the Aus GP :D.

    2. when Sutil blocked Webber in Bahrain, the commentators only just stopped short of calling for the German’s head, cliaming that he robbed Mark Webber of pole position and a certain victory.

      Ah, shamelessly partisan commentators. Where would we be without them?

      Watching better coverage, probably…

  30. Go Mark! I want Button to win the WDC but it’s good to see him being made to work for it instead of getting it handed to him on a plate. And one of the reasons I like Button is because he toiled in terrible cars for so long. This is even truer of Webber.

  31. The GP2 race this morning was run on a drying track. The surface is now dry on-line and the radar suggests there won’t be any more heavy rain today. Chance of the odd light shower though: http://bit.ly/EDhhw

  32. Webber is not a ‘lucky’ driver and seems to suffer the worst of any luck going. You don’t need to be lucky to win but being unlucky can lose you races.

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