Since their upgrade prior to the British Grand Prix three weeks ago and contrary to the utter Brawn domination until then, Red Bull had the upper hand now. After 129 races incresingly dotted by podium finishes, it was Australia’s Mark Webber who took victory—his first ever since debuting in Formula One at his home race in 2002.
The Brawns have shown their Achilles heel yet again: the white-and-fluoro-green battleship is simply too aerodymanic to properly warm its tires on a wet and damp track like the Nürburgring or Silverstone. Adrian Newey’s lithe Red Bulls blazed to victory, with their third all-podium finish in the past three races, two of them 1–2’s.
Last year’s champion Lewis Hamilton had a dismal Sunday after a fine qualifying at 5th: he ran wide at the very first corner, punctured a tire and limped home last.
Webber was obviously overjoyed—but Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello provided a counterpoint. The 37-year-old Brazilian, second in the championship before the race, has fallen back to fourth place after finishing sixth, leapfrogged by both Red Bull drivers. His response was less than diplomatic:
I guess the strategy in the pit lane… it was a good show from the team on how to lose a race today. I’m terribly upset with the way things have gone. I did all I had to do. I went first on the first corner and that’s all I did and then they made me lose the race. If it is really what’s going on, we’re going to end up losing both championships. I feel sorry for myself, the team. To be very honest, I wish I could get on the plane and go home. I don’t want to talk to anyone in the team. It will be all ‘bla bla bla’ and I don’t want to hear that.
His boss with the giant extraterrestrial brain responded with the brutal facts:
Rubens had the 11th fastest time in the race today. You cannot win a race, whatever strategy you have, if your best lap time is the 11th quickest.
And while Ross Brawn may have dismissed his driver’s outburst as the words of a frustrated racing driver in the heat of the moment, Barrichello may well remember this interview with Brawn back in 2001.