Mark Webber Scores First F1 Win at the Nurburgring

Mark Webber has finally done it. The Red Bull driver scored his first Formula One win in 132 starts, at the Nurburgring, beating local favorite and teammate Sebastian Vettel by almost 10 seconds and joining Alan Jones and Sir Jack Brabham as the only grand prix-winning Australians in the history of the sport.

The Milton Keynes team therefore clinched its third 1-2 this season, while rivals Brawn GP finished their first race without at least one of the drivers on the overall podium.

Webber’s start from pole position was not exactly what he had planned, as he faced tough competition from Rubens Barrichello and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton by the first corner. While the reigning world champion suffered from a tire blow – as he ran wide in Turn 1 – and had to visit the pits after only one lap, Barrichello got on the inside and took the leading position away from Webber.

The Aussie tried to fight it maybe a bit too hard and touched Barrichello’s car when entering the corner, which later brought him a drive-through penalty from the race stewards.

Championship leader Jenson Button slipped to 5th overall, but soon overtook Felipe Massa for 4th place and started trailing McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen for the podium. However, the Fin proved a great weapon for the leading duo – Barrichello/Webber – who put almost 15 seconds between them and the trailing pack by the first pit stop thanks to Kovalainen’s slow drive.

Webber took on his drive through penalty at the same time with Barrichello’s first pit stop, and used the next 4-5 laps to build a decent advantage up front. While 10 seconds ahead of Kovalainen, Webber finally decided to pit for new tires and refuel.

He went out in 5th place, just behind Massa, Barrichello, Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg. The Ferrari-an, the Force India German and the Williams driver soon had to pit, so Webber was left trailing Barrichello for the lead once again.

The Australian driver started recovering big time in the next few laps, so the Brawn GP driver decided to pit for new tires, taking on the super soft compound. The same happened with Jenson Button, as the two teammates clearly had difficulties getting their tires up to temperature.

That forced Ross Brawn to take on a 3-pit strategy, which ultimately scrapped any chance of a podium for either of the two drivers. That left Vettel untouched for 2nd place, while Massa faced little opposition from Rosberg for 3rd place. Button and Barrichello eventually had to settle for 5th and 6th respectively, while Fernando Alonso and Kovalainen got the last 2 point-scoring positions.

One drive that could have ended with a phenomenal surprise was Adrian Sutil’s. The Force India driver started from 7th on the grid but drove on as high as 2nd place before making his first pit stop. Just when it seemed Vijay Mallya will finally see his team’s name up on the scoreboard, it was again Kimi Raikkonen who touched Sutil when making his track return, causing front wing damage to Sutil’s VJM 02.

Raikkonen eventually paid for that a few laps later, as he was forced to pit for good due to engine problems with his F60.

Webber’s perfect weekend – win from pole position – got him 2 points closer to his teammate in the overall classification, while also recuperating 6 points to Button and 7 to Barrichello. The Brit’s championship lead is now cut to 21 points from Vettel, and 22.5 to Webber. Barrichello dropped no less than 2 positions in Germany, as he is now in 4th place overall.

In the constructors’ classification, Brawn GP lost no less than 11 points to Red Bull at the Nurburgring, as they are now leading by only 19.5 points.
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