Brawn GP can expect a close fight with Red Bull Racing throughout the season if Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix is anything to go by.
The Brackley-based outfit currently lead the championship following back-to-back wins in Australia and Malaysia, but the team conceded that they were no match for the Red Bull drivers in Shanghai today, after they dominated the race in the wet.
Despite running considerably more fuel than the Red Bull cars, neither Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello had the pace to keep up with them as Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line some forty seconds ahead of Button in third place.
“A very difficult race today and I am so pleased that we got both cars to the end of 56 laps and scored as many points as possible,” reflected Button. “The conditions were pretty crazy with rivers of water all over the circuit which changed every time you encountered them.”
“The last turn particularly was like a lake and you just couldn’t brake for the corner. I struggled with the car aquaplaning and the tyres shuddering as we couldn’t get the temperatures high enough to make them work properly.”
“Mark Webber and I had a good fight for a few laps but I just couldn’t stay with him. However to finish the race today is an achievement in itself and to be on the podium is fantastic. We couldn’t have beaten the Red Bulls and congratulations to Sebastian and Mark on a great result.”
With only half points awarded to Jenson Button at the abandoned Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang, Sebastian Vettel now sits just eleven points behind the Briton in the drivers championship.
Worringly for Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing have yet to attach a split-diffuser to their car which could yeild a significant advantage in laptime.
Team principal Ross Brawn alluded to a closely fought season with the Milton-Keynes based outfit, and hopes that their dominance in China will prove to be a one-off in the rain.
“Another dramatic race today to continue what is turning out to be a very exciting 2009 Formula One season,” he said. “Jenson and Rubens did an excellent job to bring the cars home in the difficult conditions which combined with a solid team performance over the whole weekend enabled us to score as many points as possible.”
“We had a good strategy with both drivers fuelled long for their first stints which allowed us to bridge the gap to the leaders.”
“However on similar fuel, Vettel and Webber were then able to pull away. Congratulations to Red Bull for their one-two performance today. We know from Australia what a fantastic feeling that achievement is and I’m sure they will enjoy every minute of it.”
“Our focus now turns to Bahrain next weekend for what will hopefully be a dry race.”