2009 European GP: Reality Check

einnahsCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2009

VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 23:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes leads the field at the start of the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on August 23, 2009, in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

So, we're back to racing in Valencia after a rather eventful four-week break during which we saw Piquet Jr. get fired and replaced by Romain Grosjean, who brings the most outrageous hairstyle to the F1 paddock.

Michael Schumacher helped to sell some GP tickets by dangling the prospect of his return, then backed out to have Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer take Massa's seat. Massa is recovering well from his injury, and may or may not be bothered that Kimi did not call him.

Last but not least, BMW announced that they are pulling out of F1 by the end of 2009, not forgetting to inform their drivers via email the day after the official press release.

There may be silly season/driver circus/whatever-you-may-call-it in full swing, and lots of rumours floating in the air, but let's concern ourselves with news only when it is official, shall we?

Recapping the highs and lows of the European GP:

  • Another new boy on track. Plus 1. I can't get enough of Grosjean's hair. How does he fit into his helmet? But anyway, not too far off the pace, and I can't say that Piquet would have been faster, so good job so far. 
  • Not so, new boy on track. Minus 1.  Luca, I feel bad for saying this, but a red car in dead last, even in practice, does not look good. How did Ferrari let this happen?
  • Alonso's glory run in practice 2. Minus 1. Just to get in the Spanish headlines? *shakes head*
  • Vettel loses an engine and lots of oil on the track. Minus 1. Oh dear, well, at least no penalty for changing engines this year. Yet.
  • Martin Whitmarsh "confirms" Alonso's move to Ferrari. Minus 5. Boooooo.
  • The McLarens are scorching the field in qualis. Plus 2. Their pace is impressive.
  • Badoer qualifies in P20, 1.5s off from P19. Minus 5. 'Nuff said.
  • Button and Webber struggling for pace. Minus 1. Rather disappointing, really.
  • Kimi presses his KERS button and moves up to P4. Plus 2. Hahaha, I'm really liking the "magic button" now.
  • Horrific start by Button, loses four places. Minus 2. Not impressing anyone here.
  • Vettel's engine blows out. Again. Minus 2. Oh dear, only two new engines left. Should Webber and Renault start to worry?
  • McLaren does not have tyres ready for Lewis. Minus 5. Right.
  • Rubens Barrichello, no longer the oldest driver on the track, leapfrogs Lewis to lead the race. Plus 5. Alright!
  • Kimi leapfrogs Heikki in the second round of pit stops. Plus 2. Yessssss!
  • Badoer, despite being in front, lets Grosjean past when exiting the pits. Minus 2. Then promptly gets a drive-through penalty from the stewards for crossing the white line. Minus 2. *groan*
  • Timo Glock sets the fastest lap on lap 55 from P14. Plus 1. But seriously, what?
  • Barrichello wins his first race in five years! Plus 2. Tremendous job, well done. I'm tempted to deduct points for crying on team radio though, haha.
  • Lewis finishes P2. Plus 1. Good job all the way.
  • Kimi on podium again! Plus 2. Yay! Keep them coming ;)
  • Martin Whitmarsh claims that McLaren pit stop error did not cost Lewis the win. Minus 10. Whatever you say, Martin.
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That about wraps it up for the weekend. A little boring since the championship leaders (save Barrichello) did not really bring the fight to this race, and I'd never thought I would say this, but I miss Massa already. Please come back soon!

Next week we go to Spa! Not sure if Ferrari has the goods to do well there, but Kimi almost never disappoints. Keeping my fingers crossed all the way...

Cheers folks!

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