Podium for Webber in Red Bull 1 - 2

They crossed the finish line in teamed pairs at the end of last nights Chinese Grand Prix: Red Bull, Brawn, and McLaren. And Mark Webber, often dubbed the unluckiest man in F1, finally shook off the moniker and held off current series leader Jenson Button to take second in a sodden but spectacular Chinese Grand Prix.


However, the victory was not without its share of mechanical malfunctions, with the Red Bull cars proving unreliable right up to the final qualifying sessions.

"It's such an incredible day for the team - you have no idea what the guys went through last night," said an elated Webber.

"We were absolutely sh***ing ourselves that the cars wouldn't finish the race because every time we ran yesterday, they stopped.

"So, it's incredible to get the cars home and to get maximum points. This comes after the near misses in Australia for Sebastian and for myself in Malaysia.

Sebastian Vettel, who claimed victory with Torro Rosso last year after grabbing pole at Monza, repeated the result with a pole and first place, gleaning speed from full visibility at the front of a rain-soaked race. Behind him, Torro Rosso team mate Sebastien Buemi almost punted him off under safety car on Lap 18 after losing him in the rooster-tail spray. Luckily, there was no damage, and Buemi managed to hold on to eighth place at the finish.

Others were not so lucky - the lap 18 safety car was for BMWs Robert Kubica, who took Toyota's Jarno Trulli in the deluge. Defending champ Lewis Hamilton climbed to fifth before spinning out and losing five spots, while Massa's Ferrari conked out on lap 21. Williams' Kazuki Nakajima spun out early and failed to finish again.

Brawn looked strong again, with Button and Barichello leading the field after both Red Bull cars pitted for fuel, but when the two ex-Honda cars took on fuel themselves, Vettel and Webber had the pace with a lighter fuel load. The two teams tussled and swapped places with some brilliant overtaking moves for an exciting finish: Vettel, Webber, Button, Barrichello.
"It was a challenging race at times!" said Webber.

It was hard to follow the cars in the beginning due to the spray, but then further into the race, it started to settle a bit. After the second safety car stint, I had a good scrap with Jenson. On my official lap at the front, I couldn't believe how clear it was - I thought 'Oh my God, it's beautiful!' I then pushed like hell to make up as much time as possible - it was fantastic.

"When Jenson (Button) re-passed me, I was very keen to try win the race, so I passed him around Turn seven as I knew he wouldn't know I would be there, it was one of the best moves of my career. I'm happy today!"

Button also praised the efforts of the Aussie, whose 2009 season was in doubt right up to the Melbourne GP opener after a bicycle accident in Tasmania.

"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."

The maiden victory for the two Red Bull drivers should hopefully put to rest the general grumblings over the aerodynamics advantages of the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars' rear diffusers.

FIA's International Court of Appeal last week dismissed an appeal against an earlier decision to allow the three teams to race with their controversial double-decker rear diffusers - designs which is claimed give them an advantage over the other seven teams in the world championship.

Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull Racing and BMW Sauber squared up against Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams in front of five judges at the FIA headquarters, at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

There were 38 people present, either legal counsel, team personnel or FIA representatives. Eight hours of argument was heard.

The double-decker diffuser design on the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars have two apertures that increase airflow, so aiding downforce that in turn increases grip, and speed.

Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull Racing and BMW Sauber claimed there is nothing in the technical regulations that allow for "holes" such as those in the cars targeted by the appeal.

Ferrari's legal eagle Nigel Tozzi QC, opened the debate by slamming Ross Brawn's arrogance. In his 90 minute statement, Tozzi highlighted the FIA's incompetence but reserved his heartiest attack for Brawn, claiming that "only a person of supreme arrogance would think he is right when so many of his esteemed colleagues would disagree".

Tozzi also emphasised that the cost of the seven teams having to create fresh rear diffuser designs would be very expensive at a time when the FIA president Max Mosley was calling for cost cutting measures via the reduction of innovative technology.

Renault's legal representative, Andrew Ford, declared that the FIA last year ruled illegal a design by the French manufacturer that had similarities with the diffuser currently being used by Toyota.

But in the end, the FIA appeal court would have always had difficulty going against earlier stewards' decisions that found the Brawn, Williams and Toyota diffuser designs were legal.

It would have been awkward if not farcical to take action that would have ruled out the fairytale Brawn victories in the first two world championship races of 2009.

The decision is really no surprise. Since the matter was raised heading into the opening race of the season in Melbourne, two sets of stewards along with FIA president Max Mosley and an FIA race director have been of the opinion that the rear diffuser designs of Brawn, Williams and Toyota were entirely legal. And looking at the podium results in China, entirely successful.

Most of the seven remaining teams had already been working on diffuser designs in anticipation of the appeal going against them, with Lewis Hamilton and Renault debuting some new winglets at China.

They are already regaining their competitiveness, but will the championship have been lost by then?

Button extends his championship lead to 21 points, ahead of Barrichello on 15, Vettel on 10 and Webber on 9.5.

RESULTS
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:57:43.485
2. Mark Webber +11.0 sec
3. Jenson Button +45.0 sec
4. Rubens Barrichello +63.7 sec
5. Heikki Kovalainen +65.1 sec
6. Lewis Hamilton +71.9 sec
7. Timo Glock +74.5 sec
8. Sebastien Buemi +76.4 sec

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