German Grand prix, held last week on Nurburgring was the last race for Sebastien Bourdais with Toro Rosso. Jaime Alguersuari will replace the French for Hungarian Grand prix.
Bourdais was born in Le Mans, a town famous all over the world for one of the most amazing motorsport events, the 24 hour endurance race. In addition his father was also a racing driver and Sebastien followed fathers steps. First karting, than lower series of single-seater racing. In 2002 he won the International Formula 3000. That year he also tested for Arrows F1 team and signed to race in 2003 but team got bankrupt.
That was one of most important turning points in his career. Instead of joining Renault f1 Team to be their test driver Sebastien decided to try his luck in the USA. In 2003 he entered Champ Car and claimed pole position on his very first race. He finished 4th in that season and claimed Rookie of the Year title. The rest is history- he dominated next 4 years in Champ Car, winning 4 consecutive titles.
In late 2007 it was announced he will be returning to F1 for 2008, joining Scuderia Toro Rosso and partnering Sebastian Vettel. Expectations were high and he proved his speed on first race in Melbourne. The rest of the year was however not so sweet; Vettel kept beating him on almost every race. Luck was not on his side; rain in Spa, mechanical problem in Monza and penalty in Fuji. His survival in F1 was questionable after the season. Somehow he retained his seat for following season, despite collecting 31 points less than his teammate.
2009 season started in similar manner as previous one- collecting a point and giving some hope for successful season, but next races told different story, car was simply not competitive.
Toro Rosso managers decided to sack him right now, in the middle of the season, right before the race when new parts for the car are promised. Sebastien is of course upset, and I somehow have to agree. If they don’t want him to drive for them, why they kept him for another season? They could have let him go at the end of unsuccessful season, that would be better for both sides…
So Formula 1 defeated another driver. He was in fact not a bad driver; he was actually successful in every series of motorsport he entered. Apart form F1. Alongside his success’ in Champ Car he competed in 24 hour race at Le Mans several times and finished second twice. So why he never succeed in F1? Who knows. He’s out now, but I believe he will soon shine again in some other category.
Nick Heidfeld drove 39 laps this season in 20th position.
Let’s take a look at some statistics – which driver drove most laps in which position this year.
1. Jenson Button – 280 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel – 126 laps
3. Mark Webber – 95 laps
4. Felipe Massa – 91 laps
5. Nico Rosberg – 76 laps
6. Nico Rosberg – 102 laps
7. Fernando Alonso – 82 laps
8. Fernando Alonso – 59 laps
9. Nico Rosberg – 61 laps
10. Timo Glock – 81 laps
11. Timo Glock – 64 laps
12. Nick Heidfeld – 86 laps
13. Nelson Piquet – 68 laps
14. Giancarlo Fisichella – 88 laps
15. Adrian Sutil – 68 laps
16. Adrian Sutil – 82 laps
17. Adrian Sutil – 73 laps
18. Sebastien Buemi – 67 laps
19. Kazuki Nakajima – 29 laps
20. Nick Heidfeld – 39 laps
Jenson Button used a different helmet for his home GP this year.
Sebastian Vettel : “I am always happy when I have won a race but, listening to the German anthem in Germany when you are a German, then it is definitely something very special.”
In 2007, not one driver won his home race. One year later, in 2008, Hamilton won at the rain race in Silverstone. Felipe Massa won in Interlagos as well, and it was rainy too. This year, so far nobody has won his home race yet – Button, Vettel and Webber are the only three race winners this year, and they all raced home already. Button won Webber’s home race, Webber won Vettel’s home race, and Vettel won Button’s home race.
The best result at home race this season was achieved by Sebastian Vettel, who was 2nd, behind his teammate Mark Webber.
(Fernando Alonso has two home races – Spanish GP in Barcelona and European GP in Valencia)
Results at home races so far this season:
2nd – Sebastian Vettel at the German GP in Nurburgring.
4th – Nico Rosberg at the German GP in Nurburgring.
5th – Fernando Alonso at the Spanish GP in Barcelona.
6th – Jenson Button at the British GP in Silverstone.
9th – Timo Glock at the German GP in Nurburgring.
10th – Nick Heidfeld at the German GP in Nurburgring.
12th – Mark Webber at the Australian GP in Melbourne.
15th – Adrian Sutil at the German GP in Nurburgring.
16th – Lewis Hamilton at the British GP in Silverstone.
Drivers that are going to race at home this year:
Fernando Alonso and Jaime Alguersuari at the European GP in Valencia (23th August 2009)
Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella at the Italian GP in Monza (13th September 2009)
Kazuki Nakajima at the Japanese GP in Suzuka (4th October 2009)
Felipe Massa, Nelson Piquet and Rubens Barrichello at the Brazilian GP in Interlagos (18th October 2009)
Drivers with no home races:
Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen – Finland
Sebastien Buemi – Switzerland
Robert Kubica – Poland
Sebastien Bourdais – France
As Button won race after race, most people said, that if Red Bull wants to beat Button and Brawn in the championships battle, they have to win in Silverstone and Nurburgring. And so they did it. In Silverstone Vettel won and Webber was second, in Nurburgring Webber won and Vettel was second. Button, as the championship leader, was 5th and 6th, and lost quite a lot of points. Red Bull appeared to be the fastest car on the grid in the last two races – but at both races there were low temperatures – and in such conditions Brawns had the biggest problems so far this season.
Can Red Bull win at Hungaroring? When the temperature is high (at least it is expected to be in Hungaroring), can they beat Brawn?
Brawn appeared to be fast at circuits with slow corners and long straights, like Sakhir and Melbourne, while Red Bull appeared to be fast at circuits with high-speed corners, like Silverstone. The Hungaroring circuit doesn’t have a lot of straights, and has a lot of corners, mostly low-speed. It’s the type of circuit at which Brawn should be fast – but Red Bull made a really big progress before the British GP.
Mark Webber said : “The critical point of both championships comes in the next two races in Budapest and Valencia.” If Vettel and Webber can win at Hungarian and European GP, the championship battle will be wide open. If Button can win and extend his championship advantage, he is going to be very close to becoming 2009 world champion. Those two races will be crucial.
Red Bull said that they won’t favorize Vettel or Webber – but I think it is necessary. Altought it’s not a nice thing to do, it’s the best championship strategy. It worked with Hakkinen, it worked with Schumacher, it worked with Alonso, and it’s working so far with Button. So far this season Webber and Vettel took many points from each other, and that might cost them the championship. If Red Bull will decide to do so, they will probably go with Vettel.
So, next week it’s going to be the first of those very important two races – Hungarian GP at the Hungaroring circuit.
Championship points, from race to race:
Button’s advantage in the championship:
Constructors championship points, from race to race: