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Webber battles to maiden F1 win

Mark Webber celebrates his maiden win

F1 Highlights - Webber's maiden victory

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Nurburgring

Red Bull's Mark Webber scored his maiden Formula 1 win with a brilliant performance at the German Grand Prix after a drive-through penalty.

Webber was punished for colliding with Brawn's Rubens Barrichello at the start but was in a class of his own to dominate the race despite his handicap.

Sebastian Vettel made it a Red Bull one-two ahead of Felipe Massa.

Barrichello finished sixth behind Williams's Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button while Lewis Hamilton was last.

Brawn's Button remains in the world championship lead on 68 points but Vettel and Webber have leap-frogged over Barrichello, who angrily accused his own team of costing him victory after the race.

It's an incredible day for me. I wanted to win so badly

Mark Webber

Germany's Vettel is now 21 points behind Button with team-mate Webber just 1.5 points behind - and Webber the same margin ahead of Barrichello.

Starting from pole position, 32-year-old Webber was an odds-on favourite heading into the race but he made life difficult for himself from the moment the lights went out at the start.

He was slow off the line and in trying - and failing - to prevent Barrichello passing him he swerved at the Brawn and the two cars touched.

The stewards took a dim view of the manoeuvre and handed Webber a drive-through penalty, which meant he had to drive through the pits - where there is a 120km/h speed limit - before rejoining the race.

But, crucially, Red Bull left Webber - who also slightly damaged his front wing when he touched with Hamilton at the first corner - as long as they could before bringing him in to serve the penalty on lap 14.

Because Vettel and Brawn's Button had been held up after being passed by the slower McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen at the start, Webber was able to rejoin in the lead and set about re-building his advantage.

Drivers news conference

German GP drivers news conference

The Australian dropped to eighth after his first pit stop on lap 19, but he was back in the lead by just after half race distance.

From there, he was able to cruise to a well-deserved first victory while the Brawns were left with deteriorating tyres to hold off the charging Fernando Alonso of Renault.

"It's an incredible day for me," said Webber. "I wanted to win so badly.

"The only thing in the end I thought was going to beat me, or test me even more, was the rain. But even that held off.

"It was a little bit testing. Obviously I lost Barrichello completely off the start. I thought he'd gone a little bit to the left so I went to the right and banged into him, and that's not normally my style.

"As soon as I hit him I thought, oh, there he is. With these cars and the way the mirrors are, it was a difficult run to the first corner, but we got away alright.

"I had to recover [from the drive-through penalty], my engineer kept me quite calm and I pushed as hard as I could."

Struggling to make their tyres work in the cool temperatures, Brawn chose a three-stop strategy, but they spent too long behind slower cars to make it work.

Andrew Benson's blog

And Button, seeing the startling pace of the Red Bulls, will be relieved that his team have a major upgrade package to come for the next race in Hungary in two weeks' time.Hamilton had fancied his chances of scoring a podium finish after qualifying fifth - and a fuel-corrected third fastest.

But after benefiting from his Kers power-boost system to contest the lead with Webber and Barrichello going into the first corner, Hamilton was tapped from behind by the eventual winner and got a puncture.

He rejoined last where the McLaren, which has a major aerodynamic upgrade this weekend, did not show the pace it had on Saturday. The car's underbody had been damaged by the flailing rubber.



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see also
German Grand Prix race results
07 Jul 09 |  Results
Barrichello turns on Brawn team
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Webber 'could be the new Mansell'
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Button eager to stop Red Bull run
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
'Driving on ice' dismays Hamilton
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Upbeat Alonso chases podium spots
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix as it happened
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
German Grand Prix photos
12 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Webber charges to first F1 pole
11 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren still fighting - Hamilton
10 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Zoom in and fly around the Nurburgring
08 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
F1 breakaway plans still in place
09 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1


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