F1 flashback: Red Bull’s first 1-2 at China in 2009

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With the “Multi 21” controversy in Malaysia in the background, Red Bull Racing heads for a track where it has a happier history this weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Some four years ago, well before any animosity between its teammates had bubbled to the surface, Sebastian Vettel led home Mark Webber for the Red Bull team’s first ever victory and, by default, its first 1-2 finish.

The win in the water-logged Chinese race was Vettel’s second of his career, after his first came with Scuderia Toro Rosso in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

“My favorite memory of the Chinese Grand Prix is my first win with Red Bull Racing in 2009,” Vettel said in the team’s Chinese weekend advance. “We had a good qualifying, followed by an amazing race. There was a lot of rain, but we held it together and got our first team win and 1-2.”

On the losing end of that go-around, Webber admitted that first instance of finishing second to his three-time World Champion teammate is not his favorite memory at China. Instead, he chose his run in 2011.

Webber put in a barnstorming effort to come from 18th to third, behind Vettel in second and race winner Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton had made a great move on Vettel in the middle sector of the track to take the win.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.