The oldest guys in the field were first and last in real terms at the end of Sunday’s European Grand Prix, providing a certain appropriate symmetry to a race which delivered everything but seriously close racing on the somewhat bland and uninspiring Valencia street circuit on Sunday.

Rubens Barrichello proved, at one end of the spectrum, that there is a lot of life left in the old Brazilian yet as he squared up to Jenson Button in a bid to make it a two-horse race between the two Brawn-Mercedes drivers as the world championship contest enters its final phase.

European Grand Prix race report and picture gallery

At the same time, Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer showed himself to be a modest little man with a lot to be modest about. 

While there is a certain unconvincing charm to Luca di Montezemolo’s assertion that Badoer had been invited to stand in for the injured Felipe Massa as a gesture of thanks for his loyal work as the Scuderia’s workhorse, grinding round Fiorano and Mugello on an open-ended basis this past 10 years or so, the fact remains that the Italian was the wrong choice for this job in these circumstances.

We’re told that Anthony Davidson, the former Honda test driver who raced for Super Aguri before they went bust at the start of last year, will this week offer his services to Ferrari as a better option for next Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.  I wholly agree he would be a much better bet than Badoer, as would Nelson Piquet Jnr, half the current GP2 field and Michael Schumacher.

On the other hand, Badoer should at least offer a safe pair of hands and, impressively in the torrid Valencia heat, he had no problems with physical fitness and endurance.  But for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September, Ferrari must get somebody better on the payroll.

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