AUSTRALIA'S MARK WEBBER has lost ground in the chase for the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship after failing to score a point at the European Grand Prix.
Webber finished ninth after a botched first pit stop allowed BMW?s Robert Kubica and title rival Jenson Button to jump ahead of the Red Bull driver and push him outside of the points for only the third time this season.
While Red Bull wasn?t expected to challenge for victory at the circuit, the result is a massive blow to the 32-year-old?s championship aspirations as Button extended his lead over Webber to 20.5 points with six races remaining.
Teammate Sebastian Vettel meanwhile fell victim to a second mechanical failure in succession as he retired on lap 24 to continue his poor run of results.
Although Button?s lead appears insurmountable, Red Bull are expected to dominate at the upcoming races at Spa and Monza, whose fast sweeping turns will provide Webber and Vettel with a distinct performance advantage, meaning the championship race isn?t over yet.
However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted the weekend?s result represented the worst case scenario for the Milton-Keynes based team.
"It doesn?t get much worse than losing another engine and going back home with no points for either driver. It is really disappointing for Sebastian, who had two engine failures over the weekend - the fourth now in total - which makes it quite difficult with the engines for the rest of the year,' he said.
'Mark basically struggled all weekend to find pace in the car. We simply were not quick enough this weekend.'
Red Bull?s bid for the constructor?s championship was also dealt a blow with Brawn GP?s Rubens Barrrichello meeting the chequered flag to claim his first win in five years.
Barrichello skipped past the McLaren?s of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen at each of his pit stops to cruise to the 10th victory of his career and take second spot in the driver?s championship.
Hamilton crossed the line second to grab his second podium finish of the season, while Ferrari?s Kimi Raikkonen defied the speculation surrounding his future to claim third place.