Barrichello on pole at home as Button slumps to 14th

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

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Rubens Barrichello has a precious opportunity to slash Jenson Button’s championship lead in tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The home hero took pole position in a wet session that took a mammoth two hours and 45 minutes to complete. Button was eliminated in Q2 and starts 14th, two places ahead of Sebastian Vettel.


After most of final practice had been missed due to rain a fresh downpour greeted the drivers as qualifying got started.

With the rain settling in all the drivers apart from Barrichello and Mark Webber went out to begin with. But only seven of them had a chance to set times before one of them – Giancarlo Fisichella – spun at the first corner, bringing out the red flags.

The restart was delayed as the Ferrari was recovered while race control waited for conditions to improve. They did, and when Lewis Hamilton led the first of the cars out when qualifying resumed they were instantly 12 seconds quicker than they had been before.

For most of the rest of the session the times tumbled quickly as the track began to dry. The Williams duo led the way to begin with, bot Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima setting fastest times.

Two teams were visibly struggling – McLaren and Red Bull, raising the suspicion they had picked dry-biased set-ups as tomorrow’s race is not expected to be wet.

Whether they expected that choice to leave them struggling to reach Q2 is a different matter. Although Webber scraped through by a tenth of a second, championship contender Sebastian Vettel couldn’t escape the bottom five. Nor could Hamilton, who went off at the start of his last lap as the rain got heavier again.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 1’25.009
17. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’25.052
18. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’25.192
19. Nick Heidfeld, BMW – 1’25.515
20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari – 1’40.703


The start of Q2 was delayed further as the rain continued to fall. Despite no obvious let-up in the conditions, the green light surprisingly appeared and 15 cars headed onto the track.

But in no time at all Vitantonio Liuzzi had a huge crash on the pit straight, bringing out the red flags once again.

With the rain continuing to fall it took an hour to get the session re-started. But when it finally did it brought a dramatic development – championship leader Button was eliminated, and left in 14th on the grid.

The track began to dry quite quickly and halfway through several drivers switched to intermediate tyres – led by Rosberg, who once again looked instantly at ease with the wet conditions.

Neither of the Brawn drivers opted to try the intermediates and that proved Button’s undoing. But while Barrichello scraped into the last place in the top ten Button, 0.9s slower than his team mate, failed.

Read more: Vitantonio Liuzzi suffers huge crash as qualifying starts in heavy rain (Video)

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota – 1’21.960
12. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’22.231
13. Romain Grosjean, Renault – 1’22.477
14. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’22.504
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes – no time


The top ten drivers strapped on intermediate tyres and spent the final ten minutes trading fastest lap times – the pole position holder changing at least once every minute. Sebastien Buemi, Robert Kubica and Jarno Trulli all had turns at the top.

Barrichello should have been at a disadvantage as he was one of the first drivers to start his final lap. He took pole position back with it – a 1’19.576 – but his chasing rivals should have had the benefit of a slightly drier track to improve their times on.

It didn’t work out that way, with some failing to improve and others backing off. Webber took second, a scant tenth of a second off Barrichello, and Adrian Sutil made a late move up into third.

But Barrichello was safe and ended his five-year pole position drought – his last coming at the same circuit five years ago.

Before the race weekend Bernie Ecclestone said he wanted to see the championship decided at the final round in Abu Dhabi. It looks like there is a very good chance of that happening now.

The fuel weights have been published: Early pit stop could compromise Barrichello (Brazilian Grand Prix fuel strategies)

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’19.576
2. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault – 1’19.668
3. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes – 1’19.912
4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’20.097
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’20.168
6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’20.250
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota – 1’20.326
8. Robert Kubica, BMW – 1’20.631
9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota – 1’20.674
10. Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’21.422

Read more: Brazilian Grand Prix grid

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Barrichello on pole at home as Button slumps to 14th”

  1. FIVE YEARS!!! WOW..

    Dry race tomorrow, hmmm, I read on BBC that a storm 3 times the size of the current one is expected to hit tomorrow, don’t see how tomorrow it could be dry.

  2. Really great! Shame about Seb but he refuses to give up and I like that attitude

  3. Congratulations to Rubens! That was an exciting Q3. I was hoping Kubica would take it from him after the timer stopped, but his lap was disappointing.

    Rubens for WDC!

  4. Viaos con dios Rubi.

    1. Rampante grid is also good for Ferrari in helping to get 3rd and fend off the silver cars! :)

      1. I agree Steph but I also have to support Rubens for personal reasons.

        1. Yes I agree, I want Rubens to win too but it is good that Kimi could get a podium and get some good points. I very much like this grid, with the silver cars and Button right back this is very good :)
          Good luck Rubens!
          Superbus I thought it would be very hard for us, the Mclaren has the slight edge on performance at some tracks but the Ferrari has no real weakness but we do have effectively one car.

      2. Yeah I thought it wouldn’t be possible now that we (Ferrari) have a one-car team…

  5. That was a l.o.n.g qualifying, but epic once it properly got going, was sat in front of the tv for 3 1/2hrs…

    But what a result, what a feeling!

    Just so ecstatic for Rubinho, hope he carries this momentum through to Abu Dhabi and the WDC.:)

  6. After surviving his team’s mistake that almost cost him a good grid position, Barrichello had one of his finest moments in Formula 1: even if he’s lighter, he did a fantastic job in the wet (like he always does) and put himself in a good place to finaly win his home grand prix…

    Also Barrichello’s pole in the Brazilian Grand Prix is the fourth consecutive and the sixth in the last seven years for a local driver:

    Barrichello (2003), Barrichello (2004), Massa (2006), Massa (2007), Massa (2008) and Barrichello (2009)… Since then, the only foreign driver on pole was Alonso, in 2005…

    1. Nice stat. Who knows, mabye Nigel Mansell was right when he said racing at home makes you 2 seconds a lap quicker…

      1. 2 seconds? I don’t think so, a tenth – perhaps.

    2. Thanks for that Daniel I’ll make sure it goes in the stats & facts post :-)

  7. Has anyone else ever had a longer gap between two pole positions in their career?

    Rubens is approximately 4 years and 51 weeks.

  8. Well,this keeps the title fight alive.Too bad for Vettel though.If he can pull this one off to stay in the title fight he will have my utmost respect.Stupid rain!

    1. If it’s dry weather tomorrow, expect the Q1 dropouts to make some nice passes to come up front. They all set up their config probably for the race tomorrow, hence lost significant downforce today.

  9. This makes me very happy. Way to go Rubinho!

  10. Its forecast for heavy rain tomorrow, just hope its not during the race, or maybe it might be a good thing. Rubens might win it if its stopped like button won in Malaysia, but will only get half the points if less than 75% of the race is completed, which might not be good for Barrichello’s championship challenge in the last race. Hope the racing gods are kind to Rubens tomorrow.

  11. Neither of the Brawn drivers opted to try the intermediates and that proved Button’s undoing

    Keith, didn’t Barrichello come in in Q2 for the inters? I seem to remember he did but could be wrong.

    1. I thought he was one wets and when I asked on Twitter that’s what everyone else thought too.

      1. The point is, Rubens was almost 1 second fastest than Jenson with the same tyre compound.

        Jenson just cant accept of himself this kind of performance when fighting for the championship! Today, he really felt a huge pressure…

    2. I thought Barri was on full wets too. He just scraped by too though with P10.

      1. Yeah I think you guys may be right, but he definitely came in for fresh tyres right, or maybe my memory fails me?

  12. The forecast says rain, but most Q1 drop outs are betting on a dry weather.

    Let’s see a truly champion class driving from Button if he wants to be the WDC for 2009!

    1. We all know thats not going to happen. Button will stumble over the finish and show everyone that he is not a truly great champion

      1. Button will win if he gets the most points.
        He will have beaten his team mate in the same car.
        Hamilton won by 1/2 a point after some cheating (less said the better)
        How come other driver can win by a small margin and be given the recognition?

  13. I am gutted. Rubens will win and button wont get a point. Rubens will go into final race just a few points behind but with all the momentum. I can see Rubens racing like a man possessed in Abu Dhabi and winning the title.
    the title odds must currently be very even despite the points difference.
    Button desperately needs rain. If its dry, the title is erring towards Rubens.
    Come on Button, show us your balls in tomorrows race.

    1. Agree! Let’s see if BUT can show he deserves the title.

      So far, BUT has been on the luckier side of the car development, thanks to Ross Brawn. He generally did not have to show that he had to race hard – a championship class driving. Tomorrow is the true test for Button.

  14. Ahhhhh!!! i have Barr on pole in the predictions!!!!
    But Vett for second, there i’m loosing points :-)

    1. Lol, I had Webber on pole. I was rooting for Webber to finish that final lap and get pole back :)

      1. I was surprised he didn’t, and a few other drivers for that matter.

  15. Bad luck for Vettel, but he still has the fighting spirit and nothing to lose. Plus you never know what can happen especially if the weather / safety car plays a part…

    Barrichello victory on home soil would also be nice at this stage in his career!

    WDC going down to the wire looks all the more likely!!:-)

  16. My strong feeling is that there will be situation where VET will have to get by HAM in the next two races in order to come in second or even win the WDC (a reversal of situation as what happened in Brazil last year).

  17. Beyond gutted for Vettel. Chuffed for Rubens he really pulled it out the bag. Please for Buemi too, 6th place for STR is great.

    Button though.. Every time it looks like the title is his he goes an messes up. I hope he loses the title

    1. Don’t worry too much about Vettel, he’s still young and I reckon he’s probably the quickest driver in F1 right already. Once he finds some consistency he’ll be up there with Hamilton and Alonso as the best drivers in F1.

      But 2009 will almost certainly be Rubinho’s last chance at winning the title. When Eddie Jordan mentioned on the BBC how one of his best ever races was at Donington 93 it really struck me how long he’s been going for- I was only a baby when he began his F1 career! What an amazing story it would be if he ended up as champion in his 17th season.

    2. Why is there such a double standard when evaluating the performance of Vettel and Button? Both needed a strong qualifying performance, both failed to deliver and are a similar number of places behind their team mates on the grid. Yet you are ‘beyond gutted for Vettel’ whilst you think Button ‘messes up and hope he loses the title’. This seems to imply that Vettel’s poor grid position was just bad luck and he deserves maximum sympathy whilst Button’s was all his own fault and he should be vilified for it. Needless to say I disagree with that view.

      1. I was going to post the same Sharon, totally agree!

  18. StrFerrari4Ever
    17th October 2009, 21:47

    Well the weather could just change so will have 2 wait and see but I’m praying for Dry race so Vettel can come from low down and possibly win it with a remarkable drive.
    I feel as though my beloved STR are on a medium setup half wet half dry so they should be fairly competetive just gotta wait for the weights to see whose got what onboard.

  19. That’s it! I don’t care if Button wins the championship anymore!! He just doesn’t deliver when it’s required!!


  21. I had a feeling when I read an article that called the coming rain ‘Vettel weather’ it was joining to jinx it completely for Seb…

    Good luck to Button. He’s going to need it for the drive of his life if he wants to finish it here, and that includes getting past Alonso just to get into the points….

  22. Anyone no where i can watch the full replay as i could’t watch if live and the final bit is not on iplayer?


    GO RUBENS!! GOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. What a qualifying!

    Let’s hope that Rubens doesn’t suffer from “bad luck” during his pit stops…

    1. If Jenson manages to get ahead of Rubens in this race he is going to be seriously peaved!

      1. If Ruby senses that they messed one of his pit stops I suspect him to jump out of the car or better still slam right at Button to give the constructor title to Red Bull :)

  25. I am happy that Eddie Jordan is not running the races, since he was saying they should not restart. Great quali, great driving by Chello, and also horrible driving by Button. Chello deserves the title, and it doesn’t look like it should be to hard for him to get if Button doesn’t step up, which he has yet to do in the second half of the season.

  26. Four Six Tango
    17th October 2009, 22:29

    RUBINHO!!! I must say I’m ecstatic today! I really hope the rain goes away and Rubinho can have a clean race tomorrow

    Go Rubens it’s your turn to be Champion!!

  27. The craziest qualifying session I have seen to date, but a good result for the home fans. Indeed, a good reward after having to stand in all that rin for those who chose to stay at the circuit!!

    1. Crazy indeed- it made the Japanese GP qualifying seem relatively normal!

  28. Oddly enough, if Rubens becomes world champion and goes to Williams, and they secure a Renault deal, it would be the first time the formerly dominant pairing of Williams-Renault that they’ll actually have the #1 on the car!

    Epic qualifying, gutted for Vettel though. Are the Brawns on a wet setup? At first it seems that some cars had gone for a wet setup with the Williams’ performances but Patrick Head said that’s what they were going to run with in the dry, so maybe the gap to the Q1 dropouts isn’t as great as we think? Either way, unless Button is on a different setup to Barrichello, whatever the weather tomorrow one of his rivals will score big, barring any incidents.

    Go Ruby Ruby Ruby Rubens!

  29. Would love to see Barrichello winning the race and the championship. 3 and half hours were sometimes frustrating but the result made up for it.
    Btw Barrichello’s father is his carbon copy.

    1. Or rather Barichello is his father’s carbon copy!! :P

  30. Bravo Rubino!!

  31. Still think the WDC will fall Button’s way tomorrow. I’d bet that Rubens isn’t the fastest fuel corrected and with wet weather predicted, what couldn’t happen?

  32. Anyone no where i can watch the full replay as i could’t watch if live and the final bit is not on iplayer?,,15011,00.html

  33. Go Rubinho Go Go !!!

  34. Webber could have done another lap why didn,t he do that?

  35. Can anybody answer me,

    Why was the medical car was doing all the inspection despite you have the Safety car?

  36. Why doesn’t anyone talk about Sutil? Force India is going to get a podium or P4 I think, for sure.

    1. I was about to point out the same. He might be as light as Barrichello. But he is almost as good as him in the wet.

      And fuel weights wont matter so much if the race starts in the wet conditions, it will come down to the performance of the car + driver.

      Rubens winning will be great for the title fight and local fans, but Sutil winning would be a just reward for him after what Kimi has done to him twice.

      1. Kimi rammed into Sutil once and Sutil rammed into Kimi once (trying to block him coming out of the pitlane). It’s pretty much a tie there.

        Sutil might go fast, but he also does tends to crash in the wet.

  37. To WasiF1. I also thought Webber could do another lap.
    He crossed the line with seconds to spare. And the medical car. What was that all about. Surely thats the job of the safety car

  38. go rubinhoooooooo……i want rubinho to win the race…but i want also to see the fight from button

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