Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Brawn, Interlagos, 2009

Webber wins in style as Button races to title

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix review

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Mark Webber romped away to win the Brazilian Grand Prix – and in doing so helped Jenson Button to claim the drivers’ championship.

While Webber displaced Rubens Barrichello from the lead, Button made his way up through the field to claim fifth place which was enough to make him champion – just as Lewis Hamilton did one year ago.

The three championship contenders largely managed to steer clear of a string of crashes on the first lap which eliminated three cars. Sebastian Vettel tipped Heikki Kovalainen into a spin, who then tangled with Giancarlo Fisichella.

All three were able to continue – but the same was not true of Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso. Sutil edged Trulli wide at turn five and the Toyota driver lost control, spearing into the side of the Force India. While Trulli hit the barrier hard, Sutil skidded out-of-control across the grass and the helpless Alonso could do nothing to avoid him.

Kovalainen headed for the pits for repairs, as did Kimi Raikkonen who lost his front wing trying to pass Webber for second. Webber closed the door firmly and the outcome had much in common with Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya’s tangle under the same circumstances in 2002.

As the Finns left the pits Kovalainen departed with his refuelling rig still attached. He wrenched the hose free, dousing Raikkonen in fuel which promptly ignited. Mercifully the fire was over in a flash and Raikkonen was able to keep going – as was Kovalainen, who pulled over at the Brawn garage and was helped on his way by their mechanics who pulled the hose off the car.

The safety car was out for four laps while the debris was cleared up. Button had gained five places due to the mayhem and was ninth, with Jaime Alguersuari between him and 11th-placed Vettel.

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Once the racing resumed Button quickly picked off Kazuki Nakajima for eighth and set about challenging Romain Grosjeas. He took seventh with a brave move that started at turn one and ended with Button passing the Renault around the outside of Ferradura halfway around the lap.

But rookie Kamui Kobayashi proved a tougher nut to crack – the Toyota driver defending his place very thoroughly – a tad too thoroughly in Button’s view, who complained the Japanese driver had changed lines in the braking area, risking a collision. After 16 laps Button finally found a way past.

By then Barrichello had made his first pit stop from the lead, promoting Webber and Robert Kubica to first and second. Disastrously, he came out in front of Vettel who quickly passed the Brawn. When Webber and Kubica made their stops they easily stayed ahead of Barrichello, who was now looking at finishing no better than third place.

The biggest threat to Button were now Vettel and Hamilton – both of which jumped past him with their late final pit stops. But Hamilton also proved a problem for Barrichello, who struggled on his super-soft tyres in the final stint. As Hamilton went past him for third with eight laps to go, the McLaren made slight contact with Barrichello’s left-rear tyre, giving him a slow puncture. Although Button was already running well enough to take the title, that final blow for Barrichello put it beyond all doubt.

So once again we had the odd spectacle of a podium celebration going on while an even bigger party greeted the new world champion. Button was already hoarse with shouting by the time he got back to his garage, where Brawn were also celebrating their constructors’ title victory.

This season still has one race to run at Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time but once again Interlagos has decided the destiny of the championships with a race to remember.

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2009 Brazilian Grand Prix

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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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50 comments on “Webber wins in style as Button races to title”

  1. That was one great race. Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Kubica, Kobaiyashi and Button were superb.
    And i want to applaud the brawn pit team who had the sportsmanship of removing Heikki’s hose and giving him the all clear. Real cool.

    1. And i want to applaud the brawn pit team who had the sportsmanship of removing Heikki’s hose and giving him the all clear.

      Won’t do any harm in the cosy Brawn/Merc relationship.

    2. Agree, was decent of the Brawn crew to help out when they didn’t have to.

      For anyone who is interested I watched the replay back a few times and it is easy to see the lollopop man releases Heikki with the fuel rig still attached so it wasn’t Heikki’s fault.

  2. Webber won? I barely noticed until I saw him up on the podium. It was one of those strange races where no one was really paying much attention to the leader.

    It was a good race, I’m glad we finally say some overtaking, and that Button was able to win the title in some sort of style. But don’t get too carried away, look at the drivers he had to pass: Grosjean, Nakajima, Kobayashi and Buemi. They’re hardly A listers. I think even I could have passed Grosjean on foot!

    1. Lol, at one point I was wondering why they kept showing that Red Bull car and Kubica so often. Then I realised they were leading the race :)

  3. “At the pitstop, I ended up with some drops of petrol in my eye, from the fuel line stuck on Kovalainen’s car and then I was engulfed in flames and blinded: I was going to stop, but luckily the flames soon went out.
    “Even now, my eyes are still burning, but I’m alright. After the restart, I could only try and use the strategy to move up the order and at least I brought home a few points.

    That’s from autosport.
    I’m amazed Kimi kept going and actually finished quite well considering.
    Great race and review but those trophies were horrible! They raced all that way and through the chaos just to get recycled bottle lids???
    I like Kobayashi, he seems a bit mental but very entertaining!

    1. Infinitely better than the santander logo ones. I liked them, they were original at least!

    2. Those trophys looked like props off of the Star Wars set…

  4. I didnt know that about Brawn and Heikki, greast stuff!

    In some ways its harder to pass a rookie as Nakajima found out due to their unpredictableness. And i didnt see Vettel nip by so easily, juries out on Vettel i think, until he can produce some consistent overtakes hes just a pitstop passer and the sports got more than enough of them.

    1. I don’t have any ready examples to hand, but I think you’re wrong about Vettel

    2. Vettel made an excellent pass on Barrichello around the outside. It was a case of “Get out of the way, Rubens, or we’re both history,” similar to Alonso on Schumacher at Suzuka in 2005.

      1. So he made a crazy move on a driver who was always never going to risk getting taken out? Vettel had nothing to lose. You can’t just overtake in silly moves when you are desperate – that’s not how you win.

        1. Honestly, i think Vettel has as much to lose knowing at that point, anything could still happen and being bottled by a heavy RB won’t help.

          Besides, i thought he could have done a similar move on Nakajima if Nak gave him sufficient room. Kudos to this lad for even willing to drive with 2 wheels on the grass and almost losing it come the corner. If that’s not commitment, i don’t know what is.

      2. Thing is, Barrichello was straight out of the pits with cold tyres and a heavy tank, Vettel was far lighter and his tyres were up to temp – Grosjean could have overtaken him.

  5. Best race of the year easily, in my opinion. Great drives, dramas, and sportsmanship all round. We even had Felipe Massa back!

  6. What a terrific race. Hamilton and Vettel did great to finish 3rd and 4th, although it was more down to good strategy than out and out ballsy driving. That honour goes to Button – what a fantastic championship winning drive. He and the team deserve it enormously and some of the scenes after the race were incredible.

    I also like Kobayashi – when Martin was speaking to himn on the grid he had a good, confident personality (unlike Nakajima) and on the track he drove very well, (if a little erratically) compared to how other rookie stand ins have done this year.

    1. Yes by far he has been the best rookie of the year – making the rest of them look silly moaning they can’t get used to the cars. (errr… because Kobayashi had so much run in time?)

      1. People keep calling Kobayashi “rookie of the year” based on one race where he was entertaining but very dangerous. This is rather unfair to Buemi, who, amongst other things, finished ahead of Kobayashi on Sunday.

        1. BS he was dangerous, if you rewind the 07 and 08 seasons you will see one LH driving in the same manner and is labeled a true driving master because of it.

          Kobie was great, Button had a cry but from all the footage I saw he never jinked on button. He did jink on Nakajima but to be brutally honest, it wasnt as bad as MB made out. It was less tame than LH and his ‘genius best’. No I am not having ago at LH, but more highlighting the inconsistency of some commentators and fans..had Kobie had the best car on the grid and was British he would be drooled over.
          One other thing to note, I know JB won the WDC but the pure contempt the BBC showed towards Webber and the podium places was appalling.

          1. Bigbadderboom
            19th October 2009, 12:08

            That is some big old axe you seem to be grinding there. on 3 seperate occasions Koboyashi changed his line under breaking, he moved defensive and then changed to the natural racing line, this is dangerous and in a less eventful race a more experienced driver may have found themselves under investigation. And although some of the moves Lewis mad in his rookie season may have been described as dangerous, most of these were from attacking positions and not defending. To validate your point in defence of Koboyashi by drawing comparism to another British driver simply undermines the point of your post and exposes the transparency of your biased opinion. The fact is the WDC was won yesterday, as was the Constructors by a British driver with a British team, so I think the BBCs (*BRITISH* Broadcasting Corporation) coverage was rightly tilted towards that relevance.
            Webbers drive was without fault but neither he or his team won any championship.

          2. AP, If you can mention one time Hamilton weaved twice, with one of those in the braking zone then I’m in agreement with you.

            KOB’s driving was for me, very dangerous and could have seriously hurt Nakajima.

          3. I agree with AP. If Kobie was British, he would have been already tipped for great things. Any person who has watched professional sports with any British involvement would tell you that.

            Although Kobie’s racing technique requires refining, which will happen in due course, he showed one thing…he has balls! He’s got speed and he isn’t afraid to express himself, this is something thats lacking these days in F1. Based on that race alone, yes rookie of the year for being spectacular, but I would still hand it to Sebastien Buemi. He’s gone well all year round.

            What can I say, I’ve got a new driver to support next season! Go Kobayashi!

          4. Yes the BBC didn’t show all the podium coverage they usually do such as the camera following the drivers up to the podium, which considering what else had just happened was perfectly understandable.

            The one significant bit they didn’t show was the third place driver being interviewed in the press conference, which of course was Hamilton, and given that we are discussing the BBC being biased towards British drivers shows that it was down to both Championships having just being won and not anything else.

      2. Hold on. A driver is allowed to come off line to defend, and then to return to the racing line before taking the corner. We all know how muddy the distinction is between “two moves” and returning to the line, but I did not see Kobayashi double-move Button—when Koba suckered Button in too deep in turn 1, and re-took the spot, that’s when Jenson started to pout. That was brilliant work on the brakes by the kid.

        The move on Nakajima, however, was stupid. What’s more dangerous than “two moves” is the single move of taking an angle and running a guy off the road who is rapidly bearing down on you. Kobayashi should have been black flagged for pulling that Death Race 2000 crap on Nakajima. Barrichello also gets a black mark for trying to put Hamilton in the fence at 180 mph.

        It should be ironic for Nakajima that the guy who supposedly upstaged him for the Toyota company-seat next year just plain ran him off the road. Maybe its just fitting.

  7. i hope i am wrong about Vettel and hes no pup but so far his overtaking doesnt match his pace.

    1. Don’t write it off as Vettels passing abilities, as it may just be the Red Bull is more sensitive to disturbed air.

      Great race. Webber won? :D

      I thought it was funny that Kubica got on the wrong side of the podium to start with.

  8. First of all well done to button worthy champion.

    I hope we see Kobayahi next year i though he was easily the best of the rookies this year.

    And what a race from Vettel and Hamilton well done to them.

    1. There might be a case for Buemi, he did ok this year!

  9. Has anyone kept a count on how many times Button has said, “I am the world champion”. He said it some 10 times to the camera..and another gazillion times during the press conference. Apparently he yelled, “Where is everyone, I am the f***ing world champion”.

    Great job Jenson, awesome race. Awesome overtaking, and jubilation at the end of it.. just priceless.. priceless.. May you win a few more :-)

  10. Great race, indeed. And Button deserves this title.
    Great Kobayashi, also, and excellent drive from Kubica, Hamilton and Raikkonen.
    One thing: at a certain time Grosjean lost a lot of positiona in one lap, but then he recovered the pace and was able to stay in front of Raikkonen for much time. Anybody knows what had happened?

    1. Yeah, I have a theory: he got scared like a baby and couldn’t control the car for a couple of turns.

  11. Really enjoyed the race. Was good to see some track ACTION!!!

    Barrichello couldn’t help but squeeze Hamilton into the wall, it’s in his nature but I think he knows now he should have just let him through. Did feel sorry for Rubens but he has had a good season and can’t complain at the opportunity to be a front runner, after all most of us thought his seat would be going to Bruno Senna before the official Brawn GP announcement.

  12. I wonder – is there any driver that can match Barrichello in how many times he has been the team mate of the driver that ended up champion?

    1. Well, I wouldn’t mind seeing him going to Williams and having another champion team mate.

  13. Congrats to Jenson. It was always his championship. Congrats to Webber as well, it’s nice to see him on the top step again.

  14. Right, now all the racing is out of the way now we can forget all of the distactions and focus on the real reason for F1- the FIA elections!

  15. Bigbadderboom
    19th October 2009, 12:17

    Some fantastic racing, with some true driver skills on display. Koboyashi looks like he has some pace (although his race craft is questionable). Webber was fantastic as was Hamilton and Button. Although Vettel still left me with questions over his ability to commit to the overtaking moves he needs to make. His move on Grosjaen was great but the he was more conservative, when I thought he would attack more. I loved Trulli trying to blame Sutil, personally i think it may have been 50/50 but It wasn’t Sutils fault in my opinion. But class seemed to show, and those with real pace shined. I love that circuit it always delivers.
    Congrats Jenson, well deserved.

  16. Was it Whitmarsh who said we should be changing the tracks and not the cars to help overtaking? Mr Tilke should study this grand prix carefully and then he would realise why F1 fans have it in for him.

    Tracks with undulations in braking zones and corners are a good recipe for overtaking. This race was the best of the season and it was no coincidence it was at Interlagos.

  17. yes ive never quite understood the obsession with making a track bullet smooth and the tarmac ultra grippy. Tilke is a typical german sports stadia architect ( i know some)- exceptional at delivering on time, on budget and on paper at least gives it the wow factor. Unfortunately sport actually works best when its a bit down and dirty, a bit intimidating and a bit old. You can put as much shiny zinc in a design as you want but fans want to be involved and in f1 anyway – see the cars thrown about a bit.

    Im guessing if you built a track like interlagos now you’d never get it included in the season.

  18. Where are the people who say we need cars to look suspiciously like they did in 1965 to get more passing?— sticky tires and no wings and manual four-speed transmisions, etc. Amazing what some motivation for the championships and for job security does. It would be better if people would not run into each other, of course, but this is not NASCAR where passing is pie-easy or GP2 where you can expect your quarry eventually to run off the road of his own accord

  19. I am still trying to understand how in the world Kubica grabbed 2nd. That was unbelievable. Sure, he was helped by the 1st-lap incidents, but we surely did not expect a BMW in the top-6 regardless.

    Rubens completely blew it, regardless of the tyre issue in the end.

    1. Kubica explained it by saying that his gamble for a dry weather setup worked out beautifully. Apart from some luck with incidents and delivering a solid drive of course.

  20. Raikkonen is Awesome……that guy is a real Iceman…

    1. Rahim I was amazed Kimi carried on after he said he did get fuel in his eyes and it was burning all way through race, real commitment there, he just got on with it and done a very good job too!

  21. In my opinion one the best races for ages.

    The fact that the race decided both championships has probably overshadowed how good the race was on its own merits. For example the BBC post race coverage didn’t discuss the first lap incidents or Kovalainen pulling away with the fuel hose attached.

    Although some of Kobayashi’s driving seemed a bit dangerous he wasn’t as slow as many may have thought in his first race, but then we never saw what the true pace of the Toyota was after Trulli retired on the first lap.

  22. Why is everyone in a dither about Koby’s defensive moves? Webber did it all race long, and has always been an expert at the last second chop, as made popular by Schumy.

    Speaking of Webbo, I thought his post race interview was strange. Very subdued, almost morose. He acted like a five time WC who expected to win it all again as opposed to a second time race winner.

    As for Vettel not passing, I think he passed quite a few people, with his outside move on Rubens being the best.
    Jenson drove like a man possessed (about time!) and is a truly deserving champ.

  23. i know i’m gonna get pounced on for saying this but i hardly think Button deserved to win the championship like this. Barrichello got robbed the whole season. How many times were there accusations that Braun rigged the race so that Button would come in front of Barrichello. And what was up with the three stop strategy for Barrichello in Brazil!?
    Yes Button is a great driver but he won most of his races at the begininning of the season when thier car had the superior rear diffuser. When the other teams’ technology caught up Button almost entirely blew his 30 point lead!

  24. It was a great weekend of racing. Stoner wins in MotoGP & Webber wins in F1. Go the Aussies!!!

  25. Best race of the season.The Brazilian GP once again provided the necessary entertainment.
    Jenson have a flawless race,drove like a champion putting some great overtaking,& I have to say the FIRE wasn’t enough to melt the ICEMAN

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