What was the best pass of 2009? (Video)

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Overtaking in F1 is a hotly-debated subject – particularly the view that we haven’t seen much of it this year.

That isn’t necessarily the case. The video above compiles a selection of the best passes of 2009 – and there were more besides that don’t feature on there.

But which driver made the best overtaking move of 2009? Was it one of Jenson Button’s many passes? Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso’s great battle at Sepang? Or an unsung hero from further down the grid?

As we did with the best race of the decade last week, list your nominations for the best pass of 2009 below and we’ll vote on the cream of the crop later.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Hamilton on Raikkonen at Shanghai (1’37) – Around the outside in the wet. Webber did a similar pass but Hamilton did it in a worse car…

Alonso on Trulli at Bahrain (2’15) – Yes, he had KERS – but he needed aggression to make this pass work too.

Barrichello on Hamilton at Istanbul (3’03) – How far back did he come from?

Kovalainen on Fisichella at Suzuka (5’57) – Very unusual and opportunistic.

Kobayashi on Nakajima at Interlagos (6’30) – A well-worked round-the-outside pass.

Button on Grosjean at Interlagos (7.27) – Risky stuff with the title on the line.

Webber on Alonso at Sepang (8’44) – Needed two tries but got there in the end. The last-second re-pass was a gem – and he did the same thing at Catalunya too!

Last year Felipe Massa’s double-pass on Heikki Kovalainen and Rubens Barrichello at Montreal was voted best pass of the year.

What do you think was the best overtaking move of 2009? Name your favourites below – please try to stick to no more than three each to make it easier to count them up…

Read more: Overtaking: Back to the drawing board

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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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106 comments on “What was the best pass of 2009? (Video)”

  1. Watching Top Gear last night i am going to have to say Buttons passing Buemi for that bit of overstreer when the titles on the line.

    1. Buemi stated he wouldn’t get in Buttons way pre-race so not really that hard to dive past a yielding car.

      There were lots of great passes and battle all year contrary to what some of the whingers would lead you to believe.
      My pick for best over taker was Webber, closely followed by Button then Hamilton all be it with a magic spurt of power at his disposal.

      As to best pass…I’ll have to come back on that but, Kobies on Button was insane stuff from a rookie in a lesser car…I really like this kid.

      1. Webber at Barhain and the gaggle of cars all in one lap or so. Good to see not only one pass but cars all fighting and trying to get past each other.

        Webber on Alonso both Sepang and or Barcelona
        very good passes on a car with kers and Alonso is very tough racer.


        Kobayashi on Button last round…watch out newly crowned WDC here is the rookie. And considering all the other drivers that came into the series mid/late season. Class

        1. I don’t believe for a second Button “flicked the backend out to scare him” on purpose like he was so proudly stating

          1. Yeah Tommy I did wonder whether that was true or bravado.
            It was a great race from him in Brazil but at same time he did mostly pass rookies. So it was good but I wasn’t stunned by it.
            I liked Webber on Alonso and Alonso on Trulli. I would give Kobayashi a nod too

      2. It was Alguersuari who said that ;)

  2. Of those not already mentioned, I think Webber on Button at Shanghai, Webber on Alonso at Barcelona and Button on Hamilton at Bahrain were up there with the best of all overtaking moves in 2009.

  3. Kovalainen on Fisichella at Suzuka, thought he’d done enough to retain his seat, but….

  4. would have to give it to Kobayashi for that move round the outside of Rosberg at Turn 1 in Brazil @6:32

    bravery, technical skill, flair, evenly matched machinery, conditions and fuel levels. had me out of my seat.

    1. whoops, i mean Nakajima of course.

    2. I agree, that was a very ballsy move executed brilliantly by a guy in his first ever race.

    3. That was great but I believe that was a defending move wasnt it? I might be wrong though.

  5. Hamilton passing Barrichello right by the wall at extremely high speeds at Interlagos to ensure his podium position. It also forced Barrichello to make a pitstop as he got a puncture there. Some, particularly Brazilian fans, may hate Lewis for it but there’s no denying the bravery and brilliance of it. This was after passing many other drivers as well. If I remember he started 17th and finished 3rd, which was the best recovery of 2009 I think. Button stole his thunder a little though by winning the championship on that same race.

  6. My favourites were:

    Webber on Alonso in Barcelona

    Rosberg on Massa in Monaco

    Kobayashi on Button in Abu Dhabi

    1. Why does everyone keep going on about Kobayashi’s pass on Button? It wasn’t a bad pass but Button had just stopped for a heap of fuel and cold tyres while Kobayashi was yet to stop.

      His move on Nakajima was awesome though, shame he took him out later on.

      1. Nakajima was partially to blame for his own demise from that race, since he could have lifted.

  7. That is a great video.

  8. My top 3:

    Kobayashi on Nakajima @ Brazil

    Webber on Alonso @ Spain

    Hamilton on Raikkonen @ China

    there were many other great passes this season but these are my personal faves. Can’t wait for 2010: 26 cars on track, hopefully much more of this sort of action!

    Roll on 2010!

  9. Button’s late-braking move on Buemi at Interlagos, for me. I always enjoy this type of unexpected manoeuvre.

  10. Vettel on a Toyota at Interlagos!

    1. Wow vettle, he’s not know for overtaking!

  11. Top 3:
    Webber on Alonso Catalunya

    Webber on Button Shanghai

    Kobayashi on Button Abu Dhabi

  12. Webber on Alonso in Catalunya would be my pick. Awesome gutsy do or die move.

  13. My favourite three are:

    Button passing Hamilton at Bahrain – because Lewis is not an easy man to pass and Jenson had to make that move stick in order to win the race. It was very well executed, with Button getting the car slowed down enough at the apex to stop Hamilton coming back at him.

    Alonso passing Trulli at Bahrain – because it required sheer guts to make it work, not just KERS. A lesser driver than Alonso would have backed out, a lesser driver than Trulli wouldn’t have allowed enough room and both cars would have crashed.

    Button passing Grosjean at Interlagos – because of the context, as well as being a very impressive move. Put yourself in Jenson’s shoes. The title is within your grasp in Brazil, but you need to finish the race and score points to clinch it. There’s a Renault ahead but is it Alonso or Grosjean? Alonso would probably be hard but fair, the last time you tangled with Grosjean you both crashed at Spa. Grosjean has absolutely nothing to lose if you both crash, he needs to impress to secure a drive for next year. You’re alongside him on the outside of a long, fast, tightening bend, barely ahead. Even if he gives you room he might accidentally drift wide and then you’ll both crash… Button had an awful lot at stake, Grosjean had nothing to lose. There may have been a few technically better or more innovative passes in 2009, but no one put as much on the line as Jenson did here. My stand out memory from the season just gone.

    1. My favourite:

      TIM’s description of Button overtaking at Interlagos. Much better than the pass itself!!!!

    2. Yes Button negated the advantage of the McLaren’s KERS with some clever slipstreaming along the Kilometre plus straight in Bahrain & did a “Hamilton” on Hamilton into turn 1 on Lap 2 – very clever stuff :)

    3. Didn’t Button do someone around the outside of of Pouhon or Blanchimont at Spa this year or was that Barrichello ?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        22nd December 2009, 7:57

        Would’t have been Button this year. He only made it to Les Coombes this year!

        1. of course ….. the alzheimer’s kicking in :) it was either Barrichello or me brains retrieving something from a previous year

  14. 3. Webber and Alonso in Catalunya
    2. Vettel on Barrichello in Brazil
    1. Kobayashi on Nakajima in Brazil

  15. All were great actually but if I had to pick: Button on Hamilton:

    1. Passing a KERS car
    2. Passing Hamilton (how many have managed to do that?)
    3. Clean pass, superb judgement – no muscling

    Thanks for posting the video.

  16. Very hard to choose, but here my three:

    — Lewis over Alonso at Silverstone where he didn’t have KERS

    — Mark Webber over Sebastian Vettel at Spa

    — Fisichella´s double overtake at Silverstone

  17. What about Kimi on Fisichella at Spa? Even though Kimi had KERS it was a fantastic overtake in Eau Rouge…

    1. That move didn’t actually take place in Eau Rouge, it was down the Kemmel straight. Raikkonen hit the KERS button and had the pass completed before Les Combes, such was his speed advantage.

      1. it was a great move , and given the fact that fisico was on his back for the rest of the race,… one hell of an overtake .

  18. hmmm…Kobayashi on Button was definitely a case of light car against heavy car, and Button would have been looking at the bigger picture anyway.

    Some good moves by a good few drivers, and while overtaking needs some work, it still wasn’t too bad this season.

  19. Hamilton on Raikkonnen on the outside in the wet at Shanghai was the one that IMMEDIATELY came to mind when I saw the topic of this article. So, that’s the one the gets my vote for sure.

  20. Mouse_Nightshirt
    21st December 2009, 18:09

    I think this video shows that Button sort of deserved the title more than Vettel. How many Vettel shots were there in there? It’s rather indicative – Vettel can’t overtake.

    1. Button had the best car in dirty air and only overtook loads because he had a fast car after his useless qualifying performances. Most of his overtakes were on rookies.

      Vettel can overtake and showed it, he finished ahead of Button in Brazil even though he started behind him – and no it wasnt just because of his pitstop

      1. I do agree though Vettel wasn’t as ambitious with his car like Button. I hope Vettel takes more 50/50 chances next year – he didn’t have a problem overtaking in 07/08 and did overtake more than others this year. Just because he started in good qualifying positions means he can’t overtake apparently.

        1. I agree, when people complain that vettle should have won over button it really irritates me, button over took in some circumstances to win races, vettle has only ever won a race from pole because he cant over take to win races, what does that say about him as a driver?

          1. Pedel to the Vettel
            21st December 2009, 22:22

            If i remember right when Vettel had to overtake to gain places it was abit hard because he had mostly had KERS cars infront of him slowing him down, it also didnt help that they stopped at the same time as him.

            If you want to go into detail about drivers, how many times would you think Button would of overtaken at the start of the season if the KERS cars were not all junk and the other cars had double decker diffusers to help them out abit, I reckon Buttons overtaking ratio would of dropped by 2/3rds if he was in Vettel’s shoes at the time.

          2. It says he is a better Qualifier than Button

          3. I know Vettel didn’t overtake more than Button. But saying he can’t overtake is stupid because he overtook more than someone like Kimi or Kubica and no one says that can’t overtake

          4. Button overtook a KERS car in Bahrain, Vettle couldnt and was trying to overtake a worse car than Button. Button had to overtake Hamilton to win the race in Bahrain because if he had have stuck behind the car like Vettle did he would have gone into the pits a similar time and ended up like vettle, this is why I am saying if Button can do it in crucial circumstances y cant the brilliant Vettle?

            TommyB, get it right mate, never said he couldn’t overtake, i said he cant overtake to win races, he has only ever won from Pole!!!!! Where as Button did, Turkey he over took vettle, on first lap because of a mistake, and then when vettle was on light fuel load he could have over took the slower button to have a chance of winning race, did he? nope he cocked his race up and finished 3rd because he didnt overtake at a vital opportunity!


          1. Wel then he obviously isnt as good driver as everybody seems to think!

          2. I won’t listen to comments about a driver when they can’t even spell their name correctly. I agree Button did well but Vettel overtook too.

          3. Sorry mate my bad, i did a you and got it wrong, like u have again, I never said he didnt overtake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I said he only ever won from Pole, and hasnt won a race through overtaking!

  21. Webber on Alonso gets my vote.

    The Spaniard using KERS to make his way past Webber, only for the Aussie coming back through under braking into Turn 1 was inspired.

    1. (at the Spanish GP of course!)

  22. 1.Hamilton on Raikonnen at Shanghai
    2. Webber on Alonso
    3. Kamui on Nakajima

  23. I semi-agree with the video – Glock’s power oversteer out of the corner (and at the Hungaroring in an unusual place) was great to watch. I also liked Webber and Alonso’s duel at Barcelona and Alonso barging past Trulli at Bahrain. The two Toyotas at Monza was amusing too, if a little clumsy.

    For me though, the best move was Button on Hamilton at Bahrain. Against a car with a theoretical advantage due to KERS, it was clean, precise, fair and masterful. It’s moves like that that won him the WC.

  24. I agree with the video actually for number 1, just because it wouldn’t have happened in 2007:

    1. Glock on Webber @ Hungary
    2. Button on Hamilton @ Bahrain
    3. Hamilton on Kimi @ Shanghai (or was it Sepang?)

    Shame about KERS though. A lot of passes had a disclaimer on them “he presses his KERS,” and “I don’t have a magic button” (Vettel moaning usually) etc.

    Let’s all hope the teams can somehow make Williams see sense and not run it in 2010. I don’t have high hopes though.

  25. Kobayashi on Nakajima was the best, an i’m not overating Kobayashi, it’s just that it was such a good and risky pass

  26. Do failed overtakes count? Webber’s defence in Abu Dhabi was perfect in a much slower car.

    For best overtake I’d have to say Kovy on Fisi in Japan, I cant think of any other occasion where someone’s been out-dragged coming out of the pits.

  27. Tom Morello on Joe McElderry, 20/12/09 ^_^

    other than that, Raikonnens pass on Fisi was my favourite all year. just a beautiful use of KERS.

    1. Like it :-)

  28. So here we are just suggesting for the poll?

    My suggestions then:
    – Malaysia: Webber on Alonso
    – Bahrain: Button on Hamilton and Alonso on Trulli
    – Spain: Webber versus Alonso
    – Monaco: Hamilton on Trulli, Rosberg on Trulli
    – Turkey: Barrichello on Kovalainen
    – Hungary: Hamilton on Webber
    – Italy: Glock on Trulli
    – Singapore: Glock on Alonso
    – Japan: Liuzzi on Nakajima, Kovalainen on Fisichella
    – Brazil: Kobayashi on Nakajima, Button on Grosjean
    – Abu Dhabi: Kobayashi on Button

    1. Any chance you could whittle that down to three SaloolaS? I’ve got to count these up later!

      1. Top 3:
        Rosberg on Massa @ Monaco
        Webber on Alonso @ Barcelona
        Button on Grosjean @ Interlagos

        Also amazing:
        Kovalainen on Fisichella @ Suzuka
        Kobayashi on Nakajima @ Interlagos

  29. vettel doesnt appear in ANY of those!!

  30. And Webber over Leis at Malaysia?

    I think it was the most impressive fight for position this year:

      1. thanks for the senna’esk yak fest!

      2. I agree with the link. Most accomplished overtaker of the year. HAM can get the job done.

  31. My personal best for the year was Webber on Alonso @ Sepang.

  32. The only one that really had me on the edge of my seat and shouting unprintable expletives at a certain Frenchman was Button overtaking Gross Jean at Interlago Brazil starting at Turn 3 and finishing at Turn 8 including a “Balls Out” move around the outside of the very fast Ferra Durra – what made this even more special was that Button was battling for the Championship at the time & under immense pressure. :)

  33. Nice video. Can’t say I have any favourites (the Webber-Alonso battles were nice), but as much as I can appreciate the skill, it’s a little difficult to get excited over moves made on backmarkers by drivers in vastly superior machinery, so about half of the ones shown go out the window for me.

    How about Kubica’s move on Vettel with two wheels on the grass?

  34. The Kobayashi pass on Button does it for me.
    All season, all we heard was how “great” button was as a passer, and blah blah, but he got relatively schooled by a newcomer.

    Kobi get’s my vote.

    1. Nonsense. As has already been pointed out (and Brundle pointed out in the race) that pass was a foregone conclusion as Kobi was light, Button had full fuel, cold tyres and a braking point to re-assess. If that had been Button on anyone else, it would be “Oh Button, he’s useless, can only overtake in a faster car when the other guy is just out of the pits”.

      Kobi deserves a lot of praise for that pass, and for the Abu Dhabi race in general. But putting it up there as best pass because “it was on Button and Button sucks, this proves it” tells us more about you than about the manoeuvre.

      Button passed Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Kovi (when lots of other drivers couldn’t). It certainly wasn’t “mostly rookies” as argued above. He deserves his plaudits on that score, undoubtedly.

  35. Nice compilation Mitikake. Guess I forgot there really was a lot of really good overtaking and dicing this year! Could it be the cars actually are closer to each other in performance? (KERS excepted of course.)

  36. Silverstone, Lewis on Nando(everyone screaming) and Nando on Lewis(Silent).

    1. yer almost forgot Alonso did get back in front with an equally good pass that has faded in to oblivion.
      And all for 12th spot or something meaningless.

  37. Button on Hamilton – Bahrain
    Button on Kobayashi – Interlagos
    Webber on Alonso – Barcelona

  38. Have to watch it all when I have more time, but of your favourites Keith, mine (in no particular order) are:

    Hamilton on Raikkonen at Shanghai
    Button on Hamilton at Bahrain
    Kobayashi on Nakajima at Interlagos

  39. rosberg takes massa – 2:45
    barrichello takes hamilton – 3:05
    barrichello takes kovalinen – 3:30
    raikkonen takes fisichella – 4:25
    kovalinen takes fisichella – 6:00
    vettel/alonso/vettel/alonso/vettel – 8:35
    and, nearly anything from kobyashi

    the action in the first few 2009 races was as good as f1 has been for a while.

    1. correction:
      webber/alonso/webber/alonso/webber – 8:45

  40. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st December 2009, 23:54

    Button taking Grosjean in Brazil.

    Best Attempted Pass would have to go to Button’s last-lap desperation move on Webber in Abu Dhabi.

  41. F1Yankee;
    Are you confusing Vettel for Webber verses Alonso?

    No wonder people rate Vettel so highly (as do I to be honest)… he’s getting credit for Webber’s great moves too!

  42. Piquet takes Hamilton in Turkey.

    I know you guys don’t like him for several reasons, but that pass was beautiful, you’ve give him that!

    1. Yeah I really loved that pass too! Piquet jr. is a total douchebag but that actually showed why he drove in the F1 on the first place. Also loved Kobayashi’s 2 manoevres!

  43. For me it is easilly Button aganist Buemi on Brazil, a very very late braking, do or die stuff.

  44. Lets just cut the cr@p. :)

    Lewis Hamilton! hands down NO CONTEST!

    Chose whichever one you want out of the lot, he had the most in 2009:


  45. Barrichello on Hamilton, was the best pass in 2009. No KERS, all talent and experience.

  46. Rosberg on Massa at Monaco (2:51) was scary. Didn’t realised it was that close during the race.

    My number 1 is the Webber Alonso scrap at Sepang. =)

  47. Raikkonen’s Pass on Fisi

  48. 1. Webber on Alonso – Spain. Simply outstanding race craft from Webber (in fact through most of the season) I hope he can keep up his game for a good couple of years at least.
    2. Kobayashi on Nakajima – Brazil. Shows skill and control without being too dangerous here on his first ever F1 race (must have wounded Nakajima’s pride badly).
    3. Kovalinen on Fisichella – Japan. If only Heikki had shown this level of hunger/determination all season.

    Button on Grosjean was up there too and I do appreciate the context and the gamble there, but for me it wasn’t a terribly exciting or difficult/complex overtaking manoeuvre, more a risky one. Similarly was tempted to put Kobayashi on Button but Button was heavily fuelled and on cold tyres.
    For best defensive driving Webber over Button, Abu Dhabi, some excellent race craft and Kimi’s defending the lead from the faster Force India at Spa.

  49. i also really liked button on grosjean in brazil; great bravery and skill. also, button on kubica at suzuka was brilliant braking control by both drivers: to move around in the braking zone with such precision is breath taking.

    number one is webber’s defense in barcelona just for sheer buttock-clenching excitement.

    i think this season was a good year for on track scraps, just a shame the championship lacked any drama. 1997, for example, was the exact reverse.

  50. Webber on Alonso in Spain. Very brave and skilful driving from both of them.

  51. I’ll go with Kobayashi’s pass on Nakajima into the Senna S (6:30) that’s great stuff, and he was a rookie who never drove on that track before!!!

  52. Without doubt Webber on Alonso in Spain.

    1. 1) Webber on Alonso, Spain (by a long margin)
      2) Webber on Alonso, Malaysia
      3) Kobayashi on Nakajima, Brasil

  53. keith u have forgotten the webber’s pass on button in shangai for 2nd spot..it was awesome.

  54. [quote]Hamilton on Raikkonen at Shanghai (1′37) – Around the outside in the wet. Webber did a similar pass but Hamilton did it in a worse car…[/quote]

    Yes, he did do it in a worse car than Webber did, but the car he was passing was also worse than the one Webber passed. It’s all relative. I’m not saying it wasn’t an impressive pass, because it was impressive and ballsy, but not more impressive than Webber’s who managed to pass the best car by far at that point.

    I quite liked the Hamilton-Alonso scrap in Silverstone. For the lowly classification they were fighting for, to come out with a clean fight between these two specifically, was really nice to see.

    1. Yes, he did do it in a worse car than Webber did, but the car he was passing was also worse than the one Webber passed.

      Fair point.

  55. I haven’t seen in the clip Liuzzi going round the outside on Kova in the Parabolica, Monza, at the end of first lap. Brilliant manoeuver, from a pilot more than one year out of the races, and driving a force india.

    one of best pass in 2009 for me is Hamilton on Alonso @ Silverstone, I definitely like fast corner overtakes

  56. Koby on Naka at Interlagos and the Toyota scrap at Monza were great! I forgot just how many great moves Webber pulled off this season…

  57. One i remember thats not on the video is Lewis in the tunnel at Monaco. Forget who it was on.

  58. raikkonen on fisi for the lead and win at spa.

  59. Button on Grosjean in Brazil.
    Webber on Alonso in Malaysia.
    Raikkonen on Fisichella in Belgium.*

    *: Was this the only overtaking move for the lead of a Grand Prix? Button passed Vettel in Turkey, but that was because Vettel messed up.

  60. Accidental Mick
    23rd December 2009, 11:55

    That is a brilliant composition, Keith, thanks for putting it up.

    Do you know Mattikako, is he a professional?

    1. Nope, but if FOA know what’s good for them they’ll leave his video up there.

  61. Thanks for all your suggestions guys – I’ll pick out the ones that have the most nominations and put together the short list for the vote…

  62. 1.) Kamui on Nakajima
    2.)Rosberg on Massa
    3.)Webber on Alonso

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