Kobayashi-on-Button voted best overtaking move of 2009

Posted on

| Written by

Kamui Kobayashi impressed with a pass on Jenson Button at Yas Island

The pass that made a star of Kamui Kobayashi has been voted the best overtaking move of 2009 by F1 Fanatic readers.

The vote to find the best pass of 2009 was closely fought and attracted over 2,000 votes – along with some heated debate.

Here’s the voting results in full:

Best pass of 2009: votes (click to enlarge)

Kobayashi’s pass on lap 19 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (@6’50 on the video below) attracted just over a quarter of the vote. It proved a divisive poll with several people arguing that it did not deserve the top spot because it was not that impressive a pass from a technical point of view.

Kobayashi passed Button while the Brawn driver was on his out-lap. He ran wide on cold tyres, allowing the Toyota driver through. Kobayashi’s car was faster at the time and he pulled out 7.4s on Button in the next ten laps.

On the other hand it’s not hard to see why Kobayashi’s pass was such a hit – here was a driver in only his second race putting one over the newly-crowned world champion.

There may have been a degree of inevitability about the move but it’s clear from the build-up to the pass that Button was willing to defend the position. It’s not as if he pulled over and let his rival by – Kobayashi pressured him into a mistake.

It was an important pass for Kobayashi. He finished the race sixth, one place ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli, who had come out of the pits 6.7s behind Kobayashi at the final round of stops. Had he not made that pass on Button when he did, Kobayashi would have ended the race behind his team mate.

And that could have left him out of F1 in 2010. Instead he’s been snapped up by Peter Sauber for next year, who said this about his drive after announcing the deal:

In the Abu Dhabi race he demonstrated not only that he can drive fast and aggressively, but also his ability to successfully implement a strategy.
Peter Sauber

That said, I cast my vote for Mark Webber’s pass on Fernando Alonso at Catalunya, which came in fourth.

Kimi Raikkonen’s pass on Giancarlo Fisichella at Spa – which effectively won the race for the Ferrari driver – was ranked second. Button’s round-the-outside pass on Romain Grosjean at Interlagos came third.

A pass by Felipe Massa was voted the best overtaking move of 2008.

Read the earlier discussion on the best pass of 2009

Image (C) Toyota F1 World

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

86 comments on “Kobayashi-on-Button voted best overtaking move of 2009”

  1. nonsense! how can people over here be so clouded? kimi on fisi was the best.

    1. yer press kers on a long straight after a RS…wow super hard!

      1. It really wasn’t as simple as that. Kimi’s move took a lot of bravery, both cars were skipping out all over the track up Eau Rouge and Kimi made sure he was right behind him at the top to get the slingshot through. KERS or not, it took a talented driver to have the bravery to do that move on cold tyres.

        Beside Fisi was just as fast on the straights anyway, so KERS wasn’t as decisive as you make out.

        However my top 2 overtakes came out in the top 2; I would have just had them the other way around.

    2. “how can people be so clouded?”
      What, because they disagree with you?
      How many non Kimi-fanatics voted for that.
      Thank god the Kers-pass is dead.

    3. Kimi’s move wasn’t exactly spectacular was it!

    4. clearly you forgot Hungary Trulli power oversteering maneuver its almost impossible to overtake there

      1. clearly the harder technicly

        1. Kobayshi just won because who didnt wanted button to win the champ voted on that overtake the ferrari fans voted on raikkonen for 2 reasons i t was decisive and a victory.the best overtakes were Webber on alonso catalunya and glock on webber that overtake its not on the list because it looked too easy and short but actually it was technicly the harder

  2. Prisoner Monkeys
    1st January 2010, 7:15

    Worst. Poll. Ever.

    I’m sorry, but it was Raikkonen’s KERS button that made that pass, and Kamui Kobayashi never would have gotten past Button on any other lap – it was the fact that Button had only just exited the pits that meant Kobayashi could make the pass. If it were anyone else, the pass wouldn’t have even been nominated for voting, much less won.

    1. ^ This.

      Like the “driver of the year poll” this one has lost a lot of credibility. The top two passes are ones that don’t even deserve to be shortlisted, because they’re fundamentally not “overtaking” at all. On the one hand, those viewing the 80’s through rose tinted glasses complain there’s no real overtaking anymore, that refuelling produces nothing more than illusionary order-shuffling, and yet this non-pass is overtaking of the year?

      And yes, if this were Kobi on, say, Rosberg, it would not have been nominated.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        1st January 2010, 8:35

        And yes, if this were Kobi on, say, Rosberg, it would not have been nominated.

        Same as if it were Rosberg passing Button. People are making too much of Kobayashi. I think it’s great that he’s done so well for himself, but people are taking things too far.

        1. Agreed.

          IMO, it was only notable because it was his second race and Button was the WDC. If it had been any other light/hot driver on another heavy/cold driver nothing would have been made of this.

          1. Myles Woerner
            1st January 2010, 19:15

            I completely agree. People are really taking the Kobayashi thing too far. The pass was alright, but Button was on cold tires/heavy fuel load, while Kobi was running super-light because he was about to pit. People were completely clouded of judgement in this poll-the Kobi fanaticism at the end of the season blinded people from realizing what the actual IMPORTANT passes were. An end of the season, non-championship deciding, easy pass should not even have been nominated to be on this list.

      2. Stop the whining. What’s this nonsense:

        they’re fundamentally not “overtaking” at all

        Not sure you’ve quite grasped the concept of overtaking, it’s when one car passes another, fundamentally that’s what it is. For it to happen the car behind nearly always has to be faster than the car in front, it doesn’t matter why.

        1. ^ this

    2. get to grips with this dude,

      but it’s clear from the build-up to the pass that Button was willing to defend the position. It’s not as if he pulled over and let his rival by – Kobayashi pressured him into a mistake.

      So a rookie implementing this cleanly was what made this big, considering the other ‘dumb’
      rookies of 2009, who didn’t have a clue of competing in F1, much less overtaking a frontrunner…

    3. show me where any other mid season rookie that has ever dared take on a WDC in 2 races 1 where he successfully held Button off for many laps untill a Button dive bomb which if it was a more season driver wouldn’t have come off, as they would have slammed the door closed even at the risk of taking both out…and then in he last round regardless of pit strategies he had to get past button. How many times do we see regular drivers getting stuck behind the cars that have just exited pits and NEVER get past…

      I believe the Webber vs Alonso pass was the best all year both of them but come on the rookie, Kobie grabed the bull by the horns and had the kahonas to do it.

      1. Completely agree. Personally I think Kobayashi’s move on Nakajima was superior, followed by Button on Hamilton, but this is a deservung winner. Kobi dared to take on the new WDC after haing had a hard scrap with him the race before, it was a good battle despite Kobi having the advantage, and if he hadn’t got passed him on that lap he might never have at all.

        I notice the Kimi fanboys have been out in force – second best pass? At least, say, Hamilton’s on Webber at Hungary was preceded by Lewis forcing Mark on the defensive and then into leaving an opening, finally going round the outside by out-braking him into the corner. What did Kimi do? Fisi mucked up the restart and Kimi pressed the KERS button. Wow.

        1. webber was far up the straight then lewis, lewis pressed his kers and gt right up close to him, if he hadnt have used kers he wldnt have gotten close enough to webber to pass him.

      2. The rookie Kobi did a lot more than that in the previous race, where he almost killed another driver by moving across the track 3 times and driving him into the wall, if “cojones” is your benchmark. He deserves praise for a more measured approach in Abu Dhabi. He also deserves praise for a clean, well judged overtake, even if it was a case of “if he doesn’t make this, he’s as bad as alguersari”.

        But does he deserve Move of the year for it? No.

    4. Accidental Mick
      1st January 2010, 11:06

      Sorry PM, I normaly agree with most of what you write but not about this.

      KERS is part of the design of the car and KR waas using his car the best way he could.

      Don’t denigrate a driver just because you don’t like the technology.

      1. Nobody’s denigrating Kimi at all – but the fact remains taht it was the KERS button that overtook Fisi, not Kimi.

        Kimi deserves a hell of a lot more praise for keeping Fisi behind him *after* the pass, than he does for the “monkey presses the button” pass itself.

      2. Prisoner Monkeys
        2nd January 2010, 1:28

        Don’t denigrate a driver just because you don’t like the technology.

        It’s not that I don’t like the technology, only that Raikkonen would never have made the pass without KERS.

    5. PM well said lad.

      My vote went for Button at Interlagos, almost any of his passes really, as he had the championship at stake (to lose) and so about 20 times the pressure than anyone else. The passes were all meticulously clever and perfectly executed, combining the unexpected with as much minimization of risk as possible. Apart from that, Hamilton on Kimi at China was the most impressive technically, I thought, not that it mattered anything much.

    6. Yep! Spot on That’s the full SP Prismonk. Just shows how many people know bugger all about F1. Pity. It could have been a very good poll.

      1. Just shows how many people know bugger all about F1. It could have been a very good poll.

        Just because others did not agree with you, doesn’t mean that they know “bugger all” about F1. This was quite clearly an opinion poll, and it can’t be a bad one just because the voters didn’t agree with your opinion.

  3. kimi had KERS! i voted for webber on alonso at spain.

    1. Same, that move made me jump! Was both amazing and scary. Perfect :)

  4. the only two moves deserve the title of best overtaking move of 2009 are Jenson on Grosjean and Webber on Alonso.
    Kimi had KERS so it not exactly an impressive overtaking over. and Kobayashi has a much lighter car against a much heavier brawn with tyres not up to their operating temperature. It was a good overtaking as Kobayashi pressured Button into making a mistake, but its certainly not the best move of the year.

  5. Seems a lot of people voted for Webber in Spain but it only came 4th? I demand an inquiry!

  6. How on earth did the Webber pass not win?

    1. Because it’s Webber..

      I thought that move was epic but everyone is going to vote for moves done by Button, Kimi, Koby etc.

  7. the webber passes in bahrain wernt even in the poll!!

  8. We all know Webber on 2x WDC at his home GP was the move of the year. (Better than a KERS assisted sling shot or a fuel affected pass or even a WDC’s pass on Renault’s worst driver of the year, yes that includes Piquet!)

  9. Stop being so sour people.

    1. And you are right… :)

  10. I think Webber was the passer of the year..

    1. I agree, webber made some gutsy moves. Having said that kobi showed the rookies how its done.

  11. If all the cars were painted the same colour and we didn’t know who was driving them, this poll would look very different. And be far more accurate.

  12. I thought Button’s pass on Hamilton earlier in the season was worthy of merit because of it’s impact on the race .

  13. I really dont undestand the fuss about Kobayashy and the poll here. It was a great move made by a man with almost zero experience in a F1 car. Isnt enough?

    If some guys do not understand how great was this overtake, look back to Turkish GP where Sebastian Vettel, onboard of RB5, the quickest car in 2009, was unable to overtake the same Button in the same race situation.

    If we consider that Istanbul Park is much more overtaking friendly than Abu Dhabi, than you will understand how good job Koba have done there.

    1. I really don’t understand how you can compare it to Vettel in Turkey. When exactly was Button driving out of the pits on cold tyres, with Vettel right behind him on a way lighter fuel load? It never happened.

      Button outbraked himself on the dirty line with cold tyres, and Kobayashi went through. It was hardly a pass. It simply got this many votes because people hype Kobayashi and dislike Button, especially since he won the WDC.

      Kobayashi did very well in those 2 races, but it doesn’t make this pass better because he’s a rookie. He clearly knows how to handle an F1 car. If it were any other driver fighting Button at that point, I doubt it would even be noticed.

    2. Myles Woerner
      1st January 2010, 19:21

      Firstly, Istanbul Park is hardly more easy at overtaking than is Yas Marina. Secondly, that pass was completely irrelevant. Yeah, we get it, a young Japanese whipper snapper taking it to the WDC is a fun story, but in reality, it was not that great of a pass, considering the situation. We American youth have a saying regarding undeserving infatuation: get off the guy’s ****.

  14. I’m glad this move won. It wasn’t the best but it was better than most of the others this year.

  15. I can understand why some pople are annpyed (I was when Kimi won that other poll and it was just a blatant attempt to hijack a poll by some of his fans) but I can see why this won.
    If Button hadn’t just pitted then no it wouldn’t have happened but a fair few passes are down to another car having problems making them quicker. He still took the chance where maybe other rookies would have backed off and stayed in same position. It wasn’t the best or most skillful pass of the year but it did entertain and stay with a fair few people and that’s enough for me.
    And I’m going to miss kers; ok Kimi had hers to overtake but that’s what happensn you overtake when the car in front is slower. It’s an aid so it takes away from the quality of the passes so rightly hasn’t won but if he didn’t have kers this year (especially for the start of races) then I think there would have been less passes. Bring on next year where drivers will work even harder to pass and should increase quality.

    1. All of these moves you can argue why they aren’t good though.

      KOB vs BUT
      Button had just come out the pits

      RAI vs FIS
      Kimi had the KERS button

      BUT vs GRO
      Vettel did a better move at the same corner on a more challenging opponent

      Infact the only one I can’t find anything bad for is the Webber VS Alonso move. Was great

      1. Exactly it’s opinion on what passes were great so I like this poll. I’m just grateful we had some passes :P. And yeah I loved Webber’s move too.

      2. KOB vs BUT
        RAI vs FIS
        BUT vs GRO

        Altough in all these moves KOB RAI and BUT had the advantages you mentioned, BUT FIS and GRO had much bigger advantage witch is THEY WERE IN FRONT! And funny enough in the WEB vs ALO episode WEB was in font to begin with, think about that. Altough I must admit it was great move by WEB and I would give it the nomination for defense of the year, unlike his defense in Brazil on KIMI.

  16. Button in 2010 Mclaren team kit:


    1. It looks strange seeing Button in McLaren silver rather than BAR/ Honda/ Brawn white.

      And will he be required to shave his beard off now he’s at McLaren?! Or was facial hair only a problem under the Ron Dennis regime?

  17. I don’t mind that Kobayashi won, even though I think Webber on Alonso move was the best. I enjoyed the Kobayashi move, not because it was spectacular, but because he pressured the championship leader into a mistake.

    Not a fan of the 3D chart though Keith :P

  18. A very disapointing poll result, really…
    I agree with the comments concerning the 2 winners.

    I am afraid it is too hard for people to take distance from their emotions and judges with their brain, not their heart.

    I mean, you have the right to support Kimi. I don’t, but I reckon he is a very skilled driver, one of the best, possibly. Does that make this move the best of 2009 ? Come on… EVERYONE knew this was bound to happened due to the SC.
    Same for Kobayashi. I like him a lot: he seems to be brave and willing. But Button couldn’t really defend at 100% there.

    I think these polls are meant to drift towards such fanatic-oriented positions. So ridiculous is the base “fan”. I guess some people didn’t even see the full video but picked Kimi vs Fisi.
    In fact it is some kind of “how large is your fanclub” measurment-tool… sad.

    The same is true for all the “who is better ? Senna or Schuey ?” discussions… pointless.

    1. I think these polls are meant to drift towards such


      -oriented positions. So ridiculous is the base


      . I guess some people didn’t even see the full video but picked Kimi vs Fisi.
      In fact it is some kind of “how large is your


      club” measurment-tool… sad.

      Name of website you’re on? :)

      1. I meant to bold, not quote the word “fan”, sorry.

  19. For me, it was Button on Buemi, coming from so far back. It summed up his overtakes all year, and he was by far the best overtaker. Second to that, Kobayashi on Nakajima :-)

  20. What is wrong with the people here? A poll is a vote for what the individual thinks, it may not coincide with what YOU think. A debate is different, you try to convince others to your way of thinking. The man with the best argument wins. Hello!! this was a poll, get over it. It just shows what the masses think was the best.

    Maybe Keith will offer a debate first in future, followed by the vote. That will allow ‘die-hards’ to influence people to their way of thinking.

    As it stands the polls on this this site are accurate as they reflect the mood of the majority. Kudos to Kobay, the ROOKIE showed the world he has a pair and knows how to drive an F1 car. (a rear thing in 2009).

    Still, I love reading the comments of the fanatical, roll on the new season. Happy New Year to all.

    1. Best post of… 2010 :D

      Great comments

    2. Yeah, great comment!

    3. Good post Tiomkin! :)

      Happy new year everyone!

  21. compete nonsense. Jenson was on cold tyres and put himself in a position to defend, it was never the “best” i think Button on Kubica was much much better

  22. Let´s be reasonable here a great overtaking is always a great moment in F1, i am a Ferrari fan, but that doesn´t mean i am blind and cannot see great overtaking by other drivers and teams!
    Kobaiashi is a good driver, otherwise will not be in F1, he´s not affraid of wheel to wheel contact and that makes him almost unique, i hope to see some good racing in 2010 and by the way “Happy New Year for all F1 fans around the world”

  23. Rookie overtakes always pave the way for future drives. E.g. is Alex Wurz in Monaco over Schumi. That overtake ensured his stay in F1.

    I only hope Koba will not end up like Wurz tho :-(

    The kimi overtake on Fisico was designed to let Fisico get the Ferrari drive as indeed was confirmed a few days later :-( (Now, don’t tell me I am being conspiratory)

  24. It’s inevitable that the context of the pass makes people view things differently. The fact that it was a rookie passing the world champion made a lot of difference to how people voted. This kind of thing has happened before. On the forum, about 60-70% of the passes mentioned on the “Best Overtakings Ever” were on Schumacher for instance.

  25. Kamui’s pass was easily the best pass of the year, his pass on Nakajima.

  26. How did Kobayashi’s move on Nakajima in Brazil win. That move brilliantly executed and was very exciting! That was definitivly my favourite move of 09!

    1. Woops, what i meant to say is Not win. :)

  27. I’m a bit suprised that Kova’s move on Fisichella received the least amount of votes. That took skill and some bravery and although I didn’t vote for it myself, thought I would give it a mention.

    Good luck in 2010 Mr. Kovalainen.

  28. I like this guy kobayashi ……Good for sauber…..

  29. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    1st January 2010, 22:08

    Kobi’s move on button was impressive, mainly because button was champ and kobi was a rookie. But it doesn’t deserve best overtake as button on grosjean, raikenon on fisi and webber on alonso in malaysia and spain were all much better.

  30. Button wasn’t going to battle with Kobayashi for too long, because he had the ‘big picture’ to think about. Maybe if he’d let Koby passed without hindering him at all, he would have had a few more goes at getting passed Webber.

    I don’t think it was the best pass of the season anyway. Button’s pass on Kobayashi had more riding on it, and the cars were more ‘equal’ at the time of it. It wasn’t a great pass, but it certainly had more importance.

  31. Prisoner Monkeys
    2nd January 2010, 1:39

    Watching that video, does anyone else notice that the creator is really quite biased towards Hamilton? Every time Hamilton makes a pass, it’s always “brave” and “mastery”, but with everyone else, it’s just “down the inside”, and when someone gets Hamilton – like Button did in Bahrain – then he only describes it as “a KERS car” …

    1. He usually makes Hamilton orientated overtaking vids. He’s simply a fan of his.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        2nd January 2010, 11:21

        Your defence of both him and Hamilton is duly noted. As is your username here: Lew(is).

        1. Where exactly did I defend him or Hamilton? I’m just explaining. I actually agree with you on the Worst. Poll. Ever.

    2. This is how drivers get their ‘false’ reputations. We listen (or some of us do) to the hype and we get taken in. What’s worse is that the drivers start to believe it too!

  32. Kobayashi’s move helped him to get his 6th place,but to me Lewis on Kimi in China was probably one of the bravest move of the pool.

  33. I am alarmed at how Kimi would have an advantage of having a KERS car, while Hamilton would have it the other way of ‘that KERS car’.
    And someone said Kimi wouldn’t have had a chance of overtaking Fisi without ‘KERS’, just shows how much their knowledge is about Kimi’s driving and Formula 1.
    What these comments say are about general public’s fashion knowledge statements, just like someone having an iPod is considered (or was, now ipod is ubiquitous) ‘cool’.

    I am cool because
    1. ‘I hate schumi because he’s a cheaaaatttt, and all the other drivers in F1 had been utmost gentlemen’
    2. Lewis Hamilton is the only person on the grid to have driving mastery of an F1 driver, when he overtakes its his grit, determination etc but when others do its KERS, double diffusers, cold tyres, ‘big picture’ etc etc
    3. Button’s driving is excellent, and he’s like the ‘Gandalf’ – the know it all of F1, he knows the ‘big picture’

    Also, one word about some comments that really made me mad!!

    Polls are polls guys, you are given some choices of which you gotta vote, if you need your thoughts to reflect as choices, please go and start your own ‘f1fanatic’. Give the owner some cool, he’s doing it because he shares the same passion as many of us, and we all want his utmost input to carry on this awesome forum of thoughts.. anyone who comments about the owner’s intelligence in choosing what he has, or his debate should not visit here…
    Keith, you are doing an awesome job that many of us are jealous of, please continue your support for the greatest sport and many fanatics of the same..
    Happy new year!!

  34. I don’t really take too much notice of polls in general. Take the rate the race polls for example. How often does a perfectly good race get scored “terrible” because the voter’s favourite driver didn’t win? Or “perfect” because they did?

    Take this one, would Kobayashi’s pass won if it was on Webber? Probably not.

    1. I think it would have been as good on any top 5 driver. His tyrs would have been shot or getting close to it, but that seems to be forgotten too.

    2. it was Kobayashi’s attitude that impressed me. all the other rookies in 2009 wouldn’t have even bothered trying to overtake Jenson!

  35. I’m with you Keith. The best pass with two quality drivers in racing conditions was webber on alonso!

  36. Kobayashi’s pass was wonderful if only because he made it look too easy. It showed presence of mind, and tactical awareness. What made it even worse, was when the BBC presenters tried to make excuses for Button.

    1. Button was on a heavy fuel load with cold tyres, and ‘Koby’ was on a light fuel load with tyres at the right temp. He passed Button-go figure!

  37. The problem is that Kobayashi got past because Jenson made a mistake. If Jenson had braked correctly so that he made the apex then Kobayashi would not have got past. Kobayashi simply took the racing line through the corner as Jenson went wide. A lot of much better passes were made by various drivers throughout the year where they actually positioned their car to complete the pass or achieve an overlap before the apex (ie in the breaking zone) which the defending driver could do nothing about. ie. Button on Grojean etc.

  38. Are these the ‘top’ ten passing moves of 2009, or ‘the’ ten passing moves of 2009?

    1. No. This is the ‘one’ passing move that serves a purpose.

Comments are closed.