Mark Webber, of Red Bull Racing won the 2009 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix after a blemish free drive, but his effort was overshadowed by Jenson Button of Brawn GP who’s fifth place was enough to secure the 2009 Formula 1 Driver’s Championship.
The Story of the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix:
Barrichello got a dream start, and hared off into the lead, from Mark Webber.
Kimi Raikonen blasted past Anil sutil into third place at the start with his “power button” Ferrari, but clipped the Force India car on his way past.
Vettel touched Kovalainnen and spun him out, collecting Fisichella’s Ferrari on his way.
Sutil and Trulli connected after Jarno Trulli hit Sutil looking to take inside line into turn 4.
There was high drama to follow as Kovalainen, pitting following his accident, drove off with fuel line still attached. Raikkonen was met with a ball of flame as fuel sprayed from the broken line dragging behind Kovalainen’s car!
Brawn GP team helped remove the fuel line from Kovalainen’s car before the driver continued on his way.
Button came through Mayhem unscathed and was in 9th position as a Safety Car came out on lap one to allow track cleanup – Barrichello had got off into a clean lead with Webber in 2nd place.
Rosberg had third from Kubica, as the safety car came in on lap 4, but Robert Kubica got a run on him into turn 1 and claimed the place from him.
Button claimed eigth place from Grosjean on the same lap.
Button took Nakajima into turn one on the very next lap – the Brit Champion elect was flying and aggressive, as he took seventh place.
Button looked like a man who wanted to claim the Formula 1 World Championship this afternoon.
Sebastian Vettel was pushing hard too, but perhaps went too hard as he went onto the grass between corner four and five on lap eight.
Barrichello in the lead was doing his part – leading the race – as Mark Webber set the fastest lap on lap 9.
Button was trying to get past new Toyota man Kamui Kobayashi, who more than held his own: the Japanese rookie setting quicker lap times than Jenson Button was able to coax from his Brawn GP machine at this early stage.
Hamilton had been brought in during the safety car phase and was fueled up for an effective one stop strategy – which he would be able to achieve having done his “soft compound” phase for just the one lap. Despite being at the back of the pack, Hamilton looked likely to be around at the latter stages of this Grand Prix.
Barrichello was informed that he needed four seconds margin on Webber by his race engineer, Jock Clear, and maintained his hard push at the head of affairs.
Kubica was staying in contention in third place – around a second behind the Australian’s Red Bull.
The race stewards investigated Heikki Kovalainnen for his pit lane incident.
Barrichello responded to the call setting a fastest lap on lap 16, taking another 0.2 seconds from the trailing Autralian. His time was a full two seconds faster than his team-mate, Button, who was failing to make much ground on the Toyota ahead of him. Button had to settle for seventh place for the time being.
After 20 laps, Barrichello had around 2.7 seconds on Mark Webber – which meant that the pit stops would be extremely tight, and therefore crucial to this race. Webber was fueled to last 3-4 laps longer than the Brazilian.
Barrichello pitted at the end of this lap, as Mark Webber recorded his fastest lap. Brawn performed a near-perfect pit stop, however, the home favourite emerged in traffic.
Vettel overtook Barrichello with his lighter Red Bull, obviously trying everything to keep the Championship within sight.
Webber led from Kubica and Rosberg while they ran light before their first stops.
Button took Kobayashi into turn one but failed to make it stick on lap 23.
Kubica pitted and, surprisingly, re-entered in front of Rubens Barrichello, claiming second place from the Brazilian.
Button complained the young driver ahead of him kept “moving around in the braking zone” over the team radio, before making a pass stick. This was another turn one overtake.
Button had six laps before his pit window, with a clear track in front of him in a provisional second place, behind Mark Webber.
Kobayashi and his compatriot Nakajima were battling on the next lap and had a real ding dong, which allowed Sebastian Vettel to catch and almost pass the Williams man.
Kobayashi had performed manfully in his new Toyota seat to hold off Button, who quickly took 3 seconds once free of the Japanese newcomer.
Webber came out from his pit stop in the lead from Jenson Button who had yet to stop. The Australian had the race at his disposal.
Button, with clear track, however, had an opportunity to get within the crucial five points of his team-mate Barrichello who had slipped down to third following the pit-stop reshuffle.
Button came into the pits on lap 29 and Brawn added hard tyres and fueled their man for one more pit stop. He fed back out into 10th place, with a little clear track ahead of him and 25 laps worth of fuel on board, 41 laps remained.
Kazuki Nakajima had a big out on lap 31. The young Williams driver looked a little shaken having skipped sideways at speed into the barrier after crashing into Kobayashi, who seemed to make a dangerous blocking manouver on his countryman.
Barrichello was in a battle with Lewis Hamilton who had now become light on his long first stint.
Button was chasing Sebastian Buemi in ninth with many drivers yet to pit – he picked off his man in yet another turn one overtake.
Button’s late braking derring-do was surely the work of a man who was committed to winning the Formula 1 Driver’s Championship at Interlagos – this race began to have the hallmarks of a Champion’s drive.
Vettel showed why he had gone close to this year’s title with some fast laps in this middle part of the race now he had a clear track to race on, in a light car not yet having stopped on lap 36.
One-stop drivers Hamilton and Raikkonen looked set to score heavily at this stage, with the anticipated showers failing to materialise.
Vettel emerged from his stop behind Jenson Button on lap 38, in 7th place, with the Brit sitting in sixth.
Hamilton (4th) and Raikkonen (5th) were surely going to be caught by the lighter Brawn behind. A Grandstand finish and a new Champion in both the Driver’s and Constructors titles were on the cards at this stage.
Mark Webber was almost forgotten at the head of the pack – he was near-faultless and pulled out a 6 second gap ahead of Kubica in second.
Barrichello was under close scrutiny from Hamilton who was doing a super-long “first” stint after having fueled up and lost the soft tyres under the safety car in a smart piece of McLaren quick-thinking.
Button got to within a second and a half of Kimi Raikkonen on lap 41.
Hamilton finally came in on lap 42, and amazingly nearly lost it exiting the pit lane. He emerged in 8th place, with his heart in his mouth.
Kubica was flying in second place, taking half a second from the leader on lap 43.
Brazilian Grand Prix 2009 Classification:
- Mark Webber
- Robert Kubica
- Lewis Hamilton
- Sebastian Vettel
- Jenson Button
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Sebastian Buemi
- Rubens Barrichello
Raikkonen also fueled for the end on this lap, adding the soft compound tyres. He was in tenth position, with all of those in front – barring Hamilton – due to stop at least once.
Kubica had Webber within just over five seconds with 25 laps remaining, before pitting and coming out, ahead of Jenson Button, in third place. This was Kubica’s final scheduled stop.
Barrichello made his final stop, and re-entered the track in sixth place, with only Webber and Kubica actually ahead of him, but perhaps under threat for his required podium finish from Lewis Hamilton, who was putting in the fastest laps of his race so far.
Webber stopped one lap later, and came out in the lead with 19 laps remaining on his super-soft tyres. Kubica was within touching distance. Button was in third with his final stop yet to be made, followed by Vettel who also needed to stop again. Buemi was next, ahead of Barrichello, the latter had made all his scheduled stops.
With Barrichello looking likely to finish in third, Button would have to finish just seventh to win the title. Hamilton and Raikkonen looked to be the only obstacles to Jenson Button.
Despite this pressure, Button and his team were cool when making their final scheduled stop, putting on the super-soft tyres with 16 laps remaining. Button was passed by Hamilton, and Kovalainen seemed to hold him up, which meant that Vettel leapfrogged the Brit, relegating him to seventh place. Kovalainnen was due to stop again.
The McLaren man stopped with 12 laps remaining and Button took his place for sixth, giving him breathing room.
Hamilton took Rubens Barrichello, doing a huge favour for his fellow Brit, Button, with ten laps remaining. It appeared he had done him more than just that small favour, however, as he clipped the Brazilian’s left-rear tyre, damaging his own front wing, but, crucially, causing a puncture to Barrichello, which he had to change at the end of the lap, coming back out in eighth place.
Kobayashi (Toyota) overtook Fisichella (Ferrari) for tenth place in a nice turn one pass.
Mark Webber took the checkered flag from Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
All eyes were on Jenson Button, however, as he punched the air coming back in fifth place, to lift the 2009 Formula 1 Driver’s Championship – an epic battling race from the Brit ensuring the last race in a fortnight, at Abu Dhabi, is to be a dead rubber.
Button’s team, Brawn GP also lifted the 2009 Formula 1 Constructor’s Championship.