Monday, October 19, 2009

2009 F1 : Brilliant Button wins world title

2009 Brazilian GP winner - Mark Weber. Red Bull Racing - RBR-Renault

SAO PAOLO, Brasil : October 18, 2009 - Mark Webber won the Brazilian GP at Interlagos on Sunday, but the most champagne flowed for Jenson Button who won the Formula One world championship.

2009 Formula 1 World Champion - Jenson Button, BRAWN GP - BRAWN-Mercedes

Button finished fifth, but it was enough to secure the drivers' title for himself as well as the constructors' championship for his Brawn GP team.

Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) and outgoing world champion Lewis Hamilton shared the podium with Webber. The Interlagos race underlined an impressive return to form for McLaren which has been the top-scoring team over the last seven races and edged Ferrari out of third place in the constructors' championship.

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault), also a championship contender, was fourth just ahead of Button, but it was not enough for the young German to take the battle to the final race in Abu Dhabi on 1 November.

Sixth over the line was Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) followed by Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari). Local hero Rubens Barrichello was eighth after earlier leading the race.

Barrichello started from pole position after qualifying in the rain on Saturday, but Sunday's race started under blue skies. The Brazilian was one of three drivers in with a chance of winning the 2009 title, but crucially, the other two protagonists, Button and Vettel were way down the grid in 14th and 15th places respectively.

On the formation lap, Vettel was told by his pit radio that his engine was overheating, but he and everyone else got away cleanly at the start.

Barrichello took the lead from Webber who started from second place, and they were followed by Räikkönen and Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes). Räikkönen's luck turned for the worse though as he hit the rear of Webber and knocked his front wing skew, while Jarno Trulli (Toyota) went off into a wall and pulled a wheel off his car. Trulli appeared to be blaming Sutil for what he called "a very dangerous incident."

Fernando Alonso (Renault) was also involved in the same accident and went to the pits for a new front nose and new tyres. He later retired.

The safety car was deployed to allow marshals to clear the debris, and racing restarted on lap 6.

Barrichello led the field away at the restart followed by Webber, while Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) took third place from Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota). Meanwhile Button was trying to get past Romain Grosjean (Renault) and the two stayed side-by-side through a couple of corners before the championship leader nosed his Brawn-Mercedes ahead. Grosjean ran wide and allowed Vettel past as well.

Button was on a charge and got past Kazuki Nakajima (Williams-Toyota) into seventh at the end of the main straight.

Grosjean continued to go backwards through the field as he was passed by Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes).

By lap 14, Barrichello had extended his lead over Webber to two seconds as he set a new fastest lap of the race - 1'14.576 - but Webber responded with a lap of 1'14.371. Barrichello then punched in a 1'14.293 and a 1'13.950 on lap 23. Webber came back with a 1'13.733 on lap 25 and that time stood for the remainder of the race.

On lap 21, Heidfeld pitted, but there were problems with his fuel rig and he returned to the race but then ran out of fuel on the next lap. Barrichello pitted for fuel and tyres, relinquishing the lead to Webber. He returned to the race behind Nakajima but immediately came under intense pressure from Vettel, who got past and then it was Hamilton's turn to try to attack the Brazilian.

A stream of cars then pitted and Button found himself in the lead, but out of sequence for refuelling.

Rosberg slowed on lap 28 and returned to the pits, but it was an unscheduled stop and he retired with a broken gearbox.

On lap 31, Nakajima ran into the car ahead, ripping off his front wing, which sent him flying across the gravel trap and into a tyre wall at Turn 4. He was unhurt but his race was over.

Vettel made his pit stop on lap 37, leaving from second place and rejoining in seventh, 28 sec behind race leader Webber and 0.8 sec behind Button. There was another dice up ahead, where Hamilton was just 0.5 sec behind third-placed Barrichello. The McLaren could get close enough to challenge at the end of Interlagos' long straight, but then lost downforce in the turbulent air through the left-right-left that followed.

Hamilton pitted on lap 43 and stayed on the harder compound. He rejoined in ninth place. Räikkönen followed, but chose the softer option for the final stint and rejoined in 11th.

On lap 45, Webber was leading by 5.5 sec from Kubica, followed by Barrichello +15.3, Button +29.4, Vettel +30.4, Buemi +33.9 and Hamilton +40.6.

Kubica pitted on lap 46 and rejoined in the middle of the three-way battle for the title between Barrichello, Button and Vettel.

On lap 50, Barrichello made his final pit stop and was left to race for the championship title over the next 21 laps. He dropped from second to sixth, 1.8 sec ahead of Hamilton, who had just set his personal best lap of the race - 1'14.504. Race leader Webber also made his final stop and had enough time in hand to rejoin with his lead intact.

Button's final stop was just six seconds long and he came out just behind eight-placed Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes).

Vettel made his final stop on lap 56 and was at a standstill for 5.8 sec. He emerged ahead of the Button / Kovalainen scrap over sixth.

With the final pit stops over (apart from Kovalainen), and 14 laps remaining, Webber was leading by 5.2 sec from Kubica who was followed by Barrichello +18.0, Hamilton +19.2, Vettel +26.3, Kovalainen +30.0, Button +30.6 and Räikkönen +34.4.

Kovalainen pitted on lap 60, elevating Button to sixth.

On lap 61, Hamilton got behind Barrichello's Brawn and powered past down the main straight to take away third place and a podium position from the Brazilian. As Hamilton came through on the left, Barrichello moved over to the left to defend the place and there appeared to be contact between the front of Hamilton's McLaren and the rear of Barrichello's Brawn, with Hamilton losing the end-plate off his front wing.

Then came a radio message from the Brawn pit to tell Barrichello that he had a slow puncture with just eight laps remaining. He pitted on lap 63 and the 6.9 sec stop might have cost him the championship, as he rejoined in eighth place with Button in fifth and Vettel in fourth. From that position, Button was in a position to win the championship.

With four laps to go, Button's pit warned that rain was imminent, but it never materialised, and the Briton raced across the line to give the Brawn GP team a 'debut' title after Honda sold out the team to Ross Brawn at the end of last year.

Race Result : Formula 1 - 2009 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2009

1 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault
2 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber
+7.6 secs
3 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
+18.9 secs
4 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
+19.6 secs
5 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes
+29.0 secs
6 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
+33.3 secs
7 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
+35.9 secs
8 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes
+45.4 secs
9 10 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota
+63.3 secs
10 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari
+70.6 secs
11 21 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
+71.3 secs
12 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
+73.4 secs
13 8 Romain Grosjean Renault
+1 Lap
14 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
+1 Lap
Ret 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
Ret 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
Ret 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber
Out of fuel
Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
Ret 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota
Ret 7 Fernando Alonso Renault

Kovalainen originally finished ninth, but had 25s added to his race time due to an unsafe pit stop release.

Driver Championship Standings :

1 Jenson Button British Brawn-Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel German RBR-Renault
3 Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Brawn-Mercedes
4 Mark Webber Australian RBR-Renault
5 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes
6 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Ferrari
7 Nico Rosberg German Williams-Toyota
8 Jarno Trulli Italian Toyota
9 Fernando Alonso Spanish Renault
10 Timo Glock German Toyota
11 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari
12 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish McLaren-Mercedes
13 Robert Kubica Polish BMW Sauber
14 Nick Heidfeld German BMW Sauber
15 Giancarlo Fisichella Italian Ferrari
16 Adrian Sutil German Force India-Mercedes
17 Sebastien Buemi Swiss STR-Ferrari
18 Sebastien Bourdais French STR-Ferrari
19 Kazuki Nakajima Japanese Williams-Toyota
20 Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Toyota
21 Nelsinho Piquet Brazilian Renault
22 Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian Force India-Mercedes
23 Romain Grosjean French Renault
24 Jaime Alguersuari Spanish STR-Ferrari
25 Luca Badoer Italian Ferrari

Constructor Championship Standings :

8BMW Sauber
9Force India-Mercedes

Images : 2009 Formula 1 World Champion - Jenson Button, BRAWN GP - BRAWN-Mercedes Team

[Source : Supersport, BRAWN GP, Red Bull Racing, F1 Official]


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