Formula 1 Insight

Thoughts on the Brazilian GP 2009

There is very little to say about the Brazilian GP that has not been said already but I will try. It was a good race with plenty of action throughout the field and (dare I say it) the best driver on the day won. Mark Webber was in commanding form and did all that was necessary, staying with Barrichello in the first stint in spite of the Red Bull's heavier fuel load, then keeping up the pace to stay ahead of others coming through the field.

Jenson Button
World Champion, Jenson Button

Rubens Barrichello tried hard but lacked that final bit of speed that would have kept him in contention. Once the fuel weights were known, it was obvious that the Brazilian would have to build a gap before the first pit stop but this he failed to do. And this is where he has been weaker than Jenson Button this year - when called upon for extra effort, he has been unable to provide it. One can say that he must be giving his all for the entire race therefore but champions seem to be able to find a little extra when it counts, just as Button did on several occasions.

I was glad that Button had a great race this time out, overtaking several cars on his way to the championship and reminding us that he has been one of the few to do so all year. He has had a lot of criticism recently and this was the best way to answer, his fifth place from 14th on the grid being the result of his driving rather than strategy. Just as fifth in Brazil was enough for Hamilton last year, so it was for Button in 2009, the only difference being that Jenson has a race to spare.

So congratulations and respect are due the new champion and all grumbling about whether Button "deserves" the title must be consigned to the sour grapes bin. Jenson may not have the flare of Alonso, the self publicist skills of Schumacher or the wild courage of Mansell but he is skilled in his own way.

Robert Kubica had a good race, too, taking an eventual second place that both he and the team worked hard for. And Lewis Hamilton was a worthy third place finisher, having started in 17th. Barrichello's hopes were already dead when Lewis came past him, inadvertently giving him the puncture that sealed his fate, but the pass was the moment at which Button's championship became certain.

Sebastian's Vettel's chances of staying in the title chase had gone with his poor qualifying position, of course, but he did a reasonable job of coming from the back to take fourth at the flag. Not many may have noticed but this was the race where the young German confirmed that he does know how to overtake another car; I think that is the first successful pass I have seen him achieve all year.

The stewards had a busy time in Brazil, eventually deciding that the Kovalainen/Fisichella clash was a racing incident (correct, although it could be mentioned that it was Vettel who tipped Heikki into his spin), the same for Sutil and Trulli (with Jarno being fined for his rather heated discussion with Adrian afterwards) and fines all round for the McLaren team for the premature pit lane release with fuel hose still attached (Heikki collecting a 25 second penalty in lieu of drive through). By recent standards, those are pretty sound decisions, perhaps assisted by the fact that only the protagonists cared about the outcome.

All in all, it was a satisfying GP with a series of results that are a fair reflection of the season. Brawn won the constructors' crown, Button the drivers', Webber had another race win to celebrate a season in which he proved equal to his wunderkind team mate and Vettel himself gained the consolation of fastest lap. It is perhaps fitting that all was decided in Brazil just as it has been in previous years and it leaves us free to enjoy the race at the new Abu Dhabi circuit without considerations of points scored or permutations of the championships. Interlagos is a great place to end a season (interesting that it will again be the last race next year).


I have to agree all the way, especially about the "deserving" part. How can a driver who wins a championship fair and square not deserve it? It's like all the flak Panis took winning in Monaco. At the end of the race he had all four wheels, a nose and both wings left on the car. Not many others did. Good on Jens and Brawn GP, though I confess, for purely sentimental reasons I was still hoping for Rub's.

And it was good to see some of the old style stewarding wasn't it? Well, that's over so hopefully we'll get to just enjoy the last race...I'm not confident of that, but I can hope for it.

And am I the only one to say not a minute too soon to the refueling ban? How many potential disasters does that make now?
Date Added: 19/10/2009


Button did it with some gutsy, heart in the mouth passes, esp. kobayashi, given what was at stake for him.

Great race. Several charges aided by the quali antics.
Button, Vettel impressive.
Hamilton started behind them and finished in front.

Loved Barichello's apology to Hamilton for harsh tactics,
and generous spirit to Button. He's one sporting and fair
gentleman who has given a lot to the season.

Date Added: 20/10/2009

Fantastic race. Congratulations to Button, Brawn and all thoughts to all those that lost their jobs to enable brawn to carry on. Hamilton also showed why he is the defending champion by driving an unbelievable race. I too was so happy to see sportsmanship win through with Barichello instantly congratulating Jenson and Hamilton being the first of the other drivers to rush over to congratulate him. This is how F1 and indeed every sport should always be, ruthless but fair in competition and sporting off the field. Something that can't be said about Trullis strange behavior. I am also very glad that Kovis pit catastrophe did not cause anything other than embarrassment and it looked like it could have been very nasty at one point, especially for Kimi! It was also nice to see sense prevail from the Brawn pit crew in taking the fuel hose off and letting kovi get the car out of the way in a dangerous part of the pit lane. Lets hope Brawn keep the momentum going and stay a competitive team.
Date Added: 20/10/2009

Nick Goodspeed
If you win and the scales are fair, you deserve. If you win despite the scales being tilted in the red cars favour, sublime! Outside of Ferrari, during the Schumacher/Todt era, I've never seen a world champion who doesn't deserve to be world champion. I've seen a few who did deserve but didn't succeed due to circumstance... Nice to see Button/Brawn come out on top!

Date Added: 20/10/2009

Nick, there was a fair number complaining that Kimi didn't really deserve his, that he more or less lucked into it at McLaren's expense. I'm just glad "the little team that couldn't" while it was owned and operated by the big bad manufacturer come out on top without them.
Date Added: 20/10/2009

What a great race compared to the rest of the season. With so many great crashes and overtakes it was a joy to watch (especially as a patriotic brit). Just a shame every race isn't that good!
Date Added: 21/10/2009

No way did Button win it in the style of a true WDC...

Button is merely the side effect of the double diffuser scam the FIA ran this year.

Why would RedBull go to Charlie Whiting with a double diffuser design, and have him reject it as illegal?

To me, this is just classic Mosely dirty politics, to keep a dead team in F1, and weaken FOTA...

Button has destroyed the whole crediblity of the WDC, as a result of the dirty play by the FIA...

Just look at the misdirection Whiting gave in the overtaking group... I don't believe Ferrari and McLaren would miss a simple trick like that, if they weren't intentionally misguided by Whiting...

I would like to see Whiting removed from his post, as have most of the people who helped implment Wosely's agenda...

2009 was race fixing, in the sickest sense...
Date Added: 08/03/2010

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