Barrichello on pole at home as Button slumps to 14th

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

Rubens Barrichello starts 13 places ahead of Jenson Button

Rubens Barrichello starts 13 places ahead of Jenson Button

Rubens Barrichello has a precious opportunity to slash Jenson Button’s championship lead in tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The home hero took pole position in a wet session that took a mammoth two hours and 45 minutes to complete. Button was eliminated in Q2 and starts 14th, two places ahead of Sebastian Vettel.


After most of final practice had been missed due to rain a fresh downpour greeted the drivers as qualifying got started.

With the rain settling in all the drivers apart from Barrichello and Mark Webber went out to begin with. But only seven of them had a chance to set times before one of them – Giancarlo Fisichella – spun at the first corner, bringing out the red flags.

The restart was delayed as the Ferrari was recovered while race control waited for conditions to improve. They did, and when Lewis Hamilton led the first of the cars out when qualifying resumed they were instantly 12 seconds quicker than they had been before.

For most of the rest of the session the times tumbled quickly as the track began to dry. The Williams duo led the way to begin with, bot Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima setting fastest times.

Two teams were visibly struggling – McLaren and Red Bull, raising the suspicion they had picked dry-biased set-ups as tomorrow’s race is not expected to be wet.

Whether they expected that choice to leave them struggling to reach Q2 is a different matter. Although Webber scraped through by a tenth of a second, championship contender Sebastian Vettel couldn’t escape the bottom five. Nor could Hamilton, who went off at the start of his last lap as the rain got heavier again.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 1’25.009
17. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’25.052
18. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’25.192
19. Nick Heidfeld, BMW – 1’25.515
20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari – 1’40.703


The start of Q2 was delayed further as the rain continued to fall. Despite no obvious let-up in the conditions, the green light surprisingly appeared and 15 cars headed onto the track.

But in no time at all Vitantonio Liuzzi had a huge crash on the pit straight, bringing out the red flags once again.

With the rain continuing to fall it took an hour to get the session re-started. But when it finally did it brought a dramatic development – championship leader Button was eliminated, and left in 14th on the grid.

The track began to dry quite quickly and halfway through several drivers switched to intermediate tyres – led by Rosberg, who once again looked instantly at ease with the wet conditions.

Neither of the Brawn drivers opted to try the intermediates and that proved Button’s undoing. But while Barrichello scraped into the last place in the top ten Button, 0.9s slower than his team mate, failed.

Read more: Vitantonio Liuzzi suffers huge crash as qualifying starts in heavy rain (Video)

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota – 1’21.960
12. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’22.231
13. Romain Grosjean, Renault – 1’22.477
14. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’22.504
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes – no time


The top ten drivers strapped on intermediate tyres and spent the final ten minutes trading fastest lap times – the pole position holder changing at least once every minute. Sebastien Buemi, Robert Kubica and Jarno Trulli all had turns at the top.

Barrichello should have been at a disadvantage as he was one of the first drivers to start his final lap. He took pole position back with it – a 1’19.576 – but his chasing rivals should have had the benefit of a slightly drier track to improve their times on.

It didn’t work out that way, with some failing to improve and others backing off. Webber took second, a scant tenth of a second off Barrichello, and Adrian Sutil made a late move up into third.

But Barrichello was safe and ended his five-year pole position drought – his last coming at the same circuit five years ago.

Before the race weekend Bernie Ecclestone said he wanted to see the championship decided at the final round in Abu Dhabi. It looks like there is a very good chance of that happening now.

The fuel weights have been published: Early pit stop could compromise Barrichello (Brazilian Grand Prix fuel strategies)

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??19.576
2. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??19.668
3. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??19.912
4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??20.097
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??20.168
6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??20.250
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??20.326
8. Robert Kubica, BMW ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??20.631
9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??20.674
10. Fernando Alonso, Renault ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ 1?σΤιΌ??21.422

Read more: Brazilian Grand Prix grid

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64 comments on Barrichello on pole at home as Button slumps to 14th

  1. Macademianut said on 17th October 2009, 21:40

    My strong feeling is that there will be situation where VET will have to get by HAM in the next two races in order to come in second or even win the WDC (a reversal of situation as what happened in Brazil last year).

  2. TommyB said on 17th October 2009, 21:46

    Beyond gutted for Vettel. Chuffed for Rubens he really pulled it out the bag. Please for Buemi too, 6th place for STR is great.

    Button though.. Every time it looks like the title is his he goes an messes up. I hope he loses the title

    • Ned Flanders said on 17th October 2009, 23:06

      Don’t worry too much about Vettel, he’s still young and I reckon he’s probably the quickest driver in F1 right already. Once he finds some consistency he’ll be up there with Hamilton and Alonso as the best drivers in F1.

      But 2009 will almost certainly be Rubinho’s last chance at winning the title. When Eddie Jordan mentioned on the BBC how one of his best ever races was at Donington 93 it really struck me how long he’s been going for- I was only a baby when he began his F1 career! What an amazing story it would be if he ended up as champion in his 17th season.

    • Sharon said on 17th October 2009, 23:23

      Why is there such a double standard when evaluating the performance of Vettel and Button? Both needed a strong qualifying performance, both failed to deliver and are a similar number of places behind their team mates on the grid. Yet you are ‘beyond gutted for Vettel’ whilst you think Button ‘messes up and hope he loses the title’. This seems to imply that Vettel’s poor grid position was just bad luck and he deserves maximum sympathy whilst Button’s was all his own fault and he should be vilified for it. Needless to say I disagree with that view.

  3. StrFerrari4Ever said on 17th October 2009, 21:47

    Well the weather could just change so will have 2 wait and see but I’m praying for Dry race so Vettel can come from low down and possibly win it with a remarkable drive.
    I feel as though my beloved STR are on a medium setup half wet half dry so they should be fairly competetive just gotta wait for the weights to see whose got what onboard.

  4. SonyJunkie said on 17th October 2009, 21:53

    That’s it! I don’t care if Button wins the championship anymore!! He just doesn’t deliver when it’s required!!

  5. marcus said on 17th October 2009, 21:58


  6. I had a feeling when I read an article that called the coming rain ‘Vettel weather’ it was joining to jinx it completely for Seb…

    Good luck to Button. He’s going to need it for the drive of his life if he wants to finish it here, and that includes getting past Alonso just to get into the points….

  7. Anyone no where i can watch the full replay as i could’t watch if live and the final bit is not on iplayer?

  8. keune said on 17th October 2009, 22:16


    GO RUBENS!! GOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. DCNunes said on 17th October 2009, 22:20

    What a qualifying!

    Let’s hope that Rubens doesn’t suffer from “bad luck” during his pit stops…

    • If Jenson manages to get ahead of Rubens in this race he is going to be seriously peaved!

      • If Ruby senses that they messed one of his pit stops I suspect him to jump out of the car or better still slam right at Button to give the constructor title to Red Bull :)

  10. Choltz said on 17th October 2009, 22:25

    I am happy that Eddie Jordan is not running the races, since he was saying they should not restart. Great quali, great driving by Chello, and also horrible driving by Button. Chello deserves the title, and it doesn’t look like it should be to hard for him to get if Button doesn’t step up, which he has yet to do in the second half of the season.

  11. Four Six Tango said on 17th October 2009, 22:29

    RUBINHO!!! I must say I’m ecstatic today! I really hope the rain goes away and Rubinho can have a clean race tomorrow

    Go Rubens it’s your turn to be Champion!!

  12. The craziest qualifying session I have seen to date, but a good result for the home fans. Indeed, a good reward after having to stand in all that rin for those who chose to stay at the circuit!!

  13. Oddly enough, if Rubens becomes world champion and goes to Williams, and they secure a Renault deal, it would be the first time the formerly dominant pairing of Williams-Renault that they’ll actually have the #1 on the car!

    Epic qualifying, gutted for Vettel though. Are the Brawns on a wet setup? At first it seems that some cars had gone for a wet setup with the Williams’ performances but Patrick Head said that’s what they were going to run with in the dry, so maybe the gap to the Q1 dropouts isn’t as great as we think? Either way, unless Button is on a different setup to Barrichello, whatever the weather tomorrow one of his rivals will score big, barring any incidents.

    Go Ruby Ruby Ruby Rubens!

  14. JUGNU said on 17th October 2009, 22:48

    Would love to see Barrichello winning the race and the championship. 3 and half hours were sometimes frustrating but the result made up for it.
    Btw Barrichello’s father is his carbon copy.

  15. F1Yankee said on 17th October 2009, 23:04

    Bravo Rubino!!

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