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. Random Chimp said on 17th October 2009, 23:11

    Still think the WDC will fall Button’s way tomorrow. I’d bet that Rubens isn’t the fastest fuel corrected and with wet weather predicted, what couldn’t happen?

  2. PedrΓ£o said on 17th October 2009, 23:24

    Anyone no where i can watch the full replay as i could’t watch if live and the final bit is not on iplayer?,,15011,00.html

  3. Net Sticks said on 17th October 2009, 23:33

    Go Rubinho Go Go !!!

  4. wasiF1 said on 18th October 2009, 3:13

    Webber could have done another lap why didn,t he do that?

  5. wasiF1 said on 18th October 2009, 3:47

    Can anybody answer me,

    Why was the medical car was doing all the inspection despite you have the Safety car?

  6. Why doesn’t anyone talk about Sutil? Force India is going to get a podium or P4 I think, for sure.

    • sumedh said on 18th October 2009, 5:45

      I was about to point out the same. He might be as light as Barrichello. But he is almost as good as him in the wet.

      And fuel weights wont matter so much if the race starts in the wet conditions, it will come down to the performance of the car + driver.

      Rubens winning will be great for the title fight and local fans, but Sutil winning would be a just reward for him after what Kimi has done to him twice.

      • Patrickl said on 18th October 2009, 8:01

        Kimi rammed into Sutil once and Sutil rammed into Kimi once (trying to block him coming out of the pitlane). It’s pretty much a tie there.

        Sutil might go fast, but he also does tends to crash in the wet.

  7. Elio Howard said on 18th October 2009, 13:12

    To WasiF1. I also thought Webber could do another lap.
    He crossed the line with seconds to spare. And the medical car. What was that all about. Surely thats the job of the safety car

  8. go rubinhoooooooo……i want rubinho to win the race…but i want also to see the fight from button

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