Webber wins in style as Button races to title

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix review

Webber won at Interlagos but Button claimed the championship

Webber won at Interlagos but Button claimed the championship

Mark Webber romped away to win the Brazilian Grand Prix – and in doing so helped Jenson Button to claim the drivers’ championship.

While Webber displaced Rubens Barrichello from the lead, Button made his way up through the field to claim fifth place which was enough to make him champion – just as Lewis Hamilton did one year ago.

The three championship contenders largely managed to steer clear of a string of crashes on the first lap which eliminated three cars. Sebastian Vettel tipped Heikki Kovalainen into a spin, who then tangled with Giancarlo Fisichella.

All three were able to continue – but the same was not true of Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso. Sutil edged Trulli wide at turn five and the Toyota driver lost control, spearing into the side of the Force India. While Trulli hit the barrier hard, Sutil skidded out-of-control across the grass and the helpless Alonso could do nothing to avoid him.

Kovalainen headed for the pits for repairs, as did Kimi Raikkonen who lost his front wing trying to pass Webber for second. Webber closed the door firmly and the outcome had much in common with Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya’s tangle under the same circumstances in 2002.

As the Finns left the pits Kovalainen departed with his refuelling rig still attached. He wrenched the hose free, dousing Raikkonen in fuel which promptly ignited. Mercifully the fire was over in a flash and Raikkonen was able to keep going – as was Kovalainen, who pulled over at the Brawn garage and was helped on his way by their mechanics who pulled the hose off the car.

The safety car was out for four laps while the debris was cleared up. Button had gained five places due to the mayhem and was ninth, with Jaime Alguersuari between him and 11th-placed Vettel.

Once the racing resumed Button quickly picked off Kazuki Nakajima for eighth and set about challenging Romain Grosjeas. He took seventh with a brave move that started at turn one and ended with Button passing the Renault around the outside of Ferradura halfway around the lap.

But rookie Kamui Kobayashi proved a tougher nut to crack – the Toyota driver defending his place very thoroughly – a tad too thoroughly in Button’s view, who complained the Japanese driver had changed lines in the braking area, risking a collision. After 16 laps Button finally found a way past.

By then Barrichello had made his first pit stop from the lead, promoting Webber and Robert Kubica to first and second. Disastrously, he came out in front of Vettel who quickly passed the Brawn. When Webber and Kubica made their stops they easily stayed ahead of Barrichello, who was now looking at finishing no better than third place.

The biggest threat to Button were now Vettel and Hamilton – both of which jumped past him with their late final pit stops. But Hamilton also proved a problem for Barrichello, who struggled on his super-soft tyres in the final stint. As Hamilton went past him for third with eight laps to go, the McLaren made slight contact with Barrichello’s left-rear tyre, giving him a slow puncture. Although Button was already running well enough to take the title, that final blow for Barrichello put it beyond all doubt.

So once again we had the odd spectacle of a podium celebration going on while an even bigger party greeted the new world champion. Button was already hoarse with shouting by the time he got back to his garage, where Brawn were also celebrating their constructors’ title victory.

This season still has one race to run at Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time but once again Interlagos has decided the destiny of the championships with a race to remember.

2009 Brazilian Grand Prix

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50 comments on Webber wins in style as Button races to title

  1. John H said on 19th October 2009, 13:19

    Was it Whitmarsh who said we should be changing the tracks and not the cars to help overtaking? Mr Tilke should study this grand prix carefully and then he would realise why F1 fans have it in for him.

    Tracks with undulations in braking zones and corners are a good recipe for overtaking. This race was the best of the season and it was no coincidence it was at Interlagos.

  2. antonyob said on 19th October 2009, 14:02

    yes ive never quite understood the obsession with making a track bullet smooth and the tarmac ultra grippy. Tilke is a typical german sports stadia architect ( i know some)- exceptional at delivering on time, on budget and on paper at least gives it the wow factor. Unfortunately sport actually works best when its a bit down and dirty, a bit intimidating and a bit old. You can put as much shiny zinc in a design as you want but fans want to be involved and in f1 anyway – see the cars thrown about a bit.

    Im guessing if you built a track like interlagos now you’d never get it included in the season.

  3. Where are the people who say we need cars to look suspiciously like they did in 1965 to get more passing?— sticky tires and no wings and manual four-speed transmisions, etc. Amazing what some motivation for the championships and for job security does. It would be better if people would not run into each other, of course, but this is not NASCAR where passing is pie-easy or GP2 where you can expect your quarry eventually to run off the road of his own accord

  4. F1Fan said on 19th October 2009, 15:49

    I am still trying to understand how in the world Kubica grabbed 2nd. That was unbelievable. Sure, he was helped by the 1st-lap incidents, but we surely did not expect a BMW in the top-6 regardless.

    Rubens completely blew it, regardless of the tyre issue in the end.

    • Patrickl said on 19th October 2009, 17:04

      Kubica explained it by saying that his gamble for a dry weather setup worked out beautifully. Apart from some luck with incidents and delivering a solid drive of course.

  5. Rahim said on 19th October 2009, 16:30

    Raikkonen is Awesome……that guy is a real Iceman…

    • Steph90 said on 19th October 2009, 18:18

      Rahim I was amazed Kimi carried on after he said he did get fuel in his eyes and it was burning all way through race, real commitment there, he just got on with it and done a very good job too!

  6. In my opinion one the best races for ages.

    The fact that the race decided both championships has probably overshadowed how good the race was on its own merits. For example the BBC post race coverage didn’t discuss the first lap incidents or Kovalainen pulling away with the fuel hose attached.

    Although some of Kobayashi’s driving seemed a bit dangerous he wasn’t as slow as many may have thought in his first race, but then we never saw what the true pace of the Toyota was after Trulli retired on the first lap.

  7. Why is everyone in a dither about Koby’s defensive moves? Webber did it all race long, and has always been an expert at the last second chop, as made popular by Schumy.

    Speaking of Webbo, I thought his post race interview was strange. Very subdued, almost morose. He acted like a five time WC who expected to win it all again as opposed to a second time race winner.

    As for Vettel not passing, I think he passed quite a few people, with his outside move on Rubens being the best.
    Jenson drove like a man possessed (about time!) and is a truly deserving champ.

  8. i know i’m gonna get pounced on for saying this but i hardly think Button deserved to win the championship like this. Barrichello got robbed the whole season. How many times were there accusations that Braun rigged the race so that Button would come in front of Barrichello. And what was up with the three stop strategy for Barrichello in Brazil!?
    Yes Button is a great driver but he won most of his races at the begininning of the season when thier car had the superior rear diffuser. When the other teams’ technology caught up Button almost entirely blew his 30 point lead!

  9. It was a great weekend of racing. Stoner wins in MotoGP & Webber wins in F1. Go the Aussies!!!

  10. wasiF1 said on 20th October 2009, 8:51

    Best race of the season.The Brazilian GP once again provided the necessary entertainment.
    Jenson have a flawless race,drove like a champion putting some great overtaking,& I have to say the FIRE wasn’t enough to melt the ICEMAN

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