Brazil voted best race of 2009, Turkey named worst of a bad bunch

The Button-Kobayashi battle was a highlight of the Brazilian Grand Prix

The Button-Kobayashi battle was a highlight of the Brazilian Grand Prix

After the millions ploughed into radically revised aerodynamic packages and Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems to improve racing, did we get a more entertaining season in 2009 than 2008? Not according to how your voted in our post-race polls.

Interlagos served up the best race of the year for the second season in a row – and Turkey was named the worst race of the year.

2009 race ratings (click to enlarge)

2009 race ratings (click to enlarge)

Here are the races sorted by ranking, with the winners of each:

Brazil 8.309 (Mark Webber)

Australia 7.937 (Jenson Button)
Belgium 7.852 (Kimi Raikkonen)
Germany 7.096 (Mark Webber)
Italy 7.049 (Rubens Barrichello)

Hungary 6.808 (Lewis Hamilton)
China 6.69 (Sebastian Vettel)
Bahrain 6.42 (Jenson Button)

Abu Dhabi 5.794 (Sebastian Vettel)
Britain 5.755 (Sebastian Vettel)
Japan 5.58 (Sebastian Vettel)
Monaco 5.504 (Jenson Button)
Europe 5.355 (Rubens Barrichello)
Singapore 5.336 (Lewis Hamilton)
Spain 5.33 (Jenson Button)
Malaysia 5.284 (Jenson Button)
Turkey 5.276 (Jenson Button)

The average ranking for a race in 2009 was 6.352 – down from 6.671 last year.

From looking at the lowest and highest-rated races it’s clear what people think makes a good race. It’s not just about having lots of overtaking as is often assumed – it’s about having a battle for the lead, it’s about unpredictability and, yes, a few crashes as well.

The lowest-rated race – Turkey – at least got a higher rating than last year’s worst, Valencia, which scored 3.977. The Turkish Grand Prix was both anti-climactic – the battle between Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel was decided when Vettel went off on the first lap – and at the time it seemed to confirm that Button was going to walk to the championship. Of course, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

It’s no surprise to see the curtailed Malaysian Grand Prix rated so poorly as well. Spain was ranked third from bottom for the second year in a row. In all nine races were rated lower than six out of ten – three more than last year.

Did you think 2009 was less exciting than last year? Do you agree with the choices for best and worst races? Have your say in the comments.

See the 2008 race ratings in full here: Valencia was least popular race of 2008

See more results of F1 Fanatic polls: F1 Fanatic polls archive

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64 comments on Brazil voted best race of 2009, Turkey named worst of a bad bunch

  1. wasiF1 said on 8th November 2009, 0:55

    I think China deserve 7,but other than that the Fanatics had voted rightly.I totally agree a good race needs to have overtaking & unpredictability.

    Hope next season we have a good racing season.

  2. Interesting to note that for all of the hoopla that goes along with each new track he comes up with, the first Tilke track is 7th, China. China is a Tilke track isn’t it? If not, Bahrain is 8th. I find that very telling. All of the top races were on tracks other than Tilke tracks. All were on the “classic” tracks. (With the arguable exception of Australia)

    • Well spotted! And the best rated race on a Tilke track for 08 was Turkey, 9th!

      Time for someone different maybe? Bernie? Please?

    • I’d bet China was only highly rated because of the rain. Last year I nearly fell asleep during the dry race there.

      Despite being Australian, I didn’t really rate the race too high this year, because most of the overtaking was totally artificial because of Bridgestone’s tyres couldn’t last the distance.

      It’s one thing for a standard soft tyre = short lasting and fast/hard tyre = long lasting and slower, but it’s as if Bridgestone haven’t even tried to make good tyres since there’s no competition. I’d glad they’re leaving after 2010.

  3. The Sri Lankan said on 8th November 2009, 6:09

    Toyotawise i would say:

    Bahrain – Toyota front row lockout

    Japan – Toyota and Jarno’s Podium battle for second in their home grand prix

    Brazil – Kobayashi Vs Button – EPIC

    Abu Dabi – Kobayashi vs Button Round 2

    Australia – Toyotas fight to 3rd and 4th from the pitlane + all the retirements and crashes and Brawns 1st win

    Belgium – Cornercutting kimi killing it for toyota but Fisichella giving Kimi a good run for his money

    Italy – Toyotas Do-or die battle to nowhere. a good show for the crowd

    Singapore – Glocks 2nd place and overtaking of webber and alonso

    Malaysia – Glocks inspiring tyre choices

    this year Toyota Gave us a good specator scene and as a TOYOTA fan i will miss them.

  4. virtuso13 said on 8th November 2009, 6:46

    For me Malaysia and Singapore were the worst races . I actually slept off during the malaysian gp .

  5. Shomir said on 8th November 2009, 8:15

    Singapore was not so bad IMO

    Australia was amazing due to that battle for 3rd.

    Hamiltons last lap crash in monza was the highlight of the italian weekend.

    Spa Was My Fave IMO because i support FI!

  6. glad that another British driver became world champ but this was the most boring season since 2004. it a shame as i’m sure that the sport has pulled in a lot of new fans over the last few years due to the Hamilton factor and this past season may have scared people away. some races i was flicking between channels and that’s not a good sign if even your hard core fans are bored. Fingers crossed for 2010!!

  7. sicali said on 8th November 2009, 11:25

    it’s a shame you guys only remember Malaysia only for being stopped because of the rain..when it was dry it was pretty spectacular, with plenty of overtaking and overtaking attempts..Australia was brilliant, the order changing surprising us all, the bad thing about it was Hamilton’s lying but still.., and a brilliant drive for Toyota there as well..China was as good as a wet race is expected to be, with plenty of dramas with spins and such, and Massa’s unfortunate retirement..Bahrain was surprisingly spectacular giving the track itself, with nice turnarounds at the front, and it was the first Bahrain GP at which I didn’t doze off for a change..Spain was a bit of a train wreck, but that’s only because the track is more of a test track rather than a race track, but the pile-up at the start was memorable, especially thanks to the Trulli-Sutil saga later in the season..Monaco was, well, Monaco in the dry, there’s always too much hype about that place racing-wise, but this year’s race was exciting, with Ferrari on the podium for the first time and with Button prepping up for his triathlon at the end..Turkey was a bit lackluster, but it was worth trying to see whether Vettel could do anything with his strategy, and then seeing Webber better him..the British GP is considered bad because this is, again, a British site with I think mostly British readers, and it didn’t go too well seeing Button and Hamilton have bad and very bad races respectively, but it still was a good race, with Massa Rosberg and Button scrapping (that’s what I think is wrong..because if there is overtaking to be done, the one who overtakes is almost sure to pull away, so I think the duel itself is more entertaining than the actual overtaking), the track is absolutely brilliant, and I don’t think a dominant win from RB should’ve downplayed this year’s GP..the German GP, what a race that was, with Webber recovering from his penalty, Hamilton throwing away his opportunity, Rosberg doing a good solid race, and Massa on the podium for the first time..then, the Hungarian GP, the “return of the giants”, with McLaren and Ferrari on the podium, Renault’s botched pit stop, Vettel’s unfortunate retirement and again a good race from Webber and Rosberg..Valencia was indeed an awful race, the only highlight being Hamilton’s stop, which I think just made me blink in the vast ocean of boredom surrounding the race..however the season was jump-started along with the next race at Spa, which showed you don’t need unpredictable weather for a terrific spectacle, although it was a bit unnerving seeing Button out and then his rivals not scoring too well, and this has been a somewhat lucky second part of the season (I’m not saying Button is not a worthy champion, he had shown his capabilities well before 2009)..the Italian GP was good as well, Brawn having the upper hand with their strategy, Hamilton (I think) needlessly pushing for pretty much nothing more, Sutil setting a fastest lap for FI (if that isn’t unexpected in pre-season testing, I don’t know what is), and seeing Fisichella not up to terms in the Ferrari, and that’s when I thought maybe Badoer wasn’t that bad, which has been confirmed by Fisi throughout the rest of the season..Singapore was anti-climatic with Rosberg and Vettel getting penalised, and I think Rosberg didn’t gain absolutely anything as he actually lost time trying to get back within the white line, and then Vettel fought back to 4th brilliantly, and also Webber going off putting him out of contention for the title..the Japanese GP was worse than expected, but I didn’t get to see the race in order to have made a personal opinion..the Brazilian GP was again, a worthy Brazilian GP, but I for one wasn’t too excited about Kobayashi’s driving and I don’t see him as a terrific racer, there’s no need to bash me now..anyway, a good enough race with Hamilton Button and Vettel making their way up from the back, and Buemi making a good race..and Abu Dhabi was a pretty decent race, with a good turnaround at the front, and then the deception was great when none of the Ferrari drivers had the car to score any points..but still I don’t think Abu Dhabi was a worthy season finale, especially track-wise, because it isn’t all that exciting to watch both onboard and from the outside..I lit-up funny shaped hotel doesn’t compensate for an ugly track, to be honest..

    all in all, I think it’s been a good, steady season, in which races could be separately remembered for different things (not including the political side of things)..not the best of seasons, but for me it was especially nice to see other teams and drivers being at the top..sorry for the novel, but who wants to read it and agree/disagree with it, be my guest

  8. Sebastian said on 8th November 2009, 12:13

    07 and 08 were more exciting, I think.

  9. sicali said on 8th November 2009, 12:27

    2007 was one of the best, but it’s mostly remembered for the final races in which Kimi recovered, but there is little focus on the fact that there were only 4 different winners that year..same goes for 2000, which was also a classic season..anyway, season ratings are quite relative and I’m also not a big fan of season comparisons

  10. i think that the best races for me are not always the best races racing wise. this year i really enjoyed the aussie gp the whole set up with brawn, jenson, and the bbc’s return etc etc
    and it was a nice spring day in the uk!!!!!!!!!

  11. Barcelona always sucks in my opinion. They (teams) all know that track too well. Hungary has been a turd since the 80’s.

    • Damon said on 8th November 2009, 16:55

      There’s nothing wrong in everybody knowing a track well. Barcelona is boring because the track’s characteristic inhibits overtaking (i.e. all turns are long curves which require maximum downforce).

    • sicali said on 8th November 2009, 19:38

      Hungary produced some good races, despite the ugly and uninspired layout

  12. I’m not surprised by the standout races. I think this statistic is a good representation of what kinds of excitement at least the readers and voters here like to see in a Grand Prix race. Perhaps it’s an interesting coincidence that the highest-rated races all took place at venues that have been on the calendar for years now, whereas apparently, quite a few of the newer venues with all the impressive facilities, at least in this case, didn’t produce the most captivating races.

    This is all opionion-based, of course, but I find it really interesting to compare at the end of the season.

  13. ConcedoNulli said on 8th November 2009, 19:54

    This season’s overall score down compared to 08 because of the McLaren and Ferrari poor performance and the disenchantment of their fans?

    I thought it was a great season because of the upset in the order, Button’s overtaking and the “will he, won’t he” at the end of the season. Plenty of different race winners, no apparent team orders, nor big two dominance – nearly as good as 1982.

    Most of the tracks are processional. Excitement only occurs in qualifying as by and large that is the race result. In desperation we hope for wet qualifying/dry race or the reverse in the hope of some excitement.

    In actual fact we don’t really need a live race just an edited package of highlights at the end of the race – just being controversial. The real talking points of F1 are the politics of FIA/FOTA/Bernie; shock that teams cheat and how god it was in the golden era (60s/70s/80s – depends on your age for this).

  14. Platine said on 8th November 2009, 20:45

    I dont understand why so many say it was a boring season, I think it was great, unpredictable, evolved throughout the season. Maybe Legards unbearable presence has skewed everyones view of the season.

    Glad to see Kobayashi getting his due respect, i think he’s gonna be a major player…

  15. PeriSoft said on 8th November 2009, 22:01

    Let’s see which tracks Tilke has designed!

    Brazil 8.309

    Australia 7.937
    Belgium 7.852
    Germany 7.096
    Italy 7.049

    Hungary 6.808
    China 6.69 Tilke
    Bahrain 6.42 Tilke

    Abu Dhabi 5.794 Tilke
    Britain 5.755
    Japan 5.58
    Monaco 5.504
    Europe 5.355 Tilke
    Singapore 5.336 Tilke
    Spain 5.33
    Malaysia 5.284 Tilke
    Turkey 5.276 Tilke


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