What was the best pass of 2009? (Video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Overtaking in F1 is a hotly-debated subject – particularly the view that we haven’t seen much of it this year.

That isn’t necessarily the case. The video above compiles a selection of the best passes of 2009 – and there were more besides that don’t feature on there.

But which driver made the best overtaking move of 2009? Was it one of Jenson Button’s many passes? Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso’s great battle at Sepang? Or an unsung hero from further down the grid?

As we did with the best race of the decade last week, list your nominations for the best pass of 2009 below and we’ll vote on the cream of the crop later.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Hamilton on Raikkonen at Shanghai (1’37) – Around the outside in the wet. Webber did a similar pass but Hamilton did it in a worse car…

Alonso on Trulli at Bahrain (2’15) – Yes, he had KERS – but he needed aggression to make this pass work too.

Barrichello on Hamilton at Istanbul (3’03) – How far back did he come from?

Kovalainen on Fisichella at Suzuka (5’57) – Very unusual and opportunistic.

Kobayashi on Nakajima at Interlagos (6’30) – A well-worked round-the-outside pass.

Button on Grosjean at Interlagos (7.27) – Risky stuff with the title on the line.

Webber on Alonso at Sepang (8’44) – Needed two tries but got there in the end. The last-second re-pass was a gem – and he did the same thing at Catalunya too!

Last year Felipe Massa’s double-pass on Heikki Kovalainen and Rubens Barrichello at Montreal was voted best pass of the year.

What do you think was the best overtaking move of 2009? Name your favourites below – please try to stick to no more than three each to make it easier to count them up…

Read more: Overtaking: Back to the drawing board

106 comments on “What was the best pass of 2009? (Video)”

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  1. Watching Top Gear last night i am going to have to say Buttons passing Buemi for that bit of overstreer when the titles on the line.

    1. Buemi stated he wouldn’t get in Buttons way pre-race so not really that hard to dive past a yielding car.

      There were lots of great passes and battle all year contrary to what some of the whingers would lead you to believe.
      My pick for best over taker was Webber, closely followed by Button then Hamilton all be it with a magic spurt of power at his disposal.

      As to best pass…I’ll have to come back on that but, Kobies on Button was insane stuff from a rookie in a lesser car…I really like this kid.

      1. Webber at Barhain and the gaggle of cars all in one lap or so. Good to see not only one pass but cars all fighting and trying to get past each other.

        Webber on Alonso both Sepang and or Barcelona
        very good passes on a car with kers and Alonso is very tough racer.


        Kobayashi on Button last round…watch out newly crowned WDC here is the rookie. And considering all the other drivers that came into the series mid/late season. Class

        1. I don’t believe for a second Button “flicked the backend out to scare him” on purpose like he was so proudly stating

          1. Yeah Tommy I did wonder whether that was true or bravado.
            It was a great race from him in Brazil but at same time he did mostly pass rookies. So it was good but I wasn’t stunned by it.
            I liked Webber on Alonso and Alonso on Trulli. I would give Kobayashi a nod too

      2. It was Alguersuari who said that ;)

  2. Of those not already mentioned, I think Webber on Button at Shanghai, Webber on Alonso at Barcelona and Button on Hamilton at Bahrain were up there with the best of all overtaking moves in 2009.

  3. Kovalainen on Fisichella at Suzuka, thought he’d done enough to retain his seat, but….

  4. would have to give it to Kobayashi for that move round the outside of Rosberg at Turn 1 in Brazil @6:32

    bravery, technical skill, flair, evenly matched machinery, conditions and fuel levels. had me out of my seat.

    1. whoops, i mean Nakajima of course.

    2. I agree, that was a very ballsy move executed brilliantly by a guy in his first ever race.

    3. That was great but I believe that was a defending move wasnt it? I might be wrong though.

  5. Hamilton passing Barrichello right by the wall at extremely high speeds at Interlagos to ensure his podium position. It also forced Barrichello to make a pitstop as he got a puncture there. Some, particularly Brazilian fans, may hate Lewis for it but there’s no denying the bravery and brilliance of it. This was after passing many other drivers as well. If I remember he started 17th and finished 3rd, which was the best recovery of 2009 I think. Button stole his thunder a little though by winning the championship on that same race.

  6. My favourites were:

    Webber on Alonso in Barcelona

    Rosberg on Massa in Monaco

    Kobayashi on Button in Abu Dhabi

    1. Why does everyone keep going on about Kobayashi’s pass on Button? It wasn’t a bad pass but Button had just stopped for a heap of fuel and cold tyres while Kobayashi was yet to stop.

      His move on Nakajima was awesome though, shame he took him out later on.

      1. Nakajima was partially to blame for his own demise from that race, since he could have lifted.

  7. That is a great video.

  8. My top 3:

    Kobayashi on Nakajima @ Brazil

    Webber on Alonso @ Spain

    Hamilton on Raikkonen @ China

    there were many other great passes this season but these are my personal faves. Can’t wait for 2010: 26 cars on track, hopefully much more of this sort of action!

    Roll on 2010!

  9. Button’s late-braking move on Buemi at Interlagos, for me. I always enjoy this type of unexpected manoeuvre.

  10. Vettel on a Toyota at Interlagos!

    1. Wow vettle, he’s not know for overtaking!

  11. Top 3:
    Webber on Alonso Catalunya

    Webber on Button Shanghai

    Kobayashi on Button Abu Dhabi

  12. Webber on Alonso in Catalunya would be my pick. Awesome gutsy do or die move.

  13. My favourite three are:

    Button passing Hamilton at Bahrain – because Lewis is not an easy man to pass and Jenson had to make that move stick in order to win the race. It was very well executed, with Button getting the car slowed down enough at the apex to stop Hamilton coming back at him.

    Alonso passing Trulli at Bahrain – because it required sheer guts to make it work, not just KERS. A lesser driver than Alonso would have backed out, a lesser driver than Trulli wouldn’t have allowed enough room and both cars would have crashed.

    Button passing Grosjean at Interlagos – because of the context, as well as being a very impressive move. Put yourself in Jenson’s shoes. The title is within your grasp in Brazil, but you need to finish the race and score points to clinch it. There’s a Renault ahead but is it Alonso or Grosjean? Alonso would probably be hard but fair, the last time you tangled with Grosjean you both crashed at Spa. Grosjean has absolutely nothing to lose if you both crash, he needs to impress to secure a drive for next year. You’re alongside him on the outside of a long, fast, tightening bend, barely ahead. Even if he gives you room he might accidentally drift wide and then you’ll both crash… Button had an awful lot at stake, Grosjean had nothing to lose. There may have been a few technically better or more innovative passes in 2009, but no one put as much on the line as Jenson did here. My stand out memory from the season just gone.

    1. My favourite:

      TIM’s description of Button overtaking at Interlagos. Much better than the pass itself!!!!

    2. Yes Button negated the advantage of the McLaren’s KERS with some clever slipstreaming along the Kilometre plus straight in Bahrain & did a “Hamilton” on Hamilton into turn 1 on Lap 2 – very clever stuff :)

    3. Didn’t Button do someone around the outside of of Pouhon or Blanchimont at Spa this year or was that Barrichello ?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        22nd December 2009, 7:57

        Would’t have been Button this year. He only made it to Les Coombes this year!

        1. of course ….. the alzheimer’s kicking in :) it was either Barrichello or me brains retrieving something from a previous year

  14. James Brickles
    21st December 2009, 17:16

    3. Webber and Alonso in Catalunya
    2. Vettel on Barrichello in Brazil
    1. Kobayashi on Nakajima in Brazil

  15. All were great actually but if I had to pick: Button on Hamilton:

    1. Passing a KERS car
    2. Passing Hamilton (how many have managed to do that?)
    3. Clean pass, superb judgement – no muscling

    Thanks for posting the video.

  16. Very hard to choose, but here my three:

    — Lewis over Alonso at Silverstone where he didn’t have KERS

    — Mark Webber over Sebastian Vettel at Spa

    — Fisichella´s double overtake at Silverstone

  17. What about Kimi on Fisichella at Spa? Even though Kimi had KERS it was a fantastic overtake in Eau Rouge…

    1. That move didn’t actually take place in Eau Rouge, it was down the Kemmel straight. Raikkonen hit the KERS button and had the pass completed before Les Combes, such was his speed advantage.

      1. it was a great move , and given the fact that fisico was on his back for the rest of the race,… one hell of an overtake .

  18. hmmm…Kobayashi on Button was definitely a case of light car against heavy car, and Button would have been looking at the bigger picture anyway.

    Some good moves by a good few drivers, and while overtaking needs some work, it still wasn’t too bad this season.

  19. Hamilton on Raikkonnen on the outside in the wet at Shanghai was the one that IMMEDIATELY came to mind when I saw the topic of this article. So, that’s the one the gets my vote for sure.

  20. Mouse_Nightshirt
    21st December 2009, 18:09

    I think this video shows that Button sort of deserved the title more than Vettel. How many Vettel shots were there in there? It’s rather indicative – Vettel can’t overtake.

    1. Button had the best car in dirty air and only overtook loads because he had a fast car after his useless qualifying performances. Most of his overtakes were on rookies.

      Vettel can overtake and showed it, he finished ahead of Button in Brazil even though he started behind him – and no it wasnt just because of his pitstop

      1. I do agree though Vettel wasn’t as ambitious with his car like Button. I hope Vettel takes more 50/50 chances next year – he didn’t have a problem overtaking in 07/08 and did overtake more than others this year. Just because he started in good qualifying positions means he can’t overtake apparently.

        1. I agree, when people complain that vettle should have won over button it really irritates me, button over took in some circumstances to win races, vettle has only ever won a race from pole because he cant over take to win races, what does that say about him as a driver?

          1. Pedel to the Vettel
            21st December 2009, 22:22

            If i remember right when Vettel had to overtake to gain places it was abit hard because he had mostly had KERS cars infront of him slowing him down, it also didnt help that they stopped at the same time as him.

            If you want to go into detail about drivers, how many times would you think Button would of overtaken at the start of the season if the KERS cars were not all junk and the other cars had double decker diffusers to help them out abit, I reckon Buttons overtaking ratio would of dropped by 2/3rds if he was in Vettel’s shoes at the time.

          2. It says he is a better Qualifier than Button

          3. I know Vettel didn’t overtake more than Button. But saying he can’t overtake is stupid because he overtook more than someone like Kimi or Kubica and no one says that can’t overtake

          4. Button overtook a KERS car in Bahrain, Vettle couldnt and was trying to overtake a worse car than Button. Button had to overtake Hamilton to win the race in Bahrain because if he had have stuck behind the car like Vettle did he would have gone into the pits a similar time and ended up like vettle, this is why I am saying if Button can do it in crucial circumstances y cant the brilliant Vettle?

            TommyB, get it right mate, never said he couldn’t overtake, i said he cant overtake to win races, he has only ever won from Pole!!!!! Where as Button did, Turkey he over took vettle, on first lap because of a mistake, and then when vettle was on light fuel load he could have over took the slower button to have a chance of winning race, did he? nope he cocked his race up and finished 3rd because he didnt overtake at a vital opportunity!


          1. Wel then he obviously isnt as good driver as everybody seems to think!

          2. I won’t listen to comments about a driver when they can’t even spell their name correctly. I agree Button did well but Vettel overtook too.

          3. Sorry mate my bad, i did a you and got it wrong, like u have again, I never said he didnt overtake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I said he only ever won from Pole, and hasnt won a race through overtaking!

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