Vote for the best pass of 2009

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Which driver did the best job of passing his rivals in 2009?
Which driver did the best job of passing his rivals in 2009?

Who pulled off the best overtaking move of 2009? These top ten choices have been whittled down from dozens of suggestions made by F1 Fanatic readers.

If you’re mind’s already made up cast your vote now, or see below for the best arguments in favour of each of them and videos of the passes.

What was the best pass of 2009?

  • Malaysia: Mark Webber on Fernando Alonso (5%)
  • China: Lewis Hamilton on Kimi Raikkonen (9%)
  • Bahrain: Jenson Button on Lewis Hamilton (8%)
  • Spain: Mark Webber on Fernando Alonso (9%)
  • Monaco: Nico Rosberg on Felipe Massa (4%)
  • Belgium: Kimi Raikkonen on Giancarlo Fisichella (17%)
  • Japan: Heikki Kovalainen on Giancarlo Fisichella (3%)
  • Brazil: Jenson Button on Romain Grosjean (13%)
  • Brazil: Kamui Kobayashi on Kazuki Nakajima (7%)
  • Abu Dhabi: Kamui Kobayashi on Jenson Button (25%)

Total Voters: 2,252

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Malaysia: Mark Webber on Fernando Alonso

If Fernando Alonso learned anything this season it’s that Mark Webber does not go down without a fight. Twice the Red Bull driver reversed Alonso’s passing attempts in fine style – and both of them were nominated in this top ten.

Very good pass on a car with KERS and Alonso is very tough racer.

China: Lewis Hamilton on Kimi Raikkonen

As the rain hammered down at Shanghai Lewis Hamilton tentatively emerged from the cloud of spray behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and navigated around the outside of him at turn seven. Impressive driving in foul conditions.

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.

Bahrain: Jenson Button on Lewis Hamilton

With Hamilton’s McLaren out of its KERS boost as he returned to the start/finish line for the first time at Bahrain, Button had a precious chance to get past him. Diving off-line onto the dusty part of the track Button nailed his braking point and scrambled ahead.

For me, the best move was Button on Hamilton at Bahrain. Against a car with a theoretical advantage due to KERS, it was clean, precise, fair and masterful. It?s moves like that that won him the world champion.

Spain: Mark Webber on Fernando Alonso

A re-take of Webber’s gutsy ‘reversal’ on Alonso from Sepang, but this time Webber had less space to work with.

As he swung back to the inside I thought “this’ll end in tears”. But credit to both of them, they stayed on the circuit and Webber kept his position.

The Spaniard using KERS to make his way past Webber, only for the Aussie coming back through under braking into Turn 1 was inspired.

Monaco: Nico Rosberg on Felipe Massa

Opportunities to pass a rival at Monaco are few and far between. So when Felipe Massa cut the chicane trying to pass Sebastian Vettel, the chasing Nico Rosberg knew he had a chance.

While Massa pulled over to let Vettel by, Rosberg glued himself to the back of the Red Bull and, with mere millimetres separating him from Massa, squeezed by into Tabac. A pity Williams then screwed up his pit stop strategy.

Rosberg on Massa at Monaco was scary. Didn?t realise it was that close during the race.

Belgium: Kimi Raikkonen on Giancarlo Fisichella

Kimi R??ikk??nen in second place with a KERS button, a safety car restart… Giancarlo Fisichella was a sitting duck.

It was a great move, and given the fact that Fisichella was on his back for the rest of the race?? one hell of an overtake.

Japan: Heikki Kovalainen on Giancarlo Fisichella

Inspired stuff from Heikki Kovalainen who mugged Fisichella as the pair left the pits. A pity he’d ruined his race by blundering into Adrian Sutil a few laps earlier. This pass was for 13th place.

If only Heikki had shown this level of hunger/determination all season.

Brazil: Kamui Kobayashi on Kazuki Nakajima

Kamui Kobayashi won an instant fan following for his refusal to back down in wheel-to-wheel racing. This round-the-outside pass on countryman Kazuki Nakajima probably shouldn’t have worked – but it did.

Showed skill and control without being too dangerous in his first ever F1 race (must have wounded Nakajima?s pride badly).

Brazil: Jenson Button on Romain Grosjean

I have nothing to add to Tim’s brilliant argument in favour of this pass:

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.

Abu Dhabi: Kamui Kobayashi on Jenson Button

Yes, Kobayashi was only able to get a run on Button because the Brawn driver had pitted recently.

But give him credit – he took the opportunity presented to him and if he hadn’t seized it he wouldn’t have ended the race ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli. And he might not have earned a place at Sauber for 2010.

Watch out newly crowned world drivers’ champion – here is the rookie. And considering all the other drivers that came into the series mid/late season… Class.

Honourable mentions

A few of the fine passes to narrowly miss out on the short list were Alonso’s move on Trulli at Bahrain (a favourite of mine), Webber’s on Button at Shanghai and the Hamilton-Alonso battle at Silverstone.

Read more: What was the best pass of 2009? (Video)

Image (C) Ferrari spa

88 comments on “Vote for the best pass of 2009”

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  1. I can’t believe so many people votted for Raikonnen’s pass on Fisichella… Fisichella couldn’t do anything to defend, Kimi was close to him thanks to the SC restart, just having to press the KERS button…

    I mean he was right to overtake of course, but why do so many people consider that this move is the best of 2009 ???
    Are there so many Raikkonen fanboys around ?

  2. kobyashi’s only winning because he’s a rookie. By any other standards it would have been a good but unspectacular move

  3. Why on Earth was Raikkonen on Fisichella even nominated? Considering the circumstances, it was probably among the least impressive passes of 09 in terms of the skill required to pull it off – all he had to do was press his KERS button and keep driving straight and he was past.

  4. Sorry Keith, but this poll is a failure if the goal is to determine the best overtake move of the season. The leading two are basically the worst of the list. One is entirely based on a KERS button, Kimi didn’t have to do anything else than drive past another car with a massive speed difference on a long straight. There was no positioning or braking skill involved. And I can’t even think of a reason why the move from Kobayashi in Abu Dhabi is on the list, since he overtook a car that got out of the pits with cold tyres and a massive fuelload like 4 corners before. If the only reason is “to give him credit because he took the opportunity presented to him and if he hadn’t seized it he wouldn’t have ended the race…in the position he did in”, I can think of multiple moves that had a similar impact, but required more skill and on cars which were actually on a similar strategy. Perhaps it’s leading this poll due to voters who still can’t accept Jenson Button is the 2009 WDC?

    1. Perhaps people voted for Kobayashi because he proved that not all of 2009’s rookies were wimps who would chicken out of fighting a WDC? And if Kimi’s move didn’t involve any positioning skill, he surely would’ve crashed straight into Fisi, hmm?

    2. Soumya Banerjee
      17th May 2010, 14:27

      Lew,get your head checked. Why did Raikkonen close in on Fisi through Eau Rouge before overtaking him at Kemmel? I suppose people use KERS in Eau Rouge? And if none of you fine gentlemen voted for it, then who did?

  5. Enough with the Kimi hating, his pass was the only real one for the lead this year (that I can remember.) Vettel driving off in Turkey on the first lap, and other first lap antics don’t count (though it cold be argued that Kimi’s pass was also a “first lap” antic.)

    1. Good point, Kovy.

  6. I think Webber vs Alonso was the most entertaining one.

    I gave my vote to Button though. They guy has overtaken so many cars during the season. Apart from his usually flawless and incredibly consistent drives, he basically dragged the championship from the competition by making the right passes at the right moments. Twice on KERS cars, but also on Kubica and many others.

    He’s the overtaking king of the year

    Then I specifically rate this pass highly too. He overtook a KERS car which makes this pass extra difficult. This is shown by the fact that Vettel never was able to overtake and therefore finished behind Button even though Vettel did have the faster car

  7. Prisoner Monkeys
    25th December 2009, 0:17

    Kobayashi has nearly a hundred votes more than an actual pass?

    Sorry, guys, but this poll is gettng my vote for Worst. Poll. Ever.

    1. Yep. Once again, the answer we are going go get from this poll is “Who is your favorite driver”.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        25th December 2009, 1:35

        If Kimi Raikkonen or Nick Heidfeld – probably my least-favourite drivers – had been the one to make that pass on Grosjean, I still would have voted for them. The fact that JB is my favourite is inconsequential to the fact that he did the impossible while Kobayashi had a lot of help in regards to tyres, fuel and track condition.

        If Kobayashi sucks next year, it’ll be your fault for expecting too much of him. I’d halfway hope that he does, but I don’t want to hear everyone whinge about it.

        1. I was actually agreeing with you. All the fanboys are going to vote for their favorite driver or the driver who overtook their least favorite driver. Kobi’s pass was nowhere near being a good racing maneuverer, and it is annoying how many people are going on about it. Piquet Jr could have pulled of that move against Schumacher in the same situation. And when it has 5 times and many votes as Webber on Alonso in Malaysia… well that is so disappointing.

          I too am unconvinced by Kobayashi. He was the only rookie to come into the season in a half decent car, and while he did well, it was only two races. I’m interested to see how he, and all the other rookies, go next year.

          1. That Toyota was one of the top cars at that time. Probably right behind the Red Bull.

            It took two second places in the races before and could easily have landed on the podium again in Brazil.

  8. hey guys wat abt rubens on lewis at turkey??

    1. You mean when Lewis simply let him past? What about it?

      The battle with Kovalainen was a lot more entertaining. Kovalainen didn’t gain anything from that battle though and he ultimately even lost the place to Lewis.

      So yeah, just letting a much faster car by can be the better descision now and then.

  9. 24% vote for Kobayashi on Button???? That is so funny as to be unreal.

    Kobayashi on low fuel, Button just starting a new stint on high fuel with cold tyres.

    Either everyone on here just hates Button because for some reason they think that he lucked into a championship (can that even happen?) or all of the other overtakes were equally one-sided.

    And wasn’t Button looking at the bigger picture with regards to finishing on the podium, rather than tangling meaninglessly with someone that was likely to finish behind him anyway.

  10. Hey guys,

    There were so many great overtakes and I would’ve put more in, but for the 10 min video limit imposed!

    Given the lack of mention, I’d just like to defend my choice #1 move Glock did on Webber in Hungary.

    Probably best explain in this short vid: only because I can’t be bothered to type it out, it’s entirely a shameless plug! ;)

    I love this kind of move, not just for the car control skill required, undefendable nature of it, it’s element of suprise, visually pleasing style… but also for what it means to the sport. Slicks, lower downforce (more focus on mechanical grip), high power:weight ratio’s and (re)introducing the chance for different driving styles and lines, all make it possible. This is almost certainly why you haven’t seen such a move for 20 years.

    It’s a sign that F1 has definitely moved [back] in the right direction… and more is to come. :)

    1. Very nice videos, man.

  11. Two things.

    1. Nobody votes purely objectively. So it’s a little pointless to tell people that they’ve got no sense to vote the way they do. Everyone’s vote makes perfect sense to them, so there’s no need for demeaning comments. That’s my two cents there.

    2. Kobayashi vs. Button vs. Grosjean. This has nothing to do with my personal choice, but I would like to point out that what I like about Kobayashi’s move was his patience and good sense to accurately predict what Button would do going into the corner. What makes Button’s move on Grosjean a bit ordinary in my eyes is the complete and utter mismatch in their length of experience and quality of their machinery (not to mention that it wasn’t all do or die for the championship – it was the before-last race of the season.)

    Personally, I like Rosberg on Massa. Not the greatest racing move, not by a long shot, but it was smart and opportunistic, and the kind of thing that is sadly missing from F1 since blue flags for backmarkers were introduced – but that’s a whole other rant.

    1. This has nothing to do with my personal choice, but I would like to point out that what I like about Kobayashi’s move was his patience and good sense to accurately predict what Button would do going into the corner

      This isn’t anything out of the ordinary as far as overtaking cleanly is concerned. But yes, it was a good move if looked at from a ‘casual fan’ type point of view.

      1. If it was nothing out of the ordinary, we would see it more often, no?

        1. The Nude Wizard
          26th December 2009, 16:46

          We see people get passed after they pit and are on green tyres / a heavier fuel load than the person behind in almost every race. It’s only the people involved (a greenhorn and a world champion who has been accused of winning a supposedly “weak” title by his detractors) that brought attention to it.

          It makes it a good story, it doesnt make it a good pass. Under the rules next year it would have never happened. Button would have known he wasnt racing him for position, he knew he was in a faster car that point, wouldnt have got in his road once past, and Button finished ahead of him at the end. It’s as simple as that. A good pass is when you gain an advantage over an actual rival in the same race as you with and you beat them, not momentarily reorder the race for 10 minutes before you pit too.

          All this proves is like every other poll taken in the history of the world. It’s full of biased one eyed opinion with almost zero knowledge of what they’re actually judging. I think almost every political poll can attest to that.. One flavour of the week is so quickly not at the drop of a hat. Uneducated people are fickle and easily mislead by a good story all the while ignoring, or more usually being completely oblivious to facts that dont suit the opinion they’ve formed.

          1. Hey now there, like I said in my original post – no need for demeaning comments, and it wasn’t my choice for pass of the year. I think that Button fans resorting to arguments about skewed poll opinions borders on the intellectually dishonest, to be frank. It was a patient move by Kobayashi, for someone in his 2nd F1 race – that is all – never said it was the best, just well-thought through and patient.

          2. The Nude Wizard
            26th December 2009, 17:37

            Fair enough i was only speaking directly to you in the first paragraph the rest was rather general and not demeaning you. I was speaking generally about polls not specifically about you.

            And for the record i’m Ferrari tragic, as if I’d be a fan of Button haha. But i call it how i see it having been neck deep in the sport for 15+ years and having to hear every reason why i shouldnt be a Shumacher fan, its probably the only sport i passionately follow. It was an admirable drive from Kobayashi no doubt, but “best pass of the year” haha its just not right and yes people are entitled to their own opinions, it doesnt make it right though and it seems we agree there ;)

          3. The Nude Wizard
            26th December 2009, 17:40

            oh dear, and that was a bad typo haha.. Schumacher!

          4. Cool enough, Streaking Sorcerer.

  12. As a f1 fan i really really enjoy the sound of an f1 car. I now live in western Canada and have only managed to make the UNBELIEVABLE Montreal GP once which was a total thriller which if possible one should attend. The soldout crowd was truely and totally into the race weekend. On one other note this site has now established itself as a reputable and accurate site. Kieth can you please use your pull the give us some more pure uncut undesterbed f1 sounds from the TV programs. They mention once and awhile that they get requests from the fans that we just want to hear the cars without their chatter that they feel they must never stop. PLEASE tell them to STOP talking and let the sweet sound of 18000 rpm’s do the talking. thanks for the time and great site. You have made a great decision to commit full time and it will pay off huge in the long run.

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