Miniatures of Juan Manuel Fangio and a flying Tommi Makinen


Brazil 2009


JENSON BUTTON CLINCHED THE DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP AND BRAWN GP TOOK THE CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE INTERLAGOS TRACK ON SUNDAY. THAT'S HOW IT ENDED AND SEEMS A SIMPLE ENOUGH STATEMENT BUT IT WAS FAR FROM SIMPLE AT THE BEGINNING.

A DELUGE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS CUT FREE PRACTICE 2 DOWN TO 13 MINUTES AND SIMILAR CONDITIONS HIT QUALIFYING ON SATURDAY. ONE OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS IN THESE CONDITIONS IS THAT THE CARS CANNOT USE THE TRACK IF THE MEDICAL HELICOPTER CANNOT TAKE OFF OR LAND AT THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER.

EVEN WHEN THE CARS CAN TAKE TO THE TRACK, CONDITIONS LIKE THESE RESULT IN NUMEROUS CRASHES THAT LEAD TO RED FLAG SITUATIONS. QUALIFYING THUS TOOK TWICE AS LONG AS NORMAL TO COMPLETE. THE THREE DRIVERS CHALLENGING FOR THE TITLE HAD VASTLY DIFFERENT OUTCOMES WHEN THE SESSION ENDED.

SEBASTIEN VETTEL DIDN'T MAKE IT OUT OF Q1 AND STARTED 15TH, JENSON BUTTON COULDN'T GET OUT OF Q2 AND WAS 14TH ON THE GRID, WHILST HIS NEAREST CHALLENGER AND TEAM-MATE, RUBENS BARRICHELLO, TOOK POLE POSITION. IF YOU WERE JENSON, THAT WOULD BE ALMOST THE WORST CASE SCENARIO YOU COULD BE FACED WITH AND HE ADMITTED AFTER QUALIFYING THAT HE WAS VERY DOWN, IF NOT DEPRESSED.

BUT HOW HE ROSE TO THE CHALLENGE ON SUNDAY TO SILENCE ALL THOSE DOUBTERS AND DETRACTORS WHO FOOLISHLY QUESTIONED HIS CHARACTER IN THIS MOST VISIBLE AND PRESSURISED OF SITUATIONS. HE DROVE A BRILLIANT RACE, DEMONSTRATING ALL THE QUALITIES THAT A TRUE CHAMPION NEEDS, OVERTAKING MANY CARS TO TAKE THE MOST REWARDING 5TH PLACE YOU COULD IMAGINE.

A DRIVER CANNOT WIN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN A POOR CAR - ASK MICHAEL SCHUMACHER ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS AT FERRARI - AND THIS IS THE FIRST TIME JENSON HAS DRIVEN A CAR WITH CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING POTENTIAL - UNLIKE LEWIS HAMILTON WHO HAD A CHAMPIONSHIP CAR UNDER HIM FROM HIS FIRST DAY IN F1. THE FACT THAT HE WON 6 OUT OF THE FIRST 7 RACES AT THE START OF THE SEASON GAVE HIM A HUGE HURDLE TO OVERCOME - IT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT PSYCHOLOGICALLY TO DEFEND A BIG CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TOTAL THAN TO COME FROM BEHIND - ASK LEWIS ABOUT 2007. NOBODY WOULD BLAME SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T QUITE MAKE IT IN THIS LATTER SCENARIO WHEREAS LOSING A BIG LEAD WOULD BE REGARDED AS UNFORGIVABLE.

THE ONE THING I WAS HOPING FOR WAS THAT, LIKE A TRUE CHAMPION, HE WOULD REACH A POINT WHERE HE JUST HAD TO REVERT TO INSTINCTIVE DRIVING, RATHER THAN THE CONSIDERED APPROACH THAT COMES WITH A BIG LEAD. WE HAVE SEEN IT BEFORE IN MANY SPORTS WHERE THE POINT IS REACHED WHERE ALL SEEMS LOST, THE COMPETITOR THEN RELAXES BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO BE ALL OVER AND THEN, WITH THE RELAXATION, THE NATURAL SKILL THAT HAD GOT THE COMPETITOR TO THE BRINK OF SUCCESS RETURNS AND SUCCESS IS ACHIEVED.

JENSON EXPERIENCED THIS IN BRAZIL AND TRIUMPHED. ROSS BRAWN HAS MASTERMINDED A RECOVERY FROM THE BRINK OF DISASTER EARLY IN THE YEAR AND, TYPICAL OF THE MAN, IMMEDIATELY PAID TRIBUTE TO ALL THE STAFF THAT HAD TO BE MADE REDUNDANT WHEN HONDA MORPHED INTO BRAWN BUT WHO HAD WORKED ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAR DURING THE DARKEST DAYS OF LAST WINTER.

RUBENS LED OFF THE LINE AND CONTINUED TO DO SO UNTIL THE FIRST PIT-STOPS AND THEN EMERGED INTO TRAFFIC. HE HAD LOST VALUABLE SECONDS DUE TO AN EARLY, INEVITABLE SAFETY CAR THAT BACKED THE FIELD UP AGAIN. MARK WEBBER HARRIED HIM AND WENT A FEW LAPS FURTHER BEFORE HIS OWN PIT-STOP. DURING THOSE LAPS HE WAS ABLE TO TAKE THE LEAD, WHICH HE NEVER LOST, AND WENT ON TO CLAIM HIS 2ND VICTORY. ROBERT KUBICA DROVE DETERMINEDLY TO FINISH 2ND AND LEWIS HAMILTON RECOVERED FROM 17TH TO MAKE THE LAST PLACE ON THE PODIUM.

THE RED BULL CARS OUTPACED THE BRAWNS HERE AND SEBASTIEN VETTEL TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THIS TO REACH 4TH PLACE AT THE FINISH WHEREAS RUBENS NEVER SEEMED TO RECOVER AND FINALLY HAD TO PIT AFTER SUFFERING A PUNCTURE DURING A BRUSH WITH LEWIS HAMILTON IN THE CLOSING STAGES, EVENTUALLY FINISHING 8TH.

BRAWN GP THUS HAD NO TROUBLE IN CLAIMING THE POINTS THEY NEEDED TO TAKE THE CONSTRUCTORS TITLE AND CREATED A NEW RECORD BY WINNING THIS IN THEIR DEBUT YEAR - SOMETHING THAT HAD NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF F1. AND ALL FROM A TEAM THAT WAS ALMOST UNEMPLOYED 3 WEEKS BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED. THANKS TO HONDA, WHO PROVIDED ALL THE TECHNICAL FACILITIES, AND MCLAREN MERCEDES, WHO CAME UP WITH THE ENGINE, BRAWN GP TURNED A NIGHTMARE INTO A DREAM - AND WHAT A DREAM!





STARTING GRID

1. Rubens Barrichello
2. Mark Webber
3. Aidrian Sutil
4. Jarno Trulli
5. Kimi Raikkonen
6. Sebastien Buemi
7. Nico Rosberg
8. Robert Kubica
9. Kazuki Nakajima
10. Fernando Alonso
11. Kamui Kobayashi
12. Jaime Alguersari
13. Romain Grosjean
14. Jenson Button
15. Sebastian Vettel
16. Heikki Kovalainen
17. Lewis Hamilton
18. Nick Heidfeld
19. Giancarlo Fisichella
20. Vitantonio Liuzzi




RESULT

1. Mark Webber
2. Robert Kubica
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Sebastian Vettel
5. Jenson Button
6. Kimi Raikkonen
7. Sebastien Buemi
8. Rubens Barrichello

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers :

Jenson Button 89
Sebastian Vettel 74
Rubens Barrichello 72
Mark Webber 61.5
Lewis Hamilton 49
Kimi Raikkonen 48
Nico Rosberg 34.5
Jarno Trulli 30.5

Constructors :

Brawn GP 161
Red Bull Racing 135.5
McLaren 71
Ferrari 70
Toyota 54.5
Williams 34.5
BMW 32
Renault 26
Force India 13
Scuderia Toro Rosso 7

Race Results posted by
David Little
19th October 2009

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