, the concise formula one motor racing page

Report on the 2008 season   Report on the 2007 season   Report on the 2006 season   Report on the 2005 season  

Report on the 2004 season   Report on the 2003 season   Report on the 2002 season   Report on the 2001 season  

guest book   home   formula   url   Live coverage from Eurosport  

Formula one grand prix 2009

Abu Dhabi GP

Sebastian Vettel

Abu Dhabi GP: Vettel Wins Season-Ending Snore

Sunday 1st November 2009

The 2009 F1 season reached its conclusion with a whimper rather than a bang in Abu Dhabi with Sebastian Vettel claiming an easy victory.

Starting slightly heavier than pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, Vettel was able to run longer in the opening stint, allowing him to take the lead from the McLaren driver. Two laps later, though, Hamilton headed into retirement as his MP4-24 suffered brake problems, bringing his season to an early conclusion.

Once safely in the lead, Vettel proved to be untouchable, as the Red Bull racer drove to the win and second place in the Drivers' Championship.

It appeared as if his team-mate Mark Webber could take second place behind him but the swooping Jenson Button took advantage of Webber's failing brakes to close the gap. The reigning World Champ was all over Webber in the final five laps but the Australian somehow managed to keep him at bay. Webber finished second with Button third.

Rubens Barrichello was fourth ahead of Nick Heidfeld, who claimed BMW's final Formula One World Championship points as the team bids farewell to the sport, leapfrogging the Williams team in the process.

Kamui Kobayashi did his chances of a full-time Formula One drive the world of good with an assured sixth placed finish, edging out the vastly-experienced Jarno Trulli while Sebastien Buemi completed the points scoring places.

Race Report

As the sun was setting in Abu Dhabi, the air temperature was still at 31C and the track at 34C (it would fall by only 3C during the course of the race).

When the tyre warmers came off everyone except Fisichella was revealed to be starting on the harder Prime tyre with Giancarlo starting on the Option tyre.

As the red lights went out Lewis Hamilton powered away from pole position while the Red Bulls squabbled over P2. Mark Webber, starting from P3 had a slight look down the outside of Vettel into Turn 1 - thought better of it - and then cut back across to the inside.

With Webber going wide to the outside, Rubens Barrichello decided to look down the inside of the Red Bull into Turn 1 only to find the Red Bull cutting back and swiping off the corner of his front wing. Webber's left rear tyre took a big whack but both were able to continue at full speed.

Elsewhere Kamui Kobayashi showed that he was no pushover, keeping the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen behind him through the hairpin. Robert Kubica was only fuelled to Lap 15 and had to get past Jarno Trulli's Toyota in a hurry. The pair duelled side by side through a few corners before Kubica put Trulli behind him.

Team-mate Nick Heidfeld resisted attempts by Nico Rosberg to get past him while Barrichello's wariness at the absence of some of his front wing allowed Jenson Button to move up from 5th to 4th.

At the end of the first lap the order was: 1.Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Webber, 4.Button, 5.Barrichello, 6.Kubica, 7.Trulli, 8.Heidfeld, 9.Rosberg, 10.Buemi, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Raikkonen, 13.Kovalainen.

The second McLaren driver had had a great opening lap passing five cars on his way to P.13 from P.18 on the grid.

While Rubens Barrichello came to terms with how his car was handling, the surprise at the front was Lewis Hamilton's failure to race off into the distance. Having been 0.7 a lap quicker in qualifying it was widely expected that the McLaren driver would be uncatchable in the race. By Lap 4 he was only 1.3 seconds ahead of Vettel, the Mclaren much quicker in the middle section containing the two long straights and the Red Bull catching up in the twisty finals section of the lap.

By Lap 8 the gap was still only 1.3 seconds and with Mark Webber matching Vettel's pace - setting fastest Laps on Lap 7 and Lap 9 - it looked like Lewis could easily drop to third after the first pit-stops. Hamilton didn't help his cause over much by running wide at the turn approaching the Yas Marina hotel and reducing the gap to Vettel to only 0.9 of a second.

McLaren were locked in a battle with Ferrari for third place in the constructors' championship and their nearest contender, Kimi Raikkonen, was on a one-stop fuel load back in P12. The grid was split in two with everyone who qualified in Q3 on two-stoppers and everyone else on one-stoppers. The leading one-stopper was Kamui Kobayashi playing the traditional Timo Glock role of running long. On Lap 11, Raikkonen showed no sign of being able to catch him.

Such was the failure of Lewis Hamilton to get away that on Lap 14 there was still only 8.8 seconds between himself and fifth placed Barrichello, and just 2.5 seconds covering the top three. Lewis reduced the Fastest Lap down to 1:40.367 on Lap 16 but was in for his first stop a lap later.

Webber came in on Lap 18 and Vettel a lap later on Lap 19. Vettel was almost hindered by having a Toro Rosso in his pitbox when he arrived. Jaime Alguersuari had radioed in that he had trouble with his gearbox, trundled into the pitlane and saw some Red Bull mechanics waiting around.

Assuming that Toro Rosso had heard his radio message the rookie pulled into the Red Bull pit only to be waved through by Vettel's mechanics. As it was, Toro Rosso were back in their garage and Alguersuari cruised out and into retirement with a broken gearbox.

Vettel's stop went to plan and he exited in the lead, though now with Hamilton between himself and Webber.

Rubens Barrichello had pitted a lap before Jenson Button and come out between Kobayashi and Raikkonen. When Button pitted he came out just in front of the Japanese rookie. With much warmer tyres and on a lighter fuel load, the Toyota driver was able to close up on Button and going into Turn 8 the World Champion went defensive on the inside, braked too late and overshot the corner allowing Kobayashi through.

On Lap 20 the race changed into a procession when the McLaren team radioed through to Lewis Hamilton and asked him to come into the pits to retire his car. The engineers had picked up data from the telemetry that he might suffer a right rear brake failure and though there was no apparent problem, it was safety first.

With Hamilton retiring and all the two-stoppers having come in, this left the positions on Lap 22 as: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Kobayashi (not stopped), 4.Button, 5.Barrichello, 6.Raikkonen (not stopped), 7.Kovalainen (not stopped), 8.Heidfeld, 9.Trulli, 10.Kubica, 11.Rosberg.

Before the first stops Vettel and Webber had been close, but in the second stint Vettel began to move away and on Lap 24 the gap was out to 7.5 seconds. The impressive Kobayashi was closing in on Webber and by Lap 29 was just 4.0 seconds shy of him.

Raikkonen pitted for his one and only stop on Lap29 allowing Heikki Kovalainen - who had been tight behind him - to go an extra two laps and jump him in the pit-stops. With Hamilton's retirement, McLaren needed to keep their points loss to Raikkonen to just one point, but now they had track position on Ferrari with both cars fuelled to the finish.

Kobayashi pitted on Lap 30 with the target of beating team-mate Trulli and scoring his first World Championship points.

The big winner in the first pit-stops, though, had been BMW's Nick Heidfeld. Nick had gone longer than most of the two-stoppers and jumped ahead of both Jarno Trulli and his team-mate to grab 5th place. Robert Kubica now found himself behind Trulli again in 7th place.

The order on Lap 32 was: 1.Vettel, 9.8 seconds in front of: 2.Webber, 11.9 seconds in front of : 3.Button 2.4 in front of: 4.Barrichello, 5.Heidfeld, 6.Trulli, 7.Kubica, 8.Rosberg, 9.Buemi. 10.Nakajima (not stopped), 11.Kobayashi.

Nico Rosberg kicked off the second round of pit-stops on Lap 38, followed by Kubica on Lap 39 and Mark Webber on Lap 40. Rubens Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld came in together and the BrawnGP car only just managed to squeak out of the pitlane in front of the BMW-Sauber.

While Heidfeld was challenging for 4th place, Robert Kubica was involved in a tussle with Sebastien Buemi for 8th place and hooked a wheel inside the Toro Rosso spinning himself back from 9th to 10th place. Nico Rosberg swept through into P9.

When Jarno Trulli took his stop he dropped behind his Japanese team-mate so that the positions on Lap 43 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Barrichello, 5.Heidfeld, 6.Kobayashi, 7.Trulli, 8.Buemi, 9.Rosberg, 10.Kubica, 11.Kovalainen, 12.Raikkonen.

Vettel's lead was a massive 17 seconds, but Webber was only 5.7 in front of Button. Jenson slowly whittled the gap down lap by lap - 4.8, 4.1, 3.6, 3.0, 2.2, 1.3, and then 1.1 on Lap 50. The Brawn was much better under braking, but the Red Bull had far better traction out of the corners.

In the last two laps Jenson looked both sides of the Red Bull which was slowing down allowing Barrichello and Heidfeld to catch up. Button tried the outside line into Turn 11 hoping that the Red Bull would miss his braking point but Mark got the Red Bull stopped without too much defensive driving.

It was a nailbiting end to what had been a pedestrian race, robbed of tension after Hamilton's retirement. Sebastian Vettel took the race win from a relieved Mark Webber and an exhilarated Jenson Button. Barrichello had to content himself with fourth place and third in the drivers' championship.

Nick Heidfeld and Kamui Kobayashi did their future employment prospects no harm at all by coming home in 5th and 6th places, followed by Trulli 7th and Buemi 8th.

It had been a novel race at a novel venue, but in sheer racing terms it was nowhere near as gripping as the previous GP at Interlagos, F1's least developed circuit.


01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:34:03.414
02 M. Webber Red Bull + 17.857
03 J. Button Brawn GP + 18.467
04 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 22.735
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 26.253
06 K. Kobayashi Toyota + 28.343
07 J. Trulli Toyota + 34.366
08 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 41.294
09 N. Rosberg Williams + 45.941
10 R. Kubica BMW + 48.180
11 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 52.798
12 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 54.317
13 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:59.839
14 F. Alonso Renault + 1:09.687
15 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 1:34.450
16 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 1 lap(s)
17 R. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap(s)
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 lap(s)
Did not finish
19 L. Hamilton McLaren + 35 lap(s)
20 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 37 lap(s)

Drivers' Standings after the Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday 1st. December 2009 (final)

PositionDriverCountry TeamPoints
1Jenson ButtonGBBrawn-Mercedes95
2Sebastian VettelGerRed Bull-Renault84
3Rubens BarrichelloBrzBrawn-Mercedes77
4Mark WebberAusRed Bull-Renault69.5
5Lewis HamiltonGBMcLaren-Mercedes49
6Kimi RaikkonenFinFerrari48
7Nico RosbergGerWilliams-Toyota34.5
8Jarno TrulliItaToyota32.5
9Fernando AlonsoSpaRenault26
10Timo GlockGerToyota24
11Felipe MassaBrzFerrari22
12Heikki KovalainenFinMcLaren-Mercedes22
13Nick HeidfeldGerBMW Sauber19
14Robert KubicaPolBMW Sauber17
15Giancarlo FisichellaItaFerrari8
16Sebastien BuemiSwiToro Rosso-Ferrari6
17Adrian SutilGerForce India-Mercedes5
18Kamui KobayashiJpnToyota3
19Sebastien BourdaisFraToro Rosso-Ferrari2
20Kazuki NakajimaJpnWilliams-Toyota0
21Nelson Piquet JrBrzRenault0
22Vitantonio LiuzziItaForce India-Mercedes0
23Romain GrosjeanFraRenault0
24Jaime AlguersuariSpaToro Rosso-Ferrari0
25Luca BadoerItaFerrari0

The 2009 formula one grand prix season
DateGrand PrixCircuit
March 29th.Australia Melbourne
April 5th. MalaysiaSepang
April 19th. ChinaShanghai
April 26th. BahrainSakhir
May 10th. SpainCatalunya
May 24th. MonacoMonte Carlo
June 7th. TurkeyIstanbul
June 21st. Great BritainSilverstone
July 12th. Germany Nurburgring
July 26th. HungaryBudapest
August 23rd.Europe Valencia
August 30th. Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
September 13th. Italy Monza
September 27th. SingaporeSingapore
October 4th. Japan Suzuka
October 18th. BrazilSao Paulo
November 1st. Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit

There will be 17 Grand Prixes this year starting in Australia and finishing not in Brazil
but at the next GP at the new circuit in Abu Dhabi.
There will be no Canadian nor French GP.
The German GP has moved from Hockenheim to Nurburgring.
The Japanese GP has moved from Fuji to Suzuka,
the figure of eight circuit with the bridge.
As last year there will be neither a United States GP nor a San Marino GP.
In Spain the Valencia street circuit GP is in but the Catalunya circuit is out.

Felipe Massa is the first to drive Ferrari's new F60 at Mugello

Drivers and teams for the 2009 formula one grand prix season

TeamDriver Driver Test Driver Test Driver
Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Heikki Kovalainen Pedro de la Rosa Gary Parfett
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Kimi Raikkonen Luca Badoer Marc Gene Felipe Massa
BMW Sauber F1 Team Robert Kubica Nick Heidfeld Christian Klien
Ing Renault F1 Team Fernando Alonso Romain Grosjean Nelson Piquet Jnr
Panasonic Toyota Racing Jarno Trulli Timo Glock Kamui Kobayashi
Scuderia Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi Jaime Alguersuari Brendon Hartley Sebastien Bourdais
Red Bull Racing Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel David Coulthard Brendon Hartley
AT&T Williams F1 Team Nico Rosberg Kazuki Nakajima Nicolas Hulkenberg
Brawn GP F1 Team Rubens Barrichello Jenson Button Anthony Davidson Alexander Wurz
Force India F1 Team Adrian Sutil Giancarlo Fisichella Vitantonio Liuzzi

Many of the constructor's web pages contain flash.
These pages are very beautiful but can take a long time to download.
Force India were formerly Spyker.
Some of the teams have the same drivers as in 2008.
Many of the drivers are the same as for 2008 but have changed teams.
Toro Rosso are the second team for Red Bull.
So there will be 9 teams and 18 drivers.
Honda like Super Aguri before had to drop out due to lack of funding.
The Honda team has now been purchased by the management under Ross Brawn as the Brawn GP F1 Team.
Now it is just like old times when Ross Brawn was Ferrari's Technical Director from 2001 until 2006
and Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barichello were the Ferrari drivers,
who consistently came in first and second.
Only Michael Schumacher has retired after saying that Jenson Button was the driver he was most afraid of.
Jenson Button now drives for the Brawn GP F1 Team.
There is talk of some teams running 3 cars to make up the numbers.
There are other rule changes as well to save money.

Brazil GP

Jenson Button
Jenson Button
Rubens Barrichello
Red Bull

Brazilian GP: Brilliant Button Beats Barrichello To Title

Sunday 18th October 2009

Jenson Button finally secured the Drivers' Championship title in Sunday's Brazilian GP while Mark Webber claimed the victory in what was easily the best race of the season.

Despite the much-anticipated rain failing to materialise, Sunday's Interlagos race had more action, more overtaking and more excitement than any of the 15 races that came before it.

Lap One alone saw three key incidents alone: Vettel tipping Kovalainen into a spin in Turn One, Mark Webber swerving into and breaking Kimi Raikkonen's front wing, and then JarnoTrulli hitting Adrian Sutil sending both cars off the circuit and the Force India into the innocent Fernando Alonso.

While the Safety Car was dispatched for Lap Two, Kimi Raikkonen drove through a wall of flame in the pitlane as Heikki Kovalainen drove away from his pitbox trailing a fuel hose.

After that it was overtaking move after overtaking move from Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel as the two fought their way from their lowly grid slots into the points, Button keen to wrap up the title and Vettel desperate to stay in the Championship fight.

However, it was Button who had the measure of his rivals, edging his way closer and closer to the necessary points. He was also helped by Rubens Barrichello's failure to make his fuel last more than 21 laps in the first stint.

Race Report There had been much talk of rain at the start, rain thirty minutes into the race and rain before the end, but as the drivers formed up after the parade lap there was bright sun at Interlagos and an ambient temperature of 27C giving a track temperature of 33C.

As the red lights went out it was a clean getaway from Rubens Barrichello who easily led Mark Webber into the tricky Turn 1, the Senna Esses. Kimi Raikkonen starting from P5 on the grid got a great start and was through past Sutil and Kubica on the outside. The Ferrari had come up the outside of the Force India into Turn 1 and moved across on it towards Webber, narrowing the gap so that Sutil had to brake to avoid a serious accident.

Further back Sebastian Vettel found himself as the meat in a McLaren sandwich in the Esses and contact between himself and Kovalainen spun the McLaren into the path of Giancarlo Fisichella. They were both able to continue, though Kovalainen would head back to the pits.

Running down the back straight (Reta Oposta) Mark Webber moved across to cover the inside line and as he moved, collected Kimi Raikkonen's front wing. Raikkonen who was the only front runner to start on the faster SuperSoft tyres had been on course to take P2 on the opening lap until Webber swerved into him.

Behind Raikkonen, Sutil had to rapidly change his pace to avoid the slowing Ferrari and into the following turn was being challenged by Jarno Trulli on the outside. As Sutil exited the corner, for some reason the Toyota driver expected him to leave room on the outside and collided with the back of the Force India. Both cars slewed off the track to either side with the Force India catching a wholly innocent Fernando Alonso and ending his race, along with the two protagonists.

There then followed the most heated discussion between drivers at the side of the track since the old Piquet versus Salazar incident at Hockenheim. Quite why Jarno seemed so aggrieved is hard to say because he put himself on the outside of a very fast dangerous corner and ran into the back of the Force India who was busily trying to work out how fast Raikkonen was going.

Marshals had to hurry them off the track, still arguing and locked together with Trulli gesticulating angrily in Sutil's face. All the while Fernando Alonso was calmly replacing his steering wheel and getting into the recovery truck.

The Safety Car came out and collected the leaders and the race order was now: 1.Barrichello, 2.Webber, 3.Rosberg, 4.Kubica, 5.Buemi, 6.Nakajima, 7.Kobayashi, 8.Grosjean, 9.Button, 10.Alguersuari, 11.Vettel, 12.Heidfeld.

Lewis Hamilton was called into the pits for a sudden strategy change which clearly surprised the World Champion. Behind him Raikkonen limped in with a broken wing and Kovalainen for more fuel and different tyres. Mclaren had worked out that if they had a Safety Car in the opening laps then it would be best to switch both cars to what effectively was a single stop race having got rid of their slower, SuperSoft tyres.

Hamilton was long gone before Kovalainen arrived, but Heikki left the pits too early with the fuel rig still attached. Behind him, the re-nosed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen joined the pitlane behind him and was sprayed with a mist of fuel as the hose pipe trailed out behind the McLaren.

The Ferrari's hot exhaust ignited the fuel and for a brief moment the Ferrari was on fire, before the mist of flame passed by and Raikkonen continued, seemingly unscathed. Kovalainen slowed to a stop outside the Brawn garage and the Brawn mechanics helpfully removed the fuel nozzle and hose to allow Heikki to continue.

It had been an incident packed first lap and the Safety car was a godsend to the TV producers allowing them several minutes to collect together the dramatic replays.

The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 5 and on the re-start Robert Kubica jumped up the inside of Nico Rosberg who had made an excellent start for P3. Further back, Jenson Button tried to look up the inside of Romain Grosjean but thought better of it. Coming down to Lake Descent he was on the outside of the Renault, knew he couldn't pass there, and then ducked through on the inside going into Turn 4.

Grosjean defended and kept on the inside going into the next turn, Ferradura, and Button simply drove round the outside of him. Sebastian Vettel, who had made short work of Alguersuari on the restart (no surprise there) was then gifted a pass on Grosjean when he ran wide at Mergulho.

Nakajima was Button's next target and he slid up the inside of the Williams driver going into Turn 1 on Lap 6 (two passes within the space of the lap) to take P7. His next target was Kamui Kobayashi in P6 who had got past Nakajima after the restart.

Straight away Button got up the inside of Kobayashi going into Turn 1, but decided it would be wiser to give the F1 debutant room. He was right to. The novice driver would have stuck his front wheel into the side pod of Button if he had come across and so was able to take the place back again.

Behind the Button versus Kobayashi duel, Sebastian Vettel was eager to get past Nakajima and tried the outside line going into Ferrardura. The Williams moved across on the racing line and Vettel was forced to put two wheels on the grass but kept his Red Bull under control. Just.

At the front of the race Rubens had bought his pole position by going low on fuel on Saturday, but he couldn't shake off Mark Webber or Robert Kubica who were both fuelled longer. Rubens had a 1.9 gap to the Red Bull, but was swapping fastest lap times with Mark Webber.

By Lap 14 a frustrated Jenson Button could find no way past Kobayashi and Vettel couldn't get his Red Bull in front of Nakajima. There was a train of cars behind Kobayashi consisting of: Button, Nakajima, Vettel, Heidfeld and Hamilton.

Rubens knew he had to make a major move forward as he was fuelled lighter than the two men in front of him and reeled off a series of fastest laps from Lap 16 through to Lap 20. Surprisingly he pitted on Lap 21, his predicted stop before the Safety Car.

Webber had been predicted in on Lap 24 (and came in on Lap 26) and Kubica had been predicted Lap 23 (and came in on Lap 24). Rubens failure to save fuel cost him dear. He exited the pits just in front of Vettel but still stuck in Kobayashi's train. Vettel immediately overtook the Brawn on the outside going into Ferradura.

At which point Nick Heidfeld's BMW retired through a lack of fuel. His first retirement in 41 races had come in Singapore. Now his second was two races later.

Back on track, Barrichello lost time by battling with Vettel and then defending against Hamilton and the delay over three laps allowed Robert Kubica, who had been less than four seconds behind before the pit-stop, to easily take his pit-stop and cruise out of the pitlane in front of the Brazilian. Webber was even further down the road, so already Barrichello was staring at just P3 for his afternoon's work.

On Lap 25 Jenson Button finally got past Kobayashi with a move up the inside into Turn 1. He had forced his way past a few laps earlier but left his braking too late and the feisty Japanese driver had taken the place back. Button had complained over the radio that the F1 rookie was weaving around and changing his line in the braking zones.

Button's pass allowed Nakajima to take a look at his big Japanese rival. Kazuki overtook Kamui on the run up from Juncao but going into Turn I the Toyota driver fought back and took a swerve at the Williams driver on the exit, allowing him space to reclaim the place. Nakajima went onto the kerbs and had to defend his place against Vettel who passed him later in the lap. All the while Barrichello was behind the scuffling.

Mark Webber pitted on Lap 26 and rejoined in the lead just in front of Button on the track. Nico Rosberg retired on Lap 28 and a lap later Vettel started to try his luck, looking for ways and means to pass Kobayashi.

In the end he didn't have to as Kobayashi pitted, but when the Japanese rejoined he was about to be passed by Nakajima when the Toyota swerved into him, pushing the Williams into the barrier, losing his front wing and then careering straight on at Lake Descent and into the barriers. Amazingly, the stewards didn't think it was worthy of investigation.

Button had been fuelled for over 30 laps but came in on Lap 29 as he'd run up against the slower, heavily fuelled Mark Webber. Had he run to his full fuel load he could have avoided a gaggle of cars, but he rejoined in P11 behind Buemi, Raikkonen and Grosjean. Button bided his time before overtaking Buemi with a dazzling overtaking move on Lap 35 but had to sit and wait behind Raikkonen.

The positions on Lap 36, half distance were: 1.Webber, 2.Vettel (not stopped), 3.Kubica, 4.Barrichello - complaining on the radio "what's happened to the car?" 5.Hamilton, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Button, 8.Buemi, 9.Fisichella, 10.Liuzzi.

Hamilton and Raikkonen having stopped on Lap 1 were out of sequence and Vettel was yet to stop. When he did, a lap later, he came out still behind Jenson Button.

On Lap 40 Mark Webber's lead over Kubica was 6.3 seconds and the BMW driver had the same gap again to Rubens Barrichello. It looked very much that only rain or a failure from the cars in front of him would allow Rubens to take P1 or P2.

Lewis Hamilton was the rogue element, pitting on Lap 42 and almost losing control of his McLaren in the pitlane on the exit as he looked destined to leapfrog both Vettel and Button when they pitted for a second time.

After Barrichello pitted for the second time on Lap 50 the positions on Lap 53 were: 1.Webber, 2.Kubica, 3.Button (not stopped a second time), 4.Vettel (not stopped again), 5.Buemi (not stopped a second time) 6.Barrichello, 7.Hamilton, 8.Kovalainen, 9.Raikkonen.

Button pitted again on Lap 54 but was easily jumped by Vettel who pitted on Lap 55 to take his fifth place - however sixth would do just fine for Jenson. The drama on the track switched to Barrichello versus Hamilton as the McLaren closed onto the back of the Brawn on Lap 60 of 71.

Rubinho would not take the fight to the final race of the season in P3 with Jenson in P6 or P7 and Button didn't look like losing P6. Hamilton closed on the Brawn driver coming up the start/finish straight of lap 61 and Barrichello left him the narrowest of gaps up the inside into Turn 1 forcing the McLaren hard against the pitwall.

McLaren badly needed the points in their battle for third in the Constructors' Championship and so Hamilton was racing for a lot of money. Barrichello's championship was already lost, but his cut across in front of the McLaren broke the front wing endplate of Hamilton's car and punctured his own rear left tyre.

Further round the following lap Brawn radioed to Rubens that he needed to come in to change the punctured tyre and he rejoined in P8. Despite a warning of a splash of light rain in the last four laps, Interlagos stayed dry and Mark Webber cruised to a worthy race victory. Robert Kubica came in second with an unlikely podium for Lewis Hamilton from P18 on the grid.

Sebastian Vettel, who was the fastest man in the final half of the race had dragged himself from 15th on the grid to 4th and would have probably grabbed a podium had he not been stuck behind Nakajima for so long. Button was a worthy 5th with a fearless and spectacular drive. Raikkonen was 6th unaffected by his fire-eating, Buemi 7th and Barrichello 8th.

Jenson's real piece of luck was that Raikkonen, Sutil, Trulli and Alonso had been taken out of the race in front of him - but it looked very likely that at least two of those drivers would have been able to pass Barrichello after the first pit-stops. The big mystery remained why Rubens had come in so early for his first pit-stop.

Jenson came across the line celebrating wildly and though the podium ceremony was geared to applauding Webber's second ever race win, all the major media attention and the pitlane buzz was about the man who had finished fifth from fourteenth on the grid.

Yet again the Brazilian GP had been a worthy Championship decider.


01 M. Webber Red Bull 1:32:23.081
02 R. Kubica BMW + 7.626
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 18.944
04 S. Vettel Red Bull + 19.652
05 J. Button Brawn GP + 29.005
06 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 33.340
07 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 35.991
08 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 45.454
09 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 48.499
10 K. Kobayashi Toyota + 1:03.321
11 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 1:10.600
12 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 1:11.300
13 R. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap(s)
14 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 lap(s)
Did not finish
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 41 lap(s)
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 44 lap(s)
17 N. Heidfeld BMW + 50 lap(s)
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 71 lap(s)
19 J. Trulli Toyota + 71 lap(s)
20 F. Alonso Renault + 71 lap(s)

Brazil GP

Button savours dream world title
Button joins British F1 greats
Sunday 18th October 2009

Jenson Button celebrated fulfilling a boyhood dream after his bold drive in Brazil earned him a maiden world title.

The 29-year-old recovered from 14th to finish fifth in Sao Paulo to succeed compatriot Lewis Hamilton and become Britain's 10th world champion.

"After the last few races, this one makes up for it. It was awesome," the jubilant Brawn driver told BBC Sport.

"I jumped into a kart 21 years ago and I loved winning. I never expected to be world champion in F1 but I've done it."

Button admitted he "felt sick" after qualifying on Saturday when he failed to make it into the top-10 shootout and closest title rival Rubens Barrichello claimed pole.

But Button drove a superb race, executing several daring overtaking manoeuvres, while Barrichello slipped back to third before a puncture finally ruined his hopes of closing the gap on his Brawn team-mate. Jenson Button

Button elated after world title victory

"I think that drive was worthy of a world champion," said Button.

It came after what the Englishman described as a "stressful few races" in which Barrichello and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had chipped away at his championship lead.

"I dreamt on Friday night that qualifying was going to be terrible, and it was," Button said after the win. "I also dreamt Friday night that I would be world champion this weekend.

His Brawn team also secured the one point they needed to seal the constructors' championship.

"I am so pleased for all the guys. We have come through strongly and we are going to have quite a good few days," Button said.

"The last few months have been very stressful. I try not to show it because that is a sign of weakness, but it has been hard - but we have done it." Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton congratulates champion Button

Button has suffered criticism throughout his career, first that he did not take his job seriously enough, then that it took him too long to win his first race - which he did in Hungary in 2006 after 113 attempts.

And in the second half of this season he has been accused of backing into the world title after slipping away from the form that won him six of the first seven races.

But Button said: "None of it matters, because I'm sat here as world champion and that is something you can never take away. I've had an up and down season, but I've come out on top and I'm world champion. I don't need to say anything."

As Button celebrated his title win, Red Bull's Mark Webber revelled in the second race victory of his career after a masterful race at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

The Australian said there was no question that Button, who won six of the first seven races of the season, deserved his maiden world championship.

"JB is consistent and I have said that throughout this year," he said.

"Unfortunately, he was also blisteringly quick at the start of the year as well.

"A lot of other drivers, including us [Webber and Vettel] and Rubens had a shopping list of excuses as to why we were not getting the results, but at the end of the day we were not, JB was.

"Other teams arrived, particularly Lewis [Hamilton] and Kimi [Raikkonen], in the middle and the back part of the season, and that made it hard for him to close the deal out but he is a deserved champion." Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello delighted with season

Barrichello, meanwhile, suffered disappointment at his home grand prix for the 17th time, but paid a warm tribute to his Brawn team - who he is likely to leave at the end of the season - and the new world champion.

"People put a flower on my coffin at the start of the season," he said.

"I was back, driving a fantastic car and I was so, so up for it. It was a great car to drive all year.

"I am pleased for Jenson, as a friend, and as a great champion, and if I didn't win, he should have won it, so well done to him.

"Jenson deserved to do it, but he won it on the first six races, and I think the second half of the championship was mine."

He added: "It is a hell of a team that deserves to win and we will have a great night tonight. I feel part of this, especially the constructors' championship."

Brawn team principal Ross Brawn, who helped Michael Schumacher win his seven drivers' titles when he was at Benetton and then Ferrari, said Button's performance in Brazil was "the drive of a world champion".

"He's a fantastic racer. Today he had a great race; he knew what he had to do," said Brawn.

What is not well known is that the Brawn car is, in the words of a team source, 'a botch job'

"We've lost a little bit of pace in the car over the last few races and he's stuck with it and he's deserved everything he's got."

In claiming the title, Button follows in the footsteps of the likes of Damon Hill and Jackie Stewart.

Hill, who won the world title in 1996, expressed his delight at Button's triumph to BBC 5 Live.

"It's a very happy story," said Hill. "Jenson's a lovely guy and he's the playboy world champion with the winning smile.

"He got accused of not taking it seriously but I think he showed everyone how serious he is inside."

Stewart, winner in 1969, 1971 and 1973, added his praise for the skill demonstrated by Button in Brazil.

"It was a very clever race," said Stewart. "Through the debris of the other accidents he passed people, which is not characteristic of current Formula 1.

"He paced himself correctly - he wasn't going to win the race, it was obvious - but at the same time he did it in a calculated, smooth and careful fashion.

"At the end of the day that's how you win world championships.

"He kept his dignity, kept his style and came through."

Button also received a message from Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"I want to send my warmest congratulations to Jenson Button," he said in a statement.

"We can be proud that Jenson is the 10th British driver to win the title."

Japanese GP:

Sebastian Vettel
The figure of eight circuit at Suzuka
Timo Glock

Japanese GP: Vettel Win Keeps Title Fight Alive

Sunday 4th October 2009

Sebastian Vettel put in a lightning quick display around the Suzuka circuit on Sunday, taking the race win and keeping both title fights alive.

Starting from pole position, the German held off a minor charge from Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1 before building up a lead that comfortably saw him through to the finish line.

However the McLaren driver wasn't able to shake off the challenge from Jarno Trulli and when a faltering gearbox stuttered in his final pit-stop, the lost tenths were enough to ensure Trulli took P2 off Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen claimed fourth place ahead of Nico Rosberg. Nick Heidfeld came home sixth, finishing ahead of Brawn GP team-mates Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button.

Brawn's inability to fully recover from their grid slot penalties ensured that both titles fights are still open heading into the penultimate race of the season in Brazil.

Race Report With bright sunshine over Suzuka, the temperatures were up with an ambient of 26C and 40C on the track as Vettel led the cars round on the parade lap.

The complex mechanism of Saturday penalties had created a grid that was hard to comprehend - Rubens Barrichello had qualified in 5th and was demoted to 6th. Jenson Button who had sped past the same marshals' yellow flags as Rubens four or five seconds later, had qualified 7th and was demoted to 10th. Timo Glock would not start the race and Mark Webber after a chassis rebuild had to start from the pitlane.

It was at least the third version of the grid, but most importantly, it was the final version of the grid and put both Brawns on the dirty side. The front three of Vettel, Trulli and Hamilton had been unaffected, but it moved Nick Heidfeld up to 4th and Raikkonen to 5th.

As the lights went out Hamilton fired up the KERS button which took him past Trulli into P2 and he was alongside Vettel on the outside going into Turn 1, which was a contest Vettel was always going to win.

Further back, Raikkonen failed to move ahead of Heidfeld with his KERS advantage, but Heikki Kovalainen got a stellar start from P.11 and overtook Button and Kubica. So as they came round at the end of the first lap the positions were: Vettel, Hamilton, Trulli, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Barrichello,Sutil, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Kubica, Button, Fisichella, Nakajima, Alguersuari.

Jenson Button had an incident-free opening lap and lost just a single place to the KERS equipped Kovalainen but now found himself behind the much longer stopping cars of Rosberg, Kovalainen and Kubica - unlike Barrichello who had the similarly-stopping Raikkonen in front.

As Vettel streaked away, the Force India of Adrian Sutil got overtaken by Rosberg at the hairpin on Lap 2 and Kovalainen found a way through too. Robert Kubica in P10 had been blocking since the opening lap, but on Lap 3 Button sold him the most perfect dummy that he was going to overtake on the outside coming into the final chicane - Kubica moved out there - and then Jenson dived up the inside. One of the most sublime overtaking moves of the season.

The race settled into a routine with Vettel's gap to Hamilton steadily going out as the Red Bull looked in full control of the race. By the end of Lap 5 team-mate Mark Webber had stopped for a third time - two of the stops were for a loose headrest and then the third was due to a puncture. Mark would soldier on at the back of the field a lap down and set the Fastest Lap at the end of the race.

Eighth place Heikki Kovalainen was falling back from seventh place Rosberg with the much-lighter fuelled Adrian Sutil in the Force India all over the back of his gearbox in ninth and Button watching it all in P10.

By Lap 12 Sutil had had enough of following Kovalainen and made a good job of diving up inside the Finn at the final chicane. Despite Sutil having the line and being on a much shorter strategy Kovalainen chose to tough it out and tried to keep his line on the outside going though the chicane. The cars made contact, Sutil spinning round, allowing Button and Kubica to sweep through past them both.

Considering Sutil would have been in front of Kovalainen for only a handful of laps before he pitted, it was ill-advised to try and hang on to a place he would have got back in minutes. It allowed Button through into clean air, but Jenson only had five laps before his own first pit-stop.

Lewis Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 15 and rejoined in P7 while Trulli pitted a lap later, and then Button on Lap 17 and Vettel on Lap 18. Vettel was held for a long time during his pit-stop as the Red Bull lollypop guy thought better of releasing him with other cars nearby in the pitlane. Raikkonen, Heidfeld and Barrichello also came in on Lap 18.

The positions now were: 1.Vettel, 2.Rosberg (not stopped), 3.Hamilton, 4.Trulli, 5.Heidfeld, 6.Kovalainen (not stopped), 7.Kubica (not stopped), 8.Raikkonen, 9.Barrichello, 10.Alguersuari (not stopped). Button was back in P14.

Nico Rosberg was expected to stop much later than Rubens Barrichello and jump the Brazilian to take a net P.6 when all the pit-stops shook out and demoting Rubens to P.7. However when he came in on Lap 22 he was back out behind him again.

On Lap 25 Vettel had a five second gap to Hamilton, while Lewis was 2.2 in front of Jarno Trulli in P3. With Trulli fuelled longer than the McLaren, Hamilton was told he needed a three second lead to make sure he exited the second pit-stop in front of the Toyota.

At the front Sebsatian Vettel reset the Fastest Lap on Lap 30 to 1:33.052 as Fernando Alonso became the last of the pit-stoppers on his one-stop journey to the flag. Once fuelled up the positions now reflected race positons with the order: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Trulli, 4.Heidfeld, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Barrichello, 7.Rosberg, 8.Button, 9.Kubica, 10.Kovalainen, 11.Fisichella.

Kimi Raikkonen was doing a sound job in P5 setting a series of Personal Bests in a dogged pursuit of Nick Heidfeld's BMW. At the same time it was taking P5 a long way out of P6 Barrichello's reach. The problem for Kimi was that Heidfeld was going longer and so Ferrari's aim was to get him lapping quickly on the green-walled supersofts as Heidfeld's tyre wear in the second stint got worse. Raikkonen had taken the fastest lap of the race with a 1:32.999 on Lap 33 and when he pitted he exited behind Button but in front of Kubica.

Jenson Button was closing fast on Nico Rosberg, but the problem for Button was that Robert Kubica was taking similar chunks out of the Brawn GP driver and getting onto his gearbox. Kubica would be stopping much later than Button and likely to leapfrog him.

Raikkonen's emergence between the two of them was just what Button needed because Kimi started to hold Kubica up. Nick Heidfeld stopped at the end of Lap 36 but was held extra long in the pitlane while the team added compressed air to pressure up his pneumatic system (as had happened earlier to Kubica). When he emerged back on track he exited right behind Raikkonen yet in front of team-mate Kubica. He had lost fourth place to the Ferrari driver and pushed Kubica even further back from Button.

On Lap 37 Hamilton came in for his final stop and it looked a regulation pit-stop until the Mclaren got to the end of the pitlane where it looked like the pitlane rev limiter continued to be deployed. With the timing tight between himself and Jarnio Trulli it was the small advantage that Toyota needed. Trulli was in two laps later and rejoined in P2.

With Heidfeld losing out to Raikkonen in the pit-stops either the team advised him to let Kubica through or he worked it out himself, because on Lap 39 Kubica had overtaken him.

At the front Vettel cruised into his final pit-stop on lap 40 and despite a sticking right front tyre he was able to get out with a comfortable lead over Trulli. Button was in on Lap 40 also. Kubica pitted on Lap 41 and emerged behind Button, while Barrichello came in on Lap 42 but was now only a handful of seconds in front of Button.

The out-of-sequence Nico Rosberg was lapping over half a second slower than the Brawns but was still in front of them on the road. Just like in Singapore the week before, Button was lapping fast in the final phase and was quickly closing the gap between himself and Barrichello. Rosberg looked as though he might exit between them but the longer the race went on, the more it looked like Rosberg would drop back to P8 and the Brawns take P6 and P7 enough to clinch the Constructors' title.

Vettel set the Fastest Lap at 1:32.572 on Lap 43 while Button had closed the gap to Barrichello to 0.8 on Lap 44.

Then on Lap 45 we saw Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso exit 130R and lose control, veering to the inside and destroying a polystyrene braking marker and then slamming into the tyre barrier. It was straight to Safety Car mode. Alguersuari was uninjured.

Nico Rosberg had still to make his final pit-stop and as the Safety Car circulated it would be interesting to see if he could get in and out of the pits close to the Brawns. As it was he emerged not only in front of the Brawns, but in front of Nick Heidfeld and was now up into fifth place. The Safety car had converted a potential P8 into P5.

The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 49, but Lewis Hamilton had been nursing KERS problems all the way through the race and was no advantage to the Mclaren driver at the re-start.

Vettel had the unlapped Romain Grosjean between himself and Trulli at the restart, but Jarno looked in no mood to do anything to lose his P2 and was happy just to look in his mirrors to see where Hamilton was. While the rest of the field had 0.5 between each other, Trulli was 1.8 seconds back from Vettel at the restart.

Though Robert Kubica menaced Jenson Button's P8 in the final few laps to the flag at Lap 53 there was ultimately no change in the order of the top 10. And so the positions that were established after Rosberg's final pit-stop held to the line.

It had been a dominant win for Vettel who never really looked under threat; a jubilant result for Toyota - their second P2 in successive races - and more KERS investigations for McLaren as Hamilton took P3. Significantly the loss of P2 allowed Ferrari to stay in front in the Constructors' Championship.

Furher back there was a big investigation going on over Rosberg's miraculous jump into P5 with Brawn claiming that Rosberg set a Personal Best sector time ("a green sector") under the Safety Car. Having suffered from "not lifting" when they should have on Saturday, Button was keen that the stewards showed equal scrutiny over other people's telemetry. Should Rosberg be demoted then Brawn are the Constructors Champions for 2009.


01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:28:20.443
02 J. Trulli Toyota + 4.877
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 6.472
04 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 7.940
05 N. Rosberg Williams + 8.793
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 9.509
07 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 10.641
08 J. Button Brawn GP + 11.474
09 R. Kubica BMW + 11.777
10 F. Alonso Renault + 13.065
11 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 13.735
12 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 14.596
13 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 14.959
14 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 15.734
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 18.973
16 R. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap(s)
17 M. Webber Red Bull + 2 lap(s)
Did not finish
18 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 10 lap(s)
19 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 42 lap(s)

Singapore GP:

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Singapore GP: Dominant Display From Hamilton

Sunday 27th September 2009

He may not be fighting for the World title but that didn't stop Lewis Hamilton from proving that he still has what it takes, winning the 2009 Singapore GP in dominate fashion.

Leading off the startline, Hamilton easily pulled away from the chasing pack, leaving it to Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Timo Glock and Mark Webber to fight it out behind him.

Rosberg, though, ruined his chances with a drive-through penalty for straying over the white line at the pit lane exit while Vettel put an end to his podium aspirations by speeding in the pitlane. He too received a drive-through.

Between those two incidents there was also a Safety Car period between laps 21 and 25 as Nick Heidfeld destroyed his BMW on the nose of Adrian Sutil's spinning Force India.

When the dust settled - and there was a great deal of dust on the track - it was Glock who found himself behind Hamilton on the track while Alonso took the final podium place.

Vettel managed to recover from his penalty to finish fourth, ahead of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. Vettel's result means he still stays in the title race. Mark Webber, though, is out of the hunt after crashing his Red Bull on Lap 46.

Race Report Though there was lightning flashing in the distance there was no rain predicted for the Singapore GP with an ambient of 33C and the track at 30C.

All the drivers had elected to start on the prime soft tyre and not the super-soft option as Lewis Hamilton led the grid away from pole position. Nick Heidfeld's BMW had qualified underweight and been moved back 15 places, thus promoting Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button to 9th and 11th, the racing line and not the dusty side of the grid.

As the lights went out, Hamilton was easily away first, but Nico Rosberg (P3) outdragged Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1. Alonso was marginally in front of Vettel as well, but got squeezed out on the exit of Turn 2. Mark Webber was able to get ahead of Fernando Alonso at Turn 7 by taking the outside line and passing the Renault driver on the run-off.

Alonso was put off line by duelling it out with Webber and one turn later Timo Glock put an aggressive move on him which stuck. Further back there was a lot of jostling between Rubens Barrichello, Robert Kubica, Heikki Kovalainen and Jenson Button.

Button had cleared Nakajima at the start and managed to get through the first few turns without injury. With at least 9 more laps of fuel on board than his team-mate, Jenson was going to play it long, whereas the cars in front of him were all stopping significantly early.

At the end of the opening lap the positions were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Rosberg, 3.Vettel, 4.Webber, 5.Glock, 6.Alonso, 7.Barrichello, 8.Kubica, 9.Kovalainen, 10.Button, 11.Nakajima, 12.Buemi, 13.Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton set about opening a gap on Rosberg at the front, while Romain Grosjean's race was over by Lap 3, a lack of brakes hampering his lap time. Lewis Hamilton set a new fastest lap on six of the first eight laps, with a small gap while he absorbed information on the pit radio that his KERS wasn't working and he had to press "Default X30". Once pressed it got working again.

Mark Webber had been informed by the stewards that he had to let Fernando Alonso back past him because he had overtaken him off the racetrack (a nicety that didn't seem to bother the stewards in Spa). To do that he had to let through Timo Glock as well, as Glock was already in front of Alonso.

The race settled into a groove with no prospect of overtaking and by Lap 10 Hamilton had a lead of 2.2 seconds over Rosberg while Rubens Barrichello was two places and six seconds ahead of Jenson Button. Rookie Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso was struggling for lap time, three seconds off the leaders' pace in P14 he'd collected a train of Sutil, Fisichella, Liuzzi, Trulli and Heidfeld.

Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to pit on Lap 17 and rejoined in P7 behind Barrichello. Nico Rosberg pitted one lap later but the tight pitlane exit caught him out and he strayed over the white line and onto the race track by running too fast and too wide. It would cost him dearly. By Lap 19 he had been put under investigation and by Lap 21 he had been given a drive-through penalty.

On Lap 19 Glock and Barrichello pitted, followed a lap later by Lewis Hamilton.

On Lap 21 cameras suddenly switched to a Force India moving slowly across the track. Replays showed that Sutil had tried a half-hearted move on Alguersuari's roadblock of a car and spun his own car. Rather than wait to get going again he had started off just as Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld had arrived at the corner and he had driven the front wing of his Force India straight into the back of the BMW.

Unremarked by the TV commentary team this brought to an end the peerless finishing record of Nick Heidfeld that went as far back as the 2007 championship! (41 races ago) Most importantly it brought out the Safety Car to allow the debris to be cleared up and so Kovalainen, Alonso, Nakajima and Button all dived for the pitlane.

For Button it was a major blow as he was fuelled longer than all the cars in front of him and the advantage that he had hoped to gain from clear air was lost. Though it could have been worse. As the cars reformed behind the Safety car it was: 1.Hamilton, 2.Rosberg, 3.Vettel, 4.Glock, 5.Alonso, 6.Barrichello, 7.Kovalainen, 8.Button, 9.Weber, 10.Kubica, 11.Nakajima, 12.Raikkonen.

The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 25 but Rosberg stayed out on track, waiting till the last possible moment to serve his drive-through penalty. When he did eventually come in on Lap 27 he was able to rejoin in P14.

At the front, Vettel had now managed to close the gap to Hamilton to 0.9 seconds by Lap 30 and the pair were being matched by Timo Glock in P3. By Lap 38 the gap was still just 1.1 seconds. However Vettel was on a much lower fuel load and had to pit again on Lap 39 rejoining in P7 behind Jenson Button.

The bad news for Vettel was that he had been speeding in the pitlane and would have to serve a drive-through penalty. He had lost a wing mirror on Lap 37 and on Lap 40 he drove his car over the kerbs at Turn 5 (where Barrichello had crashed in qualifying) losing more bits of the diffuser.

On Lap 43 he came in to serve his drive-through penalty which put him artificially down the order with so many cars yet to stop. More problems for the Red Bull team came on Lap 44 with a lengthy investigation of Mark Webber's brake ducts during his second pit-stop. He rejoined, but two laps later the front brakes failed at the end of the pit straight pitching his car into the barriers.

At which point many of the front runners pitted fearing that another Safety Car might ensue, however there was no debris on track and the Red Bull could easily be craned away. Hamilton, Barrichello, Kovalainen and Nakajima all pitted leaving Jenson with some clear track for the first time. And the World Championship leader certainly used it.

Immediately he set a Personal Best lap time of 1:48.798 on Lap 47, followed by a PB of 1:48.743 and a PB of 1:48.521 on Lap 49.

The race positions on Lap 48 were 1.Alonso (one stop left) 2.Hamilton, 3.Button (one stop left) 4.Glock, 5.Vettel, 6.Raikkonen (one stop left), 7.Barrichello, 8.Kovalainen, 9.Trulli (one stop left) 10.Kubica.

Alonso pitted for the final time on Lap 50 and Button came in on Lap 51. Button emerged after his final stop in P5 well in front of team-mate Barrichello in P6, while Alonso was back to P3. Armed with the green-walled supersoft tyres Fernando soon set a new lap record on Lap 53 with a 1:48.240, but he was seven seconds back from Timo Glock (who'd pitted on Lap 45) and only a major failure from the Toyota would stop him taking P2.

However major brake failures were possible. Webber's brakes had already given up on Lap 46 and Vettel's weren't 100%, thus Jenson Button was able to close up to 1.5 seconds behind the fourth placed man by Lap 54 and the gap got as low as 1.2 seconds on Lap 55.

At which point, showers of carbon fibre brake dust emerging from the Brawn's front wheels convinced the Brawn team that he had to ease up the chase. Rubens Barrichello had already dropped further back with brake problems of his own. Such was Button's worry that he backed off at about three seconds a lap.

Hamilton cruised to the line and a deserved win, though it would have been interesting to see how far Nico Rosberg might have pushed him. Timo Glock picked up a surprise second place for Toyota on an afternoon when Rosberg and Vettel should have finished in front of him. Fernando Alonso similarly took an unexpected podium.

Vettel came home fourth, Button fifth, Barrichello sixth, Kovalainen seventh and Robert Kubica eighth. It was a remarkable result for Glock who had lost part of his front wing as early as Lap 14 and Vettel, who had managed to keep up his pace despite damaging his rear diffuser on the kerbs.

For World Championship leader Jenson Button it had been another frustrating race stuck behind a slower car, however the moment he had a gap he was able to stamp his mark on the race with three scintillating laps 47-49 that took him beyond Barrichello's reach.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:56:06.337
02 T. Glock Toyota + 9.634
03 F. Alonso Renault + 16.624
04 S. Vettel Red Bull + 20.261
05 J. Button Brawn GP + 30.015
06 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 31.858
07 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 36.157
08 R. Kubica BMW + 55.054
09 K. Nakajima Williams + 56.054
10 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 58.892
11 N. Rosberg Williams + 59.777
12 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:13.009
13 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 1:19.890
14 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 1:33.502
Did not finish
15 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 14 lap(s)
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 14 lap(s)
17 M. Webber Red Bull + 16 lap(s)
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 38 lap(s)
19 N. Heidfeld BMW + 42 lap(s)
20 R. Grosjean Renault + 58 lap(s)

Italian GP:

Rubens Barrichello

Italian GP Report: One-Stopper Seals Brawn 1-2

Sunday 13th September 2009

Brawn GP's decision to put both Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button on a one-stopper may not have given them cause for celebrations after qualifying but they got to spray the champagne when it counted most - after the race.

The one-stop strategy saw both Barrichello and Button move ahead of the leading trio of two-stoppers to take the victory and hand Brawn GP the 1-2. It also put to rest criticism that the team's Championship leader is starting to crack under pressure, as Button comfortably resisted a late race charge from Lewis Hamilton.

Chasing down his fellow Brit, Hamilton had the gap down to less than one second on the final lap only to put his car into the wall at the exit of the first Lesmo corner.

The McLaren driver's accident promoted Kimi Raikkonen onto the podium along with the Brawn drivers after the Ferrari driver resisted a chase from another Force India car - this time Adrian Sutil.

Race Report: Despite earlier forecasts of rain the sun shone down on Monza on a bright autumn afternoon with a summer-like temperature of 27C and the track at 38C.

Lewis Hamilton got a poor start away from pole position and would have been overtaken byP3 man Kimi Raikkonen had there been enough track to get past on the outside. They both had enough KERS power to get past Adrian Sutil's Force India who filtered through turn one in third place.

Barrichello in fifth managed to find a way past the heavily fuelled Heikki Kovalainen for fourth place and the Finn moved to the left neatly allowing Jenson to challenge him on the inside through Turn 1.

Further back on the grid, Mark Webber moved out to the left not realising he had Robert Kubica's BMW outside of him, pushing the pole solidly onto the grass. "My braking point was on the grass" Kubica mused afterwards. He then swooped down and took the inside line into the Turn 1 chicane and, incredibly, got past Webber.

Slow on the exit, the BMW was overhauled by the Red Bull into the della Roggia chicane, but Kubica insisted on making a last minute dive up the inside of Webbo, tagged him, and sent him speering off the road

Jenson Button made a characteristically brave overtaking move to take Kovalainen between the two Lesmo corners, while a perfect start for Tonio Liuzzi gave him the springboard to overtake Kovalainen just before Parabolica, still on the opening lap.

As they crossed the line at the end of Lap 1 the race order was: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sutil, Barrichello, Button, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Vettel, Alonso, Kubica, Fisichella.

On Lap 2 Vettel got mugged by both Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica, though it was already obvious that Kubica had sustained damage to the endplate of his front wing. Since the Massa accident in Hungary, race director Charlie Whiting has been more mindful of flapping items on cars likely to fall off and Kubica was brought in for a compulsory new front wing on Lap 10. Six laps later he retired with a supposed oil leak.

At the front it was a tortoise and hare race with the three two-stopping hares of Hamilton, Raikkonen and Sutil versus the one-stopping tortoises of Barrichello, Button, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Alonso and Vettel. Hamilton needed to build a big gap before his first pit-stop, but although he managed to stretch out his lead to Raikkonen to around seven seconds before his earlier than expected pit-stop on Lap 15, it wasn't enough.

Ferrari and Force India were locked into another race-long duel which saw Sutil short-filled on Lap 17 and Ferrari responding by short-fuelling Raikkonen on Lap 19 to keep him ahead of Sutil on the track.

Meanwhile both Brawns went sailing on, locked in a personal battle as Jenson Button - on the softer option tyre - fought back from a 3.5 second defecit to make it 1.9 second gap to Rubens Barrichello - on the prime tyre - on Lap 24.

Button and Barrichello set personal best after personal best as they neared their first pit-stops, but the lighter Button had to pit first on Lap 28 and Barrichello made no mistakes on his inlap or outlap, increasing his lead over Button when he rejoined.

When Hamilton pitted for the second time he duly emerged behind the two Brawns and the one-stop strategy had decisively worked out in their favour.

Behind Hamilton, the Ferrari vs Force India battle continued with Sutil never more than a second behind Raikkonen for almost the entire race. They pitted together for the second time on Lap 37, Sutil entering his pitbox too quickly and knocking over his front left wheel man. Raikkonen also had a small glitch on his pitstop, but because of the Force India problems was able to get down pitlane first.

Behind them Liuzzi had disappeared on Lap 23 with a broken gearbox leaving Alonso to inherit 6th place and Kovalainen 7th. Vettel's afternoon went from bad to worse after a fuel-saving Nick Heidfeld stole his 8th place during his one and only pit-stop.

Into the final stint and Sutil looked to be stuck forever behind Raikkonen. Ahead of them, Jenson Button was catching Rubens Barrichello by a tenth of a second here, two-tenths there, but never enough to get the Brazilian worried. However behind him, Lewis Hamilton was closing and brought down a 2.9 second gap on Lap 38 to a 1.0 second gap by Lap 52.

Pounding into the Lesmo corners for the final time on Lap 53 Hamilton tried too hard and lost the car on the exit, hammering the McLaren into the walls and scattering carbon fibre across the track. It was an immediate Safety Car and promoted Raikkonen to the podium, Sutil to 4th, Alonso to 5th, Kovalainen to 6th, Heidfeld to 7th and gave Vettel one World Championship point in 8th.

A jubilant Barrichello crossed the line for his second race win of the year and a well-thought-out 1-2 for the Brawn team. With only four races to go and the Red Bull team running out of engines, it is surely between the Brawn drivers as to who wins the drivers' title now.

01 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:16.21.706
02 J. Button Brawn GP + 2.866
03 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 30.664
04 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 31.131
05 F. Alonso Renault + 59.182
06 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1:00.693
07 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:02.412
08 S. Vettel Red Bull + 1:05.407
09 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 1:06.856
10 K. Nakajima Williams + 2:42.163
11 T. Glock Toyota + 2:43.925
12 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 lap(s)
13 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 lap(s)
14 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 lap(s)
15 R. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap(s)
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 2 lap(s)
Did not finish
17 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 31 lap(s)
18 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 34 lap(s)
19 R. Kubica BMW + 38 lap(s)
20 M. Webber Red Bull + 53 lap(s)

Belgian GP:

Start crash

Kimi Raikkonen
Lewis Hamilton



Lewis Hamilton

Belgian Race Report: What A Race, What A Result

Sunday 30th August 2009

Kimi Raikkonen claimed the victory in the Belgian GP, just managing to hold off Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella - and what a race it was.

After Valencia's tedium and snores, Spa-Francorchamps delivered the exact opposite with no fewer than four drivers, including Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, crashing out at Les Combes on the opening lap.

This brought out the Safety Car with Fisichella, who had started from pole position, leading the way ahead of Raikkonen. But three laps later, with the debris clear and the Safety Car coming in, Raikkonen launched his attack, easily taking the lead from the Force India driver.

Game over - or so many thought...

Race Report With no rain predicted for the race, in bright sunny conditions, Giancarlo Fisichella led the drivers round on a very slow parade lap. The ambient temperature was at 16C with the track at 30C.

As the lights went out the man in P4 on the grid was immediately in trouble, Rubens failing to get underway for the third time this year and everyone streaming past him on the grid.

Into La Source and Kimi Raikkonen was forced out wide by the gaggle of cars at the apex, while furthr back Jenson Button also took that route. Polesitter Giancarlo Fisichella had got away cleanly into the lead, but behind him P2 man Trulli was overtaken on the inside by Nick Heidfeld and on the outside by Raikkonen.

Heidfeld, once past Trulli, effectively into P2 or P3 by now, was slow away from La Source and Trulli ran his front into him, loosening it but thankfully it remained in place. Heidfeld's lack of pace on the exit was seized upon by Robert Kubica who swept through on the inside and into P2.

Down the hill they charged: Fisichella, Kubica, Raikkonen (joining from the run-off) followed by Heidfeld, Trulli, Glock and the two Red Bulls.

Further back AdrianSutil had taken a tightish line into La Source only to find Nico Rosberg inside him and Fernando Alonso inside Rosberg. Contact with Rosberg spun Sutil around and as the Williams driver escaped, Fernando Alonso ran over Sutil's front wing.

It seemed as though Alonso had got away with it, but events later in the race would prove otherwise.

Up the hill to Les Combes they charged, the rest of the pack trampling over Sutil's front wing. Kimi Raikkonen, using the Ferrari's KERS button, was straight onto the tail of Kubica and easily outdragged him up the hill to Les Combes, although the Ferrari driver was tentative on the brakes into the corner and took a narrower angle than the normal racing line. Slow on the exit, he was almost punted up the rear by Kubica.

Behind them, Nick Heidfeld missed his braking and went over the grass on the inside, losing a place to Glock straight away and subsequently Mark Webber.

Behind them, Jenson Button had got a reasonable start and was P11 (from P14) through Eau Rouge. Going up the hill to Les Combes he got on the inside of Kovalainen and was able to outbrake the McLaren on the outside to take P10 - at which point Romain Grosjean's Renault - trying to follow him through- hooked a wheel inside of his and spun the BrawnGP car into the barriers, wrecking his own car against the Armco in the process.

Lewis Hamilton had got a poor start with the anti-stall almost kicking in and was coping with Barrichello coming up on the outside when he was clattered into by the Red Bull of Jaime Alguesuari. Four drivers out in one corner. The stewards decided they would investigate both incidents after the race.

Something they didn't investigate, but surely must, was Rubens Barrichello's overtaking of a pack of cars using the inside escape rout at les Combes. Barrichello recovered maginificently from last place on the grid and dodged round a few cars at La Sourceand in the run down to eau Rouge. Up the hill into Les Combes he was alongside Hamilton on the outside, realised he wasn't going to make the turn and took the escape road, dodging all the frantic action involving the four wrecked cars.

With four cars out and debris at la Source it was an easy decision to call out the Safety Car. So as Giancarlo Fisichella led everyone over the line the race order was: Fisichella, Raikkonen, Kubica, Glock, Webber, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Vettel, Alonso, Kovalainen.

Vettel was soon on the radio complaining that Rosberg had overtaken him under Safety Car conditions while Trulli, Barrichello and Sutil headed for the pits. Trulli and Sutil needed new front wings and Barrichello took the opportunity of taking on more fuel under Safety Car conditions - the Brawn having gone the lightest in qualifying.

The race was restarted on Lap 5 but already the major dramas were over. Fisichella didn't manage to shake off Kimi Raikkonen in the corners before the start and as the Ferrari followed the Force India car through Eau Rouge, KERS power was easily able to take him past before Les Combes.

From that point on it was assumed that Raikkonen would open a gap to Fisichella in his cruise to his fourth Belgian GP vistory - especially when he set the Fastest Lap on Lap 8 with a 1:47.749.

On Lap 12 the first pit-stops started to unfold and it was assumed that the Red Bulls - who had gone slightly longer on fuel - would start to take advantage. Glock and Kubica came in first and Toyota had to switch to the reserve fuel ring for Glock sending him back down the race order from P4 before the stop.

On Lap 13 Nick Heidfeld showed his intention of getting a place back off Mark Webber by setting the Fastest lap at 1:47.738.

A lap later and both Raikkonen and Fisichella pitted together, their cars separated by an entire pitlane but the positions staying the same. Behind them, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld pitted at the same time. Heidfeld got away first and looked to have made up a position, but just as the BMW approached the Red Bull garage the Red Bull lollypop was raised.

It was yet another dangerous Red Bull release and though they had got away with one in the race before, this time round Heidfeld had to take avoiding action and brake to avoid running into the back of Webber in the pitlane. Ehether that was on the team's mind or not is unknown but Heidfeld was able to overtake Webber going into Les Combes that lap, while Rubens Barrichello pulled a fantastic overtaking move into the high-speed Blanchimont of all places.

The incident must have severely unsettled Webber because the following lap he started to block and move around in the braking zone trying to keep the Force India of Adrian Sutil behind going into Les Combes.

Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel had a much better time of it, jumping Heidfeld for a place and also his team-mate in the process. It was then announced that Webber would have to serve a drive-through penalty for the team's (not his) pitlane mess-up. He emerged from the pitlane on Lap 18 back in P.13.

The positions on Lap 19 were: 1.Raikkonen, 0.9 in front of... 2.Fisichella, 3.Alonso (not stopped), 4.Kubica, 5.Kovalainen (not stopped), 6.Buemi (not stopped), 7.Vettel, 8.Heidfeld, 9.Barrichello, 10.Sutil

Lap 20 and 21 saw a remarkable feat. Luca Badoer set the timing screens to purple setting the fastest first sector on successive laps.

The Ferrari team were keen for Kimi Raikkonen to put a gap between himself and Giancarlo Fisichella, fearful that the Force India could run a lap or two longer in the middle stint. They asked him to push and try and edge him by a tenth of a second a lap (interestingly it was not Kimi's engineer Chris Dyer who passed on the message). This was duly broadcast on television and then relayed back to Fisichella behind.

By Lap 24 the gap was still only 0.7, the Force India easily having the legs of the Ferrari. If Force India could run longer, then they were sitting pretty.

Fernando Alonso was still in P3 and yet to have his first pit-stop. On Lap 25 he came in for what would be his solo stop of the race. However his front left tyre wheel would not accept the wheel spinner and after several seconds of wrestling, the mechanic had to give up and use a replacement.

This was the same wheel that had impacted Adrian Sutil's Force India on the first corner, a result of Alonso taking a risky narrow inside line. The delay had dropped him from P3 to a disastrous P14 and a lap later the team brought him back in to retire as the telemetry showed that the wheel might come loose. They were not going to run the risk of what had happened in Hungary.

Towards the end of the second stint Sebastian Vettel started to close on Robert Kubica's P3 and back in P5, Nick Heidfeld began to close on the pair of them. The two BMWs pitted on Lap 30 and Lap 32 while Vettel was able to stay out till Lap 35 and leapfrog past Kubica.

The biggest battle was always going to be Ferrari versus Force India in the final pit-stops. On Lap 31 the Ferrari mechanics came out into the pitlane and must have been very relieved to find the Force India crew out at the same time. Neither made a mistake and though they resumed in P2 and P3, when Vettel stopped four laps later they would resume P1 and P2.

So on Lap 36 the order with gaps in front of the next car was:
1.Raikkonen 0.8
2.Fisichella 5.9
3.Vettel 2.5
4.Kubica 2.7
5.Heidfeld 12.6

Vettel put in a series of Fastest Laps in a vain attempt to catch Fisichella and Raikkonen but was never close enough. In the closing laps of the race the excitement was provided by Rubens Barrichello's car which started to blow smoke intermittently on lap 42 of 44 and then constantly from Lap 43 onwards. It gave hope to the following Rosberg in P8 and Webber in P9, but Rubens managed to nurse his car to the line and 7th place.

It was the Ferrari team's first win of 2009, but the biggest celebrants were Force India. Having not scored a point all year, they easily had the fastest car in the race and had scored eight in one go. What's more, they stand even more of a chance for a race win at Monza in two weeks' time.

Sebastian Vettel will be relieved to have finished on the podium again, but the Red Bull team will have been hoping for much more from the race. BMW picked up 4th and 5th through Kubica and Heidfeld and Heikki Kovalainen came home unchallenged in 6th.

Yet again it proved Spa's remarkable ability to provide a memorable race. Even without rain.


01 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:23:50.995
02 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 0.938
03 S. Vettel Red Bull + 3.875
04 R. Kubica BMW + 9.966
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 11.276
06 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 32.763
07 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 35.461
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 36.208
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 36.959
10 T. Glock Toyota + 41.490
11 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 42.636
12 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 46.106
13 K. Nakajima Williams + 54.241
14 L. Badoer Ferrari + 1:42.177
Did not finish
15 F. Alonso Renault + 18 lap(s)
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 23 lap(s)
17 J. Button Brawn GP + 44 lap(s)
18 R. Grosjean Renault + 44 lap(s)
19 L. Hamilton McLaren + 44 lap(s)
20 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 44 lap(s)

Belgium GP

Raikkonen wins exciting Spa duel
Sunday 30th August 2009

By Chris Whyatt

Kimi Raikkonen managed to keep Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella at bay to clinch Ferrari's first win of 2009 at an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix.

World champion Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button crashed out early on, although the Brawn man's championship lead was cut by only two points to 16.

The incident saw the safety car come out, after which Raikkonen used his power-boost button to take the lead.

Red Bull's title-chasing Sebastian Vettel finished in third at Spa.

The German started in eighth but posted the fastest lap of the race and leapfrogged team-mate Mark Webber in the drivers' championship into third place behind Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who limped over the line in seventh place with a Mercedes engine that was close to blowing up. Kimi Raikkonen

BMW Sauber drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finished fourth and fifth respectively ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.

Williams's Nico Rosberg grabbed a point in eighth while Webber's own title bid was undermined by his second successive ninth-place finish, the Australian suffering after taking a drive-through penalty following an unsafe release from the pits as he almost collided into Heidfeld.

Force India secured their historic first points in Formula 1 with Fisichella's result as he finished less than one second behind Raikkonen in dry, warm conditions in the Ardennes forest.

But the concertina-effect crash at the back of the chasing pack on lap one - in which Renault's Romain Grosjean appeared to clip Button causing Hamilton and Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari to also hit the tyre barriers at Les Combes - handicapped the Italian.

After the safety car went back in on lap five following the incident over which no action was taken following an investigation, Raikkonen easily accelerated past Fisichella out of Eau Rouge using a quick push of his Kers (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) button.

From that point on Fisichella pushed the Finn all the way and although he was the quicker driver he could not get ahead of Raikkonen over the remaining 39 laps.

"We were probably not the fastest in lap times but we managed to keep everybody behind," said 2007 world champion Raikkonen. "And that's enough."

I was quicker than Kimi. He only took me because of Kers... and I'm a little bit sad for that

Fisichella said it was a "great result" for a Force India team which caused an enormous shock on Saturday by qualifying on pole, but that he felt a tinge of regret at how the race panned out.

"Actually, I was quicker than Kimi," he added. "He only took me because of Kers at the beginning and I'm a little bit sad for that because I was keeping pace and on exactly same strategy race.

"Second is amazing but actually I am a little disappointed because I could have won."

Raikkonen started sixth but made an immediate charge, swinging past the virtually-still Barrichello off the grid before going very wide into the run-off area at La Source to give himself room to use his Kers to speed past the BMW Sauber cars and move into second behind pole-sitter Fisichella.

But then came the crash, which changed the course of the race and also caused Button's first retirement of the season.

While the stumbling championship leader - who has now not finished on the podium in the past five races - stopped short of blaming Grosjean, he did question why the rookie French driver braked so late through the corner and insisted the incident was not his fault.

"It was an avoidable accident," he said. "It's really frustrating."

"I suppose it is [relatively] good that it happened here. Hopefully we can get back on track in the next race."

Kubica was close to landing a podium place for BMW Sauber, who have announced their intention to pull out of the sport at the end of the season, but Germany's Vettel slipped ahead of the Pole as he came out of the pits following the second stop in his Red Bull on lap 35.

"As long as we keep scoring big points and gaining on the others, that's what we need," said 21-year-old Vettel, who won the Chinese and British grands prix this season.

Red Bull's other title-chaser Webber finished in ninth after a frustrating race in which he was hit with a drive-through penalty after

Spa proved a disaster for Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who started next to Fisichella on the grid but had to pit early for repairs after getting caught up in the first-lap incident before retiring 21 laps in.

The same fate befell two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who was in points contention before his Renault experienced trouble with its problematic front-left wheel faring after 26 laps.

Raikkonen's win, his first in 25 races, is characteristic of a season which is becoming increasingly open - the past six races have now been won by six different drivers - as lucky Button continues to cling on to his championship lead.

European GP

Rubens Barichello
Track view
Mark Webber
Press Conference

Euro GP Report: McLaren Help Rubens To The Win

Sunday 23rd August 2009

Rubens Barrichello claimed his first victory in five years at Valencia on Sunday after McLaren handed him the lead on a track that is notoriously difficult to pass on.

Lewis Hamilton led the race from pole position, ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. And although the charging Barrichello wasn't able to get by Kovalainen on the track, he managed to do so in the first round of pit stops.

Up until the second round of pit-stops it looked as though it would be a very tight battle between Hamilton and Barrichello after the Brazilian started to put in a string of Fastest Laps and close the gap to the race leader. But a late call for tyres during Hamilton's pit-stop led to a loss of 3-4 seconds in the pits for the Mclaren driver allowing the Brawn GP driver comfortably through.

Race Report With bright sun scorching down on the Valencia grid, the ambient temperature was up to 31C with the track at 43C, a temperature that would rise to 48C through the race.

Despite the dusty conditions, the cars got away evenly off the line. Sebastian Vettel (P4) had parked his Red Bull angled straight across at the space in front of Jenson Button (P5) and he was more intent on keeping the second Brawn at bay than attempting to pass P3 on the grid.

As the lights went out it was a clean get-away, Vettel veered straight across the track at Button who was obliged to lift to avoid a collision, and in that moment his entire race was compromised. Round the outside of them swept Kimi Raikkonen into P4 and Button had to filter in behind Nico Rosberg(P7) and Fernando Alonso(P8).

Further back, a Toyota ran wide and destroyed Sebastien Buemi's front wing, while Glock and Grosjean also had a coming together on the opening tour. Jenson Button, like so many races this season, tried to get immediately past the car in front but outbraked himself up the inside of Alonso, allowing the Spanish driver straight back into P7.

Across the line they came on the opening lap and the order was: Hamilton, Kovalainen, Barrichello, Raikkonn, Vettel, Rosberg, Alonso, Button, Webber, Heidfeld, Kubica, Sutil.

Replays showed that on the opening lap Fernando Alonso had earlier closed the door on Button which had allowed Mark Webber to get alongside the Brit, both Alonso and Button had then taken advantage by skipping the chicane on the inside. Webber complained bitterly on the radio and a few laps later Button allowed himself to be overtaken by Webber after a Red Bull complaint to Race Director Charlie Whiting - though curiously, no action was taken against Alonso.

At the front, Lewis Hamilton set about opening a gap to team-mate Heikki Kovalainen and by Lap 12 he had the gap up to 6.3 seconds, meanwhile Alonso was slowly closing the gap to Rosberg and Vettel was moving up to Raikkonen in P4.

Stuck down in P9 Jenson Button looked like he was going to have another Hungarian GP of an afternoon, unable to pass Webber and take advantage of what was clearly a quicker car, he settled in for the long haul.

On Lap 15 Hamilton became the first of the pit-stoppers, and when Mclaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen came in a lap later, Rubens Barrichello was able to let the Brawn GP car off the leash for the first time in the afternoon. On Lap 18 Barrichello posted the Fastest Lap of the race so far, a 1:39.427, and when he completed his pit-stop on Lap 20 he was easily through to second place ahead of Kovalainen.

The major casualty of the first pit-stops, though, was the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel whose fuel rig didn't deliver the requisite load of fuel - and so one lap later he had to come round again for yet another stop, ruining any chance he might have had of finishing in the points.

On Lap 24, Lewis had a gap over Rubens of 3.6 seconds, but the McLaren driver was predicted to stop at least five laps before the BrawnGP car and so Hamilton had his work cut out to keep in front and build a big enough gap. It was at this point that Sebastien Vettel blew his second engine of the weekend, the Red Bull coming to a halt without leaving a trail of oil over the racing line as the German had done on Saturday morning.

At this stage the order was 1: Hamilton, 3.6 up on... 2.Barrichello, who had 4.3 on... 3. Kovalainen, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Rosberg, 6.Alonso, 7.Webber, 8. Fisichella (not stopped), 9.Button, 10.Nakajima (not stopped), 11. Kubica, 12.Sutil

When Fisichella disappeared for his first pit-stop Button was able to close right up onto the back of Webber. Meanwhile, at the back, Luca Badoer was cruising around with the race pace of the backmarkers. At his pit-stop he was released into the path of Romain Grosjean and then let the Renault driver past in the pitlane while veering over the white line on the exit and getting a drive-through penalty.

Rubens began to reduce the deficit to Lewis Hamilton and on Lap 34 set the Fastest lap at 1:39.421, he reduced it to 1:39.354 on Lap 36 and when Hamilton pitted a lap later he was just 3.6 seconds in front of Barrichello.

But as Hamilton came in for his stop, his tyres were just being brought out - the Mclaren team had been trying to stretch Hamilton's fuel a lap longer and the call for tyres was late in coming. Consequently, when the fuel nozzle came off there was a further three seconds while the front tyres went on.

While Lewis was stuck behind Nico Rosberg, Barrichello was able to nail two more Fastest laps on Lap 38 and 39 (1:39.071 and 1:38.990) and when he dived in for his second stop on Lap 40, he was able to exit with a six second lead. In the same pit-stop Kimi Raikkonen was able to jump Kovalainen. Mclaren had converted a 1-2 start, to a 1-3 and then a 2-4 in the two pit-stops.

Brawn were also able to take advantage of Jenson Button's second stop. Button and Alonso both pitted on Lap 42, but a slow in-lap from Mark Webber on Lap 43 and a slightly longer pit-stop meant the Aussie dropped from P7 to P9, with Button and Kubica elevating themselves in front of him.

Though Lewis Hamilton gave chase to Barrichello, the Brawn GP car had more than enough pace to keep the McLaren at bay. Armed with a set of the green-walled supersoft tyres Jenson Button started to chase after Fernando Alonso. He produced a Fastest lap of 1:38.874 on Lap 46 and closed the gap to the Renault from 8.6 seconds to just 2.3 seconds on Lap 52 of 57.

On Lap 53 he either realised he was not going to make it in time, or more likely the brake temperatures on his Brawn GP went up so high that he was told to back off. Sebastien Buemi had already spun his Toro Roso into retirement amidst a carbon cloud of brake dust following their explosion earlier in the race.

Button's pursuit of Alonso had forced Alonso to speed up and put pressure on Rosberg, who in turn started to catch Kovalainen. At the front, Hamilton hadn't given up his pursuit of Barrichello and set a personal best time of 1:39.187 on Lap 54 - Rubens responded with a 1:39.445.

Three laps later he was taking the chequered flag for his first win in five years, Hamilton crossed the line in second, with a largely unseen Kimi Raikkonen ghosting home in third place. Kovalainen took fourth just head of a late charge from Nico Rosberg in fifth, Alonso untroubled in sixth, Button in seventh and Kubica in eighth.

Barrichello would have claimed pole on corrected time, and he sustained his pace through the race to claim a very popular win which puts him back to second in the drivers' championship. It had been a case of what might have been for McLaren and also Ferrari had Michael Schumacher, not Luca Badoer, been in the second car.

Badoer's performance was not good, and though rookie Romain Grosjean had to return to the pits for a new front wing and had a couple of lurid slides on his debut, he was still well clear of the Ferrari driver at the close and on the same lap as the winner.


01 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:35:51.289
02 L. Hamilton McLaren + 2.358
03 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 15.994
04 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 20.032
05 N. Rosberg Williams + 20.870
06 F. Alonso Renault + 27.744
07 J. Button Brawn GP + 34.913
08 R. Kubica BMW + 36.667
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 44.910
10 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 47.935
11 N. Heidfeld BMW + 48.822
12 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1:03.614
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:04.527
14 T. Glock Toyota + 1:26.519
15 R. Grosjean Renault + 1:31.774
16 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 lap(s)
17 L. Badoer Ferrari + 1 lap(s)
Did not finish
18 K. Nakajima Williams + 3 lap(s)
19 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 16 lap(s)
20 S. Vettel Red Bull + 34 lap(s)

Valencia GP

Rubens Barrichello snatches Valencia win
Sunday 23rd August 2009

Rubens Barrichello snatches Valencia wins in Valencia

By Andrew Benson BBC Sport in Valencia

Brawn's Rubens Barrichello beat McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to win the European Grand Prix after the world champion suffered a pit-lane mix-up.

Hamilton, who led from the start, was engaged in a tight battle with Barrichello when he was delayed at his final pit stop because his tyres were not ready.

But the mix-up did not cost him the race - an analysis of lap times suggests Barrichello would have beaten him anyway.

Jenson Button was seventh and team-mate Barrichello is now his closest title rival.

The Brazilian's victory puts him 18 points adrift of the Englishman with 60 remaining in the final six races of the season.

Red Bull's Mark Webber slipped to third in the championship 20.5 points behind Button, after finishing only ninth. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel, lying fourth, failed to finish following an engine failure.

These things happen. I've had so many races for this team and this hardly ever happens. It's only the second time, I think

Kimi Raikkonen finished third for Ferrari, ahead of Hamilton's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, with Williams's Nico Rosberg fifth from Renault's Fernando Alonso, Button and the improved BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica.

Barrichello dedicated his victory to fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa, who is recovering at home after suffering a fractured skull in a crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"I had two wishes," Barrichello said, "first that he would be the same guy, and he is, and second that he will be the same driver, and I think he will be better.

"We knew if everything went to place we could win the race. You don't forget how to do it, even though it's five years.

"They were telling me push, push, push. You want to do it for yourself, your team, your family, your country. So there was a lot going through my mind."

Barrichello was third on the grid behind Hamilton and Kovalainen, but was fastest of all on fuel-corrected qualifying times.

He held on to third place off the start and settled in behind the McLarens for the duration of the first stint.

He stayed within touching distance of Kovalainen and leapfrogged the Finn by using his larger fuel load to stop three laps later, during which time he set a succession of fast lap times.

Once the field had settled down after the stops, Barrichello was slightly more than three seconds adrift of Hamilton and the gap see-sawed between three and four seconds until Hamilton's final pit stop on lap 37.

The McLaren pit wall were late in asking their mechanics to bring Hamilton's tyres into the pit lane, and that delayed the world champion by about five seconds.

He was just over six seconds clear by the time the two cars emerged from the pits - meaning he had made up four seconds on Hamilton on the track, slightly more than his deficit to the McLaren when it made its stop.

And Brawn brought Barichello in four laps earlier than necessary as soon as it became apparent he had enough of an advantage to make a stop and still retain the lead.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "It was clear we weren't as quick in the race as we should have been.

"Rubens was quite a bit quicker than us and we were tying to get an extra lap. That made our call late and we didn't get the tyres out in time.

"We were monitoring the fuel, he was meant to come in on lap 37 and were trying to get him to come in on lap 38, but we didn't have quite enough.

"To have a car arrive and not have the tyres there is an operational error. But had the tyres been ready it wouldn't have made a difference. It only cost us a couple of seconds."

Hamilton said: "We win and we lose together. We had a tremendous effort to get us here so we cannot at all take second place for granted or be disappointed we didn't get the win because we've had extraordinary pace and it was a tremendous effort from everyone.

"These things happen. I've had so many races for this team and this hardly ever happens. It's only the second time, I think. We need to catch these guys up because I believe they are a little but quicker than us but we're pushing all the time."

Button qualified fifth - two places behind his team-mate - on a weekend when the Brawns returned to form. But he slipped down to ninth after a messy first lap.

The Englishman spent the middle part of the race trying to pass Webber, a feat he finally managed during the second and final pit stop period.

Rubens beat Hamilton fair and square. Even Martin Whitmarsh says that the pit-lane error didn't affect the outcome...

Webber lost eighth place to the improved BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica after getting stuck behind slower cars on the lap before his stop and then suffering a slight delay in the pits.

Once clear of the traffic he had got himself stuck behind, Button set a series of fastest laps in the final stages of the race as he attempted to chase down Alonso.

He will nevertheless be encouraged by his pace here - but well aware that he does not know whether Brawn have solved the problems that prevented them from being competitive in the cooler conditions of the preceding three races.

Button will now be anxious to see whether the changes Brawn are planning to improve their performance in cooler conditions than the stifling heat of Valencia work at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes mountains next weekend.

Hungarian GP

Lewis Hamilton, winner
Lewis Hamilton, in practice
Heikki Kovalainen

Hungarian GP Practice Report:

Friday 24th July 2009

Hamilton top as McLaren sets the pace.

By Sean Chaney.

Lewis Hamilton clocked the quickest lap of the day during the second practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

McLaren's world champion left it late with a lap 0.047 seconds faster than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who had topped the morning timesheets.

A low-key day for Brawn's Jenson Button ended with the championship leader posting the 13th fastest time.

Red Bull's championship-chasing duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and sixth fastest respectively.

Williams put in another solid practice performance as Nico Rosberg recorded the third fastest time with team-mate Kazuki Nakajima fifth quickest in the second practice session.

McLaren arrive in Hungary with further upgrades to the MP4-24 predicted to yield "a sustained attack towards the front of the field...

Brawn's Ruben's Barrichello was seventh while Toro Rosso's Formula 1 debutant Jaime Alguersuari avoided any major incidents in 20th.

Less than two seconds separated all 20 drivers in bright and sunny conditions at the Hungaroring just outside Budapest.

Kovalainen was running with a new diffuser and front wing in Hungary and he was quick to make the most of the updates which gave Hamilton's car a performance gain of about 0.8 seconds a lap in Germany two weeks ago.

McLaren have now set the pace in the the last four practice sessions and will be aiming to end a barren spell of 10 races without a podium finish on Sunday.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was asked after the sessions if he thought McLaren were as competitive as their practice performances suggested. "Yes" was the reply.

"It's not just McLaren though, it's Brawn, Ferrari, Toyota. There's loads of guys. It's a short track and it's very repetitive in terms of corners. It won't be this tight in Suzuka where the good cars have a chance to use their aerodynamics.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa

Some drivers skidded off the track as they struggled for grip

"We're in the hunt, for sure. I don't think we're off the pace. We're part of the pace. But as expected here it looks like there's a few more boys coming to the party."

Track temperatures climbed to 44 degrees in the afternoon session and several drivers appeared to struggle for grip.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa lost control on a couple of occasions and ended up deep in the gravel at Turn Nine, before cutting along the grass to rejoin the action.

In the first session Vettel - who has won races in China and Great Britain this season - was heard on Red Bull team radio team saying: "The temperature of the tyres is sky high and there is no grip at all."

Heikki Kovalainen

Highlights - Kovalainen fastest in Hungary

Webber admitted that tyre wear was an issue but said the Red Bulls were coping better with it in Hungary than they had earlier in the season in Monaco.

"It went OK on the soft tyre. I would like to have done a few more laps, but we had a hydraulic problem.

"Looks a bit more difficult on Sebastian's car and maybe it would have got to that point if I had done more laps. So wear is not trivial. It's there for sure."

Championship leaders Brawn arrived in Budapest with a major upgrade package which includes a new diffuser, rear wing and bodywork and they used Friday's first session to test their new parts with race fuel loads.

It went OK on the soft tyre. I would like to have done a few more laps, but we had a hydraulic problem

Red Bull's Mark Webber

"There's still some work we need to do to be really competitive," said Button.

"But our pace is good, and the direction we are taking with the car is the correct one, and I'm happy with the balance."

"I don't know where we stand after today. I was 13th, but we're quicker than that."

The high temperatures which have hampered Red Bull at the Hungaroring could play into the hands of title rivals Brawn, who have struggled to get optimum tyre temperature in the cool conditions of the last two races.

Practice performances are rarely the most reliable guide to race results as most teams use Friday's sessions to analyse and assess any developments and modifications they have made to their cars.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was running with the new front wing that helped team-mate Felipe Massa get onto the podium at the Nurburgring.

All eyes were on Toro Rosso rookie Jaime Alguersuari at the start of Friday's first practice session as the 19-year-old debutant put in his first tentative laps in an F1 car.

The Spaniard traded fastest lap times with team-mate Sebastien Buemi in a quiet opening half hour and improved his lap time by over six seconds, but he still finished the session in 20th position, one place behind his team-mate.

Both drivers were looking to benefit from a major overhaul of the Toro Rosso as the team ran with the new diffuser, front wing, nose and top bodywork that has served sister team Red Bull so well since Silverstone.


Hungarian GP Report: Hamilton Returns To The Top

Sunday 26th July 2009

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first grand prix victory of the season in Hungary as McLaren put their early season woes behind them to return to winning ways.

Starting from fourth on the grid, the defending World Champion put his KERS to good use, easily sliding his way past his rivals and up into third place by the end of the first lap and into P2 by Lap 5.

From there it was just a case of chasing down Fernando Alonso, which he easily did, taking the lead as the Spaniard pitted. Alonso's pit stop, though, proved to be the Renault driver's downfall as his front right wasn't secured properly and the tyre came off on his out-lap.

Meanwhile, with Hamilton pulling away from the chasing pack, it was left to Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber to settle the podium with the Ferrari driver taking second place off the Australian.

However, in yet another strange occurrence of the weekend, Raikkonen could face an addition of 25 seconds to his time as he will be investigated by the race stewards for an incident with Sebastian Vettel in Turn 1.

Race Report

The sun was beating down on the Hungaroring with an ambient temperature of 25C and the track at 45C as the red lights went out.

Fernando Alonso, fuelled light in the Renault, was quickly away from pole and under no threat from the KERS equipped McLarens and the sole remaining Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. There was a lot of competition for second place, though, and the slow-starting Sebastian Vettel was engulfed by Lewis Hamilton going wheel to wheel with Mark Webber.

Kimi Raikkonen was also darting around having got more impetus from the clean side of the grid.

Into the first turn it was four abreast with Hamilton slightly in front on the outside, Webber inside of him, then Raikkonen and Vettel on the inside of the foursome. Though Hamilton looked to have the edge on claiming P2 he'd left his braking late as he did at the Nurburgring and so Webber decided to cut inside him.

In moving to the inside, Webber forced Raikkonen to the right who then took avoiding action and touched the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel as he swerved right to get out of Webber's way. The stewards announced they would investigate the move after the race, but the Finn looked to have done nothing wrong, other than to react.

Mark Webber managed to carry his momentum and got the drop on Hamilton down to the second turn while behind, the rest of the field filtered through. Jenson Button, another man starting from the dirty side of the grid, lost out to the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima.

As the cars crossed the line at the end of the first lap the order was Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Vettel, Nakajima and Button. But not for long as Jenson was able to outbreak Nakajima into Turn1 to snatch 8th place. Vettel, after his moment with Raikkonen, had lost places to 7th and was reporting back to his pits that he had possible front wing damage.

Alonso had only been fuelled to Lap 13 and needed to make his escape at the front, and though he had opened a gap of three seconds by Lap 5 it wasn't going to keep him in a podium place. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile had closed right onto the back of Mark Webber by Lap 3 and on Lap 5 used the boost from his KERS button to out-accelerate the Aussie round the outside going into Turn 2 and take second position.

Clear of the Red Bull, Lewis began to set a series of fastest laps as he rapidly closed the gap to Fernando Alonso. By lap 8 it was down to 1.4 seconds and he was running into the turbulent air. Temporarily stalled, Webber was able to close back up on Hamilton before Alonso elected to come in early to replace his rapidly graining tyres.

Alonso exited the pitlane just in front of his team-mate, but replays showed that he had been released early before the front right tyre was properly in place and the wheel hub spinner started to revolve with the wheel. Two corners later it had smashed off and Alonso was reduced to cruising as though he had a puncture - not long after that, the entire tyre parted company from the wheel and bounced off towards the Armco.

Though Alonso was able to make it back to the pits on three tyres/four wheels and get sent out in last place, it wasn't long before he was back again and into retirement, there being too much damage done to continue safely.

With a clear track Hamilton began to build a lead over Webber starting with a Fastest Lap of 1:22.868 on Lap 13, followed by an FL of 1:22.795 on Lap 15 and a 1:22.479 on Lap 16, giving him a 4.2 advantage over Webber.

In the Championship race Vettel was being held up by Kovalainen in 6th and 7th places but they were dropping 8th placed Button at half a second a lap. Button was locking up under braking and had problems with his tyres. In fact he was holding up the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima.

Hamilton's lead was 5.5 seconds when second place Webber and third place Raikkonen pitted together on Lap 19. Raikkonen was less than two seconds behind Webber and the Red Bull team got jumpy in the stop with the lollypop man going to release Webber too soon, then bringing the lollypop down just as Mark responded with some wheelspin.

Then, when the Red Bull was ready to go he was released unsafely right alongside Kimi Raikkonen. Mercifully there was no contact and Raikkonen edged over. The fact that Webber gained no advantage was presumably the reason there was no race penalty but it will be very strange - on a weekend where everyone had become hyper conscious of safety - if Red Bull are not fined for what they did (as Ferrari were at Spa).

The long-stopping Timo Glock then came steaming up behind Webber and got himself between Raikkonen and Webber.

Hamilton and Rosberg pitted together and while Hamilton was able to rejoin in the lead, the Williams driver missed a real opportunity. Webber had been delayed by his fighting it out for position with Glock and Rosberg emerged from the pits in front of the Red Bull driver, but an aggressive move from Webber into Turn 2 salvaged what would be a podium place.

The positions on lap 24 were: 1.Hamilton 2.Button (not stopped) 3.Trulli (not stopped) 4.Raikkonen 5.Glock (not stopped) 6.Webber 7.Kovalainen 8.Rosberg 9.Vettel 10. Buemi. Button pitted at the end of Lap 25 but he looked as though he might not score a single World Championship point.

A lap later and Vettel was reporting that something had broken at the front of the car "I cannot control the car any more" which is never a good sign. He pitted, it was checked over but a lap later he came back with front suspension failure.

If Jenson Button had hoped that his new set of tyres would improve his position he was sorely mistaken. On Lap 28 he was the slowest driver on the track and when Jarno Trulli finally pitted he would be demoted further. The Toyota driving making the most gains, though, was Timo Glock. Having disappeared from in front of Mark Webber on lap 32 he was able to rejoin in P6 ahead of Trulli in P7 and Button in P8.

The second stint was characterised by Lewis Hamilton extending his lead over Raikkonen and the Finn extending his gap to Webber. Though Nico Rosberg was able to keep close to Mark Webber and perhaps challenge for his podium place, the Williams driver pitted for the second time on Lap 49 and Webber could go a lap later - thus Webber never came under threat again.

Kovalainen with brake cooling issues fell back from Rosberg, while Glock - whose pit stops were out of sync with everyone else - continued behind Raikkonen in P3 on the road, but he would need to stop again. When he finally came in on Lap 60 he slotted ahead of Trulli in 6th, but behind Kovalainen.

So after the final pit-stops were completed it was 1.Hamilton easily controlling a sixteen second gap to 2.Raikkonen who was 8 seconds ahead of 3.Webber. 4.Rosberg 5.Kovalainen 6.Glock 7.Button 8. Trulli 9.Nakajima 10.Barrichello

Jenson Button fought hard to keep ahead of Nelson Piquet and Kazuki Nakajima in the second stint and spent most of it somewhere between 3.6 and 3.9 seconds back from Jarno Trulli. That gap closed when Trulli came up against the early-stopping Kovalainen.

When Jenson pitted on Lap 55 he emerged with super-soft tyres and put in some fast laps - a 1:22.706 was a personal best which compared well to the FL lap time of 1:22.4 at that stage. Trulli pitted on Lap 59 and dropped back to P8. In the process he collected a short train of Nakajima and Barrichello.

Mark Webber set off after Raikkonen's P2 and when he set the Fastest Lap of the race on Lap 65 - a 1:21.931 the gap was five seconds but even if he could have got close, there was no serious overtaking going on all race long.

It was a sweet victory for the Mclaren team, Hamilton never really pushing his car to the limits, but like most previous Hungarian GPs it had been monumentally processional. Raikkonen scored his team's best result of the season which will go some of the way to cheering up Ferrari. Webber fought hard for his podium and has taken a significant psychological jump on his team-mate.

For the Brawn team, Mclaren and Ferrari's revival could not have come at a better time.

A last word for Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguesuari who brought his car home in one piece ahead of his team-mate on his very first F1 outing. Franz Tost may have scored 15th and 16th, but he'll be pleased with that.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:38:23.876
02 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 11.529
03 M. Webber Red Bull + 16.886
04 N. Rosberg Williams + 26.967
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 34.392
06 T. Glock Toyota + 35.237
07 J. Button Brawn GP + 55.088
08 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:08.172
09 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:08.774
10 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 1:09.256
11 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:10.600
12 N. Piquet Renault + 1:11.500
13 R. Kubica BMW + 1:14.000
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
15 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
17 S. Vettel Red Bull + 41 laps
18 F. Alonso Renault + 55 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 69 laps

Hungarian GP

Ferrari: Massa remains stable, no further complications.
Sunday 26th July 2009

The spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car

Felipe Massa was hit on the head by a spring from the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa

Ferrari have given an encouraging update on the condition of their driver Felipe Massa, reporting that the Brazilian remains 'stable' as he recovers from his horrible crash in qualifying for the Hungarian GP.

Felipe Massa in crash

In a statement, the team were able to report that Massa had suffered "no further complications" overnight after undergoing emergency surgery on his fractured skull on Saturday night.

Felipe Massa, his damaged car

"After undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe Massa's condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night," said the Ferrari statement.

"He will be given another CT scan today, which will provide more precise information."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa remains in a stable condition in hospital on Sunday after fracturing his skull in two places during a freak accident in Saturday's qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Felipe Massa receives attention after his high-speed crash in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

Felipe Massa receives attention after his high-speed crash in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

A Ferrari statement read: "After undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe Massa's condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night.

"He has undergone a CT scan on Sunday and was awake for some time.

"He is now resting and still in intensive care."

The 28-year-old was struck by a spring -- which can weigh anything up to a kilogram -- that had worked loose from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP during the middle 15-minute period of the qualifying session.

The spring was seen bouncing along the Hungaroring track before flying over the front of Massa's Ferrari that was travelling at 170mph, striking the Brazilian on the helmet just over his left eye.

Massa appeared to be knocked unconscious, with his right foot jamming down on the throttle as he drove straight into a tire barrier.

Stricken in the car, photographs emerged showing a fist-sized dent in his helmet, and with the visor up, there was a large cut over a blackened left eye.

Massa was initially treated at the circuit's medical center before being taken by helicopter to Budapest's AEK military hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

A Ferrari official later described the operation as a "success".

Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari is set to become the youngest driver in the history of the sport

"Jaime Alguersuari has the challenging task of making his Formula 1 debut half-way through the season.

"He replaces Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso to become the youngest grand prix driver of all time.

Jamie Alguersuari's helmet
Jamie Alguersuari's helmet
Team: Toro Rosso
Team-mate: Sebastien Buemi
Car number: 11
Nationality: Spanish
Born: 23/03/1990, Barcelona
Grand Prix debut: n/a
Grands Prix entered: n/a
Highest race finish: n/a
Points: 0

"The 19-year-old Spaniard will need to be on the pace very quickly, and the ban on in-season testing makes it even more difficult.

"The Red Bull family clearly have faith in him; he's been in their junior team since 2005. Team boss Franz Tost rates him as one of the most mature of their youngsters but says he doesn't expect too much initially.

"Following a successful karting career, he won the 2008 British Formula Three title in his debut year, but F1 is ruthlessly unforgiving and allows very few excuses.

"Significant car upgrades could ironically play nicely into Alguersuari's hands. Let's hope it's not too much too soon for him."

German GP

Mark Webber
Press conference

German GP Race Report: Webber Finally Does It

Sunday 12th July 2009

It may not have been the boring race that Mark Webber had hoped for but that didn't stop the Red Bull driver from claiming his maiden grand prix win in Germany.

With rain forecast for Sunday's grand prix, F1 fans were envisioning an exciting race, but instead the German GP turned into a tactical battle.

Webber, starting from pole position, earned himself a drive-through penalty for bouncing Rubens Barrichello at the start. The contact, though, didn't stop Barrichello from taking the lead with Webber behind him.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton added to the thrill of the start as he went from fifth to first to 20th in the space of one corner as his flying start saw him puncture a rear tyre against Webber's front wing.

Race Report Though the morning races had been chaotic amidst sudden rain showers, as the cars lined up on the grid it was dry at the Nurburgring, with sunny intervals and no immediate prospect of rain.

Fernando Alonso managed to spin his cars warming the tyres up and had to race past others to get to his correct grid slot. As the red lights went out the KERS equipped cars of Ferrari and McLaren starting from P5, P6, P8 and P9 swept forward.

Lewis Hamilton had a bullet start, straight past Vettel and Button and while Webber jinked suddenly right to collide with Rubens Barrichello who was pulling alongside, when he came left again his front wing caught the rear tyre of Hamilton's car, puncturing the back right tyre.

For a fleeting second Hamilton had led the race but then was engulfed by the pack as his puncture made the car lose control going into Turn 2. Barrichello was able to take advantage of the inside line into Turn 1 under braking and while his team-mate was shuffled backwards into P5, he took over P1 ahead of Webber and Kovalainen.

Felipe Massa was up to fourth place from eighth on the grid, but he was fuelled much longer than many of the cars around him and so the much lighter Button was all over the back of him looking for a way past.

As the cars crossed the line on the opening lap the order was: 1.Barrichello, 2.Webber, 3.Kovalainen, 5.Massa, 5.Button, 6.Vettel, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Sutil, 9.Rosberg, 10.Kubica, 11.Alonso, 12. Heidfeld.

Lewis Hamilton limped back to the pits to change his tyre, but a full lap with a puncture soon put him a lap down on the leaders and blue flags forced him steadily backwards. His only hope now was rain and a gamble on different tyres.

Replays of the start showed a very aggressive sideways swipe from Webber at Barrichello that had caused a small collision with seemingly no damage to either car. It was a surprise move from a man heavily involved in the safety aspects of grand prix racing and a director of the drivers' union, the GPDA. Had Rubens lost control of his Brawn in front of the pack it would have been a nightmare accident scenario.

On Lap 2 Button scrambled his way past Massa into P4 and the following Sebastian Vettel showed signs of doing the same. Vettel has spent many racing laps behind the Ferrari F60 this season and needed to get ahead of the longer fuelled car. It was not to be.

All chances of him winning the race were disappearing down the road. Not only was Massa slow in 5th, but 3rd place Heikki Kovalainen was 1.5 seconds a lap slower than Webber and soon an enormous gap opened up between P2 and P3 - by Lap 3 it was 5.3 seconds, by Lap 6 it was 9.3 seconds. Try as he might to find a way past, Jenson Button was tucked up in fourth place and able to do nothing about it. What was worse, was that he was fuelled the lightest of all of them and would soon find himself coming in for fuel and also his green-walled option tyres were going off.

On Lap 9 it was announced that Webber was under investigation by the stewards for his Lap 1 jink and two laps later he was given a drive-through penalty.

Button pitted at the end of Lap 13 and rejoined way down in P14, while Rubens pitted a lap later. Barrichello's inability to get the hammer down in the early stages cost him dear, because despite the huge gap handed to him by Kovalainen, Rubens emerged from his pit-stop behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa.

The Brazilian had a half look at Massa going into the Veedol chicane on Lap 15 but thought better of it. Behind him, Jenson Button was being far more aggressive at overtaking and hauled his way past Buemi and Heidfeld to get to P.10 on lap 18

Webber had left his drive-through as late as possible and took it when Rubens pitted, the result of which was that he rejoined in the lead and was able to go away from the Massa/Barrichello fight at over a second a lap. Thus he had a lead of 9.5 seconds over Massa on Lap 15 and after he pitted on Lap 18 Massa continued to hold Barrichello up for another ten laps, while Mark was able to cruise up behind them both.

Massa pitted from the lead on Lap 25 with Adrian Sutil up to an incredible P2 in the Force India. However it all went to pieces when the German stopped for his pit-stop on Lap 27. As he exited the pitlane, the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen cruised alongside into Turn 1. Sutil tried to run the Ferrari out to the edge of the track, but although Kimi took to the run-off tarmac, he had to turn in at some stage and the Force India was still there when he did. The result was that the Ferrari ran over Sutil's front wing and destroyed one end. The stewards decided they would investigate the incident after the race.

Button pitted on Lap 31, but when Rubens came in for his second stop on Lap 32, Webber was just 1.2 seconds behind him. The Brawn GP car of Barrichello was stopped for 11 seconds which seemed to indicate that he had been switched fron a 3-stop strategy to a 2-stopper.

Replays showed that the refuellers had to swap rigs and so Rubens would need to come in again.

Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari showed a puff of blue smoke at the Veedol Chicane on Lap 33 and a lap later he was into the pits to join Sebastien Bourdais in retirement.

Webber, unaware of the time lost by Barrichello proceded to put in a series of fastest laps on Laps 35, 36 and 37. At the same time Sebastian Vettel was 1.2 seconds a lap slower. The only thing that looked likely to wreck Webbo's afternoon now was rain and though the grey clouds gathered on Lap 37 and Lewis Hamilton reported a few spots on Lap 38, it didn't materialise.

On Lap 38 the positions were: Webber 22.6 seconds in front of Vettel, who had crucially got ahead of Felipe Massa after his first pit-stop. Massa was in P3 ahead of Rosberg, Barrichello, Button, Kovalainen and a fast-moving Fernando Alonso.

At this stage of the race it looked an easy 1-2 for Red Bull, but Barrichello was holding Button up and if the Brawns didn't get a move on, they would finish behind the Williams of Rosberg.

Massa and Rosberg pitted on Laps 45 and 47 respectively, but Barrichello continued to hold up Button - who had to weave to keep heat in his option tyres. Rubens finally pitted on Lap 50 and as he did so it released Jenson Button to record a series of five successive personal best sectors.

Button pitted just a lap later but he'd done enough to jump his team-mate in the pit-stops and move into 5th place. Even though the track had rubbered in, the Brawn GP drivers found their rear tyres going off after just six laps. Button who'd closed on Rosberg then found himself dropping off the pace and being shadowed closely by Barrichello and Alonso who'd set the Fastest Lap of the race on Lap 49, a 1:33.365

Neither could get close enough to make a move before the end of the race and ahead of them Mark Webber eased back his pace to cruise to a very popular win, a long way clear of Vettel, Massa and Rosberg. Button collected fifth, Barrichello sixth, Alonso, 7th and Kovalainen held on from an attentive train that included Glock, Heidfeld, Fisichella and Nakajima.

It had been a race where Mark Webber stamped his authority in the Red Bull team lapping a lot quicker than Vettel at his home race. Though team orders may be getting a lot more likely in the Brawn team, they're getting a lot less likely at Red Bull.

01 M. Webber Red Bull 1:36:43.310
02 S. Vettel Red Bull + 9.252
03 F. Massa Ferrari + 15.906
04 N. Rosberg Williams + 21.099
05 J. Button Brawn GP + 23.609
06 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 24.468
07 F. Alonso Renault + 24.888
08 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 58.692
09 T. Glock Toyota + 1:01.457
10 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:01.925
11 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:02.327
12 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1:02.876
13 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1:08.328
14 R. Kubica BMW + 1:09.555
15 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1:11.941
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:30.225
17 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:30.970
18 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps
Did not finish
19 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 26 laps
20 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 42 laps

British GP

race start
Sebastian Vettel

British Report: Vettel Leads Red Bull Domination

Sunday 21st June 2009

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber put the BrawnGPs to shame in Britain as lap after lap they displayed their superior pace, taking the 1-2 ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

Vettel, starting from pole position, put in a succession of fastest laps as he edged away from Barrichello in the opening stint of the race. And once his team-mate Mark Webber was able to leapfrog the Brazilian in the first round of pit-stops there was no stopping Red Bull Racing from claiming the 1-2.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa put his disappointing P11 on the grid to good use, starting the race with a heavy fuel load that saw him bring his car home in fourth place, ahead of Nico Rosberg.

Jenson Button could find no way past Jarno Trulli at the start and was passed by slower cars on lap 1, ruining his strategy on a cool day when tyre temperatures did not suit the heat-loving BrawnGP cars.

Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen competed the top eight in a race that saw the best action take place between World Champions Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Alas they were fighting for 16th place at the time.

Race Report The ambient temperature was at 16C with the track up at 30C as sunny intervals bathed a spectator-packed Silverstone circuit.

As the red lights went out Rubens Barrichello got a much better start than at Turkey, but it still wasn't quite enough to trouble Sebastian Vettel, starting from pole. Vettel had just enough to edge across and take the line into Copse

Mark Webber slotted into third and Kazuki Nakajima had an easy ride into fourth after P4 on the grid, Jarno Trulli,got away slowly. Trulli's lack of pace off the line affected Jenson Button who was directly behind the Toyota. When Jenson went to go up the inside Trulli edged across and that was his line into Copse blocked.

Outside of him, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Massa piled past leaving him 9th (from 6th) at the first corner.

Button tried to get Massa into Becketts but thought better of it at the last minute, but Nico Rosberg was more successful at getting by Jarno Trulli at the end of the Hangar Straight.

So at the end of the first lap the positions were: 1.Vettel, 2.Barrichello, 3.Webber, 4.Nakajima, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Rosberg, 7.Trulli, 8.Massa, 9.Button, 10.Glock, 11.Heidfeld, 12.Alonso

On Lap 2, Button was through to P8 after Massa ran wide at the exit of Stowe. Alonso was duelling with Robert Kubica and took the BMW out wide at the end of the Hangar Straight as the Pole tried to take the outside line. The following Fisichella couldn't believe his luck and just took the apex of Stowe corner and 12th place from 14th.

A lap later and Lewis Hamilton was almost through to P14 when Alonso had a wobble at the exit of Becketts and pushed him wide onto the grass and the BMW of Robert Kubica overtook them both.

At the front, Sebastian Vettel set about opening a gap to Barrichello. On the opening lap he had a 1.5 second lead, after a succession of fastest laps, that lead was up to 10.8 seconds on Lap 9 and 13.4 seconds by lap 13.

Red Bull team,-mate Mark Webber was stuck in the dirty air from Rubens Barrichello's BrawnGP and couldn't get past.

Unseen by the cameras, Giancarlo Fisichella had got himself ahead of Nick Heidfeld by Lap 4 and the BMW engineers were reporting that he was losing 1.5 seconds a lap on the Force India driver in front. Heidfeld refused to return to the pits and opted to stay out, lapping at 1:24s while Fisichella was in the mid 1:22s. As a result, by Lap 13 there was an enormous 20 second gap between 11th and 12th.

Fernando Alonso had managed to re-take Robert Kubica, but he was now stuck behind Heidfeld and unable to get past the German. Kubica trailed Alonso and Hamilton trailed Kubica.

Kazuki Nakajima pitted from 4th place at the end of Lap 15 and slumped back to 11th place. Raikkonen pitted from 4th place the following lap and rejoined in front of Nakajima. Then, on Lap 18 when Button, Trulli and Rosberg pitted all together, Trulli jumped Raikkonen and Nakajima, Button jumped Nakajima and Rosberg jumped Nakajima and Raikkonen.

It had gone from: Nakajima, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Trulli, Button to Rosberg, Trulli, Raikkonen, Button, Nakajima.

Barrichello pitted a lap later and Mark Webber, who was able to run a lap longer than the Brazilian, was able to exit the pitlane just a few metres in front of the BrawnGP car. But it was enough. When Webber had pitted, Vettel's lead was already up to 23 seconds and it was now a question of engine management till the end of the race.

However the biggest gainer in the first pit-stops was Felipe Massa, who sailed on until Lap 23 and hoisted his Ferrari up to 5th place. So, on Lap 25 the positions were: 1.Vettel 21.5 seconds in front of; 2.Webber 4.2 seconds up on; 3.Rubens Barrichello who had just 1.3 seconds on; 4.Rosberg, 5.Massa, 6.Trulli, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Button, 9.Nakajima, 10.Fisichella, 11.Glock

On Lap 29, 15th place Fernando Alonso had run wide at Luffield allowing Lewis Hamilton through on the inside. As they accelerated out of the exit of Woodcote side by side Lewis Hamilton had the inside line running into Copse and Alonso finally gave way through the 185mph corner.

It was a hairy moment for the two World Champions, but not quite as dangerous as an overtaking move Hamilton had made seven laps earlier. Nick Heidfeld, pulling out of the pitlane exit moved across the road through Maggots to take the line coming into Becketts not realising that Lewis Hamilton was steaming through on the inside.

It would have been easy for Hamilton to lift, as at that stage they were battling for 18th and 19th places, but the World Champion kept his foot glued to the floor and just about made it into Beckets first without any contact being made.

Hamilton ruined his pass on Alonso by running too deep into Beckets while trying to pass the inconsistent Nelson Piquet and ran wide at the exit letting Alonso pass him easily on the Hangar Straight.

The middle stint of the race was characterised by Vettel managing the gap to second placed Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello (now on the hard tyres for a long stint) dropping back and seeming to hold up Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa, neither of whom could get close enough to make an overtaking move.

On Lap 35 Sebastian Bourdais provided the only moment of controversy in the race when he tried to overtake the one-stopping Heikki Kovalainen into Vale. Kovalainen moved to cover the line and Bourdais ran inexpertly into the back of him comprehensively destroying his front wing. Kovalainen's rear tyre was punctured and both had to hobble back to the pits.

There was too much damage for the Finn to continue and Toro Ross couldn't fit a new nose safely to the front of Bourdais' car and both were out.

With an almost assured Red Bull 1-2 evident from after the first pit-stops, the question now was how long had everybody been fuelled? Rubens had Rosberg and Massa in close pursuit, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Trulli had Raikkonen and Button in close pursuit, 6th, 7th and 8th.

Raikkonen pitted on Lap 42 (falling behind Button), Rosberg on Lap 43 (falling behind Massa), Massa on Lap 45, Trulli on Lap 46 (falling behind Button but keeping in front of Raikkonen), Barrichello on Lap 47 (giving himself big gap to Massa) and Button on Lap 49 (jumping Trulli and Raikkonen).

So the order was now: 1.Vettel, 2. Webber, 3.Barrichello, 4.Massa, 5.Rosberg, 6.Button. 7.Trulli, 8.Raikkonen, 9.Glock.

With both Brawns running the harder, slower tyre in the middle stint, they were able to go quicker than their rivals in the final stint on the sift tyre and all of a sudden Button was catching Massa and Rosberg at over a second a lap. With four laps left to run, Button got the gap down to 0.8 of a second, but he was never close enough to make a passing move on the Williams driver.

Vettel duly crossed the line to win his first grand prix in dry conditions, the German never having been troubled from the moment he got to Copse corner first. Mark Webber took a distant podium, over 25 seconds clear of third placed man Barrichello.

It had been an uneventful race where the inadequacy of the 2009 aero regulations had been fully exposed and stifled any real racing from 3rd place down to 17th. The World Champions came home 8th (Raikkonen), 14th (Alonso) and 16th (Hamilton) possibly their worst combined showing in 2009.

The sheer size and enthusiasm of the crowd was in stark contrast to the empty silence of the Turkish GP. If the FIA and FOM are really concerned about serving the fans they might ask themselves why popular races such as Australia, Canada and Britain so regularly come under threat.

Brawn will be hoping for warmer races to come, when the heat of the track will give them the grip they were lacking at Silverstone and degrade the tyre sof their Red Bull opposition.


01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:22:49.328
02 M. Webber Red Bull + 15.188
03 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 41.175
04 F. Massa Ferrari + 45.043
05 N. Rosberg Williams + 45.915
06 J. Button Brawn GP + 1:06.285
07 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:08.307
08 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 1:09.622
09 T. Glock Toyota + 1:09.823
10 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1:11.522
11 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:14.023
12 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1 laps
13 R. Kubica BMW + 1 laps
14 F. Alonso Renault + 1 laps
15 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1 laps
16 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
18 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
19 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 23 laps
20 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 24 lap

British GP

fuel filler
garage vettel
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel
two cars
wrecked car

Turkish GP

Sebastian Vettel trails behind Jenson Button

Turkish GP: Button Puts His Name In History Books

Sunday 7th June 2009

After his pass on Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap, the Turkish GP may have been a boring race for Jenson Button, but it's one that puts his name in F1's history books.

Button, who overtook Vettel on the exit of Turn 9/10 when the pole-sitter ran wide, strolled to victory at the Istanbul Otodrom, handing him his sixth grand prix win of the season.

And that put Button in F1's history books where he joins the names of Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in having won six of the first seven races.

Vettel, meanwhile, also lost out to team-mate Mark Webber after opting for a three-stop strategy. But his inability to overtake Button for the lead cost him dearly and he eventually finished 0.7s behind Webber. Jarno Trulli claimed fourth place ahead of Nico Rosberg, whose flying start, saw him leap up from ninth place.

Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica and Timo Glock completed the top eight.

Race Report As the cars lined up on the sun-drenched grid, the track temperature was up to 49C with an ambient temperature of 32C (up from 28C on Saturday). Though the inside line into Turn 1 had been swept, Jenson Button and Mark Webber were taking no chances and angled their cars towards the outside as they lined up in P2 and P4.

Only Fernando Alonso elected to use the green-walled (option) soft tyres in the opening stint.

When the red lights went out, the potential threat from Rubens Barrichello in P3 evaporated. His Brawn GP bogged down and the rest of the field flooded past him into Turn 1.

Jarno Trulli was very racy off the line and was dicing with Mark Webber throughout the lap. He got past him into Turn 1 but Webber had him back before the end of the opening lap.

Felipe Massa cruised up the inside to get ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1, but lost out to a combative Nico Rosberg later in the lap.

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were also dicing on the opening lap. Alonso got past, but Raikkonen's front wing tagged the back of Alonso's tyre in the final chicane giving him aero problems from Lap 1.

However the major mistake happened at the front. Polesitter Sebastian Vettel exited Turns 9/10 and ran wide past the run-off and briefly onto the grass on the left. He didn't lose too much speed but Button was past in an instant and through into P1.

So the order at the end of a hectic opening lap was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Webber, 4.Trulli, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.Alonso, 8.Kubica, 9.Raikkonen, 10.Nakajima, 11.Kovalainen, 12.Barrichello.

Jenson Button set about opening a gap to Vettel at about 0.3 to 0.4 of a second a lap with a series of fastest laps. By Lap 6 he had a 2.9 lead. Meanwhile his team-mate was stuck behind Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren and the Brazilian was showing no patience in his fight back to the front. On Lap 6 he was looking down the inside of the Finn into Turn 9 but thought better of it. On Lap 7 he overtook the McLaren through the final chicane, but then Kovalainen nailed him going back into Turn 1.

On Lap 8 he decided he was going to try and get past without a sufficient gap and barged into the side of Kovalainen in Turn 9. The Brawn came off worst and immediately relegated him from 12th to 17th. Barrichello hadn't stopped there, though, and five laps later he tried to get through an even smaller gap with the Force India of Adrian Sutil. Coming into the final corner he launched his Brawn the way he had done so successfully (and aggressively) in Australia and lost his front wing endplate.

The resulting damage meant that he had to pit ahead of schedule. He had earlier reported that his Brawn GP car had lost 7th gear, a result, Ross Brawn revealed, of over-torquing the clutch at the start. From that point on Rubens was reduced to the role of unhappy spectator in the GP.

By Lap 12 Button had reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:27.799 and opened up a 5.2 gap to Vettel. The Red Bull driver had to stop two laps earlier than Brawn, so Button was always going to have an edge. When Vettel stopped on Lap 15 Button's lead was around six seconds, but the Red Bull was stopped for just 6.2 seconds indicating a three-stop race.

Vettel was followed in by Trulli on Lap 16, Button and Massa on Lap 17 and Webber and Rosberg on Lap 18. All were on two-stoppers. When the stops had panned out on Lap 21, the order was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Webber, 4.Nakajima (not stopped), 5.Rosberg - now ahead of Trulli, 6.Trulli, 7.Glock (not stopped), 8.Massa, 9.Heidfeld (not stopped), 10.Kubica, 11.Alonso.

Fuelled much lighter than the Brawn, Vettel closed in quickly and brought Jenson's 3.9 second lead down to 3.7, 3.2, 2.4 and then 1.6 in subsequent laps. To make his strategy work he needed to get past Button quickly, but although Jenson's lead was down to 0.2 by Lap 25, the Red Bull could not follow in the dirty air and had to stay behind till Vettel's second pit-stop on Lap 28.

Team-mate Mark Webber was on a two-stop strategy and could run at the maximum of the car's potential and so Vettel was now in danger of staying behind Webber after his third and final pit-stop. Though Button had been closed down by Vettel, he was still running faster than Mark Webber and had the race totally under control.

Lewis Hamilton had been fuelled up from 16th on the grid and was losing a lot of time in the four-apex Turn 8. As his 32-lap fuel load ran out he was able to set the fastest final sector time which would only be beaten by another KERS car, Kimi Raikkonen, in the closing stages of the race.

Hamilton enjoyed a bit of wheel-to-wheel action with Nelson Piquet after he emerged from his pit-stop (which Piquet won), but neither Mclaren looked like they were going to get anywhere near the points and didn't.

On Lap 35 the positions were: 1.Button, 18.3 seconds in front of... 2.Webber, who had 8.5 seconds on... 3.Vettel who was 5.9 seconds in front of... 4.Rosberg, who was just 3.5 seconds in front of...5.Trulli, who had 6.9 seconds on 6.Massa. 7, Nakajima, 8.Kubica, 9.Alonso, 10.Glock, 11.Raikkonen.

When the second pit-stops wound out between Laps 40 and 43, Rosberg found himself pitting three laps before Trulli and in that time Trulli was able to take back the 4th place he'd lost early on. The three-stopping Vettel didn't need to come in till Lap 48, but he wasn't able to close the gap and get in front of Webber and crossed the line on Lap 49, 3.7 seconds down in third place. And started to charge.

Despite admonishments from the Red Bull engineers to conserve the car and that "Mark is faster", Vettel was able to set the fastest first sector of the race and closed the gap down to 1.2 seconds, proving all that to be just coded talk for "please slow down and don't try and overtake". The gap came down to 1.6 seconds on Lap 55 but on a similar fuel load the only chance of P2 was if Webber made a mistake, which he didn't.

The only chance of a battle in the closing stages was between Robert Kubica in 7th and Timo Glock in 8th. Glock had run as high as 6th before a very late final stop that saw him hang on to a points paying position. Though he was 0.6 behind Kubica on Lap 49, nine laps later he was in exactly the same position.

Jenson Button cooled off his car in the final laps and did some grandiose swerves down the finishing straight towards his 6th win in the first 7 races; matching Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher. Pole position had never been denied a win in Turkey, but Button and Red Bull's own strategy had seen to that.

The Ferrari's promise from Saturday practice faded away in the race and it was more of the familiar Brawn, Red Bull, Toyota dominance. The team to really step up a gear in Istanbul was Williams who would have had two cars in the points had Kazuki Nakajima not endured a disastrous final pit-stop where a front left wheel trim wouldn't go back on, relegating the Japanese driver to 11th place.

With Rubens Barrichello retiring his Brawn on Lap 48 - their first of the season - Button's win gives him a 26 points lead in the driver's championship and finally one that best reflects his driving superiority this season.


01 J. Button Brawn GP 1:26:24.848
02 M. Webber Red Bull + 6.714
03 S. Vettel Red Bull + 7.461
04 J. Trulli Toyota + 27.843
05 N. Rosberg Williams + 31.539
06 F. Massa Ferrari + 39.996
07 R. Kubica BMW + 46.247
08 T. Glock Toyota + 46.959
09 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 50.246
10 F. Alonso Renault + 1:02.420
11 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:04.327
12 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:06.376
13 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1:20.454
14 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1 laps
15 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1 laps
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
19 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 11 laps
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 54 laps

Monaco GP

Jenson Button

Exiting from the tunnel

Hotel Hortensia on the right 
and the casino on the left
View of la tete de chien - mountain looks like the head of a dog

Another view of la tete de chien

Monaco GP Report: Button Is The Prince Of Monaco!

Sunday 24th May 2009

Jenson Button booked his place in F1's history books as he joined a prestigious group of drivers to have won five of a season's opening six races.

Only Michael Schumacher and Nigel Mansell have won five of the opening six events of a Championship and Button joined them with a dominant win on the streets of Monte Carlo.

Rubens Barrichello had to settle for yet another second place behind Button after a great start that saw him elbow his way past Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen into the notoriously tight Sainte Devote corner.

Raikkonen scored his - and Ferrari's - first podium finish of the season as the Finn took third place behind Barrichello and just ahead of his own team-mate Felipe Massa. It was also Ferrari's first double points-haul of the Championship.

Mark Webber brought his car home in fifth place after Red Bull's strategy paid off, elevating him from eighth to fifth. Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Bourdais completed the top eight while Lewis Hamilton had an afternoon to forget, touring at the back of the pack.

Race Report
The tax evader's grand prix was blessed with perfect sun and an ambient temperature of 25C with the track at 43C.

All eyes were focused on the potential of Kimi Raikkonen to get ahead of Jenson Button at the start but when the red lights went out it was the Brawn of Rubens Barrichello who shot up the inside of Raikkonen's Ferrari to take P2.

The Brawns were both starting on the faster super-soft tyre and yet again it was the roll of the strategy dice that would outwit Ferrari. Raikkonen wasn't able to use his KERS advantage in the run down to the tunnel chicane on the opening lap and the Brawns were clear away.

The rest of the field got away cleanly, though Robert Kubica was back into the pits on Lap 2. At the end of the opening lap the positions were: Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Webber, Alonso, Nakajima, Piquet and Buemi in 12th. Lewis Hamilton had opted to change a gearbox and was in P18.

In previous races Massa had jumped Sebastian Vettel at the start having qualified behind him, but in Monaco the roles were reversed. Vettel had stayed in front of Massa into Sainte Devote, but by Lap 6 he was seriously holding Massa up.

On Lap 6 he took a look down the outside of Vettel into the tunnel chicane as the German covered the inside line. The Red Bull had started on the green-walled super-soft option tyre and they had gone off badly. While the Brawns were making them last Vettel was losing three seconds a lap on the leaders.

By Lap 7 Vettel, still in P4, had gathered a train of Massa, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Webber and Alonso behind him. Massa tried to get past down the outside into the tunnel chicane again, missed his braking point and had to skip the turn. In doing so he overtook Vettel and in giving the place back found a Williams alongside him as he went into Tabac.

It was an audacious and brave move from the German and it paid off. He was through to P5 and Massa was back down to P6. At the same time Jenson Button was edging out a 1.7 lead on his team-mate and they were both pulling away from Raikkonen.

Vettel's distress was compounded by the fact that he was fuelled much lighter than anyone on the grid and would have to pit early, losing him a lot of places. He kept Rosberg at bay for a couple of laps before Nico managed to dive inside him on Lap 10 at the tunnel chicane and just about kept his car on the track.

Slow on the exit, Massa and Kovalainen scrambled past him too and Vettel headed off to the pits for new tyres.

A lap later and Sebastien Buemi made it two shunts in two races when he misjudged his braking into Sainte Devote and rammed the entirely innocent Nelson Piquet's Renault. Buemi was out on the spot and Piquet continued, but the damage to his rear end was terminal.

Rubens Barrichello then found his own supersofts going off and the neater Jenson Button was able to stretch out his lead as the Briton preserved his tyres better. Barrichello fell back into the clutches of Kimi Raikkonen.

On Lap 11 Button had a 5.9 gap over Rubens, by Lap 14 it was 10.9 seconds and Raikkonen was right on Barrichello's gearbox. Having been delayed by Vettel, Rosberg was ten seconds behind in P5 pursued closely by Massa.

Though Raikkonen clearly had better tyres than Barrichello, he had less fuel, so instead of staying behind the Brawn till Rubens pitted he decided to come in early on Lap 15 and exited in P7 just ahead of Alonso (who was running long).

On Lap 16 Vettel's miserable afternoon was made complete when he understeered straight on at Sainte Devote in P13 and brought the crane out again. At the same time Rubens Barrichello pitted early to take on better (soft) tyres. He exited the pits still in front of Raikkonen. Jenson Button came in on Lap 17 and managed to exit in P2 behind Rosberg but in front of Massa.

With Massa having to trail round behind the heavier fuelled Jenson Button, it allowed Kimi Raikkonen to keep ahead of his team-mate, and so when Massa pitted for the first time on Lap 20 he was still behind Raikkonen even though he'd managed to leapfrog the Williams of Nico Rosberg.

However the biggest gains at the first pit-stops were made by Mark Webber who managed to leapfrog both Rosberg and Kovalainen to put himself in P6.

So the positions on Lap 27 were 1. Button 16.6 seconds ahead of... 2.Barrichello, 3.Raikkonen, 4.Alonso (not stopped), 5.Massa, 6.Webber, 7.Rosberg, 8.Kovalainen, 9.Nakajima

Fernando Alonso eventually pitted on Lap 29 and rejoined in P11.

With all the cars on the prime Bridgestone soft tyre in the middle stint of the race, the top five were all lapping on the same pace. Jenson Button had such a big lead by now that he was able to regulate his pace and on Lap 31 three drivers set a fastest lap.

Rubens Barrichello 1:16.099
Kimi Raikkonen 1:15.951
Felipe Massa 1:15.908

Button now led by 14.9 while Barrichello had 3.5 seconds on Raikkonen who had 3.5 seconds on Massa. Massa's quick laps were aided by the Ferrari driver skipping the swimming pool exit chicane - something he'd been doing since at least Lap 19. He was warned for the second time on Lap 39 as he closed the gap to his team-mate.

The single-stoppers of Bourdais and Fisichella finally pitted on Lap 50 and rejoined in P8 and P9.

Button pitted for the second time on Lap 50 and Button on Lap 51 exiting in P2 in a Ferrari sandwich; behind Raikkonen but in front of Massa. With both the Ferraris still to stop they were no threat, apart from an inadvertent contact or missed braking point.

Raikkonen pitted on Lap 53 and Massa and Webber pitted together on Lap 56 without changing places. During that time we lost Heikki Kovalainen who lost control of his car over the kerbs of the swimming pool and spun his car backwards into the barriers.

So the positions on Lap 57 were: 1.Button 13.2 seconds in front of... 2.Barrichello who was 3.0 seconds ahead of... 3.Raikkonen, who had 3.9 seconds on... 4.Massa who was 1.3 seconds ahead of... 5.Rosberg (still to stop again) who was 1.6 seconds ahead of Mark Webber in sixth. 7.Alonso, 8.Bourdais, 9. Fisichella, 10. Nakajima

The Ferraris had saved up their less-than-speedy supersoft tyres for the final stint and with far more rubber on the track they didn't degrade at the speed seen in the first stint. Thus in the final phase of the race there was no change of position other than Rosberg who pitted from P5 and rejoined in P6.

Button eased down his pace as he neared the line, but kept his focus. Unlike Kazuki Nakajima, who buried his Williams in the barrier at Mirabeau on the penultimate lap. On the final lap Mark Webber closed right up to Felipe Massa, but it was too little too late.

Button took a dominant win, one that he had earned for himself on Saturday, taking a breathtaking pole position with the heaviest fuel load of the top eight cars. He crossed the line to familiar celebrations. On the slowing down lap he drove into parc ferme instead of stopping on the start/finish and had to sprint from the pitlane down to the Royal Box.

Button's pace on foot after two hours under stress in the car was amazing to see, and it's no surprise that Jenson can take part in triathlons. The "milepost" had won five races out of six and looked unstoppable. Barrichello was relieved to be second ahead of a resurgent Kimi Raikkonen.

Massa was fortunate to take P4 after consistently cutting the chicane and Webber made up for his poor qualifying by claiming P5. Rosberg came home ahead of Alonso in P6 with Sebastien Bourdais taking the final point in P8.

Lewis Hamilton finished 12th and was never in a position to contend for points.


01 J. Button Brawn GP 1:40:44.282
02 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 7.666
03 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 13.442
04 F. Massa Ferrari + 15.110
05 M. Webber Red Bull + 15.730
06 N. Rosberg Williams + 33.586
07 F. Alonso Renault + 37.839
08 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:03.142
09 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1:05.040
10 T. Glock Toyota + 1 laps
11 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1 laps
12 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
14 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 2 laps
16 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 26 laps
17 R. Kubica BMW + 48 laps
18 S. Vettel Red Bull + 62 laps
19 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 67 laps
20 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 68 laps


Spainish GP

Jenson Button

Spanish GP Report: Button Wins Brawn Battle

Sunday 10th May 2009

Jenson Button took the chequered flag at the Spanish Grand Prix to claim his fourth win of the season and extend his lead in the Drivers' Championship.

Although team-mate Rubens Barrichello led the way off the line and again when the race restarted after the Lap 1 Safety Car, Brawn GP's decision to switch the Briton to a two-stop strategy was the clinching factor

Third went to Mark Webber after Red Bull also switched their driver to a longer middle stint. It paid off as he passed both Felipe Massa and Seb Vettel in the final round of pitstops.

Vettel went on to finish fourth, overtaking Massa three laps from the end after spending the majority of the race staring at the Brazilian's rear wing. However, a fuel shortage for Massa meant he had to yield the position or risk running out.

But by doing that the Ferrari driver also lost out to Spain'sFernando Alonso, who claimed fifth place with Massa sixth.

Race Report Though the weather forecasters had predicted a 40% chance of rain, it clearly wasn't going to happen as the sun beat down on the Barcelona grid. With an ambient temperature of 24C and the track at 40C it was going to be a dry race.

As the lights went out all eyes switched to Felipe Massa starting from P4 and with the advantage of his KERS button going into Turn 1. Jenson Button led away from pole, but behind him, the heavier car of Rubens Barrichello in P3 had a clear track to challenge as P2 man Vettel protected the line to the inside from Massa's Ferrari.

It was a vain hope and Massa easily got past the Red Bull to take P3 while the two Brawn cars battled it out. Barrichello, despite having a heavier car, got the jump on Button and even though Jenson had the inside line, Barrichello was able to power round the outside.

Mark Webber slotted into P5, but behind them it all got a bit messy. Jarno Trulli had been slow off the line, but coming through Turn 2 he found the out-of-shape Williams of Nico Rosberg veering right across the track and to avoid him threw his Toyota into the gravel.

It wasn't exactly Rosberg's fault, he had been passed up the inside by Fernando Alonso and pushed wide when the Renault driver gave him no room on the exit and thus pushed the Williams over the kerbs.

As the Toyota slewed back onto the track, out of control, it hit the Force India of Adrian Sutil and while Sebastien Bourdais took avoiding action he hit the sister Toro Rosso car of Sebastien Buemi. Four cars out on the spot and the track littered with carbon fibre it was an easy decision for Charlie Whiting to bring out the Safety Car.

Kimi Raikkonen had a great start and was up to P10, the same couldn't be said of Lewis Hamilton who had tried to go up the inside of Nelson Piquet just as the Renault junked towards him and the World Champion was forced out onto the grass and slid back down the order.

As the cars crossed the line the race order was Barrichello, Button, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg, Glock, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, Nakajima and Kubica. Hamilton was back in P.15.

The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 5 and on the restart Fernando Alonso set about taking Mark Webber's 5th place. Using his KERS button he shot past the Red Bull up the inside into Turn 1 just about keeping his car on the circuit as he passed the pitlane exit.

The pass looked over and he positioned his car for the turn-in to Turn 1 only to find the Red Bull re-take him. Webber was incredibly late on the brakes but still managed to get his car turned in for the next apex. It was breathtaking stuff.

By Lap 8 we had lost the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen who retired his car with gear selection problems. Unusually we had five cars out already. In the heat of Bahrain 19 cars made it to the finish.

At the front Button and Barrichello swapped fastest laps with Button never more than 1.5 second behind his team-mate, playing a waiting game. They were both dropping off the Massa vs Vettel battle for P3 and by Lap 15 Button trailed Barrichello by 1.5 seconds and the Brit was 5.2 seconds in front of Massa.

Button put in the fastest laps (but only by hundredths of a second) on Lap 14 and 16 before pitting on Lap 18. While this was happening attention switched to the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn had been having no luck at finding a way past the clearly slower car of Nick Heidfeld depite a KERS button advantage.

Though Raikkonen had reported it wasn't working on the parade lap, he explained later that it actually was, he just couldn't see the light because the angle of the rear wing was so high. On Lap 18 he slowed to a halt out on the circuit his race over.

Rubens Barrichello pitted with Mark Webber on Lap 19 while the luckless Sebastian Vettel found himself pitting on Lap 20 with his tormentor Felipe Massa. The Red Bull team were trying to bring Vettel in earlier and break the sequence but found themselves stuck behind the Ferrari again.

As they reformed it was clear that Rubens Barrichello was now a lot further in front of his team-mate Jenson Button than before the stop. The reason was that Jenson had taken on more fuel and switched from a three- to a two-stopper. What was worrying to the Brawn team in the second stint was that Rubens should have been lapping a lot quicker than Jenson.

The positions on Lap 21 were: 1.Barrichello, 2.Rosberg (not stopped), 3.Button, 4.Massa, 5.Vettel, 6.Heidfeld (not stopped), 7.Kubica (not stopped), 8.Hamilton (not stopped) 9.Webber, 10.Alonso.

Barrichello was stretching out a gap at the front but he looked to be the only car on a three-stop strategy. He was lapping between 0.6 and 0.9 a lap faster than Button but his engineer Jock Clear told him on the radio that he needed to press on as Jenson had switched to "Plan B - you have to make this work."

Rubens set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 28 with a 1:22.762. He had a 13.0 second lead on lap 29 but by the end of Lap 31 he was in for his next stop (of three) and rejoined in 4th a long way behind his team-mate and behind the Massa vs Vettel battle.

Button was not that much faster than Massa and Vettel at this stage of the race. On Lap 37 he had a 5.0 gap, but Massa reduced this to 4.0 seconds by Lap 42. On Lap 43 the Ferrari swung off down the pitlane to the complete dismay of the Red Bull team who were also bringing Vettel in at the same time. It was far earlier than the Brawn team had expected and immediately gave them a clear run to a 1-2 finish.

Vettel was unable to leapfrog the Ferrari in the pit-stop and they rejoined on the harder 'prime' tyre which was significantly slower than the green-walled 'option'. The fact that they had switched to this tyre early meant that Mark Webber, running much longer on the quicker tyre, was able to pass them both.

Button pitted for his second and final time on Lap 48 and rejoined behind Barrichello/Webber. When they pitted together on Lap 50 Button resumed in the lead.

Jenson was able to go a lot quicker on the harder tyre than Barrichello, on average about 0.6 of a lap quicker. And all this with Mark Webber pressuring the Brazilian for his P2. On Lap 51 the positions were 1.Button, 7.1 seconds ahead of... 2.Barrichello, who was 2.7 seconds ahead of... 3.Mark Webber 4.7 seconds ahead of... 4.Massa, 0.7 seconds a head of... 5.Vettel who has a massive 20 seconds on... 6.Alonso, 7.Heidfeld, 8.Rosberg, 9.Hamilton.

In the closing stages of the race Button moved his lead out to over 14 seconds while Mark Webber reduced his defecit to Barrichello to just 1.0 seconds but was never in a position to overtake.

Which was similar to Sebastian Vettel who could never get close enough to Massa because of the Ferrari's KERS advantage down the start/finish straight. But on Lap 57 (of 66) we started to hear radio transmissions from Rob Smedley, Felipe's race engineer telling him to save fuel.

It transpired that the Ferrari fuel delivery had come up one lap short and Massa was due to run out before the finish unless he saved fuel. All this while under the most extreme pressure from Vettel. Massa wasn't able to do it and on lap 62 he got the call to let Vettel go.

He'd already delayed the inevitable too long because he had to slow down at such a rate on his final four laps that Alonso overtook him for 5th and Nick Heidfeld almost took 6th. He ran out of fuel on the slowing down lap, so both Ferraris needed recovering at the close.

Button duly took his fourth win in five races from a bewildered Rubens Barrichello who found it hard to work out why he was only in P2. Webber took a much-deserved podium, Vettel P4, Alonso, P5, Massa an encouraging P6 with Heidfeld in P7, Rosberg in P8 and a dejected Lewis Hamilton a long way back in P9.

For the second race in succession Vettel had lost the chance of a win in the run down to Turn 1, and with Ferrari coming on strong, things aren't going to get any better.


01 J. Button Brawn GP 1:37:19.202
02 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 13.056
03 M. Webber Red Bull + 13.924
04 S. Vettel Red Bull + 18.941
05 F. Alonso Renault + 43.166
06 F. Massa Ferrari + 50.827
07 N. Heidfeld BMW + 52.312
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:05.211
09 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps
10 T. Glock Toyota + 1 laps
11 R. Kubica BMW + 1 laps
12 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1 laps
13 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
15 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 49 laps
16 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 59 laps
17 J. Trulli Toyota + 66 laps
18 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 66 laps
19 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 66 laps
20 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 66 laps

Bahrain GP

Jenson Button

Bahrain GP Report: Button's Back On Top

Sunday 26th April 2009

Jenson Button claimed the victory in Sunday's Bahrain GP as the Brawn driver proved he had the race pace needed to outwit the Red Bull and Toyota

Sebastian Vettel claimed second place as the Red Bull racer continued to show a maturity beyond his age, holding off the Toyota of Jarno Trulli in the final stint of the race.

Lewis Hamilton added more points to his and McLaren's tally but didn't have the pace needed to finish on the podium, settling for fourth place. Meanwhile, the three-stopping Rubens Barrichello was fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who claimed Ferrari's first points of the season.

Race Report The temperatures on the sun-baked Sakhir circuit were slightly down on Saturday Qualifying but with an ambient temperature of 36C, the track was still at 50C as Jarno Trulli led the field round on a very slow parade lap. All the cars would take the super soft option tyre in the first stint.

As the red lights went out there was a scramble forward as the cars equipped with KERS; McLaren, Ferrari and Renault sought to maximise their advantage off the line. It was a frantic opening two laps in Bahrain.

Despite starting on the dusty side of the track Timo Glock managed to outdrag his heavier-fuelled team-mate, and Jarno Trulli had to slot in behind him going through Turn 1. Behind him Lewis Hamilton chose to dive down the inside of Sebastian Vettel in a move reminiscent of Mount Fuji 2008 but this time managed to get his car stopped in time to take P3. At the same moment Jenson Button came round the outside of the Red Bull driver to take P4 as Vettel had to back off.

Through the second turn and Lewis Hamilton was able to overtake Jarno Trulli and was briefly into P2 before running wide on the exit of Turn 3 handing the place back to the Toyota driver.

Behind Vettel in P5, Raikkonen had chosen the inside line to steal a march on his fast-strating Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. Both of them had overtaken the slow starting (or KERS-less) Rubens Barrichello who then nipped up the inside of Raikkonen again and put his car between Raikkonen and Massa.

Fernando Alonso took to the grass to get past Rosberg and almost shoved his Renault into the back of Massa in the braking zone for Turn 1.

Rubens Barrichello didn't want to stay behind Raikkonen for long and was past the Ferrari before Turn 17. Fernando Alonso would pass Massa on the opening lap also.

So, as the cars streamed over the line on the opening lap the order was 1.Glock, 2.Trulli, 3.Hamilton, 4.Button, 5.Vettel, 6.Barrichello, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Alonso, 9.Massa, 10.Rosberg, 11.Piquet. The fast-starting Red Bull of Mark Webber was up to P.14.

Somewhere on the lap there was contact and Nakajima and Kubica returned to the pits for new front wings, while the second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen had fallen back to 17th.

Jenson Button was close to the back of Lewis Hamilton from the moment he outbraked himself passing Jarno Trulli and on the second lap Button managed to hurl his Brawn GP car down the inside of the McLaren at Turn 1. It was a critical moment because it allowed him to keep in touch with the two Toyota drivers as Hamilton's pace would fall away.

On the third lap Felipe Massa cruised down pitlane suspecting a problem with his KERS device but continuing nonetheless. Heidfeld also pitted on what would be a wretched afternoon for the BMW team.

At the front, Jarno Trulli started setting a series of fastest laps to haul in Timo Glock. Trulli's pace just inspired Glock to go faster and he responded with Personal Best lap times. The published weights on Saturday had shown that both Toyotas were the lightest on the grid, indicating that they might be trying a three-stop race or a two-stop race with a very short opening stint.

Button was already being told to turn down the engine on Lap 7, but by Lap 9 he was still only 3.4 seconds adrift of Jarno Trulli, who was still two seconds behind Glock. Hamilton had been dropped off six seconds back in fourth place and he was clearly holding up Sebastien Vettel in fifth.

The strategy started to play out at the end of Lap 12 as Glock pitted and exited behind Nico Rosberg in 9th. Trulli pitted a lap later but was able to exit in front of Alonso in 7th, leapfrogging his team-mate in the process.

The Toyota team had chosen to run the prime (medium-hardness) tyre in the middle stint and it looked to be a mistake. Alonso was soon on the back of Trulli and passed him with an epic overtaking move round the outside on Lap 14.

When Button and Hamilton came in for their first pit-stops at the end of Lap 15 it left Sebastian Vettel briefly in the lead for Red Bull. The result of the stops was that Button had leapfrogged Trulli on the road and Hamilton was now ahead of Glock.

So the positions on lap 17 were: Vettel (not stopped), Raikkonen (not stopped), Button, Trulli, Rosberg (not stopped), Hamilton, Glock, Piquet (not stopped), Barrichello, Alonso.

When Vettel pitted on Lap 18 he emerged behind Button and Trulli but now in front of Hamilton. Though Vettel was just 30 metres behind Trulli when he got back on track it was enough. For the rest of the middle stint Trulli would hold up the Red Bull driver while Button increased his advantage. And got away.

On Lap 22 the Briton led by 7.5 seconds - by Lap 34 he had stretched that gap out to 15.6 seconds thanks to running on the option (super soft) tyre in the middle stint. Both he and Vettel would have to run the slower prime tyre in the final stint.

Jenson's team-mate Rubens Barrichello looked to be running on a three-stop strategy and cruised up to the back of Jarno Trulli's three-car train of Trulli/Vettel/Hamilton before pitting for the second time on Lap 26.

The sometimes frantic opening few laps of the race were replaced with an old-fashioned no-passing-on-track strategy duel in the closing stages. The faster Vettel and Hamilton could not find a way past Trulli and had to sit behind until Jarno pitted for the second time on Lap 37. The only problem for Hamilton was that he had to pit at the same time.

Button also chose that moment to pit for the final time, handing P1 to Vettel for four laps. When the German emerged from his stop he was a long way back from Button but had made up enough time on Trulli to take P2. It was then Trulli's turn to sit on the Red Bull's gearbox. Trulli still had the chance to use his faster super soft tyres to get past Vettel but the Toyota couldn't get close enough to make a move in the final stint of the race.

Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari had been running strongly all afternoon but out of phase with the front runners. When he came out after his final stop on Lap 44 he was immediately passed by Timo Glock who took P8 into Turn 1. Raikkonen, having to do his best with the slower prime tyre, managed to out-muscle the place back a few turns later.

That small fracas on track allowed Rubens Barrichello just enough breathing space to sneak into the pits from his P4 place on Lap 47 and rejoin in P5, just metres in front of the Raikkonen/Glock tussle.

So with nine laps to go it was 1.Button, twelve seconds ahead of...2.Vettel, a second in front of... 3.Trulli, eight seconds clear of... 4.Hamilton, 5.Barrichello, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Glock, 8.Alonso 9.Rosberg.

And from there it was positions held to the flag, the only notable moment coming on Lap 49 when failing oil pressure on Kazuki Nakajima's Williams-Toyota made it the first and only retirement of the afternoon.

Button eased his car back and was just eight seconds ahead of Vettel as he crossed the line for his third win in four races. Vettel had to settle for second place, his chance of winning having been ruined by falling behind Hamilton at Turn 1 on Lap 1 and thus not getting past Trulli for the middle stint.

Though Jarno Trulli was unhappy at failing to deliver Toyota's first win, when the qualifying weights had been published on Saturday it was clear that it was going to be a tall order. He looked in considerable distress after the race unlike Lewis Hamilton whose fourth place was as good as his car deserved and who had the appearance of someone who'd done about 10 laps on a kart track.

Barrichello again rode his luck to claim fifth, while Ferrari will at least welcome their first points of the year with a 6th for Raikkonen, Glock will rue an opportunity missed in 7th and Alonso ended up only 13 seconds in front of his much-criticised team-mate in 8th place.

Nick Heidfeld made it 25 consecutive race finishes for BMW-Sauber in what is probably his lowest F1 finish, P19. It had been a race where the new F1 order was established in the first non-Safety Car GP of 2009. With all the technical innovations planned for Barcelona that order will soon change again.


01. Button Brawn GP 1h31:48.182
02. Vettel Red Bull + 7.187
03. Trulli Toyota + 9.170
04. Hamilton McLaren + 22.096
05. Barrichello Brawn GP + 37.779
06. Raikkonen Ferrari + 42.057
07. Glock Toyota + 42.880
08. Alonso Renault + 52.775
09. Rosberg Williams + 58.198
10. Piquet Renault + 1:05.149
11. Webber Red Bull + 1:07.641
12. Kovalainen McLaren + 1:17.824
13. Bourdais Toro Rosso + 1:18.805
14. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Fisichella Force India + 1 lap
16. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
17. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
18. Kubica BMW + 1 lap
19. Heidfeld BMW + 1 lap
Did not finish
20. Nakajima Williams lap 49

Chinese GP

Sebastian Vettel

Chinese GP: Vettel Claims Red Bull's Debut Win

Sunday 19th April 2009

Sebastian Vettel claimed Red Bull's first-ever grand prix win at Shanghai on Sunday with the team scoring a dominant 1-2, with Mark Webber coming home second for the Milton Keynes-based team.

The two Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello came home in third and fourth place but never looked a serious threat, while Lewis Hamilton had to cede to team-mate Heikki Kovalainen after several off-track excursions in a race that started under a Safety Car.

It was another disaster for the Ferrari, BMW and Renault teams, with Massa stopping while in P3, and Robert Kubica ramming his car into the back of Jarno Trulli's Toyota on Lap 18.

Race Report With steady rain at the start of the Chinese GP, Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to start it under the Safety Car and avoid any Turn 1 carnage - for the record, the air temperature was at 20C while the track was lower at 19C.

The race officialy got underway as Berndt Maylander pulled away in the Mercedes Safety Car and Sebastien Vettel slotted in behind him followed by the rest of the field minus Robert Kubica and Timo Glock who elected to fill their cars up and start from the pitlane (having nothing to lose from their original grid slots at the back).

The Safety Car start was a disaster for Fernando Alonso who only had about nine laps of fuel on board - a bit of grandstanding from the Renault team to boost morale(?). The Safety Car start meant that the field would hardly spread in the opening laps and so when he made his pit-stop, he would rejoin near the back.

The Red Bulls had hardly much more with Vettel and Webber estimated with 11 and 12 laps, the two Brawns had 17 and 18 laps, while Raikkonen and Hamilton had 21 and 22 laps of fuel. In fact fuel adjusted, the two Brawns looked the strongest runners of all with Rubens Barrichello taking the fuel-adjusted pole.

Back to the track action and the parade of cars weaved around trying to keep heat in the tyres and whatever heat they could find for the brakes. This was interspersed by team radio traffic. All the cars with low amounts of fuel who wanted the Safety Car to come in early gave helpful suggestions about how drivable the track was. "We had worse in the past," commented Vettel

Jenson Button on the other hand said that his car was aquaplaning on the main straight and that the visibility was terrible. The biggest comedy moment came when the Renault team asked Fernando Alonso pointedly (knowing that Whiting would be listening in Race Control) "Do you feel that it's safe for the Safety Car to come in?" "Yes."

McLaren's radar revealed that it would be raining for at least the next 30 minutes.

On Lap 7, before the Safety Car came in, Alonso came back for more fuel and rejoined in last place. The Safety Car duly mocked him by coming in a lap later and we were off racing, not weaving and warming.

Lewis Hamilton immediately mounted a charge and passed the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen on Lap 9 for P6, found a fantastically wide line to get past Jarno Trulli for P5 and then threw it all away by spinning. The Mclaren driver would spend the rest of the afternoon proving that he was not the Regenmeister of Silverstone 08.

Someone who has been very tentative in the wet in the past is Felipe Massa, and after Sebsatien Buemi duelled it out with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, Massa came through too. So the order on Lap 13 was 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Barrichello, 5.Trulli, 6.Buemi, 7.Massa, 8.Raikkonen, 9.Kovalainen, 10.Hamilton. Fernando Alonso at the back of the field was making no progress at all and was in P.17.

On Lap 14 Timo Glock earned himself what under Melbourne circumstances would be a 10-place grid penalty, by completely misjudging his braking and piling into Nick Heidfeld's car. The fact that this and several other avoidable accidents in the race were not even investigated (let alone cleared) was curious in the extreme, though the worst example was yet to come.

The two Red Bulls had been able to make their fuel go further after the period behind the Safty Car and came in for their pit-stops at the end of Laps 14 and 15. This made the race order on Lap 16: 1.Button, ten seconds ahead of... 2.Barrichello, five seconds ahead of 3.Vettel 4.Buemi, 5.Massa, 6.Webber, 7.Raikkonen, 8. Hamilton, 9.Kovalainen.

On Lap 18 Jarno Trulli, whose Toyota had been going steadily backwards in the wet conditions was hit up the back by Robert Kubica's BMW. It was a high speed impact with Kubica totally misjudging Trulli's pace - it was almost a re-run of Canada 2007 except the BMW hit the Toyota squarely from behind and almost drove over the top of it before sliding back down.

Trulli's race was finished, though his car continued down the road, while amazingly, the BMW of Kubica seemed to suffer little more than a destroyed front nose. With all the debris on the track the Safety Car was sent out to allow marshals to collect all the carbon fibre pieces of smashed turning vanes. Astonishingly, the stewards didn't want to investigate this either.

Both Brawns headed back to the pits for their first pit-stops - under the new Safety Car rules, there is a maximum sector time that drivers must comply with. Sebastien Buemi seemed to be ignoring this when he approached third placed man Sebastian Vettel's car at speed, clipping his rear tyre with his front wing.

When the Brawns re-emerged the order behind the Safety Car was then: Vettel, Button, Massa (not stopped), Webber, Raikkonen (not stopped), Hamilton (not stopped), Barrichello, Kovalainen (not stopped).

Felipe Massa's strong drive in the wet then came to an abrupt end after Turn 13 as his Ferrari F60 stuttered to a halt and the field queued up behind him streamed past him.

On Lap 23 we were GO again and Vettel immediately opened up a 4.3 second gap to Jenson Button and set off down the road. Mark Webber shadowed the Brawn car a few seconds back. Kovalainen overtook the much heavier Barrichello and Hamilton overtook Raikkonen for the third time of the afternoon.

Nelson Piquet Junior had his usual spin on Lap 28, though later in the race than some would have expected. The Renault snapped off the road at Turn 5 and an impact with the polystyrene braking marker deranged his front wing requiring a pit-stop.

On Lap 29 Jenson Button went straight on allowing Mark Webber to take P2 without a fight. Two laps later and the Aussie returned the favour by running wide at the final corner allowing Button back. This seemed to galvanise the Red Bull driver because by Turn 7 of the next lap he'd made an impressive pass on the outside of the turn to take back P2.

What's more, he and Sebastian Vettel set about trading fastest laps of the race to open up a decisive advantage. Vettel at this stage was 18 seconds in front and unlikely to lose that edge unless we had another Safety Car.

On Lap 33 Webber put in the FL with a 1:54.254, then a lap later 1:54.197, followed by Vettel's 1:53.864 on Lap 35 and 1:53.435 on Lap 36 which Webber reduced to 1:53.382. At the same time Jenson Button's personal best of the race so far was only a 1:55.280 and so the Red Bull's were able to pull away.

Though Vettel and Webber were due to pit before the Brawns, they would regain their places as the strategy wound out. The only area of doubt (apart from another SC) was whether the track might dry out enough to warrant Bridegstone Inters - everyone up until Nico Rosberg on lap 41 had taken full wets.

The Williams driver made no progress on his tyres and so everyone took full wets to the finish. On Lap 44 the order was: 1.Vettel, 15 seconds ahead of... 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Buemi (still to stop), 5.Barrichello, 6.Hamilton, 7.Kovalainen, 8.Sutil, 9.Heidfeld, 10.Glock.

On Lap 45 Nelson Piquet matched Robert Kubica by taking his third nose of the day after losing his car under braking and dinking the barrier. At the same time Lewis Hamilton was having yet another off-track excursion handing his place to Heikki Kovalainen. On Lap 49 he would do it again at the final turn allowing Adrian Sutil through to P6 and the chance of three points for Force India.

Sadly it didn't last long. Two laps later Sutil lost the car at the place Piquet had side-swiped the braking board, Turn 5, and went sailing into the barrier at a speed great enough to knock his front wheel clean off the tethers.

The race order on lap 51 was Vettel, Webber, Button, Barrichello, Kovalainen, Hamilton, Glock, Buemi, Heidfeld and Alonso. Heidfeld would slip back before the flag promoting Alonso to P9 (which could potentially be a P8 if Buemi's Safety car sector times are analysed).

And so both Red Bulls made it to the line to give a decisive debut win for the Milton Keynes team, Vettel's second win and his second in the wet. Mark Webber never looked like matching his team-mate for more than a couple of laps brought the car home in one piece.

Jenson Button was a long way back in P3, presumably saving his race engine for Bahrain. The two McLarens added to the symmetry of the occasion coming in 5th and 6th, Kovalainen slower than Hamilton in the race but able to keep his car in a straight line. Kimi Raikkonen trailed home in a disconsolate P10 - with no points it is the Scuderia's worst start in 27 years.

However the main focus will be on the progress of the Red Bull team. It's clear they have the driver talent to match the progress of a superbly designed car.


01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:57:43.485
02 M. Webber Red Bull + 10.970
03 J. Button Brawn GP + 44.975
04 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 1:03.704
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1:05.102
06 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1:11.866
07 T. Glock Toyota + 1:14.476
08 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:16.439
09 F. Alonso Renault + 1:24.309
10 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 1:31.750
11 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:34.156
12 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:35.834
13 R. Kubica BMW + 1:46.853
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
15 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
16 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 2 laps
Did not finish
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 6 laps
18 K. Nakajima Williams + 13 laps
19 F. Massa Ferrari + 35 laps
20 J. Trulli Toyota + 37 laps

Malaysian GP

Jenson Button
Yes. She is rather lovely
Jenson Button
Rubens Barrichello
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button on the grid

Malaysian GP: Button Wins Rain-Shortened Race

Sunday 5th April 2009

Jenson Button claimed the victory in a rain-shortened Malaysian GP that caused more confusing after the chequered flag than it did when the drivers were spinning off the track.

The Brit made it two-from-two for himself and Brawn GP as the race was called on lap 33 with him ahead of Timo Glock and Heidfeld. But given the countback to the end of lap 31 it was Heidfeld who finished in second place with Glock third.

There were also points, albeit only half points, for Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The half points are because the race didn't reach the two-thirds mark.

As for Ferrari, it was yet another day to forget with Felipe Massa finishing ninth and Kimi Raikkonen down in 14th place.

Report: Nico Rosberg snatched the lead of the Malaysian Grand Prix after making a storming start from sixth and forcing pole-sitter Jenson Button wide in the first corner.

Button, on pole for the second consecutive race for Brawn GP, slipped down to third behind Jarno Trulli.

Fernando Alonso, who has been suffering from an ear infection all weekend, powered his way from 10th up to fourth, while Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello slipped back one place to sixth.

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen failed to complete the first lap and was forced to retire from the race following an opening lap collision, while BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica was slow off the line and soon became the second retirement.

With dark rain clouds looming, Sebastien Buemi was forced to pit at the end of lap three for a new nose before Barrichello reclaimed fourth after passing the much heavier Alonso in the Renault.

At the front, Button continued to press Trulli while leader Rosberg set a new fastest lap to push his lead towards two seconds after five laps.

Further down the order, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton made his way up three places to 10th.

With the fuel-laden Renault of Alonso causing a backlog, Kimi Raikkonen finally made his way past the two-time World Champion to claim fifth before Mark Webber quickly followed suit to relegate the sluggish Spaniard to seventh.

Vettel, running light after being relegated to 13th on the grid due to a 10-place penalty, was the first to make a regulation pit stop at the end of lap 13 and opted to only take on fuel.

Race leader Rosberg soon made his way in on lap 14 and dropped back to fourth ahead of Raikkonen's Ferrari to hand Trulli - who had Button less than a second behind - the lead.

The Italian soon brought his Toyota in a lap later to temporality hand Brawn GP a one-two with Barrichello, fighting back after being hit with a five-place grid penalty following a gearbox change, setting the fastest lap on lap 19.

Raikkonen was the next to pit but even though rain had yet to fall, Ferrari opted to send the Finn out with wet-weather tyres.

Button handed the lead to his team-mate at the end of lap 20 with his own pit-stop with Brawn opting to stick with dry-weather tyres for the Briton and a lap later Barrichello.

After the first round of regulation pit stops, Button claimed the lead from Rosberg, with Trulli, Alonso and Barrichello rounding out the top five.

But soon afterwards rain started to fall on parts of the circuit which brought the leaders into the pit lane after Alonso had lost control and spun on lap 22 but still kept himself in the race after crossing the grass.

Barrichello took advantage of Alonso's spin to move up to fourth ahead of Nick Heidfeld, with Webber passing Hamilton to claim sixth.

Hamilton reclaimed the place into turn one at the start of lap 24 before the Australian briefly took back the position but ran wide and allowed to Briton to recover and snatch it back.

But with Hamilton appearing to have an engine problem he slipped down to eighth, while Webber made his way up to fifth ahead of Heidfeld, who was soon passed by Timo Glock.

At the front, Button's lead over Rosberg stood at over 18 seconds on lap 26, while Barrichello restored the Brawn one-two after passing Trulli and Rosberg.

With rain only falling on parts of the circuit, the leaders all pitted on lap 29 and opted for intermediates to hand a storming Glock the lead ahead of Button following his pit stop.

But Glock, with a damaged front wing endplate following an earlier clash with Webber, was the first to pit for full wet types a lap later with the rain becoming heavier as a lighting storm passed over the circuit to reduce visibility.

Button made his fourth pit stop of the day for full wet tyres from the lead on lap 32 but managed to hang onto first place from Heidfeld, Glock and Trulli.

Shortly afterwards Vettel spun out of the race and with conditions worsening, the safety car was deployed on lap 32.

And as expected a lap later the red flag came to bring a temporary halt to the race with water standing on the track and making driving conditions impossible with cars spinning off on virtually every corner.

With the cars standing on the starting grid waiting for the weather to improve, Button led from Glock, Heidfeld, Trulli and Barrichello with Hamilton in sixth.

Race director Charlie Whiting then confirmed the race was suspended and drivers would be given a 10-minute warning before any racing resumed.

With the rain appearing to ease and visibility slowly improving the chance of racing improved, but with the race clock nearing the two-hour limit imposed by the FIA, the chance of a full race being completed diminished with only 20 minutes remaining and no sign of the 10 minute warning being given.

When the red flag fell, drivers had not completed 75% of the scheduled race distance meaning they would only be awarded half points should the race not resume with only 33 laps completed.

The race was finally called at the two hour mark with Jenson Button winning and Heidfeld finishing ahead of Glock based on the countback to lap 31.

01 J. Button Brawn GP 1:10:59.092
02 N. Heidfeld BMW + 22.700
03 T. Glock Toyota + 23.500
04 J. Trulli Toyota + 46.100
05 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 47.300
06 M. Webber Red Bull + 52.300
07 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1:00.700
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:11.500
09 F. Massa Ferrari + 1:16.900
10 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
11 F. Alonso Renault + 1 laps
12 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
13 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1 laps
14 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 1 laps
15 S. Vettel Red Bull + 1 laps
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
19 R. Kubica BMW +29 laps
20 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 31 laps

Drivers back the decision not to restart

By Chris Whyatt

Sunday 5th April 2009

F1 drivers Rubens Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton have backed FIA race director Charlie Whiting's decision not to restart the Malaysian GP.

Starting at 5pm local time, Sunday's race at the Sepang circuit got under in already dismal conditions as fading light was made worse by the gathering thunderstorms. And when those finally broke the race was red flagged due to the dangerous conditions.

The drivers, though, were forced to wait around, some even sitting in their cars on the grid, as they waited for Whiting to decide whether or not to restart it. But at 7pm local time, he opted not to.

"That's the unfortunate thing of starting the race at five o'clock, basically," Barrichello told the BBC. "But, it was definitely the right thing because visibility, not from the rain but from the sky, wasn't going to be easy."

The Brawn GP driver, though, wasn't the only one who believed the FIA made the rigth call given the darkness and the downpour.

"It was the correct decision to stop the race because it was just too dangerous for everyone," said defending World Champion Hamilton. "I love it when it rains, but this was just too much."

Mark Webber, however, had mixed feelings about it as the Aussie, who finished in sixth place, could perhaps have bettered his result had the race continued a few more laps.

"The guys made the best call to stop the race when they did. It would have been nice to have had some more laps to give us a crack at getting on the podium - - but that's how it is, so I've got mixed emotions," said the Red Bull driver.

Confused Lewis: Wasn't I fifth?

Sunday 5th April 2009

You can forgive Lewis Hamilton for being somewhat confused about his final position in the Malaysian Grand Prix, especially after the Melbourne debacle.

In Australian he finished the race in fourth position was then promoted to third before finally being excluded from the result for misleading race stewards.

However, in Sepang the weather and the rules seemed to confuse Hamilton.

The Malaysian GP was suspended on lap 33 after heavy downpours made it impossible to drive. The race was eventually called off and the standard one-lap countback for stopped races was used.

Hamilton was in fifth position when the race was stopped, but the countback saw him drop back to seventh place.

When asked how he felt about finishing seventh, the McLaren driver responded on BBC: "I was fifth wasn't I? Wasn't I fifth?"

After being corrected by a colleague, Hamilton said: "Oh, seventh. I heard I was fifth."

Hamilton admitted that the conditions were making it impossible to drive and believes race director Charlie Whitting had no choice but to stop the race.

"It was a very tough call because you could only see the clouds, and then some parts of the track were wetter than others so it was hard to commit.

"When the rain came down, it was impossible to drive. I was aquaplaning everywhere... these were the most dangerous conditions I've ever raced in.

"All I could do was try and keep the car on the track. It was the correct decision to stop the race because stop the race because it was just too dangerous for everyone. I love it when it rains, but this was just too much."

Jense: What a crazy race!

Sunday 5th April 2009

Even Malaysian GP winner Jenson Button concedes Sunday's rain-abandoned race was rather "crazy" in the final few laps.

Rain was expected from the start of the grand prix but it wasn't until lap 20 when a few drops finally began to fall. The rain, though, was so light that Button, who pitted that same lap, stayed out on the softer option Bridgestones.

Three laps later and the rain came down a bit harder, sending Button back into the pits for the full wets. But as the track wasn't yet wet enough the Brawn GP driver could only watch in his rearview mirrors as Timo Glock, using the intermediate tyres, began slicing his way through the field. The German's progress promptly sent Button - as well as half the field - back into the pits for the inters.

But no sooner had they donned the inters than the predicted deluge came down and there was a mad scramble to get back to the pits for the full wets. But even with those on the Safety Car was soon deployed while the race was suspended and then called a lap later due to the dangerous conditions.

The resulting countback to lap 31 ensured that Button clinched the victory, his second in two races, but because the event never reached two-thirds distance, the Brawn driver will only bag five points.

"What a crazy race, it really was," said Button.

"Choosing the tyres was very difficult, because normally here when it rains it pours, but it didn't to start with. We went for the full wet tyre and it destroyed itself, and then I saw Timo (Glock) flying up behind us with the inter, so we put the inter on.

"Just as he came by I saw his tyres were bald and it was raining out the back, so he was struggling quite a lot and had to pit. I got one lap in on the inter at a reasonable pace and was able to get in and put the wet tyre on and get back in front."

Race result from the BBC

Drivers' standings from the BBC

Australia GP

Button leads the field 
at the start of the race in Melbourne Jenson Button wins in Australia 
ahead of Rubens Barrichello Melbourne race start Melbourne circuit first corner chaos Heikki Kovalainen retires Nelson Piquet retires Felipe Massa Jenson Button behind safety car Kimi Raikkonen Jenson Button Ross Brawn and drivers Jenson Button Jarno Trulli Sebastian Vettel

25 second penalty for Trulli
and fines galore for Vettel

Jarno Trulli has fallen out of the points for the Australian GP after being slapped with a 25sec penalty by the race stewards for overtaking Lewis Hamilton under a Safety Car while Seb Vettel has not one but two punishments.

The final lap of Sunday's grand prix, which took place behind a Safety Car after a huge crash involving Vettel and Robert Kubica, saw Trulli, who was lying in third place spin his Toyota TF109, allowing Lewis Hamilton through.

But rather than accept the situation the Italian retook the third place, which broke the F1 regulations that state no overtaking behind the Safety Car.

As a result the Toyota driver was slapped with a 25 second penalty, which dropped him from third place to 12th with Mark Webber the only runner behind him in the classification.

Toyota are believed to be considering an appeal.

Meanwhile Vettel was hit with not one but two punishments after causing the penultimate lap accident that cost both him and Kubica a podium finish. But because he didn't finish the grand prix, he will take a ten-grid slot penalty through to the next race in Malaysia.

His woes, though, didn't stop there.

Because of his damaged car Vettel was obliged to park it but he didn't, instead trying to continue through to the last lap as others were not allowed to pass him. His actions resulted in the Aussie stewards handing him a cash fine of $50,000.

Jenson, Barichello and Trulli.
Sorry Trulli you were not third.

Australian GP: Button Dominates Brawn's Debut

Sunday 29th March 2009

Brawn GP couldn't have asked for a better debut nor the 2009 season for a better start as Jenson Button clinched the Australian GP victory, while the two men in line to join him on the podium crashed into each other on the penultimate lap.

In an incident packed race, the Brawn GP driver endured the pressures of two Safety Car periods, no drinks both and a botched pit-stop to score a lights-to-flag victory

Rubens Barrichello lucked into second place after Robert Kubica collided with Sebastian Vettel late in the race, the accident handing a podium finish to Jarno Trulli and an unlikely fourth place for World Champion Lewis Hamilton.

Both Ferraris failed to finish while rookie Sebastien Buemi claimed a point in eighth place for Toro Rosso.

Race Report The cars lined up on the grid in late afternoon sun with an ambient temperature of 21C and the track at 31C.

As the tyre warmers came off, it revealed that the two Ferraris, Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton had opted for the super soft tyres. Everyone else had chosen the hard or 'prime' tyre.

As the red lights went out, Jenson Button's Brawn was straight off the line from pole, but Rubens Barrichello's anti-stall mechanism kicked in and he was slow away. Immediately the second Brawn GP cars was swamped by the rest of the field. Kubica drove straight round him and Vettel was through into second.

Most impressive of all, though on the opening lap was the Ferrari team, making the most of the stored energy in their KERS devices and getting maximum grip from the super soft (qualifying) tyres.

Kubica lost momentum in his slalom round the almost stationary Barrichello and Massa was able to get past him by Turn 1. Then Massa/Kubica/Raikkonen all managed to take advantage of Massa putting Rosberg under pressure through turns 3 and 4.

The major incident, though, came when Rubens closed on the apex of Turn 1, just as Nick Heidfeld got there alongside him with Mark Webber on the outside. It's impossible, if not dangerous, to apply the brakes, so Rubens took the inside line, sidewalled into Heidfeld who was pushed out wider into the path of Mark Webber's Red Bull

The desperately unlucky Aussie's car was spun round and in doing so swiped the front left of Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren. All three cars in the sandwich kept going; Barrichello with a damaged front wing, Heidfeld and Webber needed to return to the pits, but it was the passer-by, Kovalainen, who was out on the spot.

Adrian Sutil in the Force India also picked up damage and had to return to the pits at the end of Lap 1.

At the end of the first tour it was Jenson Button leading by 3.9 seconds. The order was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Massa, 4.Kubica, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Rosberg, 7.Barrichello, 8.Nakajima, 9.Piquet, 10.Buemi, 11.Fisichella, 12.Bourdais, 13. Hamilton

The Ferraris, having had some great gains on the opening lap, started to fall back as early as Lap 4 as the super soft tyres began to go off quickly. Lewis Hamilton, who was also on the softs, had made up places quickly at the start and was using his tyres and KERS button efficiently to pick his way through to P11 by Lap 3. He then disposed of Buemi on Lap 4 and Piquet on lap 6 to elevate himself to a heady P9.

At the front, Button's immediate four-second lead was held by Vettel who set the Fastest Lap to 1:28.424 on Lap 6. Button responded with a 1:28.246 and Vettel took it lower with a 1:28.235.

By Lap 8 the super soft tyres were slowing down badly - on some cars they were four seconds off the leaders pace and by Lap12 they were an incredible six seconds off!

Nico Rosberg quickly closed up on Kimi Raikkonen and passed him on Lap 10 to take P5. Barrichello had the same idea, and looked to brake up the inside into Turn 3.

"He closed the door and we touched," said Rubens afterwards, meaning Raikkonen took the racing line and Rubens failed to brake in time. The Brawn suffered its second significant contact of the race, bumped the Ferrari from behind but kept the front wing on. Rubens was able to accelerate past the slightly displaced Ferrari which couldn't outdrag the Brawn away from the turn on failing tyres.

Kimi pitted at the end of Lap 10, Massa and Hamilton at the end of Lap 11 and Kubica lasted till Lap 12.

At the end of Lap 13 many of the World Championship contenders were in a gaggle all their own. 11. Massa 12. Kubica 13. Raikkonen 14. Trulli 15. Hamilton while at the front Jenson Button led by 4.3 seconds from Vettel who had a massive 27 second advantage over third place man Rosberg (delayed by failing to get past a slowing Raikkonen).

The second Brawn GP car was suffering from Rubens limp front wing and some other aero bits that had disappeared from the back of the car during the accident he had generated.

Vettel and Rosberg duly pitted for the first time at the end of Lap 16, but Rosberg's game plan was ruined by a sticking left front wheel giving him a 21 second pit-stop. The Williams team's afternoon then got a whole lot worse when Kazuki Nakajima managed to spin his car after Turn 2 and it steered into the inside wall on Lap 18.

There was a very long - surprisingly long - delay before the Safety Car was deployed which enabled the two Brawn GP cars to take their first pit-stops before they lined up behind the Safety Car which was finally dispatched on Lap 19.

It was all change at the front. The Safety Car had reversed the order with the cars stopping disastrously early on the super softs now promoted to the front of the race. The race order behind the Safety Car on Lap 24 was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Massa, 4.Kubica, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Rosberg, 7.Piquet, 8.Trulli, 9.Buemi, 10.Barrichello, 11.Glock, 12.Hamilton.

Nelson Piquet Junior became the third retirement on the restart when he lost control of his Renault on cold brakes coming into Turn 1 "the brakes just went crazy" and ploughed straight on into the gravel.

Jenson Button controlled the restart very well and by Lap 27 had established a 2.4 second lead over Vettel. On lap 30 it was up to 3.9 seconds.

Felipe Massa's time in P3 didn't last long because by Lap 31 he had to pit for more fuel and rejoined in P14. Focus then switched to the new third placed man, Robert Kubica, who started to put in some Fastest Laps of the race. On lap0 34 he set FL at 1:27.989 and on Lap 36 it was 1:27.988

On Lap 37 the order was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Kubica, 4.Raikkonen 5.Barrichello, 6.Buemi, 7.Rosberg, 8.Hamilton, 9.Alonso, 10. Glock

Kubica took his second stop on Lap 39 and emerged in P7, Raikkonen chose the same lap and rejoined in P10, both still in front of Felipe Massa. This left Sebastien Buemi in 4th place in his debut grand prix.

Hamilton pitted from 5th place on lap 43, just as Kimi Raikkonen returned to the pitlane for a mysterious third time. The reason became apparent when replays showed the Ferrari spinning out on track and bumping the wall side-on. After a precautionary check in the pits Raikkonen returned to the track but was officially retired by the team at three laps down.

Vettel pitted from P2 and re-emerged in P2 resisting the attentions of the still-to-stop Rubens Barrichello. On Lap 47 the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa - which had struggled to keep Buemi at bay - cruised back to the pits and retirement.

Jenson Button came in for his final pit-stop on Lap 47 and made the stop even slower by failing to select first gear, but still managed to get out in front of Vettel - but it was close at the front. Button led from Vettel, Barrichello was in third but would lose that place to Kubica when he pitted again.

Further back Lewis Hamilton was dueling with Jarno Trulli in what was effectively 6th and 7th place (once the cars in front of them pitted). Trulli having to move around the track to block Hamilton's overtaking intentions.

With Barrichello taking his final pit-stop, the race to the flag was on and Button held a slender 1.6 second lead from Vettel. The race order was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Kubica, 4. Rosberg, 5.Barrichello, 6.Trulli, 7.|Hamilton, 8.Glock, 9.Alonso, 10.Buemi.

Timo Glock was charging in the Toyota and mastered both Buemi and Alonso in an identical move around the inside/outside of Turns 3 and 4. Nico Rosberg was going backwards at a rate of knots as his super soft tyres faded. He lost his fourth place to Barrichello on Lap 53 and soon Trulli, Hamilton and Glock were past.

But the significant man on the move was Robert Kubica. Armed with a set of hard tyres he was reeling in both Vettel and Button and would surely catch them both before the finish. On Lap 54 of the 58 laps, at the front, Button was leading Vettel by 2.5 seconds who was 1.3 in front of Kubica.

On Lap 55 Vettel made a mistake in Turn 2 and Kubica aimed to overtake going into Turn 3. Vettel held the inside line and Kubica tried to go round the outside with the extra momentum. But going into the turn the BMW driver made the mistake of squeezing the Red Bull too hard and while Vettel took the apex, Kubica sidewalled him by moving over too far too soon.

It was a racing accident but one that Kubica could probably have avoided by allowing Vettel more room. As it was, both cars were spun round, Vettel lost his front wing and Kubica damaged one half of his. Kubica didn't want to get off the gas and carried on as though 100% of the wing were still there, understeering the car into the wall further down the road. Vettel also drove too quickly and put his car into the wall. Vettel's front left was buckled underneath and he still tried to drive on with a severely crippled car.

The Safety Car was immediately deployed meaning that the race order was set as long as the cars could make it for the final three laps to the flag. Kubica's hasty attempt to get past Vettel had handed the Brawn GP team a 1-2.

The timing screens at the time of the accident had Lewis Hamilton in P3, but then Jarno Trulli regained the position. Trulli had been weaving under braking in his defence of his place from Hamilton and the in-car footage showed this graphically. With 9 of the 58 laps to go Trulli moved across as the TV graphics package showed the cars braking on the left-hand side of the screen.

As it was, Trulli took a podium place from a pit-lane start with Hamilton fourth and Timo Glock in fifth. Barrichello was a fortuitous second - yelled at by his team to slow down at the end - but it was Jenson Button's day. Having resisted a huge amount of pressure he muddled through some pit-stops with an under-practiced crew and took a deserved second career win.

It was an epic race to start the season - and the start of things to come.


Button seals dream Australia win

Jenson Button celebrates winning the Australian Grand Prix

By Chris Whyatt

Sunday 29th March 2009

Jenson Button secured a dream debut victory for the Brawn GP team after dominating the Australian Grand Prix.

The Englishman led throughout and team-mate Rubens Barrichello completed a Brawn one-two after a dramatic finish.

The Brazilian was promoted after Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and BMW's Robert Kubica collided while disputing second place with three laps to go.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli was hit with a 25-second penalty after the race giving Lewis Hamilton an unexpected third.

Claiming an eventual podium finish from 18th on the grid was a superb achievement for the British world champion, given the woeful performance of his McLaren coming into the race.

But all eyes were on Brawn after the chequered flag, with the success of the former Honda team - whose survival was only secured by team boss Ross Brawn in early March - firmly capturing the imagination of the sport as it enters a fresh era under new rules.

Victorious Button secured the second win of his 154-race Formula 1 career after driving coolly throughout, showcasing Brawn's speed to keep Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel at bay for the vast majority of the race to eventually cruise to a finish behind the safety car.

"This is a fairytale ending for the first race," said Button.

"Some people may say its a pity the race finished under the safety car but I don't care, I won the race and that's all I care about."

Vettel looked set for a brilliant second place but he and Kubica tangled on Turn Three with just three laps remaining.

The Red Bull driver was slow through the first two corners, allowing Kubica to get alongside on the outside.

The Pole gave Vettel room, but the Red Bull's front wheel tagged the rear wheel of the BMW.

That tipped both into a spin, and damaged their front wings.

Both crashed further around the lap, and although Vettel tried to continue on three wheels he was eventually forced to retire.

Along with earning the Red Bull driver a post-race 10-place grid penalty for next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, the crash brought out the safety car for the second time in the race and it stayed at the head of the field until the end.

Brawn's one-two looked unlikely at the start of the race as Barrichello, sat next to Button on the front row, was easily passed by the chasing pack as his anti-stall system kicked in.

The Brazilian also tangled with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to cause significant damage to his front wing, which had to be replaced during his stop on lap 18.

The frenetic start also saw Red Bull's Mark Webber collide with McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, causing the Finn to retire and putting the Australian to the back for the duration of his home race.

Button built a lead of nearly 4.5 seconds in the first two laps but Vettel stabilised the gap, which stayed at between four and five seconds until the first pit stops.

Kubica - one of several drivers to start the race on the slower, softer tyres in order to get them out of the way early - stayed in the hunt while Hamilton continued to make up good ground after a brilliant first lap which saw him up to 12th from 18th on the grid.

The first of two safety car periods happened on lap 19, following a crash by Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima.

When it pulled in again, Button again built a five-second lead over a few laps before Vettel held it.

But both - now on the softer, slower tyres - came under pressure late in the race from Kubica, who was now benefiting from the team's decision to use the faster tyres late on.

That pressure on Button was punctured in an instant as the Pole collided with Vettel allowing Trulli and Hamilton, whose McLaren had woefully underperformed in qualifying by his own admission but was now seemingly capable of giving him a drive, to reap the rewards.

Hamilton received a further boost following the race when he was elevated to third after veteran Italian Trulli was handed a 25-second penalty by the stewards for passing Hamilton under yellow flags following the crash involving Vettel and Kubica. Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Jarno Trulli

It is, however, understood that Toyota will appeal against Trulli's penalty.

Toyota's Timo Glock finished fifth in Melbourne ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso and Williams's Nico Rosberg, who suffered a sticking front wheel at a pit stop on lap 15 which scuppered his chance of a podium finish.

Red Bull's Sebastien Buemi made an impressive debut to secure one point in his first ever F1 Grand Prix.

And Ferrari finished without a point in the season opener for the second year running, as Felipe Massa - running in third place - sustained a reliability failure on lap 45, three laps after team-mate Raikkonen spun out.

Results from the new BBC webpages

FIA delays title-rule changes until 2010

LONDON -- Formula One's ruling body backed down Friday and agreed to put off a new points system for the sport until next season, responding to objections from teams and top drivers.

The Formula One Teams' Association said FIA's decision earlier this week that the championship would go to the driver with the most race wins instead of highest point total was invalid. F1's governing body then reversed course.

"If, for any reason, the Formula One teams do not now agree with the new system, its implementation will be deferred until 2010," FIA said in a statement just hours after the teams announced their objection.

The U-turn came just over a week before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 29, heading off the possibility of a boycott.

FIA said it decided to go to race wins scoring system on Tuesday, under the impression that teams wanted the switch from the established system of giving the title to the driver with the most points.

Such was the strength of criticism from the teams and drivers, including Fernando Alonso and world champion Lewis Hamilton, FIA may not be able to implement the change next year either.

FOTA came out strongly against the move. "It is too late for FIA to impose a change for the 2009 season that has not obtained the unanimous agreement of all the competitors properly entered into the 2009 Formula One Championship," the teams' association said in a statement.

The teams said a scoring proposal they have floated -- to award more points for victories -- would make the sport more attractive. They now want to reopen talks with the ruling body over a compromise for next season.

The teams have proposed awarding 12 points rather than 10 for a race win, giving drivers more incentive to chase individual victories.

"FOTA had made a proposal that was carefully based on the results of a global audience survey, which allowed listening to preferences of the public," FOTA said.

"The teams wish to reaffirm their willingness to collaborate with the FIA in order to jointly define a new point system for the 2010 season within a comprehensive set of measures aimed at further stimulating the attractiveness of the F1 sport."

Hamilton would have finished second behind Ferrari's Felipe Massa had the race victories system applied last year. Massa won six races to Hamilton's five.

Instead, Hamilton won the title in a thrilling finish -- with a move on the final bend of the final lap of the final race. He captured the championship by a single point.

"It's a shame what's happening to F1," Hamilton said in a statement provided by his McLaren team Friday before FIA backed down. "It's hard to believe these recent decisions will improve things for the track-side spectators and TV viewers, who should always be our priority.

"Whatever the points system, I know that all F1 drivers will always race our hearts out."

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher had already expressed his astonishment that the change was announced less than two weeks before the start of the world championship.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone had pressed for the change, which reflected an earlier idea of his to award gold medals for race wins and give the title to the driver with the most medals. He said it would encourage more passing and "real racing."

01 J. Button Brawn GP 1:34:15.784
02 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 0.807
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 2.914
04 T. Glock Toyota + 4.435
05 F. Alonso Renault + 4.879
06 N. Rosberg Williams + 5.722
07 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 6.004
08 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 6.298
09 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 6.335
10 N. Heidfeld BMW + 7.085
11 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 7.374
12 J. Trulli Toyota + 26.604
13 M. Webber Red Bull + 1 laps
Did not finish
14 S. Vettel Red Bull + 2 laps
15 R. Kubica BMW + 3 laps
16 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 3 laps
17 F. Massa Ferrari + 12 laps
18 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 34 laps
19 K. Nakajima Williams + 41 laps
20 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 55 laps

Jenson, Barichello and Trulli.
Sorry Trulli you were not third.

Australian GP: Trulli versus Hamilton

Sunday 29th March 2009

Jarno Trulli Footage of Lewis Hamilton overtaking Jarno Trulli behind the Safety Car has raised more questions than answers about the legality of the move and the fairness of the stewards' subsequently decision to add 25 seconds to Trulli's time for Sunday's Australian GP.

In two separate incidents missed by the televisions cameras following the collision between Seb Vettel and Robert Kubica, Hamilton overtook Trulli for third when the Toyota slid off the circuit before Trulli then retook the position when Hamilton, under instruction from his McLaren team, slowed down to let him through.

The footage - now removed from the Youtube website - clearly shows Trulli falling off the track and struggling to keep his Toyota under control on the grass before belatedly returning to the track behind Hamilton's McLaren.

Whilst cars are not allowed to overtake under the Safety Car, article 40.7 of the 2009 F1 Sporting Regulations stipulates various exceptions when 'Overtaking will be permitted', including 'if any car slows with an obvious problem' - a description that presumably applies to a car falling off the track.

However, the ambiguity of the rule was highlighted Trulli's explanation for why he then repassed Hamilton to claim back third: "I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do."

Without any dialogue taking place between the two teams, or the stewards, Trulli's belief that the sight of the McLaren pulling to the side of the road and slowing down was evidence of a problem is understandable. It was, though, discounted by the stewards as they added on 25 seconds to his time, demoting the Italian out of a points-paying position. The option of demoting Trulli to fourth was not available to the race officials.

Toyota have confirmed their intention to appeal, an announcement that has resulted in a few raised eyebrows given that Hamilton's own appeal against 25 seconds - the equivalent of a drive-through penalty - being retrospectively added to his time in last year's Belgian GP was thrown out by a FIA hearing declaring that drive-through penalties could not be challenged. However, according to reports, Toyota have found a loophole to bypass that stipulation and have appealed to the clerk of the Melbourne circuit rather than the stewards themselves.

What The Rules State: 'All competing cars must then reduce speed and form up in line behind the safety car no more than ten car lengths apart and overtaking, with the following exceptions, is forbidden until the cars reach the Line after the safety car has returned to the pits. Overtaking will be permitted under the following circumstances :

- if a car is signalled to do so from the safety car ;
- under 40.15 below ;
- any car entering the pits may pass another car or the safety car remaining on the track after it has crossed the first safety car line ;
- any car leaving the pits may be overtaken by another car on the track before it crosses the second safety car line ;
- when the safety car is returning to the pits it may be overtaken by cars on the track once it has crossed the first safety car line ;
- any car stopping in its designated garage area whilst the safety car is using the pit lane (see 40.10 below) may be overtaken ;
- if any car slows with an obvious problem.'

Watch the video here. Can't play the video? Download the Applian Flash Viewer here.
Still having problems? Try this.

Hamilton stripped of third place at Australian GP


Thursday April 2nd. 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his third-place finish at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on Thursday for giving misleading evidence to race stewards.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli was reinstated to his original third-place finish by the stewards, while Hamilton and McLaren were excluded from the results and receive no points.

The sport's world governing body, FIA, reopened the investigation Thursday into the circumstances under which Trulli passed Hamilton during a safety car period in Melbourne on Sunday.

The hearing interviewed both drivers and teams, and heard new evidence which included radio transmissions between teams and drivers in Melbourne, as well as technical data from the race.

After deliberating for several hours, FIA released a statement which said Hamilton and McLaren "acted in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards."

In Melbourne, Trulli was penalized 25 seconds after a post-race hearing, dropping him from third to 12th place. His reinstatement to third now gives him six championship points and puts Toyota second in the constructors' championship with 11 points, after teammate Timo Glock finished fourth.

A late crash in Melbourne between BMW's Robert Kubica and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel brought out the safety car. Trulli, who was running third, then ran wide off the circuit due to a driver error, giving third place legitimately to Hamilton.

Hamilton then slowed dramatically while running behind the safety car, and Trulli, thinking the Englishman had a car problem, went back into third place and held it until the finish.

Rules prohibit overtaking while the race is under the safety car, unless a car goes off the circuit, as Trulli first did, or does not maintain pace.

Some of the many formula one motor racing web sites:-  link already visited  link not yet visited     shame about the advertising
http:// - the official formula one web site - lot of redirection by microsoft

This page was updated on January 30th. 2014.

Report on the 2008 season  Report on the 2007 season  Report on the 2006 season  Report on the 2005 season 

Report on the 2004 season  Report on the 2003 season  Report on the 2002 season  Report on the 2001 season  

guest book   top   home   formula   You are visitor number  number of hits