F1 Brazil Results and Full Race Report: Webber Wins, as Tire Puncture for Barrichello Gifts Title to Button


What Happens When Bad Luck at Home Never Leaves Barrichello Alone

1:38pm EST —Mark Webber won the 2009 Brazilian GP through canny driving and good stopping strategy, while bad luck at home continued to plague Rubens Barrichello.  A tire puncture with seven laps to go for the Brazilian ensured that teammate Jenson Button won the driver’s championship after a forceful drive from fourteenth to fifth for the Briton and an incredibly exciting first stint for most of the field, including crashes, near fist fights, early pit releases, and fire.  Robert Kubica was second, with Lewis Hamilton finishing out the podium.  Sebastian Vettel finished fourth, moving him up to second in the championship y two points with one race to go.  BrawnGP clinched the constructor’s championship as well, less than a year after the team nearly ceased to exist after Honda withdrew from Formula1.

With the longest qualifying session in recent memory due to torrential rain, it was a pleasant surprise for those waking up in Sao Paulo Sunday to see the sun shining and the track dry.  Rubens Barrichello started from pole, but was lighter on fuel than those behind him.  Still, he had an advantage over those also going for the championship.  Points leader and Brawn teammate Jenson Button started fourteenth, with third-place points man Sebastian Vettel fifteenth.  Vitantonio Liuzzi would have started fifteenth, but had to change his gearbox after a qualifying shunt, and moved to the back of the grid, thereby moving Vettel up one place from his original qualifying time.  Mark Webber started second, while Adrian Sutil, Jarno Trulli, and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top five starters.  BrawnGP was prepared to win the constructor’s championship by scoring the necessary .5 point more than challenger Red Bull.

The start saw the weather bright and sunny, with variable clouds and possibly threatening rain, and an extremely excited Brazilian crowd.  Barrichello got a great start, ahead of Webber as Raikkonen got around Sutil, but only with a damaged front wing from contact with Webber.  Just after, Trulli and Sutil came together.  Trulli was quite angry with Sutil as Sutil did not see Trulli’s off-track excursion, and Alonso was collected by Sutil as he came back across the track.  The safety car was deployed and Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Kovalainen all pitted.  Kovalainen, with Hamilton waiting behind him, left the box with the fuel hose attached, spraying fuel behind him onto the just-released Raikkonen and enveloping him in flame.  The car, Raikkonen, and the mechanics appeared to be fine.  Kovalainen stopped at the end of the pit lane, where the Brawn mechanics removed the fuel hose.

On the restart, it was Barrichello leading Webber, Rosberg and Kubica.  Kubica got past Rosberg for third, as Button passed Grosjean, who then came under attack from and was passed by Vettel.  Button aggressively got around Nakajima into turn 1 to move up to P7, and then moved on to a passing attempt on P6 Kobayashi.  L8 saw Vettel with a moment while trying to pass Nakajima, but he remained in eighth.  Barrichello, meanwhile, was pulling away at the front, needing to pull out quite a gap to keep the lead during the pit stops.

Barrichello set fast lap, but was immediately surpassed by Webber, with a 1:14.371.  Still, by L14, Barrichello had a two second gap on Webber.  Good, but not enough to maintain the lead through the first stops.  On L16, the stewards announced that Kovalainen was under investigation for the mechanic having released him onto the pit lane before the fuel was fully delivered.  L17 brought another fast lap by Barrichello, bringing his lead over Webber to 2.2 seconds.  At the same time, Trulli and Sutil were labeled as under investigation for the accident that took both of them out of the race, though that investigation by the stewards for the Brazilian GP would occur after the race.

Barrichello took his time to 1:13.950 on L20, attempting to pull ahead enough from Webber, as the Brawns got ready for a stop on L21, when Barrichello pitted.  He rejoined the field in P9, ahead of Vettel, who then passed him for the position, as Hamilton did as well.  Barrichello was in P10 on L23 as Heidfeld parked his car, ending his race.  Barrichello then got around Hamilton.  Kubica pitted from P3 on L24 and rejoined ahead of Vettel in P8.  Webber set fastest lap in the lead as Rosberg pitted from P2 on L25.  Buemi also pitted.  They rejoined in tenth and thirteenth, respectively, as Button finally got around Kobayashi, after an attempt ran him wide and he lost the position.  That put Button in P4 before his first stop, but he soon passed Nakajima and was in P2.  It then became a battle between the Japanese with Kobayashi attempting to get around Nakajima, who then pitted on L27 after Webber.  Webber rejoined just ahead of Button.

L28 saw Rosberg pull straight into the garage, with smoke coming out the back of his car, making it five retirements for the race, at that point.  Button and Kovalainen both pit on L29, Button returned to the circuit in P10. Kaz Nakajima had a huge off on L31, luckily not collecting anyone else as he flew across the track with no front wing, having destroyed it into the back of Kobayashi as he left the pit lane and moved in front of Nakajima.  He was unhurt, and Kobayashi continued on.  By L33, it was Webber leading Vettel (who had not stopped), Kubica, Barrichello, and Hamilton as the top five.  Button was P9, just out of the points.  Button then moved up one position, around Buemi.  L38 brought Vettel in for his first stop.  He stayed on the soft tires, and would have to make another stop before the race’s end.  He rejoined the field in P7, just behind Button.  Once the first set of stops were over, the top five were Webber, Kubica, Barrichello, Hamilton, and Raikkonen for the top five on L39.

Meanwhile, Hamilton was pushing very hard behind Barrichello for third.  On L41 he was only .4 behind the Brazilian for a place on the podium with a set of stops to go.  Hamilton made his second stop on L42 and rejoined in P7 after nearly losing the car in the pit exit chute.  Raikkonen also pitted, rejoining in eleventh.  By L45, Kubica had pulled away from Barrichello by 9.7 seconds, and then pitted for his second stop, losing only one position and rejoining ahead of Button in P3.

L50 brought Barrichello in for his final stop with twenty-one laps to go, a quick stop, and he rejoined in sixth.  Webber came in the next lap, with a 27.7 second lead over second place Kubica.  Webber also had a quick enough stop, and rejoined without losing the lead.  Button pitted from P4 on L56, and rejoined ahead of Kovalainen, who then passed him for seventh, leaving Button in eighth.  Vettel pitted on L57 from third in a very quick stop, staying ahead of Kovalainen and Button and rejoining in fifth.  On L57, it was Webber, Kubica, Barrichello, Hamilton, Vettel, Kovalainen, Button, and Raikkonen in the points.

On L60, Kovalainen pitted, gifting Button sixth, and the championship, should things stand as they were.  L61 had Barrichello complaining of left front tire issues, and then being passed by Hamilton at turn 1, who had a broken right-front end-plate on his wing.  The team then told Barrichello that he had a puncture, ending his championship hopes, and forcing him to pit.  He rejoined in eighth.

The last few laps had a bit of drama, as BrawnGP warned Button of the chance of some rain with three laps to go, though none fell.  The cool down lap saw Barrichello beside his teammate.

Final Positions for the 2009 Brazilian GP:
1. Webber
2. Kubica
3. Hamilton
4. Vettel
5. Button
6. Raikkonen
7. Buemi
8. Barrichello
9. Kovalainen
10. Kobayashi
11. Fisichella
12. Liuzzi
13. Grosjean
14. Alguersuari
Nakajima
Rosberg
Heidfeld
Sutil
Trulli
Alonso

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4 Comments

  1. Good post.Who would you s ay impressed you? Lewis from 18th to 3rd or Button from 14th to 5th?

    • Both did. Lewis more did it a little more quietly, I’d say, and with a drier set-up. Button did some very aggressive driving, which was nice to see from him, while Lewis sort of picked people off as they crashed and as his set-up came into play through the weather. I think Lewis’ drive was as forgotten as Webber’s in the light of Button’s championship win.

  2. I agree with you. I mean even the fab drive from the new Toyota guy went un-noticed.It was the champion’ day so all those great performances happened on the wrong day.

    Next year no refueling? any guess how it ‘ll pan out?

    Fan

    • Thanks. I was quite irritated when Toyota withdrew, if only because it meant Kobayashi was less likely to have a ride for 2010. I think that the lack of re-fueling could make the racing more boring, or the changes in the cars’ handling as the weight decreases through the race could make the racing more interesting. It will definitely help out the new teams, as they won’t have to worry about changing or adapting, but will be able to just develop according to the new rules.


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