Red Bull ended the 2009 F1 season in style as Sebastian Vettel won the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit and teammate Mark Webber finished second to cap a fine 1-2 for the team. Jenson Button finished third for Brawn GP as he too ended his Championship-winning season with a hard-earned podium finish.
Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton made a good start but Vettel stuck with him throughout and when the first round of pit stops came, he managed to jump ahead of the McLaren. The race unravelled and ended in disappointment for Lewis as he retired just after with what looked like brake problems. Vettel then was able to cruise through to the win but it wasn’t all that easy for Webber as during the last few laps, Jenson managed to close upto him and hound him all the way to the chequered flag.
Rubens Barrichello finished fourth for Brawn after suffering a front-wing damage in the opening lap with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld in fifth. Kamui Kobayashi capped a fine performance for Toyota as he finished 6th ahead of his more illustrious teammate Jarno Trulli. Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi took the final point for his 8th place finish.
Vettel’s win means he finishes 2nd in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of Barrichello & Webber. With both Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen finishing outside the points, McLaren clinched 3rd place in the Constructor’ Championship and Lewis took 5th place in the Drivers’ Championship – both by a single point.
The curtain thus falls on what was a thrilling 2009 F1 season which saw many a fairytale finishes. I’d run out of space if I start reminiscing about all of them
Hope the 2010 Season would turn out to be as exciting…if not better.
Lewis Hamilton was absolutely unbeatable at each of the three qualifying sessions as he stitched up pole position for the season’s last Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will start P2 and P3 with the Brawns of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button P4 and P5 respectively. The Toyota of Jarno Trulli was P6 followed by the two BMW’s of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld in P7 and P8. Williams’ Nico Rosberg and Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi complete the top ten grid positions for the first-ever race at the desert track of Abu Dhabi.
It was a gobsmacking performance by the McLaren team and Hamilton as he was fastest in each of the three sessions. The team will be slightly disappointed as their second driver Heikki Kovalainen suffered what seemed like a gearbox problem and couldn’t make it out of Q2. Red Bull were very slow in the first session but picked up the pace later on and if it weren’t for the KERS power of the McLaren, would have locked out the front row of the grid. Brawns look to be heavily fuelled and they too seem to be fast around the circuit and could be hoping for a good finish.
Q1 was completely owned by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton as he set an astonishingly quick time of 1 Min 39.8 and was pretty much unbeatable around the Yas Marina circuit. He seemed to get the maximum out of the KERS system and find an ideal line around the spanking new circuit having two long straights and few tight corners. Newly crowned World Champion Jenson Button set the second fastest time which was still half-a-second behind Hamilton’s time and Jarno Trulli, surprisingly, was third fastest. As the drivers tried to come to terms with the still-dusty track and the low setting sun, there were a few spins and offs but no serious accidents. The drivers to miss out in the firsts session were both the Force Indias of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil, both the Renaults of Sebastian Grosjean and Fernando Alonso and the Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella.
Mark Webber drove a strong race and took maximum advantage of a perfect strategy to win the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo but the big winner of the day was Jenson Button as he drove magnificently to finish fifth and clinch the 2009 Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in the penultimate race of the season. He had a touch of good luck as well! Pole sitter Rubens Barrichello first lost out on the race lead to Webber and fell down into third place and then picked up a puncture to fall behind Button and thus spell the end of his title challenge.
BMW’s Robert Kubica also drove beautifully as he finished in 2nd place, having started in eighth place. More satisfying would be the 3rd place finish of Lewis Hamilton, who started down in sixteenth place! Sebastian Vettel also had a good race as he finished 4th having started fifteenth. Button took 5th place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in 6th with Sebastian Buemi finishing 7th and Rubens Barrichello taking the last point-scoring position in 8th. Button now has 89 points and an unassailable 15 point lead in the championship with just the one race remaining. Sebastian Vettel leapfrogs Barrichello into 2nd place with 74 points compared to Rubens’ 72. Brawn GP also take the Constructors’ Championship and Red Bull will finish second. Hamilton and McLaren leapfrog ahead of Kimi and Ferrari into 5th place in the drivers’ and 3rd place in the constructors race.
The start of the race was a frenetic one as pole sitter Rubens Barrichello managed to pull away clearly with Mark Webber behind but it was a close run for third place as the KERS-powered Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen came close onto the tail of the Force India of Adrian Sutil and there was some wheel banging and wing touching as Sutil had to squeeze between the Ferrari and Red Bull. Kimi lost his front wing as he tagged the back of Webber and had to make an early pit stop to rectify that. At the tail-end of the field, Heikki Kovalainen got caught into a spin and nearly tagged the Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella behind him. That also brought him into the pits and there was a scary moment therein as Kovalainen drove off with the fuel rig still attached and the Ferrari of Kimi following behind, managed to light up the spraying fumes and causing a flash fire on the Ferrari!
Rubens Barrichello took Pole Position at his home grand prix – the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos in Sao Paulo - as his championship contenders struggled and didn’t even finish in the top ten! “Jenson Button in P14, Sebastian Vettel in P16, where are you now?” exclaimed Barrichello’s race engineer and the delight was very much apparent in his voice as Barrichello put himself in the best possible position for launching a title challenge by clinching pole position in rainy conditions. Red Bull’s Mark Webber will start in P2 with Force India’s Adrian Sutil in P3. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi, Williams of Nico Rosberg & Kazuki Nakajima, with the BMW of Robert Kubica in between and Renault of Fernando Alonso complete the top ten. That makes it 9 teams in the top ten grid places with just Williams managing to get both their cars in the mix.
Ran dogged the entire session and caused several sizeable delays and saw few red flags as well. But the last ten minutes were played out on a drying track and it made for a spectacular session as no less than 7 drivers exchanged fastest laps – all within just a few minutes! Barrichello ended up with the fastest of them all just as the chequered flag fell and he will be mighty delighted about it; especially with both his championship contenders starting way back on the grid. Mark Webber probably would have took pole if he continued for another flying lap but maybe his tyres were losing the optimum performance levels. It was brilliant drive from Adrian Sutil to post the third fastest time, given Force India’s struggles in the past few races.
Strategy, rather than raw pace dictated the race winner for the Italian Grand Prix as Brawn GP notched up a 1-2 finish – courtesy their one-pit-stop strategy – and it was Rubens Barrichello who took the chequered flag ahead of teammate and championship leader Jenson Button. Kimi Raikkonen was gifted the 3rd place as Lewis Hamilton spun out and crashed into the wall on the last lap of the race, an incident which brought out the Safety Car even as the chequered flag fell at the same time!
Adrian Sutil ensured Force India’s second biggest points haul as he finished in 4th place, with Fernando Alonso taking 5th, Heikki Kovalainen 6th, Nick Heidfeld 7th and Sebastian Vettel 8th. Giancarlo Fisichella narrowly missed scoring a point on his Ferrari debut as he finished 9th.
The start was a low key affair as none of the first-corner mayhem was encountered here but Kimi Raikkonen got the drop over Adrian Sutil and slotted into second place behind Hamilton as the cars traversed the tricky first corners. Heikki Kovalainen, who had the heaviest fuel load amongst the top four cars and was looking like an outside choice for taking the race win could not get away quite as well as the Brawns behind him and dropped as low as eight in the first lap. Championship contender Mark Webber was an early casualty as he got tapped into a spin into the gravel trap by the BMW of Robert Kubica, who himself retired a few laps later…probably because of the damage sustained in that incident.
Other notable retirements included the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who suffered a gearbox/transmission failure when he was running strongly in fourth position and the Renault of Jaime Algersuari. Despite being an incident free race, it was an exciting one to watch as there were several mini-battles up and down the field which made for edge-of-the-seat action. The best one of them all has to be the Force India Vs. Ferrari battle which was running for almost the entire race as Kimi Raikkonen had to contend with a rampaging Force India for the second race in a row, this time that of Adrian Sutil. The two Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock also had a close rum thing, which probably might have been catalysed by the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima. Then there was a chase building up between Hamilton in third and Button out in front and the McLaren was catching up ever so slightly each lap but ultimately Lewis’ crash meant that never materialised into a right royal battle.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber scored his first ever Grand Prix victory at the Nurburgring in the German Grand Prix in a race that was expected to be weather-effected but was dry throughout. Sebastian Vettel finished in 2nd place to hand Red Bull their second consecutive 1-2 finish. Felipe Massa scored Ferrari’s first podium place of this season in 3rd place.
Williams’ Nico Rosberg unobtrusively drove to the 4th place finish as Championship leader Jenson Button finished in 5th place ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello with the Renault of Fernando Alonso and McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen finishing in 7th and 8th place respectively. The race’s only two retirements were Sebastian Bourdais and Kimi Raikkonen – with hydraulic and mechanical failure.
The start was a crucial affair as the Brawn of Rubens Barrichello managed to come alongside pole-sitter Webber and that prompted a right-side lunge from Webber which was deemed to be ‘un-sportsman like behaviour’ by the FIA stewards and promptly handed him a drive-through penalty. By the end of the first lap, there were a couple of incidents – Webber & Barrichello’s moment & then Lewis Hamilton, using his KERS, streaked alongside the leaders at the start but ran wide at the first corner and as the rest of the field trooped past him, picked up a right rear puncture which effectively ruined his race. Both the Ferraris made a good start and were in the midst of it all but a mechanical failure put paid to Kimi Raikkonen’s race and he retired on lap 36.
But not before he sort-of ruined Adrian Sutil’s race (yet again!) Sutil was running in fourth place and as he emerged from his first pit-stop, Kimi tried to overtake on the outside and there was contact which saw the Force India’s front wing clipped off. Another pit-stop effectively ended Sutil and Force India’s quest for their maiden points. Last year at the Monaco Grand Prix, it was Kimi again who ended Sutil’s 5th place run as he lost control exiting the tunnel and careened into the Force India’s back. Heartbreak for Sutil!
With the threatening rain never materialising, it was a race of strategy and the Brawn GP team switched into a three-stop strategy in the latter part of the race as a tyre-graining problem affected their race somewhat. Red Bull however had the truer race pace and despite Webber’s penalty, they stuck to their strategy and emerged the biggest winners with a second consecutive 1-2. Fernando Alonso picked up the pace at the end of the race and clocked the fastest lap of the race.
The vrooming sounds of F1 Cars are back…and so am I!
Red Bull’s Mark Webber will start the European Grand Prix from Pole Position as he will attempt to pick up his first Grand Prix win of his career. In an exhilarating Qualifying Session, the last few laps were all it mattered as Webber grabbed pole position and saw the other drivers couldn’t match it. The Brawns were right behind with Rubens Barrichello on P2 & championship leader Jenson Button on P3. The second Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel will start fourth followed by Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, (surprise surprise!) Adrian Sutil, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen & Nelson Piquet.
Q1 was a disaster for the drivers who chose to go out late onto the track as a slight drizzle started the end of the session and that mean everyone was going slower! By that time, Red Bull had already set the fastest time, with Mark Webber topping the timesheets. The surprise was Lewis Hamilton, who was 4th fastest. The ones to drop out were Robert Kubica, Sebastian Buemi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Timo Glock & Sebastian Bourdais.
Jenson Button drove an awesome lap at the last possible minute of the Qualifying Session to clinch pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. All the talk of resurgence from the other teams paled in comparison as the Brawn GP team picked up where they left off – at the top of the timesheets again! And one won’t believe there was any resurgence at all if one were to see the second and third placed drivers – Sebastian Vettel & Rubens Barrichello. A mini-resurgence can be said to be taking place at Ferrari as their pace improved considerably, but not their decision making skills! Felipe Massa will start 4th on the grid while teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start 16th! Mark Webber, Timo Glock, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica rounded off the top ten.
As usual, the two Force India cars got the first qualifying session underway and joining them was the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen. Early pace setters included the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli & Timo Glock and the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel – who was the first driver to get into the 1 Min 20s. The fastest time of them all though, went to the Ferrari of Felipe Massa with Mark Webber and Jenson Button just behind. The shocker, of course, came from Ferrari as they let Kimi Raikkonen sit in the garage when he was just 10th fastest and then saw with dread as others went round faster and just as the clock ticked 00:00 on Q1, he was knocked out of the session! He will start 16th on the grid tomorrow. Joining him would be compatriot Heikki Kovalainen (who complained that a BMW held him up), Sebastian Bourdais, Adrian Sutil & Giancarlo Fisichella.