Mark Webber lays his Interlagos demons to rest with a dominant victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix
New F1 champion Jenson Button wasn't the only happy driver in the paddock following the Brazilian Grand Prix after Mark Webber secured his second career win in the penultimate round of the 2009 season.
Webber had gone into the weekend looking to return to the points after a poor run of form and was also seeking an end to a disappointing run at Interlagos – a circuit he admitted he enjoyed but which had never delivered results.
The Red Bull man qualified on the front row of the grid alongside Rubens Barrichello and remained close to the Brazilian through the opening stint of the race before jumping into the lead following the first pitstops.
From that point onwards, Webber was barely troubled out front as he picked up his second victory of the season and he admitted it was nice to be back on the top step of the podium.
“I'm happy with that!” he said. “You never know in the first stint of a race what's going to happen, although I knew Rubens and Robert [Kubica] were a bit shorter than me. I was matching Robert's pace to start with and when they made their pit stops, I knew I had a clear run to make a gap to start my second stint. I just cleared Jenson on my outlap, which was good too.
“I was just making sure the tyres were comfortable for the whole stint. I was a little bit panicky in the second stint as Robert started closing, although my pace was not too bad and I knew he was quite short in the middle stint. I was then able to control the gap to Robert and he backed off towards the end, which gave me a nice run home. It's fantastic feeling to win again.”
While rivals Brawn duly wrapped up the constructors' championship in the race, Webber's victory and fourth for team-mate Sebastian Vettel secured second in the standings for Red Bull and Webber was quick to praise the team for its stellar 2009 campaign.
“As a team we've had quite a few victories this year off the back of some tough seasons, but today has confirmed second place for us in the constructors' championship,” he said. “We're very proud of what we have achieved this year as a team – I want to thank Renault as well, the engines have been very good and they're not easy environments for them to work in.
“Congratulations to Jenson and also to Brawn on clinching the championships today after a good fight. It was a good weekend for the Australians, as Jason Crump won the World Speedway Championship last night. He's a close friend of mine and he won it under difficult conditions, so a good weekend.”
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Button is the world champion!
Jenson Button becomes the 2009 F1 champion following dramatic Brazilian GP as Brawn GP celebrates double title success
An elated Jenson Button has successfully wrapped up the 2009 F1 drivers' title following a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix – admitting afterwards that it was a dream come true.
The Briton went into the event leading team-mate Rubens Barrichello by 14 points and was on the back foot after only qualifying down in 14th place – with his team-mate starting from pole.
However, casting aside criticism levied at him from those who said he was simply stuttering to the title, Button produced a storming performance to work his way through the field – surviving a number of incidents on the opening lap to quickly climb up to ninth place.
From there, Button produced a number of impressive overtaking manoeuvres to climb up to fifth place at the finish and secure an unassailable championship lead after Barrichello could only manage eighth.
Indeed, the Brazilian now drops to third in the standings behind Sebastian Vettel, who came home ahead of Button in the race in fourth.
"It's really amazing... my voice has gone!” the new champion told the BBC after climbing from his car. “After the last few races, this one makes up for it. It was awesome. I'm world champion, baby!
"The last few races have been a bit stressful for me, especially qualifying. But that race today, to me, was worthy of becoming world champion. Kobayashi is absolutely crazy, very aggressive. It was a great race really enjoyable. That was the perfect way to do it."
“Twenty-one years ago, I jumped into a kart and I loved winning - but I never expected to be world champion. You think that racing drivers in F1 are different, but we've done it today."
Button also helped Brawn GP to wrap up the constuctors' title, with the team having required just a single point to put the title out of Red Bull Racing's reach
Barrichello grabbed Pole despite the Rain
Rubens Barrichello gives the home fans reason to cheer in Brazil with a popular pole position for Brawn GP.
Rubens Barrichello said he was thrilled to secure pole position for his home round of the F1 season in Brazil, although the Brawn GP man was quick to point out that nothing is yet won when it comes to securing vital points from the weekend.
Barrichello went into the weekend trailing team-mate Jenson Button by 14 points in the standings, but was given a boost when the Briton failed to make it past the second phase of qualifying and could only set the 14th quickest time.
Barrichello himself only just made it through to Q3 after running on wet tyres throughout the second part of the session but he produced the quickest time when it really mattered to put his car on the front of the grid for race day.
“I am very proud of what we achieved today,” he said. “We were on the borderline in Q2 and we should have gone for intermediates, but we were lucky enough just to make it. I knew the car was competitive. I am keeping my feet on the ground as we have won nothing just yet. We did fantastic today. It is amazing. It is going to be a great night of sleep but we still have to get everything tomorrow.
“It's obviously great to start from the front - it is a number that goes to the records. What it means to me is that I am doing my job the way I have to. Be as fast as I can, at the front. I am not watching what's going on on the side. I am just concentrating, focussing on mine, so like I said, I will race as hard as I can to win the race and when the race is finished I will just go on the radio and see where Jenson and Sebastian [Vettel] finish but it is a great start to the weekend and I am looking very much forward to tomorrow.”
Barrichello admitted that no-one would have predicted that he would secure pole with Button and Sebastian Vettel down in 14th and 16th before the lottery that emerged in qualifying, although he questioned whether or not the session should have run to its conclusion following Tonio Liuzzi's accident in Q2.
“We were not expecting the rain that came down,” he said. “The worst time of qualifying was when Liuzzi went off. We shouldn't have restarted qualifying at that time. On that straight, when he went off, I was in fourth gear. You don't have much pleasure, because of the visibility plus the fact that you are aquaplaning, so you just don't know what's going to happen next. But then when the rain came down, it was a good session at the end of Q2 and Q3.
“I'm sorry for all you guys that you had to wait. I had to wait but I had the pleasure of driving the car after that. It was very much a situation that we need to learn for tomorrow if that's what's going to happen tomorrow in terms of rain.”
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Vettel wins Japan GP blow title race wide open
Sebastian Vettel charged to a dominant win as the Japanese Grand Prix returned to Suzuka, although the margin of victory was diminished by a late safety car period.
The German led from start to finish, returning to the front from both of his pit-stops as Red Bull Racing reclaimed the top step of the podium. Despite only have four laps to run after the safety car departed, Vettel still triumphed by 4.8secs.
Jarno Trulli gave Toyota its second runners-up finish in as many week, overcoming Lewis Hamilton at the final round of stops after the Briton had powered past under KERS at the start. Ironically, the McLaren driver suffered a repeat of his Singapore KERS problems in the closing stages, denying the chance to respond.
Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld filled the next three positions, before Brawn picked up three points to limit the potential damage caused by Vettel's win. Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button had to fend off the attentions of Robert Kubica after the safety car, but came home in seventh and eighth respectively as the Brazilian regained the point conceded to his team-mate last weekend.
Vettel's win and Button's eighth place trims the points gap between them to 16, keeping the German in the title hunt as the series heads to Brazil in a fortnight's time. Likewise, RBR lives to fight another day after brawn failed to score the requisite number of points to claim the constructors' crown.
Japanese Grand Prix – Race result
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 53 laps 1hr 28m 20.443s
2. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +00m 04.8s
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +00m 06.4s
4. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 07.9s
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +00m 08.7s
6. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +00m 09.5s
7. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes +00m 10.6s
8. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes +00m 11.4s
9. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +00m 11.7s
10. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +00m 13.0s
11. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +00m 13.7s
12. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 14.5s
13. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +00m 14.9s
14. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +00m 15.7s
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes +00m 17.9s
16. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault +1 lap
17. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +2 laps
Rtd Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 43 laps completed
Rtd Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 laps completed
Dns Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota injury
Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 32.569s lap 50
Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying times
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 32.160s
2. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 1m 32.220s
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 32.395s
4. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 32.466s
5. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1m 32.660s
6. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1m 32.945s
7. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1m 32.962s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 32.980s
9. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes no time Q3
10. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari no time Q3
11. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1m 31.482s
12. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 1m 31.638s
13. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1m 32.341s
14. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota no time Q2
15. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari no time Q2
16. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 31.704s
17. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1m 31.718s
18. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault 1m 32.073s
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 32.087s
20. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault no time Q1
Saturday, October 3, 2009
A rash of red flags may have dominated Formula One proceedings at Suzuka, but could not prevent Sebastian Vettel from dominating Japanese Grand prix qualifying.
The German may be on the verge of bowing out of the F1 title race, trailing Jenson Button by 25 points with three races remaining, but continues to do all he can to keep himself in the mix by taking his fourth pole position of the year with fastest time in Japan.
The German was the class of qualifying, topping each of the three sessions, but again had to wait for no fewer than three red flag interruptions to pass before he could claim pole.
With Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber already missing after writing off his chassis on morning practice, Vettel's progress was slowed by two heavy accidents in Q2, when Jaime Alguersuari and Timo Glock suffered separate accidents. Those delays were then followed by a third stoppage when Heikki Kovalainen went off at Degner before posting a time in Q3.
Alguersuari joined the list of Degner victims when he went off at the start of his first visit to Q2, but emerged unscathed from his impact, caused by his Toro Rosso putting its left-hand wheels off the road on approach. Glock, however, was less fortunate, and was taken to hospital with what was reported as a 'leg wound', adding to the fever he was already suffering with. Kovalainen's accident was less violent, and the Finn was quickly back in the McLaren garage.
Once his countryman's car had been craned away, Kimi Raikkonen was the first to post a flying lap, but the 2007 world champion was no match for Vettel, who bided his time before venturing out - and then slashed the benchmark time by almost a second.
Simiarly, no-one had an answer for Vettel after the Red Bull driver had reset the target, with Jarno Trulli cementing second on the grid.
After that, the best anyone could manage was third, with Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil both occupying the position before Lewis Hamilton made it his with a late run. The Briton will line up alongside friend and rival Sutil for the second time in three races, while title contender Rubens Barrichello claimed a top five slot with his sole flier.
That put the Brazilian two places ahead of points leader Jenson Button, who managed only seventh as he followed his Brawn team-mate across the line, relegating Raikkonen to eighth and sandwiching BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld in sixth. Kovalainen joined Sebastien Buemi - who damaged his Toro Rosso at the end of Q2 - on row five after failing to set a time.