Race Notes: Brazilian Grand Prix 2009

Formula 1 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2009
Date: 18 October 2009
Circuit: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
Location: Interlagos, São Paulo, Brazil
(PitlaneFanatic) (AerialF1)
Distance: 71 laps
Tyre choices (red): SS / S / M / H

Coverage: BBC One with BBC Radio 5 Live audio
Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)
Interviewers: Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie

R5 commentary: David Croft (Crofty) and Anthony Davidson (Ant)
R5 interviewer: Holly Samos

Coverage begins at 4pm UK time.

NOTE – My notes will be shorter than usual because this race happened the day before I moved to a new address, so the time I hoped to watch a replay to catch the quotes was actually spent moving all my stuff. Also, I’ll be honest, I thought I’d posted this already. Apologies.

Points situation:

– Button only needs to finish 3rd or better to secure the title today, no matter what Barrichello or Vettel do.
– Barrichello needs to win the race with Button scoring no higher than a single podium position from the last two races.
– Vettel can mathematically win but he needs to win both races and hope the Brawn team has a nightmare.

71 lap race.


Barrichello, Webber
Sutil, Trulli
Raikkonen, Buemi
Rosberg, Kubica
Nakajima, Alonso
Kobayashi, Alguersuari
Grosjean, Button
Vettel, Kovalainen
Hamilton, Heidfeld
Liuzzi took a 5 place penalty for a gearbox change and he’s at the back

Rubens spoke to Jake after qualifying:
“My engineer Jock Clear was so loud on the radio, it is the first phase of acheiving the dream. I have [the chance] to win the championship but also I’ve tried for years to win the Brazilian GP.”
Says he’s relaxed.

Big focus on Rubens and his guys at the moment from the BBC. Talking with Jock now.

Switching to Button. [I’ll be honest again… I mentally tuned this out in the live show because we’ve heard so many interviews with JB this season, and I was hoping to pick up the quotes later in the week. Oops.]

Felipe! He’s recovering and looking forward to next season, he’s looking for a good race from Ferrari but also from Rubens.

Half an hour to the start.

Martin Brundle joins us to talk about recovering from accidents, replays of Interlagos some years ago when Jos Verstappen’s Benetton hit him on the head.. Ouch.

Lee caught up with Vettel:
“We are ready to fight and to attack today. Let’s see what happens today, it’s a very long race here and the last two years have been exciting. Right now the sun is shining but maybe later we’ll see some showers, we have some good pace. I am motivated, I know it’s not an easy position to start from, we will see.”
Says he’s aiming for 1st or 2nd – he needs to or he’s out of the title fight.

Replay: Something has come off Vettel’s car as he made his way to the grid, DC says it could be dry ice or the drinks system.

Martin’s Gridwalk
He’s on the start line.
Rubens, he waves at the crowd, can you do it? “Yeah, I can. I have a great car in these conditions. If it does rain we need to get it correct at the time, it’s a lottery. My feet are on the ground, we push as hard as we can.”

Mark Webber, a race you can win? “Yep, we’ll give it us our best shot and quiten down the fans who want Rubens to win. The crowd up there are very passionate and emotional but they are racers too and we’ll give them something. After quali I said to Rubens, 8 points will be enough, give me 10! We’re in good shape.”

Martin trying to get down seven rows on the grid, which he’s not done before, to speak to Button and Vettel. En route he spies Kobayashi.
Kamui: “Yesterday was difficult conditions, our performance was really good. Today is another day in dry conditions.” Just a quickie..

Interrupts Tanya yet again! Running theme for the season has been Martin interrupting German TV’s gridwalk.
Vettel: “It’s a long way from the bottom end of the grid but we’ll see what we can do from here.”

Button is not on the grid! Neither are the McLaren guys. No interviews so Martin bails out.

Brazilian National Anthem
Terrible sound quality! We can hardly hear the singer. This may be a blessing.

Button with Lee: “I’m feeling good, a circuit I enjoy racing on, nice and hot. It’s gonna be a challenge. We’ll make the best of it.”

The BBC track guide with Mark Webber went in here somewhere. At this point before the race I’m busy getting myself a drink to consume during the event, so I don’t usually see the track guide.

Ted, fuel weights:
[I think I was still getting a drink because I have no notes and Ted does this at rapid-fire pace, making it hard to follow even if you aren’t trying to transcribe]

Both David and Eddie say they don’t think Button will win this race.


Barrichello, Webber
Sutil, Trulli
Raikkonen, Buemi
Rosberg, Kubica
Nakajima, Alonso
Kobayashi, Alguersuari
Grosjean, Button
Vettel, Kovalainen
Hamilton, Heidfeld
Liuzzi took a 5 place penalty for a gearbox change and will start from the back or pitlane or something.

Live Notes

I’m now on 5Live coverage. 5 mins to go.

Engines fired.

Formation Lap

All drivers on hard tyres apart from Kimi, Lewis and Nick.

Grid. Tense yet? I am! Go!

Rubens leads, crash! Ferrari and McLaren. Kovalainen. Now Sutil and Trulli crash!
Alonso hasn’t come through. Trulli and Sutil out of their cars, a fight nearly breaks out!
oh FIRE in pitlane, fire in pitlane. Kovalainen pits and takes the fuel hose with him which spills fuel all over Raikkonen, it catches light briefly. Heikki stops and then rejoins. Not sure who got the hose off him. [it was Brawn apparently]

Vettel taps Kovalainen into a spin forcing Fisichella wide.
Sutil and Trulli come together, Trulli tried going outside and ran out of road, he should have backed off.


Barr, Web, Ros, Kub, Buemi, Naka, Koba, Gros, But, Alg, Vet, Heid, Fisi, Ham, Rai, Kov

Kubica passes Rosberg on the restart.
Button vs Grosjean! Jenson takes him at last, good racing.

Button is straight up to the back of Nakajima and passes him! He’s now 7th, worth 2pts.
Hamilton passes.. someone.. lots of passing all over the field.

Trulli talking to Holly – he says they should ban Sutil for the next race, immediately! Crofty says he should look at a replay and I agree.

Kovalainen passes Grosjean

Action all the way, I haven’t had time to mark a lap counter! This is lap 9 of 71.

L9 – Fastest lap from Webber. Button has got bottled up behind Kobayashi.

L11 – Things have settled a bit, I can get my breath back. Barrichello leads Webber by 1.8sec with Kubica 3rd and Rosberg 4th, Buemi 5th, Kobayashi then Button.

L14 – Laps tick by quickly here, only 1m14s.
Button radio: “Kobayashi is 2 laps longer”

L16 – Pitlane incident involving Kovalainen is under stewards’ investigation
L17 – Stewards will investigate Trulli/Sutil incident after the race.
Holly reports from McLaren that Heikki was released early by the team (i.e. he didn’t take off by himself).

L19 – Tweet from @OfficialBrawnGP: #F1 Third fastest lap in a row for RB.
L20 – Heidfeld is the first of the scheduled stoppers.
L21 – Barrichello pits from the lead, where will he come out.. he’s behind Nakajima and ahead of Vettel for 9th – but Vettel passes him immediately.

L22 – Heidfeld has stopped by the side of the track. That long run of no-DNFs and now they are all coming at once. Teammate Kubica pits, he’s out behind Vettel who has pulled a gap on the heavier Barrichello.

L24 – Button passes Kobayashi! Off-screen while we watched Rosberg pit.. We get a replay, sold him a dummy! Ducked right then left to fool Kamui, nice move.
L25 – Great stuff between Nakajima and Kobayashi, side by side!

L26 – Webber pits and he’s ahead of Barrichello by some way, Rubens has a problem? Rubens’ problem is he’s back in traffic!

L27 – Rosberg is slowing, that’s another top 5 car for Button not to worry about.
Holly: “No fuel went into Heidfeld’s car at his stop, he pulled over because he’d run out.”

L29 – Button pits from 2nd place, Kovalainen also in from 8th.
Button is out between the Toro Rossos of Buemi and Alguersuari.

L30 – Kobayashi pits, so does Alguersuari.

Big crash from Nakajima at turn 4!

L32 – Ah bugger, looks like Kobayashi just moved over on Nakajima, took his wing off.. Kamui is good but he weaves a bit, that was completely his fault.

L33 – Button dives under Buemi at turn one, committed move, nicely done. Jenson is getting a lot of passing done today.

L35 – Holly update: Rosberg retired due to gearbox failure.

The track is still dirty where Nakajima went off. Mud everywhere.

L37 – Vettel pits from 2nd place. He’s out behind Button for 7th. Took the hard tyre. Fisichella was also in, from 9th.

L40 – After the first stops, Webber leads by 6.3 over Kubica, who is 6.3 ahead of Barrichello and a closely-following Hamilton, then 13.1 to Raikkonen and 1.5 to Button and Vettel who are together.

L42 – Hamilton pits, he’s off Barrichello’s tail and out behind Liuzzi in 8th.

L43 – Raikkonen pits and is out in clear air.

L44 – Steven Roy in the Sidepodcast comments has noticed on the live timing screens the humidity graphs are going vertical – is rain approaching?

L45 – We can see dark clouds approaching.

Button radio – “Hamilton is fuelled to the end, we need 14.4s.”
Jenson needs to stop again but Lewis pitted under the Safety Car.

L48 – Webber is pulling a lead on the field.

L50 – Barrichello pits from 2nd, he’s in clear air ahead of Hamilton.

51 laps completed, 20 to go

L52 – Webber pits from the lead, he takes the softer tyre for the final stint.

L53 – Vettel took another set of hard tyres but may have enough fuel to make the end.. when will he use the soft tyres? Splash and dash or hoping for rain?

L55 – Button pits, and he’s out alongside Kovalainen…. Heikki beats him!
L56 – Vettel pits for those softer tyres, and he beats Kovalainen and Button!

L57 – Order: Webber, Kubica, Barrichello, Hamilton, Vettel, Kovalainen, Button, Raikkonen, Buemi, Fisichella.

L59 – Raikkonen is catching Button.
L60 – Kovalainen pits! That releases Button into clear air.

Kubica is having an anonymous run to 2nd, we’ve barely seen him.

L61 – Hamilton passes Barrichello into the front straight! Lewis 3rd, Rubens 4th.

L63 – Noo!! Rubens has a puncture! It’s all over. congratulations to Jenson Button who will win the title – and he put in a good drive for it too.

L65 – Rubens is now running 8th. Such a crap way for this to end – if he’d lost the title by finishing 3rd that’s fine and that’s the way it was going, but to lose it to a puncture… If Webber DNFs, that puncture would have made all the difference.

L67 – Button radio: “Chance of a few drops of rain near the end.”
Replay of Kobayashi diving by Fisichella! Great move! Fisi does seem to go to sleep near the end of races.

L69 – Two laps to go. Kobayashi has impressed everyone with his drive today, and Kubica is having a great run too.

L70 – Final lap

L71 – Felipe Massa waves the chequered flag as Mark Webber wins!!
Jenson Button is the Champion!! BrawnGP are the Champions!!

Congrats to all concerned, a great effort.

Button on the radio: “We Are The Champions!”

Barrichello applauds his team-mate as they circulate the cool-down lap together.

Parc Ferme

Button and Barrichello congratulate, Hamilton comes over too.

Jenson is running around to different people to celebrate!

Advance Australia Fair for Webber
Austrian anthem for Red Bull
Trophies. It seems drivers have been presented with the logo of the Klingon Empire as a trophy? What we do know is that they have been recycled from local rubbish. No, really. I’m struggling to find a link but it was plastic reused and remoulded to make the trophies.


BBC crew in the middle of the Brawn garage with Jenson, the only thing I’ve got from it is:
“Kobayashi is absolutely crazy!”

The world’s media is surrounding the BBC interview, cameras and bodies everywhere. Scenes of all the mechanics and engineers celebrating with a beer (whoever got that one-race sponsorship deal on the sidepods of the cars for the Brazilian beer company was a GENIUS).

Sebastian Vettel isn’t in a very good mood at all and reportedly isn’t talking to anyone.

Meanwhile, lots of celebrating and interviews with all from the Brawn team. Yes they’ve been the focus of a lot of attention this year and it has been a little annoying at times, but let’s just remind ourselves that this team almost ceased to exist last December. The turnaround in fortunes is astonishing so well done to them.

Race Result

Driver Gap Pts
1 Webber 71 laps 10
2 Kubica 7.6sec 8
3 Hamilton 18.9sec 6
4 Vettel 19.6sec 5
5 Button 29.0sec 4
6 Räikkönen 33.3sec 3
7 Buemi 35.9sec 2
8 Barrichello 45.4sec 1
9 Kobayashi 63.3sec
10 Fisichella 70.6sec
11 Liuzzi 71.3sec
12 Kovalainen 73.4sec
13 Grosjean 1 lap
14 Alguersuari 1 lap
DNF Nakajima Accident
DNF Rosberg Gearbox
DNF Heidfeld Fuel
DNF Sutil Accident
DNF Trulli Accident
DNF Alonso Accident

Nice to see Mark pick up another win, shame nobody will remember it with the focus on the title win! Robert seemed to go completely unnoticed in the broadcast and yet finished second.
Vettel did manage to out-finish Button despite starting behind him, but it wasn’t enough as both put in great drives. Despite the puncture Barrichello still picked up a point for 8th.
A good result for Buemi, too.

Drivers’ Championship

Driver Prev BR Total
1 Button 85 4 89 C
2 Vettel 69 5 74
3 Barrichello 71 1 72
4 Webber 51.5 10 61.5
5 Hamilton 43 6 49
6 Räikkönen 45 3 48
7 Rosberg 34.5 34.5
8 Trulli 30.5 30.5
9 Alonso 26 26
10 Glock 24 24
11 Massa 22 22
12 Kovalainen 22 22
13 Kubica 9 8 17
14 Heidfeld 15 15
15 Fisichella 8 8
16 Sutil 5 5
17 Buemi 3 2 5
18 Bourdais 2 2

Congratulations to Jenson Button, the 2009 F1 World Champion!
Vettel’s efforts see him overhaul Barrichello in the table, a valiant chase towards the end of the season but let down by poor reliability earlier in the year.
Webber manages to jump himself out of the clutches of the chasing duo of Hamilton and Raikkonen who cannot now beat him.
Kubica moves up a position and Buemi joins Sutil on 5 points.

Constructors’ Championship

Constructor Prev BR Total
1 Brawn 156 5 161 C
2 Red Bull 120.5 15 135.5
3 McLaren 65 6 71
4 Ferrari 67 3 70
5 Toyota 54.5 54.5
6 Williams 34.5 34.5
7 BMW 24 8 32
8 Renault 26 26
9 Force India 13 13
10 Toro Rosso 5 2 7

Congratulations to BrawnGP, the 2009 F1 World Champions!
Red Bull’s chase came strong in the end but the points lead built up earlier on was good enough for Brawn to hold on.
McLaren and Ferrari switch positions again in the fight for 3rd.
BMW jump Renault with a strong haul of points.
Toro Rosso put some more on the board too, I can’t remember when the last-placed team scored as many points as this. Perhaps I’ll check for the season round-up.

Next Event

Abu Dhabi. (Blogger deleted what I had here and I can’t be bothered to fix)

Flag courtesy of 4 International Flags


Congratulations to Button and Brawn!

Congrulations to Jenson Button and the BrawnGP team for winning the F1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships today!

5th position with Barrichello delayed by a puncture and Vettel not making enough progress through the field was enough to secure both titles. Rubens was running 3rd at the time which wasn’t enough for him to keep the fight open until the finale, so while cruel to be denied in this way it was immaterial in the end.

Well done too to Mark Webber for his second win of the year.

Full race notes will be written and posted later in the week, I am in the middle of moving so it’ll have to wait a few days!