Archive for the ‘Brawn-Mercedes’ Category

h1

Button 2009 World Champion as Webber Wins in Brazil

October 18, 2009

Jenson Button drove like a champion in this afternoon’s Brazilian Grand Prix to be crowned Formula One World Champion 2009, with Mark Webber taking victory.

Button held it together, putting in some impressive overtaking manoeuvres to prove that he is the worthy champion of the season. While a first lap collision saw the end of Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso’s races, Button held his nerve to take the championship with one race left to the season.

Button, who sang Queen’s We Are the Champions over the radio at the end of the race, said: “It is amazing. After the last few races I’ve had this one make up for it and I am world champion baby!” He added: “I never expected to be world champion in F1. We have done it today!”

An emotional Ross Brawn said of Button’s performance: “He had a great race. He knew what he had to do.” He said that it still had to sink in.

And when you look back to just weeks before the start of the season when Honda pulled out of F1 with it looking like Button and teammate Rubens Barrichello would not make the grid in Australia, it is amazing just what the Brawn team have achieved, taking both the drivers’ and the constructors’ title in the same weekend. But at the start of the race it didn’t look hopeful for Button, as with Barrichello on pole it seemed likely the title would go down to the last race in Abu Dhabi in two weeks time.

The Senna ‘S’ on the first lap normally always claims its victims, but everyone got round in one piece, with the hairiest moment being Heikki Kovalainen tripping up and very nearly collecting Giancarlo Fisichella as he went into a spin. But the first lap carnage came after turn five, when Trulli and Sutil collided sending Trulli to the left, and Sutil over the grass to the right, collecting Fernando Alonso as he came back across the track.

Contact between Kimi Raikkonen and Sutil in the first few corners saw damage to Raikkonen’s front wing, and the Finn was soon being passed on track. As the safety car came out, Lewis Hamilton, who had started 17th, pitted, with McLaren switching him to a one-stop strategy. But it was Kovalainen’s stop that caused havoc in the pitlane, as he drove away with his fuel hose attached, spilling fuel, which ignited in Raikkonen’s face as he drove out of his pitbox and down the pitlane behind Heikki. Fortunately, both were able to make a getaway, with the Brawn mechanics releasing Kovalainen’s hose.

At the restart the champion came alive in Button, and while it was Barrichello who had the lead, it was Button making the moves, passing Romain Grosjean on the first lap after the restart, and Kazuki Nakajima on the second. It took him longer to pass rookie Kamui Kobayashi, who stands in for Timo Glock at Toyota after his crash in Suzuka two weeks ago, but after pulling an impressive move into the first corner a bit later in the race, it was all about holding his nerve and bringing it home.

After the first round of pitstops, it was clear Barrichello had lost out, with both second and third placed Webber and Robert Kubica leapfrogging him. With Hamilton one stopping, Barrichello needed to stay in third for six world championship points, with Button no higher than eighth to keep his title hopes alive. But after Barrichello’s second stop, Hamilton soon caught the Brawn driver and passed him for third. Contact between the two resulted in a right rear puncture for Rubens and he had to pit for a third time, and he could manage no higher than eighth and one world championship point.

Going into the race, Sebastian Vettel had been a contender for the title, and having started 15th, just behind Button, Red Bull were hoping for a clean getaway, through the first few corners, but with a safety car to shake things up a bit. That was what they got, and while Webber stormed to victory with a solid performance, Vettel put in a solid drive to finish fourth, to take second in the drivers’ standings with one race to go.

While the champagne is set to flow for Button and Brawn after taking the title, Mark Webber deserves praise for his impressive victory, his second of the season. The Australian driver was able to leapfrog Barrichello in the first round of  pitstops, and after pitting later than his rivals, he was able to maintain the lead as he exited the pits following his first stop. He produced a faultless drive, finishing ahead of Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton. Vettel came through in fourth ahead of the new champion Button in fifth. Despite his first lap woes, Raikkonen came through in sixth ahead of Sebastien Buemi in seventh, and Barrichello in eighth.

Less lucky, Nick Heidfeld ran out of fuel on the track shortly after his first stop, where his fuel rig failed to put fuel into the car, Nico Rosberg retired with gearbox failure, and Kazuki Nakajima went flying off the track at turn four after contact with Kobayashi.

While Button cannot be toppled from the top spot in the championship, second is left to decide, with Vettel now just ahead of Barrichello. Hamilton now sits in fifth behind Webber, having taken a point out of Raikkonen. In the constructors’ championship, while Brawn and Red Bull have secured first and second, McLaren have now snatched third from Ferrari. But with the last round in Abu Dhabi being somewhat of an unknown, anything could happen before the season draws to a close.

 

The next race is in two weeks, with qualifying on Saturday 31st October and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on Sunday 1st November.

h1

Pole for Barrichello, Rain Puts Button 14th

October 17, 2009

Rubens Barrichello took pole in a qualifying session which lasted over two and a half hours, after storms suspended both Q1 and Q2 in Brazil today.

Qualifying two weeks ago in Japan was eventful, and qualifying for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix was just as eventful, with Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaning at turn two bringing out the red flag early on in Q1, Sebastian Vettel failing to get to Q2, along with Lewis Hamilton who had a spin at turn five. When Q2 finally started, it was Vitantonio Liuzzi’s crash along the pit straight that saw the second red flag of the afternoon, that stopped the clock for over an hour.

It was Jenson Button who lost out in Q2 when it finally got under way, as when the track started to dry out he struggled, failing to put in a fast enough time to get into the top ten shoot out, and he will start tomorrow’s race in 14th.

But while the rain had the biggest say of the day, it was Barrichello who shone through taking pole as the clock stopped in Q3. It looked like it could have been Mark Webber’s, even Jarno Trulli and Nico Rosberg looked like they could snatch the pole as the track dried out and their lap times got faster, but it was Rubens who delivered in front of his home crowd.

With Button down in 14th, and Vettel down in 16th, it is looking like the championship will be thrown wide open tomorrow, ahead of the last round in Abu Dhabi in two weeks time. All Barrichello needs is five points more than Jenson to keep his hopes alive going into the final round. If they stay where they are, and Barrichello wins, with Button out of the points, there will be just four points between them.

Vettel will need to put in the performance of his life tomorrow to be in with a chance in Abu Dhabi, but it is now looking more and more likely it is just about the two teammates.

The only question is, will it rain tomorrow? And if it does, can Barrichello keep it together when it matters?

h1

Barrichello Heads Brawn 1-2 in Monza

September 13, 2009

Rubens Barrichello took two more points out of teammate Jenson Button’s championship lead this afternoon, taking victory in a tense Italian Grand Prix, that saw pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton ditch his McLaren on the final lap.

Hamilton took an early lead from pole, putting in fastest lap after fastest lap to pull out a comfortable lead over Kimi Raikkonen, who had snatched second off Adrian Sutil on the first lap. With the front three on a different strategy to the Brawns, Hamilton was the first to pit on lap 15, rejoining the track behind Barrichello and Button in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Lewis regained the lead after both Button and Barrichello pitted for their first and only scheduled stop of the afternoon on laps 28 and 29 respectively. On lap 34, Hamilton was in again having only managed to pull out a 16 second lead over Barrichello. He rejoined behind Button, and it was there that the fight for victory began.

Barrichello had it in the bag, with the one-stop strategy working in the Brawn team’s favour, and it was Button who needed to hold off the charging Hamilton. With the gap down to a second between the two Brits, Rubens had the victory in touching distance on the final lap, while an aggressive Hamilton, hungry to snatch back second, pushed too hard and dropped his McLaren on the exit of the first Lesmo, having just set the fastest time for the first sector, for the whole race.

Hamilton said of the incident: “Every lap I was pushing like a qualifying lap. I was pushing as hard as I could.” He apologised to the fans and to the team for the accident.

Martin Whitmarsh said that Lewis’s accident just showed his aggression to racing, pushing as hard as he could to gain second in the closing stages of the race.

It seemed Brawn chose the perfect strategy for both their drivers, as the two-stoppers of Hamilton, Raikkonen and Sutil, who had all qualified on the front two rows of the grid, failed to maintain their lead when it mattered. Barrichello said of his win: “It feels great, like I said on the lap after the chequered flag. I have no words.” He added: “The car was there all the time, and it felt great.”

Barrichello’s win edges him closer to Button in the drivers standings, with just 14 points now separating the two. Sebastian Vettel, who currently sits third in the standings, is twelve points behind Barrichello, managing to pick up a single point in eighth after Hamilton’s accident. Mark Webber remains fourth in the championship after his race finished on the first lap after a tap from Robert Kubica sent him sideways into the gravel trap.

Prior to the race there had been high hopes for Hamilton’s teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who fuel corrected, would have been on pole. However Heikki, who started fourth with a heavy fuel load, lost out to fifth place starter Barrichello at the beginning of the first lap, and a half a lap later lost fifth to Button in the second Lesmo corner. From there his afternoon remained rather quiet, and he finished sixth, bringing home just three points for the McLaren team.

Kimi Raikkonen filled the final step of the podium following Hamilton’s crash, finishing just ahead of Sutil. Fernando Alonso finished fifth ahead of Kovalainen in sixth, Nick Heidfeld in seventh and Sebastian Vettel in eighth.

As the European leg of the season draws to a close, all eyes are now on the Brawn boys for the final four races of the season. With Button maintaining a comfortable gap of 26 points to third place man Vettel, it is looking more likely that the title fight will be between Button and Barrichello.

 

The next race takes place on the flood-lit streets of Singapore, with qualifying on Saturday 26th September, and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on the 27th.

h1

Barrichello Scores First Win in Five Years

August 23, 2009

Rubens Barrichello won his first race in five years in Valencia this afternoon, as the perfect strategy saw him snatch the win from McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton made the perfect getaway from pole, and led the race up until the second round of pitstops where an error made by the McLaren mechanics enabled Barrichello to leapfrog the race leader to take victory.

Barrichello had held his nerve up until that point, leapfrogging Heikki Kovalainen running second in the sister McLaren in the first round of pitstops. After spending the second stint hunting down and maintaining the gap to Hamilton, Rubens saw the opportunity to pass him in the second round of stops after the McLaren mechanics failed to get the Briton’s tyres out in time. The error cost Hamilton time, and inevitably the race. Barrichello passed the chequered flag just over three seconds ahead of Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen taking the last step on the podium.

Barrichello said: “It has been fantastic. It has been a weekend that I’ll never forget.”

Jenson Button in the sister Brawn, had less luck than his teammate, and a poor getaway saw him lose three places in the first corner. After chasing the Red Bull of Mark Webber for the majority of the race, a quick out lap in the second round of pitstops, coupled with a slow in lap by Webber, saw Button finish seventh, with Webber out of the points in ninth. An engine failure for Sebastian Vettel enables Button to maintain his lead in the drivers’ championship over the Red Bulls, and puts Barrichello back into second place, and 18 points adrift from the Brit.

Kovalainen brought his McLaren home in fourth, having been unable to match his teammate’s pace, and losing third place to Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg finished in fifth, with Fernando Alonso in sixth, Button seventh, and Robert Kubica rounding off the points scorers in eighth.

Barrichello’s win puts the Brazilian back in the hunt for the title, and with six rounds to go, it is becoming more likely that the title fight will once again go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi in November.

Rubens can now head to Belgium next weekend knowing that he has finally got a win under his belt for Brawn, and that the championship can still be his for the taking.

 

The next round will be in Belgium next weekend, with qualifying on Saturday 29th and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on Sunday 30th.

h1

Unstoppable Button Takes Victory in Turkey

June 7, 2009

In the four year history of the Turkish Grand Prix, the winner has always started from pole. Kimi Raikkonen turned pole position into victory in 2005, and Felipe Massa made a hat-trick of poles and wins in 2006, 07 and 08. But as the lights went out at the Istanbul Park circuit for the seventh race of the 2009 championship, Jenson Button accelerated away on a mission to prove you could still win from P2. As he took the chequered flag 58 laps later, he had a clear message for his rivals: that he is unstoppable. 

Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel didn’t have an answer for Button. After running wide in turn nine on the first lap he gifted the lead to the Brawn, and despite chasing him down in the second stint, the Red Bull struggled to overtake in its dirty air. 

After losing the lead to Button early on, Vettel, who was on a three stop strategy, had a lighter car than the Brawn and was able to close the gap on Jenson by less than a second. However, with his teammate Mark Webber two stopping, Vettel could not make up enough time to catch him after his final pit stop, and the German finished in third behind Webber.

Button’s teammate Rubens Barrichello was less fortunate, and despite starting on the clean side of the grid, problems with the clutch off the start line saw him slip back through the pack behind Heikki Kovalainen who had started in 14th. The pair spent the first few laps of the race jostling for 11th position, with Barrichello overtaking Kovalainen into the final corner of lap 6, only for the Finn to hit his KERS button and claim the position back on the start/ finish straight. Contact between the pair a lap later put Barrichello in a spin, and he soon found himself trading Heikki’s McLaren for that of Lewis Hamilton who had been running in 17th. Barrichello’s bad luck didn’t end there and the Brazilian retired on lap 49 after having spent most of the race without seventh gear. His retirement is the first for Brawn since making their F1 debut in the 2009 championship.

For Massa and Raikkonen they finished 6th and 9th respectively, with the McLarens of Hamilton and Kovalainen finishing 13th and 14th. After failing to score points in the last three races, fans of the Woking-based team are calling for an updated car to be introduced following a bad showing so far this season. The car appears to be difficult to drive, with Hamilton lacking significant pace through turn eight, and losing track position to several of the slower cars on numerous occasions. The reigning world champ appears to have admitted defeat in recent races, and a new, mature approach spells that the Brit is focusing on enjoying the drive for this year, and getting competitive again for next year.

Whilst last year’s champion struggles in his McLaren, Button is proving race-on-race to be unstoppable. With 61 championship points and an advantage of 26 over his closest rival, teammate Barrichello, Button appears to be in the zone, in a league of his own. Despite having more fuel onboard at the start of the race to Vettel’s Red Bull, he managed to pull out a significant lead over the German early on. With the championship just short of the half way stage, it looks like Jenson could well be on his way to championship glory in 2009.

 

But will Button be making it seven out of eight races at Silverstone in two weeks time? The British Grand Prix will be making its final appearance at the Northampton circuit in a fortnight, with qualifying on Saturday and the race at 1pm on Sunday 21st on BBC One.

h1

Button Produces Faultless Win at Monaco

May 24, 2009

The Monaco Grand Prix is the showcase of the Formula One season, where narrow streets and slow-speed corners wind their way past the casino, through the tunnel, and alongside the glamourous harbour. Qualifying means all or nothing to your race: put it on pole and you’re halfway to victory, but drop it in the barrier in quali one and you may as well watch the race from onboard Flavio Briatore’s lavish yacht.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton proved just that this afternoon. After placing his Brawn on the front row of the grid in qualifying yesterday, Jenson made a storming start to turn his pole into victory and edge his way even further into the lead of the championship. After breaking late into Mirabeau in quali one yesterday, and incurring a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox, Lewis started 19th and could only manage 12th in a drawn-out race at the Monte Carlo circuit.

Flashback to this time last year and Lewis Hamilton won the race in spectacular style, despite a puncture to one of his tyres after an early collision with a barrier. Then it was raining, today it was hot. Then he was driving a fast car, today he was driving an injured car. Then he won in car 22, today it was Button’s turn to win in car 22.

Button’s drive couldn’t have been more faultless, in fact the only error he made all afternoon was where he parked his car at the end of it. Unlike the other races on the calendar where park ferme is in the pit lane, Monaco sees the top three cars line up on the grid in front of the podium. But in the true fashion that comes with a driver who has rarely been at the top- and never won the Monaco Grand Prix- Button parked his Brawn in the pits, meaning he had to run back to the grid for the podium ceremony. Still, considering some of the errors that are frequently made at this narrow street circuit, this was only a minor blunder, and somewhat amusing at that.

Button’s getaway was quick, but it was teammate Rubens Barrichello who made the fastest move off the grid from third to second, passing Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen before he could even think about hitting his KERS button.

Button lead for the majority of the race, gifting the lead to Rosberg on lap 16 at his first pitstop, only to re-claim the lead a lap later, and again to Raikkonen at the second pitstop for two laps.

Raikkonen’s teammate Felipe Massa showed that Ferrari are on the move again after a slow start to the 2009 season. Raikkonen finished alongside the Brawn drivers on the podium, with Massa following closely behind. Mark Webber was the sole Red Bull to pass the chequered flag after Sebastian Vettel clipped the barrier on the exit of turn one early on in the race.

Despite running third before his first pitstop, Hamilton’s teammate Heikki Kovalainen lost control of his McLaren going past the swimming pool in the last third of the race, and became one of five retirees.

After six races of the 2009 season, and with Button claiming victory at all but one, it appears Lewis Hamilton needs to get a move on if he wants to defend his title. His fellow Brit has set the pace for the remainder of the season, and with his 16 point lead over teammate Barrichello, and 42 over Hamilton, it is clear that Lewis and indeed the rest of the pack have some catching up to do. After Hamilton’s second pitstop, his lack of pace in the first half of the race became apparent to be his front wing which was broken early on. The defending champion soon picked up the pace in his final stint, proving the McLaren is more than capable to match the pace of the Brawn. Towards the end of the race Hamilton made a charge and managed to improve on his race-long second-to-last position. However the champion has some catching up to do in the coming races if he wants to retain his title at Abu Dhabi in eleven races time.

As for Button, he can leave for the next race in Turkey knowing that he is somewhat unstoppable. He went into the race saying he was taking each race as it came and would only worry about the championship come the final race in November, but surely if anyone is going to catch him, they’re going to have to pull something out of the bag, and sooner rather than later…

 

The next race is in Turkey in a fortnights time, with qualifying at 12pm on 6th June, and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on the 7th.

h1

Jenson Makes it 4 Out of 5 For Brawn

May 10, 2009

Jenson Button has made it four out of five at the Spanish Grand Prix, and edged his way ever further into the lead of the driver’s world championship, in a race where Ferrari failed to fuel their sole remaining driver long enough to get him comfortably to the finish, and McLaren struggled for grip throughout.

Button started the race from pole, but soon found himself staring at the back of teammate Barrichello, as the Brazilian claimed two places into the first corner. Felipe Massa made a quick getaway from fourth making up one place to position himself in front of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Further down the field, contact between Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli ended up putting the latter out of the race, taking the Force India of Adrian Sutil and the two Toro Rossos with him.

The safety car was quickly deployed after the carnage that was turn two, and at the restart, Barrichello led Button away from Massa and Vettel.

Heikki Kovalainen saw his third retirement of the season shortly after the restart due to gearbox failure, and Kimi Raikkonen ground to a hault on lap 18 with suspected electrical problems, after having spent the previous laps since the restart hunting down the BMW of Nick Heidfeld.

Barrichello led Button through the first round of pitstops, however, a stategy change by Button’s engineers from three-stopping to two, saw the Brazilian fall back behind Jenson after his second stop, despite his second-per-lap advantage over his teammate in the second stint. An early stop and a switch to the hard tyres by Massa and Vettel allowed Barrichello to make up time on his softer tyres and he came out of the pits for the third time ahead of the fighting Ferrari and Red Bull. Despite losing out to Button by three-stopping, the soft tyres proved to be the best compound and brought Barrichello home in second to make it a Brawn one-two.

Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber also three-stopped, pitting for the final time behind Rubens, and he too leap-frogged Massa and Vettel to get his second podium this season.

Lewis Hamilton had a less-lucky race, being forced to run onto the grass at the start, after getting caught up behind the Toyota of Trulli, and narrowly escaping the crash in turn two as he made his way round at the back of the pack. Hamilton said: “I drove my heart out as I always do” adding, he just didn’t have the grip to get into the points-scoring positions, narrowly missing out in 9th.

In the closing laps of the race, it soon became apparent that Massa didn’t have enough fuel on board to push to the end of the race, and subsequently he had to allow Vettel through, and later Fernando Alonso, to at least ensure he finished the race. After crossing the finish line in 6th, he parked his F60 on the circuit, having finally run out of fuel.

For Brawn, they have dominated the Circuit de Catalunya all weekend, with Barrichello pushing Button all the way, at one point looking set to take his first victory since 2004. However, it was Jenson Button who proved that you certainly have to be on the front row of the grid to win in Barcelona, and having made it four wins out of five, he seems to be in a league of his own.

 

The next race will be in Monaco in two weeks time.