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Webber Wins Brazil; Button, Brawn Win Championship

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On: Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 1:16PM | By: John Welch

Webber Wins Brazil; Button, Brawn Win Championship

Mark Webber and Red Bull were able to pull out a victory in Sao Paulo, but Jenson Button managed to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettle and teammate Rubens Barrichello to secure the 2009 Driver's Championship. Brawn GP was able to take the constructor's championship, with one race remaining in Abu Dubai.

The week leading up to the eventual win was a busy one; a recap of all the dramatic happenings here . . .

Thursday's practice seemed to benefit everyone except the World Champion-to-be, Jenson Button. Several factors compounded against him. It was rainy in Sao Paulo, a good sign for Button's rivals, Vettle and Barrichello. Both of those drivers are adept in the rain and are considered "oversteer" drivers. Whereas they prefer a slightly tail-happy car, Button likes to have the rear of his car solidly planted, making for a smoother but sometimes slower driving style. Rain suits the oversteer guys, and there was a ton of it Thursday through Saturday.

The rain directly affected qualifying Saturday, as several cars succumbed to traction loss and near zero visibility. As the cars covered the front stretch, they weren't visible to the front stretch camera until they had made it three fourths of the way down the straight. Unusual because we would have seen them 100 meters earlier in normal conditions. This situation led to Rubens Barichello dominating qualifying. Many expected Sebastian Vettle to put his Red Bull chassis on pole; unfortunately he didn't make it out of the second round of knockout qualifying. A surprise to Red Bull, Vettle, and everyone watching, Vettle normally performing with exceptional speed in the rain. Vettle exited his car in a brash, disgusted manner, parking his car at the entrance to pit lane and chucking his steering wheel away from him as if it had just drop-kicked his mother. I can honestly say I've never seen Vettle so upset. Later he would calm down and take the blame for the incident, showing the character he has always displayed in the paddock, one of quiet confidence and self-awareness.

Jenson Button ended up starting the race from eighth position, needing to finish at least five positions ahead of teammate Barrichello for a chance at wrapping up the championship at the Interlagos circuit. The situation looked pretty bleak until the first round of pitstops, when Barrichello, through no fault of his own, lost several positions on a pit stop. To add to his problems, Button picked up three positions on the grid, landing himself a fifth place finish and the 2009 driver's championship. Barichello was an excellent sport about the win, congratulating Button as soon as he made it to the paddock. The teammates were seen partying together later that night in Sao Paulo. Mark Webber won the race, and Robert Kubica put his BMW on the podium for the first time this year, finishing second.

There is one final race, Abu Dubai next week. 2009 has seen many changes in the F1 world, some good and some bad. Next year will see a new engine supplier, Cosworth, four new teams entering the grid, the possiblity of a fifth, and the possible loss of BMW-Sauber. The rules shouldn't change much in the off-season, so the cars will appear as evolutions of the current chassis. Brawn GP proved that a small team can bring down the big boys; next year should be very exciting.

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