Brit Jenson Button from Brawn GP picked up his first Driver’s Championship earlier today in Brazil. 29-year old Button arrived at Interlagos with a comfortable lead but if he failed to score a single point in the two remaining races (Brazil and Abu Dhabi) the crown could go to his team mate Rubens Barrichello or Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull.
With his fifth place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Brit sealed the championship. Even if the Button fails to finish the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi he will still walk away as the 2009 Champion. During yesterday’s qualifying Button only managed 14th place. His team mate who was also contending for the title grabbed pole position. Vettel on the other hand started the race right behind Button following Vitantonio Liuzzi’s 5-place grid penalty.
As the race progressed the three championship rivals managed to have a clean race despite what happened around them. On the first lap itself two major incidents took place. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) spun his car at Turn 2 and nearly collected Giancarlo Fisichella (Ferrari). A couple of corners later Jarno Trulli (Toyota) put a wheel on the grass and spun into Adrian Sutil (Force India). The latter also took Fernando Alonso (Renault) out of the race. Both Trulli and and Sutil were seen arguing after the incident.
Kovalainen made a pit stop for repairs and a re-fuel. Unfortunately the Finn drove off with the fuel rig intact. Fuel was then sprayed on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari which came in for a new front wing. A dramatic fireball developed at the back of the Ferrari. Raikkonen nearly ended his race and was complaining about burning eyes (sensation felt after getting in contact with petrol) even after the race.
After 71 laps, Mark Webber from Red Bull emerged victorious. BMW’s Robert Kubica and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton joined the podium as well. Vettel managed fourth place while Button settled with fifth. Rubens Barrichello who started from pole only managed to finish in eight place following a puncture that forced the Brazilian to pit with just a couple of laps remaining.
Along with the Driver’s Championship, Button’s British-based Brawn GP team that took over operations from Honda at the beginning of year also secured the Constructor’s Championship. The Formula 1 circus now heads to the United Arab Emirates for the season finale on November 1st.