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GP Week : Issue 35
>>F1brazil nd Prix, Interlagos One way or another, Toyota was destined to play a role in the championship this weekend. It wasn’t intentional, it just sort of happened that way. Trulli’s third place in Friday’s second practice was a warning shot nobody heeded until he punched his Toyota into P2 in qualifying, pushing Raikkonen down onto the second row alongside Hamilton and creating a huge buzz over The Toro Rosso boys were celebrating again in Brazil as Sebastian Vettel again showed what can be done in tricky conditions with a good car and a nifty racing brain. The German was mega in Brazil, lining up in seventh but racing harder and faster than almost anyone else on the track. His move on Kovalainen on the first lap was absolutely top class, and the Finally the last race of the season and it cannot have tasted sweeter for anyone more than Honda. Not that the team had any success in Brazil, just that it meant they’d only have to race this car one more time. Qualifying was comparatively good as Barrichello got into Q2 for what could be his last F1 race, while Button out-qualified Rosberg. For the first time this season, Force India filled the bottom two positions in every single practice and qualifying session. Not being a statistic to be overly proud of, not much was made of the team’s struggles in Brazil. As with most teams they struggled for grip in the colder than usual climate, but the sheer lack of pace compared to the midfield was alarming. During the race, therefore, it was Fifth or better was all Hamilton needed to do to take the title … and it so nearly didn’t come to pass. The team had claimed in the run up to the race that it would be tuning Hamilton’s one-race weary engine down to save stressing it, and the consensus seemed to be that McLaren would play for points. In the weather conditions that ended up being a dangerous game. the start of the race. In the end, however, it was Glock whose role was the greatest in the race itself. With rain falling at the end of the 71 lap contest, the Toyotas were left out on dry tyres in an attempt to make up some positions. But with heavy rain falling, Glock had no grip and the positions he lost to Vettel and Hamilton were enough to give the Briton the championship. speed with which he hounded Massa and passed Hamilton was stunning. Fourth place was a good reward and proved how valuable he will be to Red Bull Racing in 2009. Bourdais had a funny race and found the car better on wet tyres than dry. With a 2009 contract yet to be signed it wasn’t the sign off for which he might have wished. The race was tough for both as strategy and tyre choice failed to work out. Last season, Button’s mechanics had taped a lighter inside his cockpit so he could set what had been an appalling car on fire at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix. This year he didn’t need one. The car, perhaps realising itself how bad it had been in 2008, set itself alight on reaching parc ferme. Says it all really. Roll on 2009. impressive to see Fisichella holding his own when pit-stops left him way further up the order than the car merited. Holding off Hamilton for as long as he did was impressive, but as the race unfolded he fell backwards. Fisi eventually finished 18th, two places behind Sutil. Fisi’s problems had stemmed from clutch issues at his pit-stop which had dropped him out of a potential points scoring position. What was more disappointing was that Kovalainen had failed to get mixed up in the battle. Even if he had been incapable of fighting at the front, one would have expected a rear gunner action from him. Vettel quickly despatched him and ended up almost costing Hamilton the title. If McLaren wants to add the constructors’ championship to their drivers’ trophy in 2009, the Finn needs to up his game. 33