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GP Week : Issue 68
Team-By-Team: Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos Adrian Sutil is starting to look more and more like an F1 driver with every passing weekend and Brazil was another fine example. He was quick in practice, with Liuzzi not far off, but few had expected the German to qualify as high as third, which he did on not the smallest amount of fuel. Liuzzi had a nightmare run in quali and crashed after aquaplaning on the straight. With a gearbox change he was relegated to last position on the grid and took two early stops to get the softer compound out of the way. On heavy fuel, his race was never going to be easy, but he got up to 12th and put in another good showing. Sutil, meanwhile, could and should have been in the points, but for Trulli’s attempted move on the first lap which sent them both out of the race. Sutil said it was stupid. And it was. Williams looked really rather good in Brazil when conditions were either variable or appalling. In qualifying, Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima both looked brilliant in the driving rain, and had it stayed wet, Rosberg might well have been on for pole. As the track dried, it became clear the duo were on full wet set-ups and they slipped back to line up seventh and ninth. In the race Rosberg had sat third until he was passed by Kubica but fourth had looked on for the German until a gearbox problem curtailed his running. Nakajima gained a few spots at the start but then made the mistake of trying to pass the very defensive Kobayashi where there wasn’t any room. Nakajima touched his countryman and he was out of the race in a pretty heavy shunt. Vettel came into the weekend knowing he needed a win, and the momentum was firmly in his favour after the stunning victory in Suzuka. With both he and team- mate Webber well within the top 10, the team felt confident it could take the battle all the way to Abu Dhabi. Vettel was left fuming after the team got its timing all wrong in Q1 and the German was dumped out early on. Webber drove an almost perfect session to sit second on the grid. Come the race, and Webber was in a class of his own taking a thoroughly deserved win after a brilliant display. Vettel was also impressive, rising from his lowly grid slot to take fourth position. Sadly for the team, it was not enough to stop Brawn or Button from sealing their titles, and Red Bull will have to try again in 2010. The gap between Buemi and Alguersuari was evident in practice when the Swiss driver looked very quick and competitive in second and the Spaniard struggled to lift himself off the bottom of the timesheets. In qualifying, however, both drivers pulled out their best ever results with Alguersuari 12th and Buemi an impressive sixth. In the conditions it was a great result. In the race Alguersuari was fairly anonymous and slipped two places to finish 14th. Buemi drove a hard slog, and despite complaining of poor race pace, was able to take seventh position and some much needed points for the team. Buemi is growing in confidence and class every weekend, and could be one to watch in Abu Dhabi in two weeks time. After looking for some time as though the championship was running away from them, Brawn put up a great show in Brazil to seal both titles. Barrichello, on his home circuit, did his title shot the world of good with pole position while Button was stuck down in 14th after wearing out his wet tyres in quali. In the race Barrichello just didn’t seem to have enough pace to compete and slipped back to fourth before a puncture dropped him even further back to eighth. Button put in the drive of a champion, and was dutifully rewarded with the 2009 crown. He drove out of his skin and put in a true champion’s drive. Brawn and Button are the 2009 champions and deservedly so. Nobody has ever achieved the feat of winning the team’s title in their first season, and they may never do again. F1 BRAZIL >> 29