F1: 2009 Not a "One Horse Race"
The picture above almost sums up the 2009 F1 World Championship scene.
Rubens Barrichello is, at the most, satisfied by his position but clearly upset that his teammate is taking all the glory.
Sebastian Vettel (blue) is really pleased with his position but has the confidence that he can still take the World Championship.
Jenson Button is ecstatic about where he is, first, but all that glory might be slipping away!
As it stands:
Jenson Button—Brawn—64 points
Rubens Barrichello—Brawn—41 points
Sebastian Vettel—Red Bull—39 points
To inexperienced or down beat F1 fans this would look like Button is running away with it!
But, to experienced and realistic F1 fans, this looks like Button is still running away with it, but with Vettel lightly breathing down his neck, for now...
You see, unfortunately for this years Championship, the "run away" leader Jenson Button also happens to be the most consistent driver out there. Even in his BAR Honda days Button—with the exception of last year—used to rack up solid, good, consistent points.
He is so comfortable in any car. He is a "smooth" driver, rarely putting a "hand" wrong. Like a machine, Jenson needs to be matched by whats below him, his car.
And he certainly has that this year! But who are the challengers?
Rubens Barrichello (Brazil)—Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello has an equally good car this year —obviously—and he is very consistent. But that's the problem for him.
He is consistent at getting in the top three or four on the grid and getting on the podium, but he never gets pole position or, more importantly, wins a race.
But what he does have is plenty of experience at this high level, far more than his other rivals. And he could take advantage of this when the going gets tough later on in the season—and it will!
Perhaps another problem could be that Barrichello has a lot of experience playing "second fiddle." Maybe this has given him an unwanted comfort.
Brawn's car is more consistent than Red Bull and I believe Rubens' experience will take advantage of Vettel's inexperience and he will be under less pressure.
Mark Webber (Australia)—Red Bull Racing
Webber just isn't fast enough this season to challenge for the World Championship. But he will still be ecstatic as he should get his highest finish in his career this year.
But Webber is an experienced, solid, steady, and smart driver and won't roll over for his team mate Vettel—not yet at least. He has made the podium four times this year, including coming second three times. And he increasingly looks like winning a Grand Prix.
I expect him to have a big say in the outcome of the title this year as he looks certain to win at least one race. But he should keep an eye open for third place, and watch Toyota's Jarno Trulli sneaking up behind him.
Vettel, Button, and Barrichello will just out pace him. But his steady and smart driving will come in handy at some point, most likely in the rain or at difficult tracks like Singapore or the brand new Abu Dhabi—the last race of the calendar!
Sebastian Vettel (Germany)—Red Bull Racing
He is the man to stop Button, but can he? He is young, confident and very quick. But is that enough. It doesn't make up for his inexperience. But they all have to start somewhere, right?
He seems to be quite humble. A nice "bloke." I expect him to win at least three more GPs this year and begin to put the heat on Button. But I doubt Button will lose his nerve first.
And when the pressure is on you and you can't handle it, you make mistakes. This is very likely to happen as he will have to be aggressive and attack every remaining Grand Prix to catch up. But he may show he has a stronger mind than we think.
He will make mistakes, I am sure. And Barrichello will not, I am sure. It could go either way but I think Rubens will come out on top, this year anyway.
So Who Will Win in Abu Dhabi?
Who will stand victorious on Sunday, November 1st? With the beautiful Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit behind them. Who will repeat the successes of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton of recent years?
My money is on Jenson Button, but it will be a bumpy ride from now til then. But I doubt we will have the drama of last years finale, when Massa thought he had won, only for Hamilton to pass Timo Glock on the last turn and gain enough points to win.
But you never know...