Formula One 2009 Drivers: Rounding Out the Top 20
With the Abu Dhabi race at the Yas Marina concluded, it's that time of year when the Formula 1 season is reviewed, evaluated, and discussed.
It's been a major year for F1 with new rule changes and various scandals in the sport, from Lewis Hamilton's "lie-gate" to the Renault incident.
Also, there was much talk midway through the season of F1 having a major split with all but two of the teams wanting to switch to their own FOTA series, which could have resulted in F1, as we know it, dying.
Here are the guys who rounded out the top 20 in the standings. From Buemi to Nakajima, they all had their moments.
Sebastien Buemi: 16th (6 Points)
Much was made at the start of the season whether the young Swiss driver was up to racing in F1.
In the worst car of the year, Buemi showed glimpses of a long spell in the sport with six points over the course of the season.
He started well in Melbourne, gaining seventh after originally finishing eighth after Hamilton got disqualified post-race.
He had a nightmare in Malaysia in the rain before performing well in Bahrain.
Good qualifying performances in the final two races were backed up with points finishes. More of the same should be expected next year.
Adrian Sutil: 17th (4 Points)
Overall, it was a good year for Sutil, who was finally rewarded with some luck when he finished fourth at Monza.
He put in some good performances for Force India when they were struggling at the start and stepped up towards the end.
He does have a habit of being involved in more than the usual amount of incidents throughout the year.
Though he wasn't at fault in Interlagos, it was Trulli who caused the crash.
He should have done enough to keep his seat next year.
Kamui Kobayashi: 18th (3 Points)
It's never easy for a rookie to drive in F1, but it's even harder for a rookie to come in unexpectedly.
After Glock had his shunt in Suzuka, Toyota rightly gave the young Japanese driver a chance to fill in.
Kamui did alright in qualifying and ruffled Jenson Button with some inventive "braking."
That being said, he was at fault for Nakajima's accident, which took the gloss off a fine ninth place finish.
He drove well in Abu Dhabi and, if not for a poor five to six laps after his pit stop, could have finished higher than his eventual sixth.
He has earned a drive for 2010, which will see him thoroughly tested as a driver.
Sebastien Bourdais: 19th (2 Points)
Sadly for Bourdais, he came into F1 four to five years too late and perhaps never got the drive that his raw talent deserved.
He just about did enough to earn a second year at STR for 2009, but with the car struggling at the start, he failed to retain his seat.
This was despite a good eighth in Monaco where he had a good end to the race, holding of Fisichella's Force India.
His poor qualifying performances didn't help his cause, as he failed to keep up with Buemi in his last couple of races.
He might be one of the names mentioned with one of the new teams, but will probably go back to the States, where he had success.
Kazuki Nakajima: 20th (0 Points)
Kazuki will likely be without a seat for next year, which is a tad unlucky.
After a good 2008 which saw him match Rosberg at times, he never was quite in the right position to challenge for points this year.
He got his fair share of bad luck along the way, notably at Silverstone, when his race was affected by a poor pit stop.
A move back to GP2 would not hurt his career long-term; neither would a seat as a reserve driver somewhere.