The European leg of the Formula One season came to an end, with Brawn once again coming first and second at the Italian GP at Monza.
Rubens Barrichello once again appeared to be the better Brawn driver and is moving closer to Button as the season comes to an end. With four more races to go, it has become a straight shootout between the two Brawn drivers.
Though Button holds a significant advantage over Barrichello, he really needs to finish on podium right up until the last race if he is to enjoy a comfortable victory. The moment he fails to score and Barrichello wins another race, things could become too close to call between them.
Kimi Raikkonen brought the Ferrari in for a podium finish once again, and though the car set-up did not favour the high speed Monza track, it was a good effort from Kimi who was once again hounded by a Force India car which followed him throughout the race.
Teammate Fisichella was impressive with his ninth place finish, but imagine if he had not left Force India, then he may have got another podium at his home Grand Prix but then not everyone can claim to drive for Ferrari in Formula One.
Force India proved that their Spa performance was no fluke and Sutil impressed everyone with his fourth place finish, while Liuzzi was all set to score points till an electronics failure forced him into a retirement. But he performed brilliantly having not driven a Formula One car in two years and this could well have rewarded him with a drive for 2010.
Hamilton and McLaren were the teams to beat after qualifying but they were strategically outwitted by Brawn and later, with just a lap to go, Hamilton threw away a podium finish by hitting the curb too hard which resulted in a spin and ultimately crashed him out of the race.
Kovalainen had a very quiet and uneventful race which saw him finish sixth, but he needs more than this if he did to keep Rosberg, Kubica, or even Kimi from taking his seat for the next season.
Red Bull’s chances of fighting it out with Brawn for both the titles seem to have ended with a disastrous Italian GP.
While Brawn took 18 points from this race, they could take only one point, with Vettel finishing eighth. Vettel is also running with his last engine and he will have to take a 10 place grid penalty at the Singapore GP as there is no point running with an under-performing engine. While Webber’s title hopes vanished with his retirement early on in the race.
BMW had a very mixed race, with Kubica retiring in the middle while Heidfeld came in seventh to score valuable points for the team. Given his age, his performance must improve if any of the existing teams would want to take him in for the next season.
Meanwhile the team needs to do more than this if they are to find a new buyer very soon, as the FIA will decide if they will be on the grid for 2010 or offer the spot to any of the new teams.
With all the speculations of race-fixing gathering momentum it was important for Renault to perform on track, and though Alonso never looked like he was in for a place on the podium, it was once again a very solid drive from him to finish in fifth, while rookie Grosjean managed 15th.
It was a race to forget for Toyota, Williams, and Toro Rosso, as they were way off from the other teams. Toyota need a podium very soon or else this year could be their last season in Formula One, while STR couldn't replicate last year's magical performance from Vettel for the team.
It was a good Italian Grand Prix, and though no news of the impending Alonso-Ferrari came out, everyone is set for the Sept. 21 hearing on the fate of the Renault race fixing scandal as the driver's market is directly dependent on the outcome of that proceeding.