Red Bull and Mark Webber may have won the battle, but Brawn GP and Jenson Button won the war at Formula One's penultimate race in Brazil.
Webber, starting from P2, led most of the Grand Prix of Brazil on the way to his second win of the season, but in the end, Button's fifth-place finish was enough to clinch his first world driver's championship.
In his seventh year with the Brawn GP team, counting its previous incarnations as BAR and Honda, Button blossomed at the beginning of the season, winning six of seven races. Since then, he has come under fire for not "driving like a champion" in the worldwide press, but has nonetheless amassed enough points with his Brazil finish to take the title.
The only two drivers mathematically eligible to catch Button, team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull's Sebastien Vettel, were not able to close the gap on Button in Brazil, finishing eighth and fourth, respectively.
For Barrichello, the result was especially disappointing, as the native Brazilian had qualified on the pole and was looking for his first win at Interlagos in 17 starts.
Vettel and Button both qualified far back in the field, but were aided by a series of lap-one wrecks that either damaged or took out the cars of Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil, and Fernando Alonso.
It was an especially disappointing day for Red Bull as a team, even with their combined 15 points to Brawn's five. Brawn still clinched the constructor's championship for 2009 and will have the honor of carrying car numbers one and two next season.
While Button and Brawn may have coasted to the championship on fumes, that isn't to diminish their achievements for the season. The team has scored 161 points thus far this season, with the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi remaining to add to their total. They also have scored eight wins, six by Button and two by Barrichello.
Red Bull, on the other hand, only has 133.5 points and five wins (three by Vettel, two by Webber).
The Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi will take place Nov. 1.