The Top-Five Races Of The Decade Part 6: Interlagos 2009

Adam Flinn@@F1AdamCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 18:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Brawn GP celebrates clinching the F1 World Drivers Championship during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on October 18, 2009 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

This sort of serves me right for writing this series before the end of the decade! Jenson Button drove an amazing race to claim the world championship, and it really was a brilliant spectacle to watch.

Any people who doubted whether he deserved to win the title just have to watch his overtaking manoeuvres on Romain Grosjean, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi, and Sebastien Buemi. It was great to see Jenson getting on with the job, instead of taking the conservative approach he was planning on before this weekend.

After qualifying, it was looking very dodgy for Button. His main championship opponent, Rubens Barrichello, had stuck his Brawn on pole. Jenson had a lot of inexperienced drivers around him, as well as Sebastian Vettel and two KERS powered McLarens just behind.

However, by the end of the first lap, Button was up into ninth place, after a crash between Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil allowed him to make up some ground.

Trulli was very upset with Sutil over the incident, but to me it was more his fault than Adrian's. Sutil was ahead on the track and trying to keep out of Kimi Raikkonen's way, when Jarno touched the grass and speared into the side of the Force India.

Kimi Raikkonen had to pit for a new front wing after bumping into the back of Mark Webber, and Heikki Kovalainen also stopped after being tapped into a spin at the first corner.

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However, as Kovalainen exited his pit box, he took the fuel hose with him, spraying petrol all over Raikkonen. A flash fire followed, but luckily no damage was caused and no-one hurt.

The safety car came out and went back in, and Jenson started overtaking. Grosjean had made it up to an impressive eighth, but promptly went to the back as car after car stormed past. To me, he is now looking unlikely to keep his Renault seat for 2010.

Nakajima was next to fall, before Kobayashi held up Button for a fair few laps. In traditional Japanese style, he moved around all over the track, which would eventually lead to a big shunt for his countryman Nakajima as he came out of the pits.

After his first pit-stop, Barrichello found himself stuck in traffic, and overtaken by Vettel. Worse was to come, as this delay allowed Mark Webber and Robert Kubica to jump past once they had made their first pit-stops.

The race and the championship was slipping away from Barrichello, who appeared off the pace in the second stint. Button was still overtaking, as he made a lunge on Sebastien Buemi to move up another place.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen were moving steadily up the field, having taken the opportunity to pit during the safety car period at the start of the race. They had also got the soft tyre out of the way, so could use the optimum prime tyre for the remainder of the race.

The race settled down as the drivers made their second pit-stops, with Heikki Kovalainen getting past Button as the British driver emerged from his last stop. However, Kovalainen would be stopping himself within a handful of laps.

Rubens Barrichello's luckless run at Interlagos continued, as he picked up a puncture towards the end of the race. Hamilton was able to get through, before the Brazilian pitted for fresh rubber at the end of the lap.

Meanwhile, Mark Webber cruised to a well deserved victory, and Robert Kubica took a superb second place to equal BMW's best result of the year. Hamilton and Vettel followed them home in third and fourth.

But it is Jenson Button's fifth place that will be the most remembered aspect of the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix, and for the fifth consecutive year, the title has been decided at Interlagos.

Brawn picked up the half point they needed to claim the constructors crown, in a fairytale season for a team that almost didn't take part in 2009.

However, the season isn't over yet, with Abu Dhabi still to go. The fight for second in the standings is covered by just two points, with Vettel and Barrichello both trying to gain the runner-up position.

McLaren and Ferrari are only separated by a point for third place in the constructors, and both teams would very much like to beat the other, in a season where both haven't performed as well as they should have.

Hopefully Abu Dhabi will be a really boring race, so I don't have to write part seven to this five article series...