Brazilian Grand Prix – Race

It’s been quite the weekend in Brazil: both Friday practice sessions had rain but yesterday’s qualifying session was crazy!

In order to win the Drivers’ Championship, here’s what Button has to do this weekend:

  • finish third or better
  • OR finish fourth if Barrichello doesn’t win
  • OR hope Vettel finishes lower than second and Barrichello finishes lower than fourth
  • OR lose no more than four points to Barrichello.

The grid is a little mixed up thanks to yesterday’s downpour and some teams using a dry setup. Qualifying ended with this provisional grid: RB, MW, AS, JT, KR, SB, NR, RK, KN, FA, KK, JA, RG, JB, VL, SV, HK, LH, NH, GF. Since then, VL was given a 5 grid spot penalty as a result of Force India replacing his gearbox (while they were rebuilding his car after the accident that brought out the second red flag), so he drops from P15 to P20.

The weather before the race starts is dry but there will likely be rain during the race, although probably not the heavy rain that was in yesterday’s forecast.

Bridgestone have provided the medium (prime) and super-soft (option) tyre compounds.

OK, so without further ado, on with the race!

RB leads everyone round his home track on the formation lap
Looks like everyone’s starting on the prime tyre – that makes sense as the track is very green – the super-soft tyre will go off too soon until there’s some rubber down on the track
KR is on the option (super-soft) tyre

01/71: RB gets a good start – you can hear the crowd cheer!
KR has broken his front wing on the rear of MW
A spinning McLaren forces FA onto the grass
JT and AS collide and they’re both off
KR falling back as his Ferrari can’t turn in
Safety Car deployed
JT runs over to AS and is quite animated – lots of grabbing and pointing

02[SC]: HK pits – leaves to soon and drags the fuel hose with him!
Fuel spilled from HK hits KR and his Ferrari briefly catches fire!!
WOW! Just wow!
Replay doesn’t explain why HK spun in Turn 2
Replay of AS/JT incident shows AS was clearly ahead of JT; AS did have to brake heavily because of a Ferrari, which maybe why JT had to run wide, but clearly JT hit AS

03[SC]: Another angle shows FA hit by a car rejoining from the grass – I think that was AS
Pit-car for JB reminds him some of the guys ahead of him aren’t as experienced as restarts

04[SC]: Aha! Replay of the restart shows they were 3-abreast into Turn 2; LH had the inside line, SV nudged HK, causing HK to spin, and that forced GF onto the grass

05[SC]: RB, MW, NR, RK, SB, KN, KK, RG (JB=P9; SV=P11); retirements: AS, JT, FA
Pit-car for LH – they want to put him on a 1-stop strategy
SC in at the end of this lap

06: SC enters the pits
RK passes NR into Turn 1
RG defended well against JB
RG holds JB off again in Turn 2 but JB has the inside line for Turn 3 and takes P8
RG fights back

07: JB takes KN into Turn 1
JB lines up KK now

08: RB, MW, RK, NR, SB, KK, JB, KN
SV tries to use the grass to pass KN but has to back off in order to brake for the turn

09: JB still trying to pass KK – he’s got to be careful that the novice doesn’t take him out

10/71: RB, MW, RK, NR, SB, KK, JB, KN
KK defends into Turn 1 but JB’s still on his tail

11: MW f/lap 1:14.4
JB needs to keep calm – if he takes a risk he could lose everything

12: There’s a queue forming behind KK – JB needs to be careful he’s not threatened by KN

15/71: RB, MW, RK, NR, SB, KK, JB, KN (SV=P9)
Pit-car for JB discussing the “bias lever” – do they mean brake bias?

16: “Pit lane incident involving car 2 (HK) under investigation by the stewards” – that’s the fuel rig incident

17: RB f/lap 1:14.2

18: Cars 9 + 20 (AS + JT) under investigation too but they’re both out of the race so penalties may await them in Abu Dhabi

19: BBC interview JT – he said KR & AS came out of Turn 4 very slowly; AS kept pushing him (JT) onto the grass; JT says he’ll speak to the stewards
I’m not convinced JT will succeed in blaming AS
BBC interview AS – hit from behind by JT; “he (AS) hit my car”

20/71: RB, MW, RK, NR, SB, KK, JB, KN; retirements: AS, JT, FA
RB has a 2.7sec lead over MW but he needs ~4sec for his fuel stop as he’s pitting a couple of laps earlier than MW

21: RB pits – official stop watch stopped too soon so it’s hard to know how much fuel he took on – rejoins just ahead of SV
SV runs around the outside of RB and takes P8
NH stopped off the track

22: LH looks to pass RB but RB keeps his position

23: JB gets up the inside of KK but runs a bit wide and KK takes back P5

24: Pit-car from JB – says KK is blocking him, which isn’t allowed – you can defend your line and move once, but not dodge back and forth

25/71: JB has finally passed KK into Turn 1

26: KN has a go up the inside of KK – they touch wheels but they keep fighting; KK holds the place
“Incident involving cars 2 & 3 (HK & GF) will be investigated after the race” – was that from Lap 1?

27: MW pits from P1 – 8.3s stop
NR seems to be off the pace

28: NR pits and parks the Williams in the garage – smoke from the right engine bank
BBC say NH retired because he ran out of fuel – apparently there was a rig problem when he pitted

29: JB pits from P2 – 7.5s stop

30/71: MW, KK, SV, RK, RB, LH, RG, KR … but some of them need to pit soon; retirements: AS, JT, FA, NH, NR

31: KN heavily into the tyre wall – replay shows he touched the back of ? and lost his front wing, and then was a passenger all the way to the wall

33: LH takes a look at RB but there are waved yellow flags so he has to back off
There’s mud strewn across the track from KN’s accident

34: JB closing on SB; takes him into Turn 1

35/71: MW, SV, RK, RB, LH, KR, JB, SB; retirements: AS, JT, FA, NH, NR, KN
SV & LH expected to pit shortly

Half distance; still no rain and the sky looks quite blue

36: LH harrying RB still

37: SV pits from P2 – 9.2s stop – slow front left wheel change – rejoins just behind JB but he’s fuelled to the end

40/71: BBC do their best to jinx things by saying the current positions mean JB will secure the World Championship today

43: LH pits – 8.0s stop – no fuel rig drama for McLaren this time
LH pushes hard on the pit exit and almost loses it into the barriers

44: KR pits – option tyres again – 8.0s stop

45/71: MW, RK, RB, JB, SV, SB, LH, KK

46: Pit-car radio tells JB he needs to put in 1:14.4 laps to beat LH

51: RB pits from P3 – 6.3s stop – rejoins in P6

52: MW pits from P1 – 8.0s stop – rejoins still in P1

56: JB pits – 6.0s stop – nice and smooth – rejoins alongside HK but the lighter McLaren takes the place

57: SV pits – 5.8s stop – exits ahead of HK, who in turn is holding up JB

58: BBC report the Brawn team knew LH would pass JB during their pit stop and are saying they’re not worried but their body language

59: HK pits, releasing JB

61: LH dives up the inside of RB and steals P3
Pit-car radio tells LH his right front end plate is damaged

63: MW, RK, LH, RB, SV, JB, KR, SB
Pit-car radio tells RB that he’s got a puncture – what a shame

64: RB pits from P4 – 6.9s stop – it was the rear left, which is what LH hit – rejoins in P8

65/71: MW, RK, LH, SV, JB, KR, SB, RB; retirements: AS, JT, FA, NH, NR, KN
BBC get all gooey about JB winning but it’s still not over yet

67: Pit-car radio for JB tells him they may be a few spots on rain around Turns 10-12
KK passes GF but GF isn’t paying attention and almost turns in on him

68: Ross Brawn calmly eating a banana on the pit wall 🙂

70/71: MW, RK, LH, SV, JB

Final lap: MW brings the Red Bull home
Fillipe Massa waves the chequered flag
P1=MW, 2=RK, 3=LH, 4=SV, 5=JB … that means he’s World Champion! 🙂
6=KR, 7=SB, 8=RB
9=HK, 10=KK, 11=GF, 12=VL, 13=RG, 14=JA
DNF: KN, NR, NH, AS, JT, FA.

What a weekend! It’s a shame Rubens didn’t win, partly because he’s never had much luck at his home race, but also because it might have kept the Championship battle alive until the final race of the season.

JB celebrates with his team in parc ferme … and even with a camera man!
MW steps up onto the podium but everyone’s focused on JB and the Brawn team
JB’s found his dad 🙂
Oh dear – the trophies don’t look very nice – apparently they’re made from recycled bottle tops!
Bernie (the poison dwarf) Ecclestone congratulates Jenson
Celebrations in the Brawn garage
It’s 10 years since JB won his first F1 points, which was also in Brazil

The next race, the last one of the 2009 season, is in Abu Dhabi in 2 weeks (Oct 30-Nov 01).

Don’t forget that there are some investigations that might result in penalties for that race which have now been resolved:

  • HK for the pit lane (fuel hose) incident

    McLaren were fined $50,000 for the unsafe pit stop release, while their Finnish driver was given a drive-through penalty. As this was handed down after the race had finished, 25 seconds were instead added to his race time, dropping him from ninth to 12th in the final results.

    [Official FIA site]

  • AS + JT for their coming together

    After considering video evidence and telemetry data, the stewards decided not to take any further action, labelling the coming together as a racing incident. But after ‘failing to leave the track as required by the marshals immediately after the incident and aggressively confronting Sutil’, Trulli was found to have breached Article 151 (c) of the 2009 FIA International Sporting Code, which rules against ‘any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.’ Consequently he was reprimanded and fined US$10,000.

    [Official FIA site]

  • HK + GF for a lap 1 incident
    This was deemed a racing incident. [Official FIA site]

Geek alert: this is the second successive year that a British driver in a Mercedes-powered car number 22 wins the World Drivers’ Championship in Brazil by finishing in P5. 🙂