Category Archives: Rubens Barichello

Lewis Hamilton Voted Number 1 F1 Driver in 2009 by 2 Publications

Despite the not so impressive first half of the season, it seems the Formula 1 world have recognised that the car was to blame and not Lewis Hamilton. This was evident in the second half of the season when improvements to his McLaren MP4-24 saw Hamilton back on top again, twice, in Hungary and Singapore, and competing for the top spot in most other races.

Hamilton thanks his car for victory in Hungary
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Lewis Hamilton has been voted the number 1 Formula 1 driver of 2009 by not one, but two of the most prestigious publications in motorpsort.

Autosport
Arguably the number 1 motorsports magazine in the world has a 2009 Formula 1 season review issue out at the moment which rates the top 10 drivers of 2009. At number 1 is Lewis Hamilton. The 9 drivers below him were rated as follows:

2 – Jenson Button
3 – Sebastian Vettel
4 – Mark Weber
5 – Robert Kubica
6 – Fernando Alonso
7 – Felipe Massa
8 – Kimi Raikkonen
9 – Rubens Barrichello
10 – Nico Rosberg

Very interesting top ten indeed – I’ll be picking up my copy tomorrow to see what justification there is for Barrichello being in only 9th place. Sure he didn’t do as well as team mate Button but he did his part to ensure Brawn GP won the constructors championship and towards the end of the season he was a better driver than Button himself. Also, Kubica in 5th – was that based on Brazil alone?

You can flick through a tiny version od the current issue over at Autosport.com

GP Week
If you didn’t know already, GP Week is a free, yes FREE, online publication with excellent written content and superb photos. They have rated the top 5 Formula 1 drivers of 2009, and like Autosport have Lewis Hamilton taking the number 1 spot. The other 5 are as follows:

2 – Sebastian Vettel
3 – Jenson Button
4 – Mark Weber / Rubens Barrichello
5 – Sebastian Buemi

The first thing you’ll notice is the inclusion of 2 drivers at #4 – there’s your top 5 there guys, but I will let you off as the extra driver is Buemi who performed very well considering his absolute dog of a car. Interesting to see they rate Rubens Barrichello a lot higher than Autosport, and rightly so in my mind.

So, anyone agree or disagree with the two sets of rankings?

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Filed under Drivers, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Rubens Barichello, Sebastian Buemi

Hamilton gets Abu Dhabi Pole in Triumphant Style

Yesterday, Saturday 31st October 2009, saw 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton get his 17th Formula 1 pole position in Abu Dhabi. That in itself is one for the record books, with this being the historic first Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi. What makes this pole position stand out more than most is the margin of victory that Hamilton achieved.

Qualifying has been a very close run event this year, with mere hundreds of a second separating grid places and pole position often changing several times in the closing seconds of Q3. If I were to throw out a figure of 0.7 seconds you’d be forgiven for thinking that was maybe the time separating the top 10 drivers, but no, that was the margin that Lewis Hamilton beat out second place Sebastian Vettel to claim the pole position in today’s race.

EMIRATES ABU DHABI F1 GP AUTO RACING

Lewis Hamilton en route to Pole in Abu Dhabi (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Hamilton had been on form in the three practice sessions with a first and second fastest in the two Friday sessions and second only to champion-elect Jenson Button in Saturday’s 3rd practice. The course, with it’s many twists and turns, seems tailor made for the MP4-24 and even before this blistering qualifying performance the bookies had Lewis Hamilton as the clear favourite to be today’s winner.

With that ever-important KERS boost button, we could see Hamilton pull away from his rivals at the start and be a huge distance ahead when he comes in to make his first pit stop around the 17-20 lap mark, depending on what report you read. When the fuel weights were released it was impressive to see that Hamilton was carrying around the same weight as those around him and more in the case of drivers like Jenson Button. For some great graphical representations of various qualifying stats then I recommend everyone visit Making Up The Numbers – F1 viewed from the numbers perspective.

Heikki Kovalainen wasn’t so lucky and after being impressive himself in practice, being the man to beat Lewis Hamilton into 2nd place in Friday Practice 2, he made it through to Q2 only to have gearbox failure and qualify in 13th place. It didn’t end there, needing a replacement gearbox Kovalainen gets an automatic 5 place grid penalty and will start today’s race from 18th. He is in a great car to make up places but the nature and dustiness of the track may not allow much opportunity for overtaking. Heikki Kovalainen’s swan song at McLaren may not be the great race it could of and really should have been.

As was mentioned before, Sebastian Vettel qualified in 2nd and with Rubens Barrichello qualifying in 4th it would seem that 2nd place in the Drivers Championship is within reach for the young Red Bull driver. With Kimi Raikkonen qualifying in 12th and Giancarlo Fisichella in 20th, 3rd place in the constructors championship should be heading to McLaren.

Many are reporting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is Lewis Hamilton’s to lose, let’s hope he doesn’t.

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Filed under Abu Dhabi, Brawn GP, Constructors, Drivers, Ferrari, Giancarlo Fisichella, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Qualifying, Red Bull, Rubens Barichello, Sebastian Vettel

Jenson Button wins Formula 1 Championship & Lewis Hamilton races to 3rd in Brazil

I’ve been quite critical of Jenson Button over this season, as have a lot of others. As a Lewis Hamilton fan it was hard to watch Jenson race to victory after victory at the start of the season while Lewis struggled to get into the second part of qualifying with his underperforming McLaren MP4-24.

Button has the advantage of driving a car that had a lot of money and time pumped into it by virtue of Honda forgoing success in the 2008 season to concentrate on the 2009 season. Of course that didn’t quite go to plan when late last year Honda announced they wouldn’t be taking part in the 2009 season – at this point Jenson Button, and team mate Rubens Barrichello, were without a ride for the 2009 season. The rest of the Brawn GP story, as they say, is history and perhaps both drivers were deserving of such a superior car for sticking with the team.

There’s no doubting that for the first 7 races the Brawn GP were far superior to any others on the grid, with the Red Bulls being the closest in terms of performance. Even though the likes of McLaren and Ferrari have turned up year after with superior cars, this felt different, and I almost resented the Brawn’s performance and Jenson’s success. As the season progressed and other cars got better, specifically the McLaren, the playing field evened out. The only problem, if you can call it that, is that Button had built up such a lead that only his team mate had any chance of catching him, with an outside chance going to either Sebastian Vettel or Mark Weber at Red Bull. This meant that even though Button was under-performing he was still going to be the champion and for me that spoiled the season a little bit.

Moving on to the Brazilian Grand Prix and I was firmly behind Barrichello and wanted him to take both the victory at Interlagos and then the Championship from Button at the very first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks later. As Vettel had qualified 14th there was no chance he was going to challenge Jenson. Hamilton qualified in 17th which was pretty poor but as always I’d be behind in, hoping he’d be able get past a few people and get some points, maybe even enough to match or get past Kimi Raikkonen on the leader board.

What I witnessed on Sunday was Button having the race of his life and putting on a performance worthy of a champion. With his lead having been eroded over the weeks and there being a strong chance of Barrichello winning after starting from pole position, Button was obviously fighting for his championship and for the first time this season felt very much under pressure. I just wish he’d raced like that for the previous 8 races rather than relying on his cushion of points amassed earlier in the season. Because of his fantastic performance I was pleased for him when he became champion, though at the same time extremely gutted for Barrichello who once again had no luck during his home race.

Congratulations Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 Drivers World Champion, and to Brawn GP, the 2009 Formula 1 Constructors Champions.

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2009 World Champion (Photo Credit ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images)

After qualifying in 17th, Hamilton also had an amazing race and thanks to a great tactical decision of pitting and changing tyres while the safety car was out early in the race, along with some great driving, he managed to overtake Barrichello with a few laps left and come home in 3rd, another podium finish. Importantly, this meant he overtook Raikkonen and has a 1 point lead going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – hopefully he can keep the 5th place while helping McLaren remain in 3rd in the Constructors Championship.

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Lewis leads the way (Photo Copyright: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

While there a few lesser places still to be decided, like Vettel and Barrichello’s fight for second place, we go into the first ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with both the Drivers and Constructors Champions already crowned. Still, next season should be fantastic, as long as the FIA don’t throw too many spanners into the works!

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Filed under Abu Dhabi, Brawn GP, Brazilian, Constructors, Drivers, Ferrari, Grand Prix, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Red Bull, Rubens Barichello, Sebastian Vettel

Bahrain GP Qualifying: Hamilton 5th, Kovalainen 11th

In what is the best qualifying this season so far for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton came in 5th, behind the two Toyotas of Trulli (pole) and Glock, Vettell and Button, and Heikki Kovalainen came in 11th, just missing out at a chance to place higher on the grid in Q3.

Hamilton was fuelled heavier than the Toyotas, the same as Button but lighter than Vettel whose Red Bull is on fire at the moment. He was also fuelled heavier than Barichello and Alonso who qualified behind him in 6th and 7th respectively. Kovalainen was fuelled heavier than all 10 cars in front of him.

It’s clear from this qualifying session that McLaren are improving more with every race, and Hamilton especially is taking advantage of that becoming more competitive. If they carry on like this it won’t be long until McLaren are looking for podium finishes again, as long as the hearing on April 29th doesn’t scupper their plans.

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Filed under Bahrain, Constructors, Drivers, Fernando Alonso, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Rubens Barichello, Sebastian Vettel, Timo Glock

Chinese Grand Prix: Hamilton Fastest in P1

It’s been a really busy week for me so the blog I had planned for Tuesday, titled ‘McLaren – now is the time for a diffuser’, never happened. Low and behold, one of the two big bits of McLaren news from yesterday (the other being the resignation of Ron Dennis from the F1 part of McLaren) was that McLaren have indeed added a diffuser to the MP4-24, as can be seen below…

The new diffuser

The new diffuser

Move on to Shanghai and Free Practice 1 has just finished with Lewis Hamilton leading the board as the fastets of the 20 drivers, with team mate Heikki Kova laienen doing almost as well in 4th place. It was the Brawn GP drivers, Button and Barichello, that split the 2 McLaren drivers.

Free Practice 2 starts in just a few minutes but so far things are looking good for McLaren and they are hitting the headlines for the right reasons.

While their April 26th meeting with the FIA still looms, it’s great to see McLaren making huge steps in the right direction as far as the racing is concerned. I just hope that the great form continues through P2, P3 and onto the actual race tomorrow.

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Filed under Brawn GP, Chinese, Constructors, Drivers, Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Rubens Barichello