The 2009 season of Formula One was one of ups and downs, and surprises. The plethora of rule changes allowed three teams (amongst them Brawn) to get the jump on their rivals early on with the double diffuser. Honda rose from the ashes as the aforementioned Brawn and dominated the first half of the season, with Button building up what transpired to be an unassailable lead from the first seven races, six of which he won.
It’s also well worth mentioning the incredible second place Fisichella achieved for Force India at Spa, and the surprising talent of Kobayashi, who took over from Glock for the last two races.
In the second half of the season Hamilton was the best driver, missing out on a decent Yas Marina finish due to a rare reliability failure from his car. This allowed Vettel (who may have won anyway) to easily score a victory, his fourth of the season.
Vettel was both the most and least reliable driver. He’s the only chap who triumphed throughout the season, with wins from China (third race) right through to the final one in Abu Dhabi. He also suffered most from unreliability, partly his fault (he was in a 50/50 needless collision with Kubica in Australia) and partly down to his car (his engines kept exploding). To finish second, 11 points behind Button, was a phenomenal achievement.
Did Button deserve the title? I had my doubts through most of the latter half of the season. However, Brazil’s Interlagos circuit once again provided a fantastic race, and Button seized the opportunity to scythe through the field, finishing 5th having started 14th. Given the enormous pressure Barrichello had put him under by qualifying in pole position that was a great drive by Button, and enough to convince me he deserved the title (and, as you’ll all be aware, the approval of an anonymous internet Morris Dancer is what all F1 drivers truly crave).
Also at Interlagos, Vettel started 16th and finished 4th. His race was ruined by poor qualifying (mostly due to bad luck, he had traffic issues during the optimum time window) and even a brilliant drive couldn’t continue his title hopes.
I feel some measure of pity for Barrichello. His dire luck at his home track continued, and he slipped from 1st to 8th. Earlier in the season a strategic error by Brawn cost him a victory.
This was a very exciting season. We had six race winners, and back-to-back English world champions for the first time ever, and back-to-back British Constructors’ winners. A number of the races, most obviously Spa, Monza and Interlagos, were great to watch.
I really hope Silverstone can host the British GP next year. It would be a travesty if the nation that provides so many of the top class engineers, drivers and fans of the sport were to be denied its rightful place on the F1 calendar.
Anyway, that concludes my brief review of the F1 season. I hope to post a preview of the 2010 season when the driver lineups and rule changes are known, perhaps with the odd tip here and there, if I spot anything of value.
Thanks to all those who took the time to read my fortnightly previews/reviews and who commented on them.