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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Button puts Red Bull in their place
Button puts Red Bull in their place
Posted By:   |  07 Jun 2009   |  1:40 pm GMT  |  39 comments

Jenson Button won the Turkish Grand Prix today, by 6.7 seconds over the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel. It was Button’s sixth win from seven starts and sets him up now for the world championship and an emotional homecoming to Silverstone in two weeks time.

“You have built me a monster of a car,” he told the team over the radio afterwards. He later added, “The car felt the best it has felt all year.”

Picture 14
It was a dominant performance by Button, who started second on the grid, but passed Vettel on the opening lap when the German made a mistake and ran wide, letting Button through.

After that Red Bull tried to recover the situation by putting Vettel on a three stop strategy which called for him to attack Button who was heavier on a two stopper. Vettel caught him, but could not pass. After that he lost time with the result that Webber leapfrogged him at the second stops to take second place.

Vettel was pretty disgruntled about it, “I’m not happy, ” he said, adding that after his mistake on the opening lap he expected the team would switch him to a two stop strategy like Webber’s. This didn’t happen. He has lost ground not only to Button but also to team mate Webber, who is now just 2.5 points behind in the championship. The two had gone different routes on strategy, but it’s important to remember that Vettel and Webber set an almost identical lap time in qualifying, when fuel loads are taken into account.

Rubens Barrichello in the other Brawn car had a poor start which dropped him to P13, he later retired from the race, Brawn’s first retirement of the season.

The race saw a return to form for Toyota, with Jarno Trulli in fourth place after a dire time in Monaco and for Williams for whom Rosberg was 5th.

But the Ferraris disappointed. Massa finished 6th, half a minute behind the winner, with Raikkonen 9th.

BMW Sauber were back in the points, with Robert Kubica in seventh place thanks to a new double diffuser and other updates to their car.

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Jenson really is a class act. By doing well he's just going to a new higher level. And while the car is excellent look at the way that Vettel hasn't made the most of his opportunities, in a car that is comparable to the Brawn, whereas Jenson has made his own luck.


Even beyond Brawn's domination, is anyone finding the racing exciting this year?

In my view something about all these reg changes have killed the spectacle and prestige of F1. Luckily BBC are showing old races to keep the fans interested!


Hi James

I think Button today proved that he deserves the title of World Champion, he outclassed a class field. Its not only the Brawn car winning, its mature driving talents, even though Brawn is a great car.

The comparison to Schumi has to be correct as he can fullfil the Ross Brawn strategy calls, whereas with Rubens, he showed again that for the driver with the most gp's, he drove emotionally like a rookie with pointless incidents.

I think this will be Rubens last season, and rightfully so.

As a side note: I think Torro Rosso should get rid of Bourdais, and get Villeneuve in!


Howard Hughes

James, what do you reckon is the atmosphere within BrawnGP in terms of Barrichello's increasingly less subtle inferences that something odd is going on? Obviously the likes of Ross & Jenson will see the same quotes and hear the same interviews as we viewers; is this likely to be a problem or will it be the elephant in the room that no one mentions?


The Red Bull really seems to struggle more when following than other cars, I really dont think it's Vettel's shortcomings that are making it impossible for him to overtake.

I made a comment a few races back about the Brawn having a difficult clutch and it seems that is still the case from what happened to Rubens today, which seems to be one of the very few weakpoints of the car so far.

Good news for BMW too, it seems they were able to fight it out with the McLarens and Renaults today, which brings them back to where they were in Australia.

Final mention for Hamilton, he drove a very good race considering how unstable his car was around t8 especially, and if you saw his interview after the race, it's great to see him being more open now the pressure is really off him (saw his dad give a genuine smile at the start too, which makes a change).

Andrew Jackling

Great race by Webber, put the quick laps in when it counted.

And he's only 1.5 points behind Vettel in the championship by the way 😉

Stratos Filalithis

Hello James.

For starters great work on your blog! Turkey was the best example of this year's Brawn domination. I thinks it's all over for both championships since it's not up to other teams to try and catch up with the Brawns, it's up to Brawn to screw it really badly and lose all this advantage. On a positive note about this year's championship, the small differences and the different names on the top are sure giving us more excitement.

What about Williams? Do you think that they 'll continue their way up the field or end up in the middle of it?


Vettel's been stealing the headlines this year at Red Bull but Webber's getting the job done and is having a good season. I think we will see Webber finish ahead of Vettel more often as the season progresses and his fitness improves, even though he is not the glamourboy of the team.


Good lad Jenson!

James - please let us know what the drivers actually call the pads, which are used to cushion the helmets, in the long corners?

Great Twittering in the race by the way (Or should that be Tweeting?)



Fantastic for Jenson and Brawn - class driver and team. Hope they keep it going at Silverstone.

Just one thought about the race - weren't the reg changes supposed to make it easier for cars to overtake this year? Didn't look very easy for Vettel to get alongside Button for six or more laps!!


A great performance from Jenson Button. You cannot argue that he has not been the best driver so far this season. Whatever way you look at it he has totally outperformed Vettel this season with the exception of China.
Vettel has still not won a race other than when it starts behind a safety car. He is incredibly fast but how good is his racecraft? Don't forget Lewis Hamilton was leading the world championship (or very close to leading it) this time last year with less F1 experience than Vettel has currently in a situation not too disimilar i.e. generally speaking both have had very good cars but not the best (this year Brawn have best car and last Ferrari had the superior vehicle). Another point did Paul di Resta (Vettel's teammate) not beat him in Euroseries F3 a few years back?
Someone said recently that Vettel is the best driver since Schumacher. Judgements have to be reviewed. Vettel has some way to go to be considered in the same class as Hamilton and a lot further to be considered the equal of Alonso.
Prior to the start of the season the consensus was that Alonso, Hamilton and Kubica were the best three drivers currently in F1. Should that now be revised to Alonso, Hamilton and Button?


People who casually follow F1 seem only to be interested in seasons when their favoutite team or driver is successful. They find other seasons boring.

In contract genuine diehard F1 fans seem to appreciate and enjoy every kind of season, regardless of who is winning.

Jenson is a joy to behold a the moment. He is reaping the reward of being the perfect man for that car. We may not have the incredibly exciting season that we had in 2008 but F1 no less fascinating to the true fan.


Hi James
Seeing that championship honors are over for eight of the teams this year already have you heard of any of the teams talking of doing a Brawn and spending the rest of the season developing next years cars. Surely this can't be far away.


I remember many years ago, when Jenson & Murry Walker appeared on Ready Steady Cook, Murry said that Jenson would make world champ one day, how right he was.

Lets not forget that Red Bull have already had 3 engine blow ups so at some stage of the season I think they will have to take a 10 place grid drop, because they are bound to have more?
It might seem boring to some to watch this year, but for us die hard fans of Jenson its been a long time coming, and I dont care if every race was boring, as long as the man and team that have been through so many rough times together, keep on winning. They deserve it!!

Now we know who made it possible for MS to win so many races, as he is doing for Jenson, Ross Brawn what a cool man.


I think its good for Jenson to have a winning car and it was nice to see him win again...6 out of 7 now.
I miss you James, Legard is ruining the Sport on the BBC, but I hope that you do commentate on TV again and that you will be happy like most of us that want to see Jenson do so well.


Jenson again proved he is worthy of being World Champion with a display that was in league of its own from the rest of the field.

The small band of ignorant people who take great pleasure in knocking Jenson must be feeling very foolish now!


I really wonder why Kovalainen, having outqualified Hamilton, was given a relatively light fuel load in a car that had no pace?

I understand they might not have wanted Heikki to risk getting in Lewis' way last year with strategy but I strongly feel that Lewis had the better strategy given the pace of the car and that Heikki was duped of a confidence building result.


This is what Rubens said after the race.

"I cannot see him (Button) running away." he said.
"So I don't see him better now and winning every race this season. ."

RUBENS, Button has won 6/7 races, wake the freak up!


When it comes to Jense putting people in their place, I am reminded of something else along similar lines that happened in the race. Late on we saw a shot of Jense coming up to lap Barrichello. However, the next thing was Barrichello in the Brawn pit, having just retired. Were the two events simply a coincidence? Surely Barrichello didn't pull out of the race just to ensure Jense couldn't lap him. Or did he? Hopefully someone can prove me wrong on this. Surely I must be mistaken.


If he finished the race would he have had to take a penalty for changing the gearbox? Perhaps a retirement means no penalty? I can't remember the rule??


They are informally known as either "ponce pads" or "poofter pads". I had to use them a coupld of times during my unsuccessful foray into F3!


Aye I had the same feeling when I saw him retire Martin, I guess it could be any number of technical things given the race he had. I dont recall them asking him why he retired in the interview either, although I am surprised he continued racing for so long after he lost 7th gear (surely that cant do the engine any good?).


I think in any four-wheeled motorsport if you want overtaking you need to manufacture it with the rules, in the end the fastest car is usually going to be at the front. Touring cars try to get around it with ballast and reverse grids but I dont think the races are any better for it (and they think the fans are confused by kers/flappy front wings? Imagine if we had to work out how much ballast each car was carrying!).

Next year's fuelling rules may help this, if you believe some of the classic races from the past which developed because of tire degredation (I think the tire rules have worked reasonably well this year).

I think it's quite childish to complain just because the Brawn is so far ahead, in the end the reason they're there is because their tactics have been spot on and the driver hasn't made any errors. If you think back to the last couple years the championship leaders have made huge amounts of errors, Jenson has simply been the best driver so far this year.

And finally in reply to Antoine, I do think that JL's commentary isn't helping the issue, he always seems so disinterested I find myself jerking awake when Martin chirps in.


Real F1 fans will keep whatcing and attending races! The problem starts when you try to convince others that the sport is a that it's worh giving up five hours every two weeks to whatch on TV. In two weeks time it a three day shout, but it's worth it. Whilst we have to concede that it is not gripping racing, the blame lies with those who make the rules and the teams read the rules and signed off the designs for this years cars. Many people said the Double Diffuser gave Brawn the edge, and the others would soon be on the pace. That a bit like saying that it's all about the driver! The big budget teams and simply got it wrong and the likes of Brawn and Red Bull, and to a lesser extent Williams (Fridays) and Toyota are having their days in the sun. George got it spot on, it's no worse than before. Think back to when Schumacher won the Drivers championship by the time the French GP came around. I have to admit that I would like to see Lewis Hamilton Winning again, but as someone who spent years defending Jenson Button, I say let Brawn & Jenson have their Day!


If you are not Spanish, it was completely clear that Lewis beat Nando in an equal car, in his debut F1 season, up against the most unimaginable pressure, then became the youngest F1 Champion ever in his second season. He is clearly the best F1 driver out there and probably the most talented I have ever seen. Vettel is clearly fantastic, but has made several mistakes, Kubica's stock must be plummeting faster than anybody's.

I think that you are right overall though, in a field full of brilliant drivers LH, FA and SV are in a class of their own right now.


Legard commentates on F1 like it was a football match sadly, which means I have now discovered the joys of Crofty and the expertise, and humour, of Anthony Davidson on the 5Live commentary (via the Red Button) who make a great team. Give them a try Andrew!

Ahmad Albashrawi

I don’t necessary agree with that. Button is a great driver, yet I don’t think his smooth driving style is helping him to find the sweet spot in terms of the setup of the car. Rubens on the other hand works hard throughout the week end to find the best setup and just when he say “I’ve done it, I am faster!” they just copy whatever he found to Buttons car to keep him ahead. Now I don’t want to say that this is wrong or not fair but given Button’s driving style he manages to conserve his tires better and ends up to be ahead in race form. Button is lucky to have Rubens with him in the team as he is using his setup when he is nowhere, but I am sure that the same can’t be said about Rubens. So whenever he has a problem that is unique to his car he can’t help asking himself “why should this happen to me? He copies my car and I get the problems!”.

I do think that Button is missing the ability to find the best setup of the car to be the best driver, same as Kimi, and he needs Rubens for that more than Rubens needs him. Brawn should take that into consideration and avoid problems with Rubens car that will ultimately forces him to loose interest in doing so. He used to do that in Ferrari as part of his job but he made it clear recently that he is in Formula1 today to win and not to support others and whenever he looses contact with Button in terms of championship points he may stop searching for the best setup of the car that will ultimately affects both Button and Brawn.


Couldn't agree more. I don't suspect for a second there's anything amiss - just curious how such implications are received and dealt with come Monday morning back at HQ again... Surely Ross can't be hearing such comments and ignoring them...

Graeme Walker


But Jenson did copy Ruben's setup for a few races already. Friday Ruben's couldn't get it right either and back to the drawing board. The team worked it out and got it together for qualifying and the race.

Well done to Jenson. I would love to see Vettel as Button's team mate.


Nope, Button is just that much better.
Rubens is a great guy. As a driver I'd say he's the best #2 driver the sport has ever seen.


Can't say I am in the least bit surprised. But when you consider how many millions LH is getting for being a tail-ender, it's little wonder they're desperate not to have his team-mate show him up. I wonder what the earnings ratio between the two of them is?


Like your post man! I fully agree.


I dont really think it's any worse than before, although I wish we could have seen Button pull a move on Vettel rather than him going off the track.


Paul I think they might want to consider the computerized car design that had the back wings only over the rear tires with a space inbetween them; ineffect two back wings. I thought this was a nice designt to let the air flow over the car to promote close driving. I have to admit, the racing is rather processional.

pat across the pond - Ontario Canada


No. I think it is painfully dull, apart from the wet races and first race where they struggled on the tyres. It may be possible that the in-season testing ban and engine/gearbox rules may slowly suffocate the racing this year. For example, I don't see Renault making a comeback like they did last year. Often last year the form of the teams changed race after race. There was an element of exciting unpredictability.

If I was Mosley I would re-introduce low fuel one lap qualifying for Q3, with the one lap to be undertaken in the ten minutes. This adds extra unpredictability akin to the type of races we had in 2003. Silverstone 2003 and Suzuka 2006 spring to mind. Bring back the two-race engine rule and I’d introduce limited FIA organised in-season testing. Finally I would introduce a total team personal cap of about 400 people, where new teams can run customer cars with about 80 or so.


Without James's comment it's (sorry to say this) boring,...
It'll take one a little used to. 🙁

Last year and before, I could follow a race over the radio


Rubens said that the bad start was down to wrong clutch settings, which are presumably set up by the team before the race.
I was surprised to hear Rubens making the implications referred to by HH, it seems quite inconceivable to me that any team would ever deliberately sabotage one of their own drivers in such a way.


I dont see what Rubens point was.......didnt Ross say in his post race interview the damage was done to the gearbox due to Rubens wrecking it with his awful start?


Well, I think they would prefer it were not aired in public, but I'm not sure there is much of a case to answer, really. The team puts two competitive cars on the track and Jenson has the edge. Rubens has every chance of keeping his seat for next year because they are a great team, but six wins to zero is not down to the team favouring Jenson, is it?

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