Vat a veekend for Vettel!

Published on October 5th, 2009

Just as you thought the fat lady was clearing her throat she gets struck by a spot of laryngitis and the 2009 Formula 1 season gets whipped back into a frenzied whirlpool as the championship is thrown wide open again following Sebastian Vettel’s conquering and oh-so-commanding victory at Suzuka.

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Kicking off from pole and never really looking back nor leaving much a of a trail for the following pack, Vettel’s dominance and Brawn GP’s misfortune has injected life into the showdown as we hit the sweeper trail with only two races left and less than 20 points in it.

Crossing the chequered flag almost 5-seconds ahead of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli has given Vettel hope for the championship yet. Completing the podium was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton a farther 1.5-seconds off the pace after Trulli trumped him at the second pit stop window.

The Brawn boys had a disappointing race, being demoted five spots on the grid for a yellow flag infringement and crossed out the weekend with Rubens Barrichello in seventh ahead of teammate and current championship leader Jenson Button in eight.

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As the table reads, Button still leads the pack on 85, maintaining a comfortable lead over Barrichello on 71. Vettel lurks in third on 69.

Kimi Raikkonen had a decent fourth in what will surely be his final season mounting the Prancing Horse. Nico Rosberg hauled his William’s home in fifth with Nick Heidfield in his BMW Sauber completing the top six.

Right at front, Vettel drove like a man possessed to mount at least a fleeting challenge for the championship and rightly so he did to lead all the way home. Behind Hamilton and Trulli; Heidfield and Raikkonen had their dogfight on that eventually saw Raikkonen shot the German down at the second pit stop window.

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Button had a forgettable weekend and was languishing in 13th after a lackluster start. However, Force India’s Adrian Sutil did a Britney and ‘hit it one more time,’ this time however it wasn’t on his chest as McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen got a little too competitive and they nicked at the chicane on lap 13, allowing Button free passage to 10th spot.

Bernd Maylander has really been getting a workout these last few races and was once again called into action after Jaime Alguersuari pirouetted his Toro Rosso on lap 44. Bernd is the driver of the official Formula 1 Safety Car just to tickle your noggin.

The safety car cooled things down until lap 49. The closing field might have given Trulli and Hamilton a clear line on Vettel but the lapped Renault of Romain Grosjean in between drew a blank on that notion.

Button too had a little look-see to try and pull one over Barrichello but ended having to patrol his rear end from Robert Kubica in his BMW Sauber.

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Future Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso decided on a single-stop strategy for Renault that saw him finish 10th ahead of Kovalainen. Ferrari stand in Giancarlo Fisichella must have breathed a sigh of relief at the flag as former teammate Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi had his diffuser in sight.

Kazuki Nakajima called 15th his with Grosjean a spot behind. Mark Webber too would be looking to get over this weekend as he had to start from the pits, and visit it again five times during the race as it seemed to be that time of the month again for his car. It might not be much but at least the Aussie managed to set the fastest lap towards the end.

Brawn though has all but wrapped up the constructors title with only half a point separating them from victory.

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As the big top packs up and heads to Samba town for what will surely be a penultimate race to be remembered, we can only clench our badly manicured nails on the edge of our bucket seats to see if Button can bring it home on Barrichello’s home turf. Imagine the drama if Barrichello won and the title would be decided at Abu Dhabi in a desert showdown.

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And you thought things weren’t going to be exciting this season just because Ferrari and McLaren weren’t calling the podium home.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: F1

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