Report - Tough season tough finale

Yas Marina, 1st November 2009 - Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella finished the final race of the 2009 season in twelfth and sixteenth places respectively, at the end of a very difficult weekend, when Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro never had a really competitive car for its drivers. A shame, on what was not only the last race of the year, but also the last appearance of both the Finn and the Italian in the cockpit of a Prancing Horse F1 car.

The final round of the 2009 World Championship got underway around 45 minutes before sunset, as Abu Dhabi staged the first ever day-to-night race under floodlights, at this amazing new facility of Yas Marina. Kimi was in eleventh place on the grid and Giancarlo in twentieth.

Hamilton led from pole, followed by Vettel and Webber. Kubica passed Trulli for sixth and Button passed Barrichello for fourth. Kimi had dropped a place to twelfth, passed by Kobayashi while Fisichella on the other hand moved up to sixteenth. In the early stages, Hamilton could never quite shake off Vettel, while Webber had dropped to around 4 seconds, with the rest of the top ten being Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Trulli, Heidfeld, Rosberg and Buemi.

For the two-stoppers, the pit stops began on lap 17 with Barrichello and Kubica, followed by the leader and Button next time round, the Englishman losing a place to Kobayashi. Webber, Trulli, Rosberg and Buemi pitted on lap 19, with Vettel coming in on lap 20 and getting out ahead of Hamilton, who retired one lap later with brake problems. On lap 21, Kimi was now sixth and he stayed there until he made his only stop on lap 29, which dropped him back down the order. Giancarlo pitted one lap earlier but unfortunately had to come down pit lane again, having been given a drive through penalty. Any chance Kimi had of getting to a points position had pretty much ended when the two Brawns came out of ahead of him after they had refuelled. So the season ended with a fourth place in the Constructors’ championship, just a single point behind the third placed team. There was not much overtaking, so positions remained virtually unchanged throughout the order, resettling to their original places after most of the pit stops, in a race split between those refuelling once, which included Kimi and Giancarlo and those pitting twice, who inevitably were the faster runners.

At the chequered flag, Vettel secured his fourth win of the season, with Mark Webber making it a one two for Red Bull, although some excitement in the closing laps came from a hard charging Jenson Button, the new world champion doing all he could, but failing to get past the Australian. With Rubens Barrichello finishing fourth, the two teams and four drivers who had dominated the season filled the top four placings. The rest of the points went to Nick Heidfeld in BMW’s final race, followed by Kamui Kobayashi, having a strong drive in the Toyota in only his second Grand Prix, with Jarno Trulli seventh for Toyota and Sebastien Buemi eighth for Toro Rosso. The new season is only four and a half months away and all the Scuderia’s efforts are now focussed on the design and build of the successor to the F60, which did it’s best, but a best that was not good enough to challenge for titles and victories.

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