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2009 Season Review
2009 saw Jenson Button and Brawn GP crowned World Champions after the Brackley based team rose majestically from the ashes of the Honda F1 team following the withdrawal of the Japanese manufacturer from the sport. Brawn capitalised on a well advanced design and a chink in the rules regarding the aerodynamic undertray at the rear of the car (Double Diffuser) to trounce the regular frontrunners from the moment the cars hit the track in Australia. Button won six of the first seven races of the season with only the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel seemingly able to stem the charge with a win in China. Buttons' spectacular run of successes came to an abrupt end at Silverstone where Red Bull took the honours with Vettel leading home team mate Mark Webber. From then on the Red Bull duo and Rubens Barrichello began to close down the runaway Briton. Mark Webber won his maiden Grand Prix in Germany and won again in Brazil but was never fully in with a chance of overhauling Button. Vettel and Barrichello however took the battle down to the final few races of the season with Barrichello winning the European and Italian Grand Prix and Vettel taking the Chinese, British, Japanese and Abu Dhabi races. It was not enough to stop Button though and he duly secured the title at the Brazilian Grand Prix. In the end analysis he scored 95 points to runner up Vettel's 84 and 3rd placed Barrichello's 77 points. The only other race winners were Lewis Hamilton in Hungary and Singapore and Kimi Raikkonen in Belgium. Felipe Massa was lucky to survive a freak accident at the Hungaroring after having suffered a fractured skull caused by a heavy spring assembly from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car impacting his helmet and causing him to lose control of his Ferrari which then ploughed head on into the tyre barriers. Massa recovered but had to sit out the rest of the season. Lewis Hamilton survived a media scandal after along with Dave Ryan he misled the Stewards over a passing manoeuvre involving Jarno Trulli who was penalised as a result. The wrongdoing was uncovered by the FIA after listening to the pit to car radio traffic and caused a storm of controversy for Hamilton and McLaren. It was not the only debacle affecting the sport after if surfaced that during the 2008 Singapore night race Nelson Piquet had deliberately crashed his Renault to help Fernando Alonso win the race. This all emerged after Piquet was dropped mid season by the team and subsequently resulted in Flavio Briatore being banned for life and Pat Symmonds for five years by the FIA. The whistleblower, Piquet was not penalised but walked away from the sport. For Button though it was the achievement of his lifetimes ambition to be crowned the World Champion and for Brawn an unlikely fairytale come true. The season ended in a spectacular night race at the brand new Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi in which Button drove a spirited race to battle back to the front and challenge Mark Webber for second place, narrowly losing out on the last lap. Red Bull look set to be a force to be reckoned with for 2010 which is already shaping up to be a season of change following the withdrawal of BMW and Toyota, and the takeover of Brawn by Mercedes Benz. It seems that there's never a dull moment in the world of Formula One.
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