By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – F1 driver Sebastian Vettel won the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last Sunday, outscoring Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in the ranking.
Since Jenson Button had already claimed the championship two weeks ago in the Brazil GP, Vettel and Barrichello were competing over the runner up spot, and the German driver took it.
Completing the podium along with Vettel were his Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber and the champion, Jenson Button, respectively.
Barrichello was fourth but after first lap, Barrichello suffered a small accident while trying to pass Webber. The Brazilian driver’s Brawn GP hit the rear of Webber’s RBR and he lost part of his front wing, taking a toll on the car’s performance.
“I collided slightly with Mark and he took a chunk of my front wing with him. It lost me a lot of down force initially which let Jenson past but I was able to live with the under steer so we decided not to change the nose and I just pushed as hard as possible.”, said Barrichello about the incident.
It was the first time ever a Grand Prix happened in the United Arab Emirates, and it was also the first F1 race ever to happen during twilight. After the race, the ranking was Button on 1st, with 95 pts, Vettel on 2nd, with 84 pts, and Barrichello on 3rd, with 77 pts.
Button, who had been criticized for “playing it safe” through the whole second half of the season (so he could secure his lead without taking major risks), promised to give his all in the Abu Dhabi race, since the championship was already in his hands. And he did drive a great race, passing Barrichello in the second lap and giving Mark Webber a lot of trouble, as he put a lot of pressure in the Australian, specially in the last laps.
The Abu Dhabi GP was Barrichello’s last race driving for Team Brawn GP, as last Monday morning Team Williams announced the hiring of the Brazilian driver. “It’s truly been a great season and I have to thank the (Brawn GP) team for giving me a car that has been so competitive this year and the opportunity to return to winning ways again. We’ve had a great year together.”, said Barrichello after the race.
Williams is one of the most traditional teams in F1, and four other Brazilians have driven for the team in its history: Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Antonio Pizzonia.