2009 Japanese Grand Prix

The 2009 Japanese Grand Prix (formally the 2009 Formula 1 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix)[1] was the fifteenth round of the 2009 Formula One season. The race was held at the Suzuka Circuit on 4 October 2009.

2009 Japanese Grand Prix
Race 15 of 17 in the 2009 Formula One World Championship
The Suzuka circuit
The Suzuka circuit
Race details
Date 4 October 2009
Official name 2009 Formula 1 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix
Location Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Mie, Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.807 km (3.608 mi)
Distance 53 laps, 307.573 km (191.224 mi)
Weather Sunny, Dry
Pole position
Driver Red Bull-Renault
Time 1:32.160
Fastest lap
Driver Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
Time 1:32.569 on lap 50
First Red Bull-Renault
Second Toyota
Third McLaren-Mercedes
Lap leaders

Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull won the race ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, leading through the whole race.

With two races remaining in the 2009 season, Vettel's win maintained his slim hopes of winning the Drivers Championship, with Championship leader Jenson Button finishing eighth, one place behind Rubens Barrichello. The result left Button and Barrichello's Brawn team half a point away from clinching the Constructors Championship.[2]



Jenson Button led Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello by 15 points going into the race, with Sebastian Vettel 10 points further back driving for Red Bull Racing. Mark Webber could no longer win the Championship.[3]

Brawn also led Red Bull by 42½ points in the Constructors' Championship, and only needed to maintain this lead to take the trophy. McLaren and Ferrari were 3 points apart in the Constructors' Championship in 3rd and 4th, with their lead drivers Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen also separated by 3 points in 5th and 6th in the Drivers' Championship; Ferrari led on both counts.

Fernando Alonso won the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix for Renault, which was held at Fuji Speedway. Alonso also won the last race at Suzuka, in 2006. Other former winners lining up include Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen and World Champion Lewis Hamilton. It was the first time since 1991 that a Schumacher (Michael or Ralf) was not on the grid at Suzuka.

Eight of the drivers had not raced at Suzuka in Formula One before, owing to the Fuji Speedway having hosted the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008. Those drivers included Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Heikki Kovalainen, local driver Kazuki Nakajima, Adrian Sutil, Sébastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean. However, both Vettel and Sutil had driven the circuit in practice sessions before when they served as test drivers in 2006.

The 2009 Japanese Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen and Adrian Sutil all start their fiftieth race in Formula One.


The Friday practice sessions were dominated by heavy rain that severely reduced running time. Toyota's Timo Glock was advised not to drive as he was suffering from a fever, and was replaced by GP2 driver Kamui Kobayashi.[4]

Kamui Kobayashi filled in for Timo Glock during Friday practice.

The first practice session saw Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton set the early pace, with lap times rapidly falling as the track dried out. The second half of the session was dominated by local driver Kazuki Nakajima, who narrowly missed out on setting the fastest time after McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen set a time three tenths of a second quicker in the final phase.[5] Championship contenders Rubens Barrichello, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button finished 10th, 17th and 18th respectively.[6]

Adrian Sutil during the first practice session of the weekend, which was run in wet conditions.

The rain increased markedly for the second session, which saw very limited running in the first hour with Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Sébastien Buemi being the only drivers to set times. Owing to poor visibility and limited tyre allocations, many of the drivers elected to do only a handful of laps; Nico Rosberg did just seven in comparison to the twenty he had done in the first session, a pattern followed by many other drivers.[7] Heikki Kovalainen and both Brawn GP drivers elected not to take to the circuit. Adrian Sutil went on to set the fastest lap of the session with Sebastian Vettel in second, both of them some seven seconds slower than Kovalainen's first session time.[8]

Saturday's third and final practice session started with contact between championship leader Button and Alguersuari that saw the Brawn driver require a replacement front wing. The session was largely dominated by Alguersuari's Toro Rosso stablemate Buemi, with fellow Red Bull compatriot Sebastian Vettel a close second until Jarno Trulli set a time six hundredths of a second quicker on his final lap.[9] The hour-long session was dry, with Trulli's 1:31.709 almost ten seconds faster than Heikki Kovalainen's FP1 time and 17 seconds quicker than Adrian Sutil in FP2. At the end of the hour, championship contenders Vettel, Barrichello and Button were fourth, seventh and ninth respectively and separated by just over two hundredths of a second; just one second ultimately covered the top 16 drivers. Elsewhere, Timo Glock returned to his seat whilst Romain Grosjean out-paced Renault teammate Fernando Alonso. Red Bull's Mark Webber crashed near the Degner Corner, damaging his car to such an extent that he was unable to take part in qualifying.[10] As the damage was heavy enough to require the chassis to be re-built, Webber had to start the race from the pit lane.


Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima qualified in 11th and 17th places respectively.

With Webber unable to take part in qualifying, only four drivers would be eliminated in the first session. An early spin into the barriers by Sébastien Buemi looked as if that number would become three, but his team repaired the car in time for him to do a single fast lap. The early pace-setter was Sebastian Vettel, who exchanged blows with the Toyota of Trulli before ultimately coming out on top by the end of the session. Meanwhile, Jaime Alguersuari made the second part of qualifying for the first time in his short career, with Giancarlo Fisichella, Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grosjean and Vitantonio Liuzzi joining Webber in an early exit from qualifying. The second session was dominated by two accidents that both resulted in red flags. The first was Jaime Alguersuari, who speared off at the Degner Curve, the same place as Webber in the earlier practice session and the scene of Buemi's off-track excursion in the first segment of qualifying. The second accident was more serious, with Timo Glock crashing heavily at the final corner. The session was stopped for some time as medics attended to him and his car was removed. The session resumed with eight minutes remaining and saw a final push by the Brawn drivers to make it into the top ten shootout. The final moments were marked by another off by Buemi at Spoon, which left debris on the circuit as he limped back to the pits. Glock was flown by helicopter to hospital during Q3 with a wound on his left leg, and back pain.[11] The times set by the Brawn drivers were threatened should someone protest following an incident where they set their best – and only – times during a yellow flag period.

Heikki Kovalainen joined the growing list of drivers who crashed at the Degner Curve early in the third part of qualifying, though the damage was minimal and the circuit quickly cleared. The damage to Sébastien Buemi's car after his earlier off was deemed too great to be able to repair in time, and like Kovalainen, he failed to set a time, meaning that Q3 would be contested by eight drivers. When the track had re-opened after Kovalainen's accident, there were just five minutes remaining on the clock. Sebastian Vettel once again topped the timing sheets, putting him in a strong position to keep his title campaign alive, while rival championship contenders Barrichello and Button could only manage fifth and seventh respectively. Jarno Trulli qualified the sole remaining Toyota in second in his team's home race, with reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton in third.

After qualifying, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica, Fernando Alonso and Adrian Sutil were all called before the stewards on charges of speeding during the yellow-flag caused by Sébastien Buemi's off in the final moments of Q2. Buemi himself was later summoned on the charge of driving a damaged car. All of the drivers except for Heidfeld and Kubica were given five-place grid penalties.[12]


Sebastian Vettel led the race from the start; aside from a brief attempt by Lewis Hamilton at passing him into the first corner, the Red Bull driver would remain relatively unthreatened. The opening lap was clean, with the only major changes in position coming from Sébastien Buemi, who nearly stalled, and Jenson Button, who fell from 10th down to 12th behind the BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica and the Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella. Button subsequently reclaimed those positions within the opening laps.

Sebastian Vettel won the race, leading every lap after starting from pole position.

Hamilton slotted into second place while Jarno Trulli assumed third. Further back, Mark Webber, having started from the pit lane, pitted three times in the opening four laps; the first two due to his headrest coming loose, and the third for new tyres after he picked up a puncture. Most of the overtaking in the early stages of the Grand Prix took place with the first wave of stops, Vettel remaining unchallenged for the lead. An incident at the Casio Triangle saw Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen collide at relatively low speed, allowing championship leader Button to sneak through into a points position.

The middle stint of the race was as quiet as the first, with the only passes being Kovalainen out-dragging Fisichella in the pit exit lane, and a mistake from Hamilton allowing Trulli to pass him as he emerged from the pits. A problem with the KERS unit on his car meant that Hamilton subsequently struggled to stay in touch with the Toyota driver. Meanwhile, the Toro Rosso drivers had not fared well, with a clutch problem spelling an early retirement for Buemi, whilst Jaime Alguersuari lost control after touching the astro turf on the outside of 130R which resulted in a spin into the tyre wall and the safety car being deployed ten laps from the end.[13]

Jarno Trulli took second position at Toyota's home race.

By the time the wreckage from Alguersuari's accident was cleared away and the track considered safe for racing once more, there were just five laps remaining. Vettel continued to put as much space between him and second place as possible, while ninth-placed Kubica threatened Jenson Button in an attempt to wrest the single championship point for eighth place away from him. Button prevailed after deciding not to challenge teammate Rubens Barrichello for seventh. He later protested to the stewards that Williams' Nico Rosberg had been speeding under the safety car – though Rosberg was acquitted after a stewards' hearing found mitigating circumstances.[14]

Vettel ultimately won the race from Trulli and Hamilton with Kimi Räikkönen in fourth. Mark Webber, although down in last and 2 laps down, took the fastest lap on the last lap by 0.002 seconds to deny Vettel a Grand Chelem. His victory and subsequent ten championship points meant Vettel stayed in contention for the drivers' title, 16 points adrift of Button, who kept a 14-point lead over Barrichello going into the penultimate race.[15] Vettel was confident he could make up the large points difference, saying his Red Bull team had the momentum,[16] while Button admitted he would be focusing on an error-free end to the season to try to clinch his first Driver's title.[17]



Cars that use the KERS system are marked with "‡"

Pos No Driver Constructor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Grid
1 15   Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:30.883 1:30.341 1:32.160 1
2 9   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:31.063 1:30.737 1:32.220 2
3 1‡   Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.917 1:30.627 1:32.395 3
4 20   Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:31.386 1:31.222 1:32.466 81
5 23   Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:31.272 1:31.055 1:32.660 61
6 6   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:31.501 1:31.260 1:32.945 4
7 22   Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:31.041 1:30.880 1:32.962 101
8 4‡   Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.288 1:31.052 1:32.980 5
9 2‡   Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.499 1:31.223 No time2 112
10 12   Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:31.196 1:31.103 No time3 134
11 16   Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:31.286 1:31.482 7
12 7   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:31.401 1:31.638 161
13 5   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:31.417 1:32.341 9
14 10   Timo Glock Toyota 1:31.550 No time5 (20)5
15 11   Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:31.571 No time6 12
16 3‡   Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 1:31.704 14
17 17   Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:31.718 15
18 8   Romain Grosjean Renault 1:32.073 17
19 21   Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:32.087 187
20 20 14   Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault No time8 198
1.^ – Button, Barrichello, Alonso and Sutil were given five-place grid penalties for speeding under yellow conditions.[12] These penalties were applied in the order that the infringements had been committed.
2.^ – Kovalainen crashed at the Degner Curve in Q3. He changed his gearbox after the session, resulting in a five-place grid penalty.
3.^ – Buemi crashed during the final moments of Q2 and was unable to set a time in Q3.
4.^ – Buemi was given a five-place grid penalty and a reprimand for driving a damaged car and impeding other drivers.[12]
5.^ – Glock failed to set a time during Q2 after going off at the final corner. He was injured in the accident, and was withdrawn from the race on Sunday morning.[19]
6.^ – Alguersuari crashed during the second phase of qualifying, prompting the session to be red-flagged.
7.^ – Liuzzi was given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.[20]
8.^ – Webber damaged his car in the final practice session and was unable to take to the circuit in qualifying.[10] He started from the pit lane with a new chassis.
Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi finished the race in fourteenth position.


Cars that use the KERS system are marked with "‡"

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 15   Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 53 1:28:20.443 1 10
2 9   Jarno Trulli Toyota 53 +4.877 2 8
3 1‡   Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 53 +6.472 3 6
4 4‡   Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 53 +7.940 5 5
5 16   Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 53 +8.793 7 4
6 6   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 53 +9.509 4 3
7 23   Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 53 +10.641 6 2
8 22   Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 53 +11.474 10 1
9 5   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 53 +11.777 9
10 7   Fernando Alonso Renault 53 +13.065 16
11 2‡   Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 53 +13.735 11
12 3‡   Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 53 +14.596 14
13 20   Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 53 +14.959 8
14 21   Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 53 +15.734 18
15 17   Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 53 +17.973 15
16 8   Romain Grosjean Renault 52 +1 Lap 17
17 14   Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 51 +2 Laps 19
Ret 11   Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 43 Spun off 12
Ret 12   Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 Clutch 13
DNS 10   Timo Glock Toyota 0 Injured (20)

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • Bold text indicates competitors who still had a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.


  1. ^ "Japanese". Archived from the original on 2009-11-26. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  2. ^ Whyatt, Chris (2009-10-04). "Vettel wins as Button grabs point". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  3. ^ "FIA Formula 1 drivers' world championship Standings". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  4. ^ Strang, Simon (2009-10-02). "Kobayashi subs for Glock in practice". Autosport.com. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  5. ^ Chaney, Sean (2009-10-02). "Downpours disrupt Japan practice". BBC Sport. BBC Sport. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  6. ^ "Japanese Grand Prix Practice 1 Results". formula1.com. Formula One Association. 2009-10-02. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  7. ^ Cheese, Caroline (2009-10-02). "Japanese GP Practice as it happened". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  8. ^ "Japanese Grand Prix Practice 2 Results". formula1.com. Formula One Association. 2009-10-02. Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  9. ^ "Trulli fastest in final Suzuka practice". Autosport.com. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  10. ^ a b Noble, Jonathan (2009-10-03). "Webber out of qualifying". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  11. ^ "Glock injures leg in Japan Crash". BBC Sport. BBC. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  12. ^ a b c d Elizalde, Pablo (2009-10-03). "Five drivers given grid penalties". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  13. ^ Cheese, Caroline (2009-10-04). "Japan Grand Prix as it happened". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  14. ^ "No action taken on Rosberg incident". Autosport. 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  15. ^ Whyatt, Chris (2009-10-04). "Vettel wins as Button grabs point". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  16. ^ "Button can be beaten, says Vettel". BBC News. 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  17. ^ "Q & A with Jenson Button". Autosport. 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  18. ^ "2009 Japanese GP Qualifying Results". formula1.com. Formula One Association. 2009-10-03. Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  19. ^ Strang, Simon (2009-10-04). "Injured Glock out of Japanese GP". Autosport.com. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  20. ^ Noble, Jonathan (2009-10-03). "Liuzzi to get five-place grid penalty". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  21. ^ "2009 Japanese GP Race Results". formula1.com. Formula One Association. 2009-10-04. Archived from the original on October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  22. ^ a b "Japan 2009 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

External linksEdit

Previous race:
2009 Singapore Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2009 season
Next race:
2009 Brazilian Grand Prix
Previous race:
2008 Japanese Grand Prix
Japanese Grand Prix Next race:
2010 Japanese Grand Prix

Coordinates: 34°50′35″N 136°32′26″E / 34.84306°N 136.54056°E / 34.84306; 136.54056