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2009 Ateco World Championships: A Tough Finale

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.

Kimi Raikkonen: “We knew we did not have a car that was competitive here It was definitely not a good weekend, but I don’t think any of us have anything to reproach ourselves for. We did the most we could with the package we hard. At the start, the track was a bit slippery and that cost me a place to Kobayashi, who was very quick today. Then, when the two Brawns were back ahead of me, after their first pit stop, our race was definitely compromised and a points finish became impossible. It’s a shame to end my time with Ferrari with this result, but this year we have never been in a position to fight for the win at every race, as I would have wished.”

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.

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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.

Giancarlo Fisichella: “I am disappointed that third place got away from us like this, but today our pace was what it was, as can be seen from my team-mate’s twelfth place. I tried all I could, as usual and I feel I drove a good race. It was a shame about the drive-through which compromised my second stint. I got a good start and got past Grosjean, who then got ahead of me again, cutting the chicane, but then in his turn, he got by, taking back what I had gained. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to contribute to the team in terms of points and to have not really shown my worth. Unfortunately, the F60 is very difficult to drive, especially in qualifying and starting from the back is always a big penalty. Now the time has come to think of the future: I do not yet know if I will get a race drive with a team, but what is certain is that I will be a Ferrari driver and I am happy about that.”

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.

Stefano Domenicali: “It’s disappointing to see third place in the Constructors’ Championship elude us by a single point, but we have to accept the verdict dished out on track. We took a strategic decision regarding the development of the F60 a few months ago and we knew that, as time went by, the road ahead would get ever steeper. All the same, I wish to congratulate the entire team who, despite the difficult situation, continued to keep their concentration up, getting on with their work with determination and tenacity. Now we must continue to work on the design of the new car, because we have a very simple aim: that of getting back to being in the fight for race wins This was Kimi’s last race with us and again today he gave it his all. We are very disappointed that this year, we did not give him a competitive car and I thank him for never having thrown in the towel, in fact, fighting even harder when the situation was at its trickiest. That thanks extends to all our drivers: to Felipe who went through a dramatic moment in Budapest and is recovering quickly to be 100% for the start of next season; to Luca, who accepted the challenge to put himself in the game in a very difficult moment; to Giancarlo who in order to realise his dream of racing for Ferrari, left a team just as it was going through its best part of the season. Again today, he did his utmost right to the final kilometre. I am proud of our drivers, as I am of everyone who works in our team and I am sure that every one of them will know how to learn the right lessons from this season and will be even more motivated to try and redeem themselves immediately.”

Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix – Race result
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 55 laps 1hr 34m 03.414s
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 17.8s
3. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes +00m 18.4s
4. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes +00m 22.7s
5. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +00m 26.2s
6. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Toyota-Toyota +00m 28.3s
7. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +01m 34.3s
8. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari +00m 412s

9. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +00m 45.9s
10. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +00m 48.1s
11. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +00m 52.7s
12. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 54.3s
13. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +00m 59.8s
14. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +01m 09.6s
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes +01m 34.4s
16. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari-Ferrari +1 lap
17. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
18. Romain Grosjean France Renault-Renault +1 lap

Rtd Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 20 laps completed
Rtd Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 18 laps completed

Fastest lap:

Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 40.279s lap 54

For a link to the full list of F1 Drivers please see the following document:


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