Photo by S G Mendez
Rubens Barrichello has taken the 2009 F1 Championship fight to Jenson Button by landing pole position for tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
Button meanwhile made a hash of qualifying by failing to change to the intermediate tyre at the right point and remaining on full wets. He qualified fourteenth.
The third Championship protaganist Sebastian Vettel fell at the first hurdle by failing to progress from Q1 in a heavily rain affected qualifying "hour" which, due to various red flags, dragged on for nearly three hours. He starts fifteenth on the gird - directly behind Button.
Unfortunately the delayed coverage meant that those of us watching on the BBC had to endure Jake (the Plank) Humphrey asking numerous mind numbingly inane questions to pad out the time waiting for the qualifying sessions to restart.
At least today he managed to refrain from incessantly referring to David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan as DC and EJ - one of my pet hates - aaaarggghhh
It's almost enough for me to want the BBC to start showing adverts!
Putting my latest BBC F1 commentary rant to one side, it now appears that the Championship is a straight two horse race between Button and Barrichello - barring any miracle from Vettel tomorrow.
I still believe that Button will take the Championship but not until Abu Dhabi and with a whimper rather than a bang.
Call me unpatriotic but I'm afraid I do not class Button as a driver in the same league as the likes of Lewis Hamilton or Kimi Raikkonen.
The Championship was virtually gifted to him by dint of the fact the Brawn car in the first half of the season, due to their clever interpretation of the rules, was streets ahead of the opposition.
At the same time any misfortunes to the Brawn Team seemed to fall in the lap of Rubens Barrichello.
In the second half of the season the other teams have improved their cars, in particular Red Bull and McLaren and since that point Button has not had the sniff of a victory and has played safe.
If he remains with Brawn next year, as is expected, and their car is on a parr with the McLarens, Ferraris etc it will be interesting to see how he fairs on a level playing field - if I would hazard a guess, not too well.
The race tomorrow holds a lot of promise and could be a classic (maybe too much to hope!).
It will be great to see Vettel going for it from the back - after all he has nothing to lose. Button will need to try and keep himself out of trouble and avoid a DNF.
At the front Barrichello and Webber (P2) will both be desparate to win. Barrichello to keep his Championship hopes alive and Webber to prove to his doubters that he can get the job done.
Others to look out for in my opinion are Sutil who took an impressive P3 for Force India and Kimi Raikkonen in P5.
If it rains again during the race Sutil is definitely in with a shout for a podium finish.
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