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Page last updated at 22:27 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 23:27 UK

Button bid hit by qualifying flop

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
Venue: Interlagos Dates: 16-18 October 2009 Coverage: Comprehensive live coverage of Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1700 BST - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Rubens Barrichello

Highlights - Brazilian GP qualifying

By Chris Whyatt

Rubens Barrichello landed pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix to give his title hopes a huge boost as championship leader Jenson Button qualified 14th.

As his Brawn team-mate excelled, Button struggled in the rain and failed to get through the second session.

The third title contender, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, did even worse and will start 16th, with his team-mate Mark Webber second on the grid.

Force India's Adrian Sutil and Toyota's Jarno Trulli make up the second row.

Button, who leads Barrichello by 14 points in the drivers' championship, can still land the title in Sao Paulo.

Rubens Barrichello

Top three - Brazilian GP qualifying

But his hopes appear to have faded after he was the slowest man out on the soaking Interlagos surface once the second session restarted following a 70-minute delay due to horrendous weather.

Should Barrichello make five points on his English team-mate in Sunday's race, a prospect that now appears realistic, the title battle will go down to the wire at the final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi on 1 November.

"At the start of the session, we had way too much understeer and I couldn't do anything with it and then on lap three, the rear started going away," Button told BBC Sport.

"We made a mistake not putting intermediate [tyres] on at the end. It's all of our decision, it's a team effort.

"I don't want to be so far back, but at least Vettel is behind me."

BBC SPORT'S FUEL-ADJUSTED GRID (with projected race first pit stops*)
1 Webber (lap 22 of 71)
2 Barrichello+0.056 (lap 20)
3 Sutil +0.231 (lap 23)
4 Trulli +0.361 (lap 24)
5 Buemi +0.501 (lap 24)
6 Raikkonen +0.622 (lap 20)
7 Rosberg +0.631 (lap 23)
8 Nakajima +0.790 (lap 26)
9 Kubica+0.963 (lap 22)
10 Alonso+1.862 (lap 20)
* Calculated on the weight of fuel left in cars after qualifying had finished

Team boss Ross Brawn added: "We thought the wets would hold up and they didn't.

"We were lucky with Rubens, but not with Jenson. It was a poor call in the end. It was an easy decision (on tyres) in this last session and you could see what the car could do. We thought it was about not making a mistake, but perhaps we were too conservative."

The second session was initially stopped after Force India's Tonio Liuzzi careered of the track because of aquaplaning caused by the huge volume of water on the circuit.

With many drivers adamant the conditions were dangerous, a lengthy wait ensued before the skies finally started to clear.

The first session was also heavily interrupted by lashing rain. Vettel could not find the pace required, while McLaren's soon-to-be deposed world champion Lewis Hamilton could manage only 18th place.

"I went to the pool not to the track today," said Vettel, who is 16 points behind Button in the championship.

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"There was a window when the circuit was quickest but we couldn't use it - we struggled with traffic and then when there was clean air we couldn't use it.

"It's a shame... but this is life and we have to deal with it. People have won races from this far back on the grid but it is going to be really hard."

Barrichello's first pole of the season, the 14th of his 17-year F1 career, came nearly three hours after the start of a marathon session that ranks as one of the longest ever undertaken in Formula 1.

Jenson Button

Button rues choice of tyres in wet

The first phase was halted after four minutes when Italian Giancarlo Fisichella spun and stalled his Ferrari, with the car having to be lifted off the track with a crane causing a 14-minute delay.

"I love these conditions and I'm really happy for those fans who stayed behind to see all this," said Barrichello.

"We never knew what was going to happen, whether to employ plan a, b, c or d. The conditions were so variable but I'm so happy.

"We may have less fuel than the guys behind us but it's better to be at the front than in the middle of the pack."



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see also
Button fears title blow in Brazil
17 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brazil Grand Prix qualifying results
14 Sep 09 |  Results
Brazilian GP qualifying as it happened
17 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button warned about playing safe
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brazil Grand Prix practice results
14 Sep 09 |  Results
Brazilian GP practice as it happened
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button to take cautious approach
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Button needs 'champion's drive'
06 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brazilian GP practice photos
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Report - Brazilian GP second practice
16 Oct 09 |  Formula 1


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