Big Sensational Opening Paragraph Alert: Jenson Button can clinch the drivers championship at Suzuka this weekend if he finishes far enough ahead of his Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello.
It’s all a bit mathsy, but here’s how it stands. For Jenson to win the title, he has to score five more points than Barrichello, by achieving one of the following:
· He wins and Rubens places lower than third.
· He finishes second and Rubens places lower than fifth.
· He finishes third and Rubens places lower than seventh.
· He finishes fourth and Rubens places lower than eighth.
If Jenson finishes any lower than fourth, the championship will still be alive going to Brazil in two weeks’ time. Sebastien Vettel is the only other driver with a chance – a very, very slim chance, admittedly – of grabbing the title, and has to manage a podium finish this weekend and hope it all goes wrong for the two Brawn drivers.
After the first two practice sessions in Suzuka, we’ve got no better indication of who might be quick this weekend, with heavy rain reducing the second session to just 13 minutes of fairly processional action.
Heikki Kovalainen set to the quickest time of the day in first practice, with Adrian Sutil going quickest in the final session. Brawn chose to sit out of second practice, keeping their wet weather tyres in good condition for qualification tomorrow.
Japanese test driver Kamui Kobayashi replaced Toyota’s Timo Glock – who is suffering from a heavy cold – in practice, but the German driver is expected to recover for quali and Sunday’s race.
But all eyes will be on Button tomorrow. If you were in his race boots, how would you play it? Go all-out in the knowledge that a win will likely clinch the championship? Or play it safe, carefully accrue a few more points and hope that Rubens doesn’t storm it?