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Button Takes Victory in Bahrain

April 26, 2009

Jenson Button has claimed his third, and arguably most satisfying, Formula One victory of 2009 in the heat and humidity of Bahrain.

Button, who is currently leading the 2009 driver’s championship, started from fourth on the grid at the Sakhir International Circuit and brought home his Brawn-Mercedes ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli. Having passed the Red Bull of Vettel in the first corner, he leap-frogged the Toyotas of Trulli and Timo Glock in the first round of pitstops and dominated the remainder of the race. 

Lewis Hamilton produced his best drive and finish of the season so-far, finishing in fourth behind Trulli’s Toyota.

The reigning champ got off to a charging start, taking both Button and third-place starter Vettel in the first corner. He narrowly missed out on gaining second, and having run wide, was passed by Button into turn five –  a pass that would later help secure Button the win. Vettel got held-up by Hamilton in the first part of the race, costing the Red Bull a lot of time, and eventually robbing him of back-to-back victories. Vettel managed to pass Hamilton in the first round of pitstops.

Ferrari managed to score their first points of the season, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing in sixth and taking away three world championship points for the Italian team. Felipe Massa was less lucky in the sister car, only managing 14th after KERS problems saw him take an early pitstop.

Whilst the first three races of the 2009 season were action-packed, withhigh speed collisions and safety car appearances, and a lot of heavy rain, round four in Bahrain was somewhat subdued and quiet. Threat of a sandstorm, along withthe hot, humid temperatures, were the only problems with the weather, and the race saw only one retirement by Kazuki Nakajima, and that wasn’t even through a high speed crash, but a scrap with Robert Kubica. As far as collisions go, as well as Nakajima and Kubica’s scrap, the hairiest moment saw slight contact between Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella whilst jostling for position.

Despite over-heating problems with the Brawn car in the heat of the Sakhir circuit, Button managed to pass the chequered flag 7.1 secs clear of second place Vettel. Prior to the race, team principle Ross Brawn, said that it would be tough to keep up with the front-row sitters Trulli and Glock, and third place Vettel. Lewis Hamilton, and his KERS-assisted car also posed as a threat to the team, particularly if he had managed to make his first corner move on Jenson stick. With the track temperature at 36 degrees at the start of the race, and the ideal temperature of the Brawn car being 33 degrees or below, Button’s performance and victory appear all the more satisfactory for the British driver and team.

Button said after the race that the car hasn’t had the pace of the first three races. He added: “It was a tough race and very enjoyable.” Hamilton said he was delighted with fourth place.

For Button, his third victory out of four races so far in 2009 puts him twelve points clear of teammate Barrichello, with current champion Hamilton trailing on nine and struggling to defend his title. Brawn are now 12.5 points clear of Red Bull in the constructor’s standings.

 

Round five takes place in two weeks time, with qualifying on Saturday 9th May and the race live on BBC One on the Sunday at 1pm.

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