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Jenson Makes it 4 Out of 5 For Brawn

May 10, 2009

Jenson Button has made it four out of five at the Spanish Grand Prix, and edged his way ever further into the lead of the driver’s world championship, in a race where Ferrari failed to fuel their sole remaining driver long enough to get him comfortably to the finish, and McLaren struggled for grip throughout.

Button started the race from pole, but soon found himself staring at the back of teammate Barrichello, as the Brazilian claimed two places into the first corner. Felipe Massa made a quick getaway from fourth making up one place to position himself in front of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Further down the field, contact between Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli ended up putting the latter out of the race, taking the Force India of Adrian Sutil and the two Toro Rossos with him.

The safety car was quickly deployed after the carnage that was turn two, and at the restart, Barrichello led Button away from Massa and Vettel.

Heikki Kovalainen saw his third retirement of the season shortly after the restart due to gearbox failure, and Kimi Raikkonen ground to a hault on lap 18 with suspected electrical problems, after having spent the previous laps since the restart hunting down the BMW of Nick Heidfeld.

Barrichello led Button through the first round of pitstops, however, a stategy change by Button’s engineers from three-stopping to two, saw the Brazilian fall back behind Jenson after his second stop, despite his second-per-lap advantage over his teammate in the second stint. An early stop and a switch to the hard tyres by Massa and Vettel allowed Barrichello to make up time on his softer tyres and he came out of the pits for the third time ahead of the fighting Ferrari and Red Bull. Despite losing out to Button by three-stopping, the soft tyres proved to be the best compound and brought Barrichello home in second to make it a Brawn one-two.

Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber also three-stopped, pitting for the final time behind Rubens, and he too leap-frogged Massa and Vettel to get his second podium this season.

Lewis Hamilton had a less-lucky race, being forced to run onto the grass at the start, after getting caught up behind the Toyota of Trulli, and narrowly escaping the crash in turn two as he made his way round at the back of the pack. Hamilton said: “I drove my heart out as I always do” adding, he just didn’t have the grip to get into the points-scoring positions, narrowly missing out in 9th.

In the closing laps of the race, it soon became apparent that Massa didn’t have enough fuel on board to push to the end of the race, and subsequently he had to allow Vettel through, and later Fernando Alonso, to at least ensure he finished the race. After crossing the finish line in 6th, he parked his F60 on the circuit, having finally run out of fuel.

For Brawn, they have dominated the Circuit de Catalunya all weekend, with Barrichello pushing Button all the way, at one point looking set to take his first victory since 2004. However, it was Jenson Button who proved that you certainly have to be on the front row of the grid to win in Barcelona, and having made it four wins out of five, he seems to be in a league of his own.

 

The next race will be in Monaco in two weeks time.

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