Webber, Vettel and Alonso round off the top five at the Spanish Grand Prix
BARCELONA: World championship-leading Briton Jenson Button consolidated his position when he drove Brawn to a resounding victory in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. He came home 13 seconds ahead of his Brawn GP team-mate veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello .
Australian Mark Webber finished third for Red Bull ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso fifth for Renault.
Felipe Massa came home sixth for Ferrari after running out of fuel and losing fourth position in the closing laps.
German Nick Heidfeld was seventh for BMW Sauber and compatriot Nico Rosberg was eighth for Williams.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was ninth and out of the points.
Button’s win was his fourth in five races this year and the fifth of his career, allowing him to extend his lead in the title race to 16 points.
“I can’t believe how I lost that race,” said Barrichello afterwards, his three-stop race strategy having cost him after he had led for long periods and looked destined for victory.
Button, giving his team-mate a hug, said: “It’s difficult because I am so excited to have won again, but I do feel for you.”
At the start, Barrichello made a storming getaway and took the lead ahead of Button with Massa passing Vettel behind them.
But behind them, a multiple collision triggered by Jarno Trulli’s Toyota spinning off and back on to the circuit removed four cars from the race and brought out the safety car.
The accident happened at the first and second corners and involved both Toro Rossos of Swiss Sebastien Buemi and Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais along with Trulli and German Adrian Sutil’s Force India.
It required five slow laps behind the safety car before the mess was cleared up and the racing resumed with a field of only 16 runners.
By lap 10, the front two were continuing to set the pace and pulling clear, Barrichello and Button both clocking fastest laps ahead of Massa and Vettel.
Button was the first of the leaders to pit after 18 laps.
Alonso followed Button and was soon followed by the leader Barrichello. Massa and Vettel also pitted, but Rosberg in his Williams stayed out and after 22 laps was running second between the two Brawns, allowing Barrichello to control the race from the front with a 2.6 seconds lead on the German and 6.9 on Button.
Barrichello had a lead of 12.1 seconds by lap 28 and Button second leading Massa by 3.2 seconds.
But Barrichello, on a suspected three-stop strategy, pitted for a second time, in 6.7 seconds, after 31 laps.
Barrichello rejoined in fourth and ran behind Button, leading Massa and Vettel.
Barrichello’s extra pit stop allowed Button to make up the difference, and the Briton eventually won by 13 seconds to extend his championship lead over his teammate to 14 points after five races.
“I had the race in my hands and I was quite surprised when they told me they were switching Jenson to two (stops),” Barrichello said. “I would like to understand why they changed that.”
“I had a great start and went to the lead. I was running a tiny bit quicker than Jenson to begin with,” Barrichello said. “Then they changed the strategy and I had to keep on pushing.”
Barrichello had stretched his lead over Button to nearly eight seconds after all the leaders had visited the pits. But then came the strategy change, which left both drivers a little puzzled.
“Initially, I didn’t think it was a good idea,” said Button. “That’s not normally my style but it’s the style I had to take on this race. Every lap was flat out.”
The results: 1. Jenson Button (Brawn) 1hr 37min 19.202sec, 2. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn) +1356sec, 3. Mark Webber (Red Bull) +13.924, 4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +18.941, 5. Fernando Alonso (Renault) +43.166, 6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +50.827, 7. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) +52.312, 8. Nico Rosberg (Williams) +1:05.211, 9. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) +1 lap, 10. Timo Glock (Toyota), 11. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), 12. Nelson Piquet Jr. (Renault), 13. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams), 14. Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India). Did not finish: Jarno Trulli (Toyota) lap 3, Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) lap 3, Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso) lap 3, Adrian Sutil (Force India) lap 3, Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) lap 8, Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) lap 18.
Overall standings: Drivers: 1. Jenson Button 41pts, 2. Rubens Barrichello 27, 3. Sebastian Vettel 23, 4. Mark Webber 15.5, 5. Jarno Trulli 14.5, 6. Timo Glock 12, 7. Lewis Hamilton 9, 8. Fernando Alonso 9, 9. Nick Heidfeld 6, 10. Nico Rosberg 4.5, 11. Heikki Kovalainen 4, 12. Felipe Massa 3, 13. Kimi Raikkonen 3, 14. Sebastien Buemi 3, 15. Sebastien Bourdais 1. Constructors: 1. Brawn 68pts, 2. Red Bull 38.5, 3. Toyota 26.5, 4. McLaren 13, 5. Renault 9, 6. BMW Sauber 6, 7. Ferrari 6, 8. Williams 4.5, 9. Toro Rosso 4. — Agencies
Corrections and Clarifications
The results column in a report "Button, Barrichello make it a Brawn 1-2 yetagain" ("Sport", May 11, 2009) was right in saying that Button has a14-point lead (Overall standings: 1. Jenson Button 41pts, 2. RubensBarrichello 27). The text had the figure as 16.