FORMULA ONE / It’s another Brawn GP 1-2; Fisichella is ninth
MONACO: Formula One championship leader Jenson Button mastered Monaco’s treacherous streets on Sunday to chalk up his fifth victory in six races and lead another Brawn GP one-two finish.
The Briton’s sixth career victory, in an untroubled drive from pole position on a sunny afternoon, stretched his lead over team-mate Rubens Barrichello to 16 points with 11 races remaining.
Button, who took the chequered flag 7.6 seconds clear of the Brazilian after a masterfully smooth performance around a tight and twisting track lined by metal barriers, has 51 while Barrichello has 35.
“Yeah, Monaco baby, yeah,” the Briton, a Monaco resident, yelled over the team radio after his third win in a row.
The only mistake he made, after 78 laps at the wheel, was to park his car in the wrong place after taking the chequered flag.
Astonishingly, considering what he had gone through during the previous hour and 45 minutes, he climbed out of the car and ran along the straight from the pit lane, waving at the fans and jumping for joy.
Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, who had started on the front row but lost out to Barrichello at the start, took third place for champion Ferrari in the Italian team’s first podium finish since the last race of 2008.
Mercedes-powered Brawn, heir to departed Honda, has now finished one-two three times this year.
“The performance of the team this year is definitely going to go down in history,” said Button, the first Briton to win in Monaco from pole since Jackie Stewart in 1973. “It’s been staggering”.
Barrichello grained his tyres in the first stint and also had to contend with a loosening seat belt. “I had great fun but it was not as easy as it looked from the outside,” added the Brazilian.
Ferrari’s Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth ahead of Australian Mark Webber in a Red Bull.
Germany’s Nico Rosberg finished sixth for Williams, with Spain’s double world champion Fernando Alonso collecting two points for Renault and Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais eighth for Toro Rosso.
There was disappointment for Force India, chasing its first points finish, with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella finishing ninth.
McLaren’s world champion Lewis Hamilton, who started last on the grid after crashing in qualifying, was 12th and lapped by his winning compatriot.
Button became only the seventh driver to win five of the first six races of a season, the last being Germany’s seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher in 2004.
He was also the sixth British driver to win in the Mediterranean principality. Hamilton won last year’s race.
In a race with few incidents, 15 cars finished. McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, Renault’s Nelson Piquet and Toro Rosso rookie Sebastien Buemi all crashed out.
The results: 1. Jenson Button (Brawn) 1hr 40min 44.282sec, 2. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn) at 7.666s, 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 13.442, 4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 15.110, 5. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 15.730, 6. Nico Rosberg (Williams) 33.586, 7. Fernando Alonso (Renault) 37.839, 8. Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso) 1:03.142, 9. Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) 1:05.040, 10. Timo Glock (Toyota) at 77 laps, 11. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) 77 laps, 12. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 77 laps, 13. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 77 laps, 14. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 77 laps, 15. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) 76 laps.
Drivers: 1. Jenson Button 51 pts, 2. Rubens Barrichello 35, 3. Sebastian Vettel 23, 4. Mark Webber 19.5, 5. Jarno Trulli 14.5, 6. Timo Glock 12, 7. Fernando Alonso 11, 8. Kimi Raikkonen 9, 9. Lewis Hamilton 9, 10. Felipe Massa 8, 11. Nico Rosberg 7.5, 12. Nick Heidfeld 6, 13. Heikki Kovalainen 4, 14. Sibastien Buemi 3, 15. Sibastien Bourdais 2.
Constructors: 1. Brawn 86 pts, 2. Red Bull 42.5, 3. Toyota 26.5, 4. Ferrari 17, 5. McLaren 13, 6. Renault 11, 7. Williams 7.5, 8. BMW Sauber 6, 9. Toro Rosso 5. — Agencies