Jenson Button was delighted to leave Singapore with his championship lead extended to 15 points because for long periods of the race it had appeared that it would be reduced. The Briton trailed his Brawn GP teammate and chief title rival Rubens Barrichello for much of the race around the street circuit, but a late final pit-stop allowed him to run in free air and leapfrog his way to fifth place.
With only three races and a maximum 30 points left to fight for this season, Button is looking increasingly good for his first championship, and he said he was satisfied with the result. "It was a good day for us," Button told the BBC. "I'm happy to get fifth, which is four points and pull one out on Rubens and only lose one to Sebastian Vettel. It was a good race. I go to Japan very positive for the next race."
Having struggled in qualifying and starting 11th, the Brawn team had fuelled Button heavy in the hope he could make up time and places on those making early pit-stops. But a safety car period because of an accident between Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld forced him to stop with the rest of the pack, but despite being stuck behind Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren in the second stint he was able to use his heavier fuel load to pit with only 10 laps left of the 61-lap race.
Button added: "The first safety car was frustrating because I was going three or four laps longer than Heikki. When he pitted I should have had three full laps and would have done Rubens and maybe Mark Webber, so it didn't work for me. "But I'm very happy with the result." Barrichello was left to rue a slow exit to his second pit-stop for allowing his teammate to beat him and leave him in sixth. The Brazilian said: "Unfortunately I had a problem on my second pit-stop when I couldn't engage neutral and the engine stalled which lost me the crucial time needed to stay ahead of Jenson. After that my brakes were struggling and I couldn't fight anymore so we came home with sixth position.
"It could have been a better weekend but I only lost a point to Jenson in the championship despite everything that happened so I'm staying positive." The third man in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, could only finish fourth. He had run as high as second, but was hit with a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding and he said he was surprised to be penalised. "I wasn't in a rush and therefore can't really explain why I got caught," the German said.
"We have to check if it's maybe an electronic issue, but it was working before and afterwards so it's difficult to say." Vettel trails Button by 25 points and has to win all three remaining races and hope for problems for his rivals if he is to have a chance. Of his hopes, he added: "We will do the same as this race. We try to attack the maximum, try to win." email@example.com