x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Brawn will have to ensure fair play

With four races to go, the title fight is on. Everyone knew the Monza fuel situation would be crucial, and so it proved. Brawn, with a single pit-stop strategy, were tipped as the car best shaped to win - again, so it proved.

With four races to go, the title fight is on. Everyone knew the Monza fuel situation would be crucial, and so it proved. Brawn, with a single pit-stop strategy, were tipped as the car best shaped to win - again, so it proved. It was good to see both Brawn drivers on the podium. For Jenson Button especially. Five races is a long time to be away from the podium when you're chasing a championship, and it was perfect timing for him. He needs to be smart now; high finishes and big points are vital, but finishing in second place should give him a massive boost. It will be a huge relief; it has been very hard for him.

Although he has talked it up well, Jenson's not produced. Monza changed that. The pressure is on him again now and he needs results. His teammate, Rubens Barrichello, has nothing to lose and is under less pressure. Rubens showed incredible determination right from the first corner in Italy. Muscling his way past Heikki Kovalainen and Jenson - who actually seemed to get off the line better - was brilliant and the aggressive tactic earned Rubens his win.

He has the comfort factor at the moment and I think he will win more of the final four races than Jenson. If Jenson fails to produce the goods in the next two races, his 14-point lead could disappear completely. Rubens is firing on all cylinders and will be strong in Singapore. Ross Brawn will have to play it fair now. He's not in a position to favour either driver. The pressure from the Red Bulls has disappeared and his own drivers are squaring off now.

Nothing is decided and Jenson's resurgence has given him a real chance of hanging on. Brawn will spend most of his time making sure there is no rift. His drivers have competed all season long and haven't destroyed each other's chances and the team principal needs to ensure they don't now. Lewis Hamilton certainly destroyed his chances though. Apart from his unfortunate last lap crash, it was a good weekend for him. If you are aggressive, the exit of the first corner at Lesmo can bite you. It chomped Lewis. But he won't change and F1 should be thankful of that.

The Briton was running a bit light, but he kept pushing hard and his crash was a typical Hamilton moment. The world champion always pushes to the limit to get the best result. F1 needs drivers right on the edge and Lewis reminds me of Gilles Villeneuve - he always fought right to the very end. Another fantastic weekend for Force India. I think Giancarlo Fisichella could have won here if he had not moved to Ferrari. In the end though, that fiery Latin temperament wanted to go home for Monza and you can't really blame him for that.

Adrian Sutil was very close to pole. He had a cracking race and did a very good job. We have not seen Sutil's full speed yet. He competed in F3 with Hamilton a few years ago and they had a bitter rivalry. Watch out for Adrian in the future. The Force India car is looking very competitive and who knows, down the line they might be winning races. They showed their speed at Spa was no fluke and Vitantonio Liuzzi did a good job this weekend. To my mind, that is the best performance of any new driver jumping into the F1 seat all season - he has great qualities.

Finally, Monza wouldn't be Monza without a word on the home team - Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen didn't quite have the pace but he was always there or thereabouts. The Finn will be good in Singapore - watch out for the Ferrari on that twisty night track. @Email:sports@thenational.ae