x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Button is streets ahead of the pack

The Englishman continues his dominance of this season's world championship claiming his fifth win of the season with an masterful drive in Monaco.

Jenson Button of Brawn GP leads the pack after the start of the grand prix in Monte Carlo. Button drove a commanding race to finish ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
Jenson Button of Brawn GP leads the pack after the start of the grand prix in Monte Carlo. Button drove a commanding race to finish ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Jenson Button continued his dominance of this season's Formula One World Championship as he claimed his fifth win of the season with an masterful drive in Monaco yesterday. The Briton finished 7.666secs ahead of his Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello after a superlative show on the tight streets of Monte Carlo.

He converted his pole position into the lead at the start, and was only briefly headed during the pit-stops as he put in another mistake-free drive to triumph and claim the sixth victory of his career. Barrichello was pushed hard by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who was third, ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa, to confirm the Italian team's return to form after their poor start to the season.

But the day belonged to Button and Brawn who have now won five of the six races this season. Indeed the hardest Button had to work was when he mistakenly parked his car in parc ferme after the race, and then had to run down the main straight to where the podium celebrations were taking place, as they always traditionally do in Monaco. "To win here is fantastic, this circuit is very different to anything else," Button said.

"I struggled at the start of the weekend so it makes it even better to get the victory. "The victory means a lot and a one-two finish for Brawn is exceptional. The performance of the team here is staggering. I can't wait to see the boys, they are all going to be very emotional. "The last two laps were enjoyable as I had a big enough gap and I knew nothing would go wrong with the car and I could enjoy the moment. It's a very special moment."

Both Button and Barrichello started the race with the super-soft compound tyres, which allowed both to get off the line well when the race began. While Button held on to the lead, Barrichello passed Raikkonen to move up to second going into Ste Devote. Barrichello briefly pushed Button hard, but the Brazilian was unable to keep his tyres in as good a condition as his teammate, and was helpless to watch Button pull away as he struggled for grip.

Barrichello was threatened by Raikkonen for a while, but after the first round of pit-stops he was able to move clear of the Ferrari. However, with Button 16 seconds down the road, he had to be content with second and helping secure Brawn's third one-two of the season. Massa had a more eventful race. He was held up badly by Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull in the early stages as the German struggled on his soft tyres.

The Brazilian out-braked himself at the chicane on lap seven, passing Vettel in the process. He backed off to allow Vettel back through and avoid a penalty, but was also passed by Nico Rosberg's Williams-Toyota. Both eventually forced their way past Vettel on lap 10 and Massa got fourth place from Rosberg during the pit-stops and despite setting a string of fast laps in the second stint was unable to threaten the front three.

Vettel crashed out of the race on lap 15 and Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren also spun out of proceedings on lap 52. Mark Webber took fifth for the Red Bull ahead of Rosberg, with Fernando Alonso's Renault taking seventh and a one-stop strategy worked well for Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais as he took eighth. World champion Lewis Hamilton had a disappointing run to 12th, his race ruined by his qualifying crash that had left him 16th on the grid.

gcaygill@thenational.ae