x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

How it happened: Button wins in Monaco

The championship leader leads from start to finish to win the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time.

Brawn GP driver Jenson Button celebrates on the podium after winning the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
Brawn GP driver Jenson Button celebrates on the podium after winning the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.

Jenson Button led from start to finish to win the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time. In truth, it was a comfortable victory for this year's championship leader and it was the third Brawn GP one-two of the season with his teammate Rubens Barrichello finishing second, 7.6secs behind the British driver. The podium was made up by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for their first top three finish of the season with Felipe Massa fourth. Only once in the last 20 years has a driver outside the top three on the grid in Monaco won the race - 1996 Olivier Panis for Ligier when he started 14th - and it never looked likely. With the Brawn duo starting on the super soft tyres Button got off well from pole and Raikkonen failed to recover from a slow start when, after qualifying on the front row, he was passed by Barrichello who never looked back.

Button has just started to move to the pits - by foot. He seems to have parked in wrong place. He should have parked on the main straight but that is not for the Briton who is jogging along waving to all and sundry. The only mistake the man made all day and not one he will care too much about I am sure. And it is all over Button wins! The Briton has won the maximum for the fifth time this season, and Barrichello finishes second for the fourth time in Monaco. Raikkonen is third, Massa fourth. Then comes Webber, Rosberg, Alonso, Bourdais holds off Fisichella for the final points position and Glock was 10th. Then came Heidfeld, Hamilton, Trulli, Sutil and Nakajima. Lap 78 So close to the end but Nakajima slides out on the final lap. Lap 77 Button is in total control and he still has clear air ahead of him as Brawn close in on another 1-2. Lap 76 Fisichella is just 1.3secs behind Bourdais in eighth. I sensed Force India's first point earlier, but the Italian is leaving it late. Lap 75 Rosberg is 19secs behind Webber in sixth. Lap 74 No changes with Alonso being held up by one of the back markers. Lap 73 Barrichello has reduced the lead to 10.7secs and it is set to stay a top five of Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Massa and Webber. Lap 72 Button is keen on the radio not to catch up with the traffic ahead of him. Lap 71 Hamilton overtakes Trulli as he outbraked him on the corner to move into 13th. Lap 70 Glock overtakes Heidfeld to move into 11th. Lap 69 With nine laps left Button is in total charge with Barrichello in second followed by Raikkonen, Massa and Webber. Alonso blazes past Sutil but he is still 7.794secs behind Rosberg. Lap 68 Button does a bit of kerb surfing but keeps control as he edges towards his fifth win of the season. Lap 67 Rosberg has 7secs over Alonso. Lap 66 It is a 6.5sec pit stop for Alonso and he is overtaken by Sutil in the Force India, when I say overtaken, Sutil is bringing up the rear so Alonso remains in seventh. Lap 65 Rosberg comes in the pits, it is an 8.4secs stop and he is out into clear air into seventh. Super soft time for Rosberg. Lap 64 Webber is catching up Rosberg who is on the tail of the two Ferraris. Lap 63 Massa is two seconds behind Raikkonen in third. Lap 62 Alonso takes another two whole seconds from Webber's lead on that lap, and he does have the KERS in his locker. Hamilton is still down in 15th. Lap 61 Alonso is edging into the lead of sixth-placed Webber, who is now on the super soft tyres. Lap 60 It is business as usual at the top, it has been so easy for Button he must keep his concentration. Monaco can be a punishing circuit. Lap 59 Button is keeping the lead around 13 secs. Fisichella is 3secs behind Bourdais in eighth. Lap 58 Barrichello has 5secs from Raikkonen. Lap 57 Button is 13secs ahead with 21 laps to go. Rubens Barrichello has raced in Monaco 16 times but has never won - he has been second three times in 1997, 2000 and 2001. Lap 56 So it is Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen and Massa with no more pits needed from those boys. Lap 55 Massa comes in as second. Lap 54 That is a bit odd. Hamilton is in the pits and has his nose cone changed. Button is 1.192 ahead of Massa, still to pit a second time, with Webber in third. Lap 53 Raikkonen pits. He is in fifth. Button is back in the lead with Massa behind. Lewis Hamilton is up to 13th. Lap 52 Kovalainen is out of the race, and there are lots of unhappy faces in the McLaren paddock. Well I am presuming they have unhappy faces as they all have Star Wars-esque helmets on. Kovalainen seemed to lose it on the straight coming out of the swimming pool section. Lap 51 Button pits and comes out behind Raikkonen, but the Ferrari driver has his second stop to make. Massa in third, then Webber, then Barrichello. Lap 50 Barrichello pits and presumably Button will be next. Lap 49 Button's light on fuel and nails that lap to get him back to 16.4secs ahead. Lap 48 Raikkonen takes half a second from Barrichello's lap, but he's still two seconds back. Lap 47 Button's lead is down just under 15 secs, but his smooth driving style means he is in cruise control. Lap 46 Webber is getting ready for his super softs on his next pit stop. That will damage his podium chances, but he is flying at the minute. Lap 45 Fisichella is still out there. Raikkonen has just taken a huge chunk out of the corner there. Lap 44 Button is still holding a comfortable 15secs lead of his Brazilian teammate, who has pulled away slightly from Raikkonen. Lap 43 Webber claims the fastest lap with 1:15.567. Lap 42 Ferrari have been warned that if Massa, who has been bouncing through that chicane, cuts it one more time he is going to be penalised. Heidfeld is in and comes out in 14th, Lap 41 And Raikkonen is now just 1.5secs from the Brawn Brazilian. Lap 40 Button is pulling away from Barrichello. Lap 39 Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella is holding in ninth, but has yet to pit on his one-stop strategy. Do I sense points for Force India... Lap 38 Another fastest lap from Massa and Ferrari seem confident of at least taking second with the race going as it is so far. Webber currently holds the second fastest lap. Button's is down in fifth. Lap 37 It's all as you were at the top, with Ferrari's Raikkonen taking some small chunks out of Barrichello's lead in front of him and Button keeping it smooth. Lap 36 Jenson Button has just lapped compatriot Lewis Hamilton, which must be slightly demoralising for the current championship holder. Lap 35 Button still over 14secs ahead and Nakajima is in the pits. Bourdais has still to pit in eighth. Lap 34 Massa is beating his own lap times at the minute and gaining on the flying Finn, who is now just 3.164secs ahead. Lap 33 Webber seems to be holding his ground in fifth with a 6.754secs lead over Nico Rosberg, who himself has three secs on Kovalainen. Lap 32 Massa now holds the fastest lap from fourth. It's Brawn 1,2 and Ferrari 3,4. Lap 31 Barrichello has now been quicker than the leader for three laps in a row. Lap 30 Barrichello seems to be catching his teammate but only slightly. Lap 29 Using Sherlock Holmes' powers of deduction I would say by the way the BMW Sauber team are carrying Kubica's car into their paddock that his race is over. He was brought in and that was the end. Lap 28 Alonso is out of the pits in 11th. The Brawn duo have both used their super soft tyres with the Ferrari pair still on the harder compound tyres, I think. Lap 27 Hamilton is still in 16th ahead of Adrian Sutil of Force India. Lap 26 Alonso is still to pit and sits in fourth between Raikkonen and Massa. Lap 25 It has all settled down a bit for the minute. Lap 24 Piquet did not restart the race after he was hit by Buemi and the boy is not happy with the Swiss. Button is 19.56secs ahead of third-placed Raikkonen and 20.7 ahead of fourth-placed Fernando Alonso. Lap 23 Button seems to be out on his own. He is 16.6 secs clear. The Briton had the great advantage of being able to look after his tyres better than his teammate. He also has Vettel to thank for his lead of several of his other rivals. Lap 22 Webber comes out in sixth ahead of Rosberg who has lost out the most from the stops so far. Lap 21 Kovalainen pits and comes out in eighth just ahead of Nakajima. Lap 20 Massa is now seventh with Alonso, Raikkonen, Barrichello, Webber, Rosberg and Button ahead. Lap 19 Button leads from Massa, who pits and it is just the McLaren driver that has not gone in yet. Lap 18 Rosberg has the fastest lap so far with 1min 16.187secs and the German pits. Massa is yet to pit as is Kovalainen. Lap 17 Button is in and out of the pits in double quick time and he is now just behind Nico Rosberg. Lap 16 Vettel is being helped from his car after sliding into a wall. That is his race over. Barrichello is in. That must be tyre-related as he should have had the fuel to continue for longer. Lap 15 Raikkonen has pitted and he comes out in seventh. Lap 14 The Briton is a second quicker per lap than Barrichello and the Finn is being held up by the Brazilian and his lap was 1.7secs slower than Button's. Lap 13 Button holds the lead ahead of his teammate who has Raikkonen very close behind. Lap 12 Raikkonen has caught up with Barrichello and the Finn was just 0.127secs slower on lap 11. Lap 11 Buemi locks up at the first corner and he is out. Piquet's rear wing is destroyed but it is not sure whether he will continue. Lap 10 Rosberg and Massa and Kovalainen are all past the floundering Vettel. Lap 9 Vettel's tyres are done, he has to pit soon. Lap 8 The radio tells Barrichello to look after his tyres. He is on the super soft so it is all preservation. Lap 7 Button's seventh lap was the quickest so far and the surprisingly slow Vettel is holding up eight cars at the minute. Is something wrong with the Red Bull? Rosberg is the man directly behind him but without KERS can he get past him? Lap 6 Vettel, Massa and Rosberg and tightly packed and Massa overtakes off the Red Bull driver but illegally cutting the chicane. When he moves to let the Red Bull driver back through, Nico Rosberg passes him too. Great driving from Rosberg in the Williams. Raikkonen makes the fastest lap. Lap 5 Barrichello is 1.580secs behind the Briton and there is an interesting tussle between Massa and Vettel, with the Ferrari driver using his KERS speed boost coming out of the tunnel. That is one to keep an eye on. Lap 4 Kubica is in last place behind Glock with just in front. Hamilton is closing in on Heidfeld in 16th. Lap 3 Button holding his lead. Lap 2 Barrichello seems to be catching up with Button, and Kubica is in the pits already. Lap 1 Raikkonen has a shocking start and not only fails to catch Button but gets overtaken by Brawn's Barrichello as well. Vettel is in fourth. Just so you know Button and Vettel are only race winners in 2009 but neither has won in Monaco before. Hamilton absolutely blitzed past the two Toyotas at the start too. Start Go! Go! Go! 3.55pm One thing to note is Timo Glock is starting from the pit lane for some last-minute adjustments, but he is starting at the back anyway so it is not likely to make too much difference for the German. So can Jenson Button hold off the flying Finn at the first corner? The Briton is carrying four more laps of fuel than his rival in the Ferrari.

Jenson Button starts on pole for Formula One's show road race in the principality of Monaco. He will be alongside the resurgent Finn Kimi Raikkonen, Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello lined up third, ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull, while the other Ferrari of Felipe Massa starts fifth. For a little pre-race build-up I turn to the The National's man in the F1 know Graham Caygill: "It should be a close race as the qualifying times were close and when you analyse the fuel loads the cars are carrying there does not appear to be much between Brawn and Ferrari. "Jenson Button will do well to hold onto the lead at the start from pole as Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari has the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) which will give him a speed advantage off the startline. "Button is fuelled heavier than Raikkonen so if he gets ahead at the start his Brawn will be very hard to beat, but if Raikkonen gets in front we could be in for a fascinating afternoon. "The Finn knows how to win from the front, having done so in 2005, and this could be the fillip he and Ferrari need after a miserable start to the season."

Keep up to date with all the action right here at The National from 3.50pm (4pm start) as we bring you lap-by-lap coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix. pchayney@thenational.ae