x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

How it happened: Button wins in Spain

Jenson Button wins his fourth race of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. His teammate Rubens Barrichello made it a one-two for the Brawn GP team, but there was a cruel twist of fate for Ferrari's Felippe Massa, who barely had enough fuel to cross the finish line while chasing a podium finish.

Toro Rosso's Sebatian Buemi, teammate Sebastien Bourdais, Force India's Adrian Sutil and Renault's Nelson Piquet crash at the Circuit de Catalunya at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix
Toro Rosso's Sebatian Buemi, teammate Sebastien Bourdais, Force India's Adrian Sutil and Renault's Nelson Piquet crash at the Circuit de Catalunya at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix

A cruel end to the Spanish Grand Prix for Ferrari's Felippe Massa, but the Brazilian can console himself having picked up his first points of the season with a sixth-placed finish. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello made it another one-two for Brawn GP who continue to dominate the championship with Button following tradition at this circuit having won the race from pole position. The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel drove superb races to finish third and fourth respectively, with Renault's Fernando Alonso picking up four points for finishing in fifth, pipping Massa on the final lap. Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg completed the points scoring positions in what has been arguably the most eventful race of the campaign so far. Button, now with five career wins to his credit, was overtaken at the start by Barrichello but forced himself back in front of the Brazilian with an astute strategy shift from three stops to two. The Briton is now 14 points clear of his 36-year-old teammate, who had been tantalisingly close to his first win since he was Michael Schumacher's partner at Ferrari in 2004. Ferrari's 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, last year's winner in Barcelona, retired after less than a third of the race while McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton was ninth and lapped by his winning compatriot. The safety car was deployed for four laps after a pile-up involving Toyota's Jarno Trulli, both Toro Rosso drivers and Force India's Adrian Sutil as the field powered through the second corner. sluckings@thenational.ae *With Reuters ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lap 65 Alonso passes Massa. The Brazilian must be seething under that helmet. Lap 64 Poor Felipe Massa. The Ferrari driver lets Vettel pass with no resistance. He leads Alonso by 18 seconds going into the last lap but has literally, nothing left in the tank. Alonso could nip him before the chequered flag. Lap 62 Hamilton, desperate for a point, is trying every manoeuvre in the book to get around Nico Rosberg without much joy. Lap 61 Button is cantering around the track without a care in the world. He's 13 seconds ahead of Barrichello in second. Lap 60 It's quite clear the reason Massa doesn't have enough fuel on board is because of another error from the Ferrari outfit. Where did it all go so wrong for the Italian team? Lap 57 Alonso's lightning fast laps are not giving him much reward as he picks at the 18.3 seconds between him and fifth-placed Vettel. Massa is defending fourth place for his life and the Brazilian rightly so bites the head off of Ferrari's Rob Smedley. "What am I supposed to do? I am defending my position!" This was said with venom after Smedley pointed out Massa won't last the race at current pace and should save his fuel. You have to feel for Massa today. Lap 54 Button leads by almost 10 seconds ahead of Brawn teammate Barrichello. Webber, Massa, Vettel, Alonso, Heidfeld and Rosberg occupy the points at the moment as we enter the final 11 laps of the race. Lap 52 We're hearing over the airwaves that their is concern Massa has pushed too hard and may not have enough fuel to finish the race. Surely fate isn't that cruel? Lap 51 The front three of Button, Barrichello and Webber are lapping over a second quicker than their rivals Massa and Vettel. Their strategies appear to have not paid off. Lap 49 Well listened Rubens. The Brazilian pits along with Webber. Both drivers are out in double quick time on the harder tyres and come out in front Massa and Vettel. Lap 48 Button comes in and rejoins the action in third place with enough fuel to see him home. Barrichello, leading once again, can't see anyone in his rear view mirrors but will surely pit in the next few laps for a final time. Lap 47 Webber moves up to third and is now just 2.9 seconds behind Barrichello, who is 12.1 seconds behind Jenson Button. This race is his to lose now as he will have just one more pit-stop. Lap 44 Hamilton on the radio to his team complaining that: "the rear tyres have completely gone." Steve, from Dubai, emailed to say: I'd love to see Jenson win here but then again I'd like the final race in Abu Dhabi to mean something. Perhaps Vettel winning could be the best outcome from this point. Lap 43 Massa pits from second and Vettel from third. Massa emerges in fifth ahead of the Red Bull driver who took a second longer in the pits than the Brazilian. That looked like the Ferrari of old before they became error-strewn in every race. Lap 41 Barrichello needs to put in some low 1.23 laps if he is going to finish on the podium, according to his race engineer Jock Clear. Lap 39 Fernando Alonso in sixth is nearly 8 seconds behind Mark Webber's Red Bull car in fifth. Rosberg is a further 5.6 seconds behind the Spaniard. Lap 38 Nakajima into the pits which allows Hamilton to move up to 9th but the Williams driver is quick to regain his place with a nice overtake. Lap 37 Strange to see the Toyota of Timo Glock so far off the pace as he just seems to be going through the motions in 11th. Lap 36 Barrichello is definitely on a three-stop strategy. His car doesn't look half as fast now their is more fuel on board. Lap 33 Top 8 recap: Button is 3.6 seconds ahead of Massa in second. Vettel and Barrichello are third and fourth respectively with Webber, Alonso, Rosberg and Heidfeld making up the rest of the points scoring positions. Hamilton and Nakajima are chasing Heidfeld hard though with Glock, Kubica, Piquet Jnr and Fisichella completing the field. Lap 31 Barrichello in for his second stop and rejoins the race in fourth behind Vettel, Massa and Button. This is the best race we have seen from Massa since that crushing race in his home country of Brazil in the final race of 2008 when he was pipped by Hamilton for the world title in such dramatic fashion. Was that really so long ago? Lap 28 Barrichello leads his championship leading teammate Button by 11.3 seconds but expect the the Brazilian to pit more times than the Briton. Hamilton in sixth s chasing Heidfeld hard in fifthin what is a pretty good turn around from the grim outcome the reigning world champion predicted before the race. Lap 25 Rosberg enters the pits which means the Brawn pair lead the race once again. Lap 23 Hamilton comes in. The McLaren driver is on a one-stop strategy and emerges to set the fastest lap of the race at 1:24.764. Lap 21 Massa and Vettel in and out safely. Lap 20 Top 8 recap: Barrichello leads from Rosberg in second, followed by Button, Massa (yet to score this season), Vettel, Heidfeld, Hamilton and Webber. Lap 19 Barrichello looks to be on a three-stop strategy after pitting and taking on a lighter fuel load than Button, who I suspect is on a two-stop. Barrichello is flying at Barcelona today and emerges, crucially, ahead of Nico Rosberg's Williams car to retake the lead. Lap 18 Raikkonen is crawling around the track with what looks like a hydraulics problem. Looks like his race is over. Button and Alonso pit with no dramas. Lap 17 The Toyota driver Timo Glock comes into the pits. Soft tyres and a decent amount of fuel for the German driver. Lap 16 Massa is going backwards it seems and should be into pit quite soon. He and the two Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber are trailing the Brawns by seven seconds now. Lap 15 We've just heard that Raikkonen is unable to use his KERS which explains why he is unable to pass Nick Heidfeld. The Ferrari driver is all over the German driver but just can't quite find a way past. Lap 13 Barrichello gets the message and posts a new fastest lap of 1:23.094. Lap 12 Button giving his teammate Barrichello a kick up the backside via the radio airwaves: "Come on Rubens, you can go quicker than this!" The championship leaders is obviously keen to put some daylight between the Brawns and the rest of the pack. Lap 11 BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica is involved in an interesting battle for 10th with Raikkonen and Hamilton. The Pole will be looking to get his season back on track after a disappointing start to this campaign. Lap 9 Button posts the fastest lap so far with a time of 1:23.849. He opens up a near four second gap on third-placed Massa. Lap 8 Kovalainen's retirement (gearbox) means there are just 15 cars out there with less than 10 laps gone. Still no change at the front with the Brawn pair of Barrichello and button out in front. This may not be as straight forward as we thought at the start with whoever was out in front standing a high chance of winning. The safety car coming out so early could force a lot of the teams to rethink their pit strategy. Lap 6 No sooner as I wrote that than Hamilton pulls out a beautiful manoeuvre to go past four cars and up into 12th. It's a good thing he did too as Kovalainen as just retired from the race. Lap 5 The world champion Lewis Hamilton languishes down in 15th out of 16 drivers. Not a good tart for the McLaren team with teammate Kovalainen in 12th. Lap 3 Barrichello leads from Button, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg and Glock as the clear up job from the earlier collision continues with the safety car still out. Lap 2 All hail the power of the KERS! Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen makes up six places with a boost from his system and is up into 10th. The crash earlier on turn two has resulted in all four drivers retiring. Expect to see Trulli hiding from some very angry drivers. Lap 1 Barrichello steals a march on his teammate Button who seems more occupied with the threat of Massa's Ferrari. Massa gets ahead of Vettel but Button nestles behind Brawn teammate Button. There is carnage further behind though with four cars involved in a crash. Trulli spins his car trying to get it back on the track having taken a trip into the gravel causing a pile up between his Toyota and the cars of Bourdais, Buemi and Sutil. The yellow flag is up and the safety car is out. Start Go! Go! Go! 3.58pm Two minutes. Conflicting reports are suggesting Massa's Ferrari's boost with the one flick of the KERS button could make up to between 10 and 20 metres on a car without it. Will he use it at the first corner? 3.55pm Five minutes until we're off. The first corner could be seminal in determining the outcome of this race. Who will get their first? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello and welcome to The National's live coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix. The championship leader Jenson Button sits on pole at the Circuit de Catalunya where 14 of the last 15 winners at this circuit have also sat, so the omens bode well for Brawn GP driver. Ferrari look to have finally found some good fortune with Felipe Massa starting from fourth on the grid, and, being the only one of the frontrunners with the KERS system on board, will be looking to edge out Button and Sebatian Vettel at the first corner to try and control the race early on. Make sure you don't miss a thing with our lap-by-lap coverage of the race. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BARCELONA // Jenson Button fears first corner mayhem in today's Spanish Grand Prix after he took pole position with Ferrari's Felipe Massa breathing down his neck. Button, the championship leader chasing his fourth win in five races for Brawn GP, will share the front row with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel with Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello directly behind. However it will be Massa that he will be most wary of, with the Brazilian qualifying fourth on Saturday in a revamped car boosted by the KERS energy recovery system that none of those ahead of him are using.

Button measured Massa's advantage from KERS at around 10 metres, equivalent to the Ferrari driver starting in second place. "If he gets a very good start as well it could be a problem for me," he said. "I think it's just going to make it a bit crazy into turn one more than anything. "When one car is coming into the first corner a lot quicker than the others in front of him, it could cause mayhem, especially with quite a high speed corner like this one.

"So it's about keeping your nose clean at turn one and that's going to be difficult for all of us." Massa, last year's championship runner-up who is desperate to open his tally after failing to score a point in the opening four races, was hopeful although he suggested Button was exaggerating. "Overtaking three cars like this is not so easy, you know," the Brazilian, a winner Barcelona in 2007, said.

"I'm very happy to have the KERS for the start tomorrow in a reasonably good position," he added. "It won't be easy but let's see how good our car can start compared to the others. "I think we can have a reasonably good pace in the race and that is a good boost and motivation for tomorrow." Keep up to date with all the action right here at The National as we bring you lap-by-lap coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix.

sluckings@thenational.ae