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Button dominates Monaco
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Button dominates Monaco
Posted By:   |  24 May 2009   |  3:33 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Jenson Button did another first class job to win the Monaco Grand Prix from pole position today. He was followed home by Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen, who gave Ferrari their first podium of the season.

Barrichello got the jump on Raikkonen at the start, which was crucial for the outcome of the race as it kept the Ferraris from challenging at the end of the first stint when their tyres were superior.

Both Brawns started on the supersoft tyre, the least attractive of the two tyres this weekend. This was quite a bold move, but it paid off for both men, particularly Button. Ironically Sebastian Vettel, who had gone for an ultra aggressive strategy with his first stop scheduled for lap 11, also selected the super soft to start on, but his tyres went off very quickly and this slowed the field up behind him. This was a gift for the Brawn drivers as it gave them a cushion of over 15 seconds over the chasing pack including the two Ferraris and Nico Rosberg’s Williams.

The key phase of the race as far as Button was concerned was the period towards the end of the first stint when Barrichello’s supersoft tyres started to lose performance. This gave Jenson a big margin over his team mate. During the second stint he was able to manage a 15 second cushion. Barrichello said afterwards that he was forced to drive with loose seat belts, which made for an uncomfortable ride.

He also said that the key to Button’s win was the pole lap on Saturday. This was pretty much the only lap all weekend to that point where Button had been faster than Rubens, but it was the crucial one.

Button seems to have a knack for stepping up in the final lap in qualifying when the race fuel goes in and the new tyres are put on. He has more confidence in the car and in his own feel for the grip level. It’s only fractional, but it’s enough to swing it his way.

Make no mistake though, Rubens is helping him by pushing him very hard. He is also helping him on set up. As with his partnership with Michael Schumacher, Rubens is extremely good at dialling in a racing car and giving his team mate cues on set up. It happened in Spain with Button and it happened again here. I’m sure this is one of the key reasons why Ross Brawn took Barrichello in preference to Bruno Senna or someone else. It has paid handsome dividends.

On Button’s side he will want an investigation into why he’s had trouble dialling the car in a the last two races, after seemingly no problems in that area in the first few events.

Ferrari have shown today that they are back in business and they will be in front of Brawn before too long. The next two races will favour Red Bull, with that car’s liking for long fast corners. So Vettel and Webber will be in great shape.

But Button is very comfortable now and can play the percentage game.

The victory gives Button a huge lead in the drivers
The supersofts started to go off after

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  1. Dominic J says:

    Just a quick note: Raikkonen wasn’t in the train behind Vettel, he was delayed only by Barrichello (who was suffering half as badly as Vettel and twice as much as Jenson).

    Could you do a piece on the Barrichello-Raikkonen fight, which was interesting over Saturday and Sunday, and could easily have gone Kimi’s way, if anything hadn’t worked well for Rubens?

    Massive credit to Kimi for his qualifying on Saturday, that proved crucial.

  2. Mammalian Verisimilitude says:

    This was a gift for the Brawn drivers as it gave them a cushion of over 15 seconds over the chasing pack including the two Ferraris and Nico Rosberg’s Williams.

    Only one Ferrari, yes? Kimi was in third, just behind Rubens by the end of the first stint.

  3. Nick Dawkins says:

    James,

    On a different subject, but on something I’ve wanted to know for a while, who is the guy in the suit who hands out drinks, watches and caps to the podium drivers at the end of the race? Boy, would I like his job! Travel the world and see all the races, just to do that! Top job!

  4. MartinWR says:

    Clearly Barrichello was employed by Brawn as a very useful development driver. But did he extract a promise from the team that Jenson couldn’t be the recognised team leader, as the price for his involvement? I guess that Ross Brawn would probably have agreed to that, knowing perfectly well that Barrichello wouldn’t in practice pose any threat to Jenson.

    However, as the season goes on, it’s probably that the teams which still cling to extravagant overspending and overstaffing as the only way they can be competitive, will eventually overhaul Brawn. The extra 80 bhp they have available from their trick power-trains will eventually tell and could put them ahead, thereby gradually cutting into Jensons championship lead. If and when this happens it will be a very great pity if Barrichello still tries to cling to the illusion that he can win the championship, and fails to support Button, who actually does have the ability to pull it off.

  5. Jenson Button has surpassed anyones expectations. The car suits his driving style perfectly and he is driving like a champion. Ross Brawn is absolutely delighted and stunned by Button. On the other hand I’m kind of disappointed with Rubens because 5 wins to 0 is definitively a huge contrast; he is making all sort of excuses but the truth is that he is not having a good season so far.

  6. Fausto Cunha says:

    The start as predicted defined the race, i think the Brawn´s made a bad choice by starting with the supersofts it went well because Kimi made a bad start but if Kimi had jumped Button on the start he would have gone away because the soft tyre was the better tyre.

    As for Jenson is driving so well and he made things go his way yesterday on qualifying.

    Question for James: What´s the best place to be observing the race at the track? On tv the swimming poll chicane looks great.

    Thanks

  7. Grabyrdy says:

    Ferrari will be in front of Brawn before too long, you say. Really ? I’d be interested to have a bit more detail on why you think that.

  8. Beqa says:

    As a Kimi fan I am dissapointed. It was a wrong decision by the team to start on harder tyres especially for kimi who had a short stint. With harder tyres during the start Kimi was helpless against Rubens with super softs. Otherwise he could have challenged button during take off and even if he failed he could have maintained Jenson’s rythm behind him withought being bothered by Rubens’s fading tyres as supersofts proved to be more durable on ferrari. Still second place was realistic though but ferrari hintered kimi againd for several seconds during the second stop and he could not emerge in front of rubens who squized in front and maintained position.

  9. Tony says:

    Beqa – I don’t think it’s that simple. The softer tyres worked better at the end of the race because of the rubber laid down by the cars over the course of the event. The track in Monaco, being public roads, is pretty “green” at the start of the race. If you look at how Vettel fared compared to his teammate Webber, who did a decently long run on ssofts at the end, you can tell the track made it much easier (though there could be variance due to their driving styles a la Button/Barrichello).

  10. Jon Bayliffe says:

    I think what has put the dominance of Brawn Gp into perspective is not just the ammount of wins, but the amount of points the team has. So far they have equalled the total points tally of the 3 teams behind them in the standings, Red Bull Toyota and Ferrari. For me that shows what a fantastic job they are doing as a team, and really puts them in a great place for the championship. Also after 6 races they have half the ammount of points that Ferrari won last years constructors title with, its absolutely amazing!

  11. PaulL says:

    It’s questionable whether Rubens is doing a good job beyond giving Button setup tips. He just doesn’t seem on it, though that works for Brawn because they have a clear #1 driver and a #2 capable of stroking the car home to 2nd.

  12. jed says:

    Jenson doesn’t talk of himself and his abilities much. He seems to do his talking on the track, and doing a great job. Over the years i think he’s been underrated. Other drivers who were in dominant cars such as hill, villenueve, hakkinen and hamilton, who all became world champions never looked as good as button now. I fairness to hill, villenueve, and hakkinen they were racing with schumacher, maybe that’s why they didn’t look as good as button now. As for Hamilton, let’s face it button is better than him in a good car as well as in a bad car.

  13. Another great drive from Jenson and a great Brawn Mercedes – is it just chance that victory went to a team that concentrates on racing rather than politicking?

  14. Don says:

    Baaah Hum Bug… Another Brawn GP wipe-out!!! ;) :)

  15. nick says:

    Hamilton certainly made no impressions from the back of the grid. His cheating in Oz has so frequently been compared with Schumi’s in Monaco 2006 that I think it’s apt to compare their race performances.
    Hamilton: last to 12th
    Schumi: last to 5th

  16. Markle SchuMarker says:

    Why the loose seatbelts for Reubens?

  17. Jenson is really driving so well at the moment.

    Recent years have shown him show less fight in a slower car when others try and overtake him (it seems now partly because he was in such a poorly designed car) but I am really impressed with the grit that he shows when he has needed it this year – namely overtaking at the starts + putting the hammer down to get fast laps when it is needed (before pit stops and quali 3)

  18. James Allen says:

    Yes. I was at the swimming pool on Saturday morning and its’ always magnificent. Also the Tabacon the inside is good. Another fine spot is the outside of the exit of Casino Square. We are very lucky at Monaco to get so close to the cars and feel the energy of them. It’s mind-blowing.

  19. Beqa says:

    I think they made a right decision at least for button as he had a shorter first stint. As you said, start has defined the race and supersofts are much better on the start. As soon I saw normal softs on kimi’s car, I knew he did not stand a chance against browns supersofts during getaway.

  20. Beqa says:

    Button is a very talented drive but i think he still has some questions to answer. So far he had won races he never encountered any serious opposition. He lost out to red bulls completely under the rain. What I want to see is how button handles the pressure from ferraris or Mclarens when the make it up there. Looks like red cars are close and they can be a real threat in Turkey as they have some further updates ready for the car. I want to see Jenson really in action, fighting fiercely for the position to evaluate how much of this killer instinct and willpower he has but dunno if it will happen this season as he really does not have to any more.

  21. Beqa says:

    I do not know about hamilton as he never got such a dominant car. I think they are both very good and difficult to compare from today’s position. However what I dislike in hamilton is his arrogant character (his statements last year that he is the best in this sport) that is just kiddish. Jenson would never allow himself to say and do things hamilton did and he is cleaner racer on the track as well. I am really happy for him as he deserves this love he gets from british press and fans much more than hamilton did.

  22. Kenny Carwash says:

    Turkey is a very different circuit to Monaco and I’d be surprised if Ferrari are challenging for the podium again. I think 5th-8th is more realistic.

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