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Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 16:14 UK

Bahrain Grand Prix as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1612: That's it then. On to Europe we go and the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks' time. It will be fascinating. I guarantee it.

Race winner Jenson Button: "Ross Brawn has done an amazing job. He is a proper leader. It feels like a very tight unit - and that's what you need on F1. I've never had it before."

1546: Race winner Jenson Button marches through the paddock to see his team, pausing briefly to sign a few autographs and for a photo with a fan. What a polite young man. As the Brawn team pose for their own photo with the world championship leader, Sir Richard Branson decides he want in on the action... That man knows a winning ticket when he sees one.
Branson makes offer to Brawn GP

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone: "It's not good news about Donington. I've been campaigning for a long time that the government should support the grand prix, like they support the Olympics and like other countries support their grands prix. If not, we won't have a British Grand Prix for sure."
More woes for Donington GP plans

Toyota's Jarno Trulli: "I'm not saying I lost the race, I just expected a bit more. To win you need everything to be perfect, and it wasn't."

1538: Red Bull boss Christian Horner reveals that designer Adrian Newey celebrated the team's one-two in China by doing doughnuts on his front lawn back in the UK. Horner may have been joking. I hope not.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "I'm not frustrated - but our target was to win. I'm still happy, but the first lap was not according to our wish. We had a good start, and when I first looked in the mirror, Lewis was far behind, but Lewis pressed his Kers button and all of a sudden he was on the inside. It just wasn't our day."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "I can't help but feel slightly disappointed. I think our race was dictated when Lewis and Jenson went past Sebastian on the first lap. We had the pace today but we gave away too much time behind Lewis during the first stint."

1526: Timo Glock explains that his race went wrong after the first stop because the tyres "didn't work". The German was seventh, despite starting on the front row.

1524: Ferrari's head honcho lays the blame for his team's problems firmly on the confusion over the sport's new rules. Martin Brundle points out they simply "missed a trick" as other teams used the rules to their benefit.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo: "It's good for morale (Kimi Raikkonen's points). We have 15 days before the next race and the team finally can work very hard to solve these problems - which were borne out of an unclear rules situation."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa: "I had a big problem with my telemetry throughout the race, and my Kers wasn't working so i couldn't use it at the start. I lost my front wing at the start so I had to come into the pits."

From dyrewolfe on 606: "Fantastic race by Brawn today. Seems Toyota went for glory in qualifying and it cost them in the race, although they were still good enough to pick up points. Don't think I've ever seen a driver less happy with third place than Trulli was."
Join the debate on 606

Ross Brawn: "We need to progress rapidly on a race by race basis. The way Jenson is driving, I have no doubts about his ability to win the championship."

1513: Brawn admits it might not have been the best strategy to put Rubens Barrichello on a three-stopper today. He adds that Barrichello remains "very determined" to get the better of team-mate Jenson Button. The Brazilian had to settle for fifth today.

Ross Brawn: "With the rule changes, the rate of progress is very rapid. We've got a new aerodynamic package in Barcelona, as well as some weight-saving and hopefully some engine improvements."

Brawn GP boss Ross Brawn: "It was an important move (Button overtaking Hamilton on the first lap). Jenson understood where he had to be. We weren't unhappy sitting behind the Toyotas, but we were unhappy sitting behind Lewis."

From Ciara, Edinburgh, via text on 81111: "How happy did Jenson sound?! Have been a fan of his since BAR days, it's super to finally see him in a car that does his driving ability justice."

From Simon in Newquay via text on 81111: "Back-to-back British champions anyone?"

1502: Jenson Button's win means he leads the drivers' world championship by 12 points from team-mate Rubens Barrichello. Sebastian Vettel is a further point back. Brawn are annihilating the field in the constructors' standings with a 22.5-point lead from Red Bull.
Driver standings

From kiki1875 on 606: "Re 1440: I wouldn't say that was a 'near perfect' drive - that was perfect."
Join the debate on 606

1458: Coverage on BBC1 may be at an end, but the F1 chat continues on the Red Button - should you have a telly near you. It's also streamed right here on the website if you are a UK dweller.

BBC pundit David Coulthard: "Toyota simply weren't quick enough to win the race. Red Bull will be happy, especially knowing that they'll have a double-diffuser in time for Monaco."

BBC pundit Eddie Jordan: "Ferrari will be fine, but they won't be fighting for the championship this season. That will be between Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota."

Third-placed Jarno Trulli: "I'm a little bit disappointed. I wanted to get the first win for Toyota. We had a long second stint on hard tyres. Then eventually, Sebastian took the position after the last stop. He was on hard tyres, so I pushed, but I couldn't get past him."

Race winner Jenson Button: This was a tough race. We haven't had the pace we had at the first two races. The first stop was very important and I made it work. From then on, it was tough but very enjoyable."

Fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton: "I'm delighted, considering we started fifth. We had a great start, but it was so hard to keep up with the Red Bull and the Toyotas and Brawn. It was impossible. We've got to keep pushing but this is good for the team."

dbfinch on 606: "All this talk about Ferrari's fall from grace seems to have distracted attention from just how poor the BMWs have become. 18th and 19th out of 19 finishers. Wow."
Join the debate on 606

1442: Jenson Button climbs up the top step to hear the British national anthem. There'll be no champagne for him. Strictly non-alcoholic bubbly in the Islamic country.

1440: He must be exhausted, but Jenson Button climbs out of his cockpit and lifts both arms in the air as he laps up the applause. A near-perfect drive from the Englishman today.

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "The Brawn supremacy is right back on as Button takes the chequered flag for the third time this season. I have raced Jenson all my life and I think that was his best race ever - I really want to congratulate him on that."

1437: Jenson Button tells his Brawn team this is even better than Melbourne. "We're going back to Europe with some very good points. Let's do it again in Barcelona," says the jubilant Brit.

1436: Following Button home are: Sebastian Vettel, Jarno Trulli, Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonen, Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso.


Lap 56: Jenson Button begins his penultimate lap, his lead now 8.7 seconds from Sebastian Vettel. Vettel has now pulled out a small lead over Jarno Trulli.

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I would say that this is Jenson Button's best ever drive."

Lap 54: Kimi Raikkonen will be desperate to stay on the track and secure Ferrari's first points of the season - and avoid the team's worst ever start to a season.

Lap 52: Still a battle for second, with Trulli 0.8 seconds behind Seb Vettel. The other Toyota of Timo Glock is pressuring Kimi Raikkonen for sixth.

Lap 50: Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella touch wheels as they battle for 14th. Massa takes it, but Jenson Button comes up behind them. The blue flags are waving - but Fisichella doesn't seem to notice, briefly holding up the race leader.

Lap 49: Jenson Button has eight more laps until he can start celebrating his third win of the season. Kazuki Nakajima is the first man to retire from the race. Not sure what the problem was with his Williams.

Lap 48: A quick third stop for Brawn's Rubens Barrichello - and he manages to emerge in front of Kimi Raikkonen in fifth.

Lap 47: Robert Kubica spins his BMW and then holds up Jarno Trulli's Toyota. Awful race for the Pole. Last year's pole-sitter is only being kept off last place by team-mate Nick Heidfeld. Still no retirements in the race.

Lap 46: Jarno Trulli is 0.5 seconds behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. Jenson Button is almost 13 seconds in front of Vettel. 12 laps remaining...

Lap 45: Kimi Raikkonen puts on the medium tyres and comes out neck and neck with Toyota's Timo Glock. Glock takes him for seventh - but Raikkonen gives it a Kers boost and is back in front.

Lap 44: Toyota's Jarno Trulli chasing down Sebastian Vettel in third. "If he can get past," says Martin Brundle, "he'll have a good chance of going after Jenson Button." Kimi Raikkonen still running in second, but he surely has to stop again.

Lap 43: Sebastian Vettel - on the harder compound tyres - is doing a fine job of keeping Jenson Button's rivals at arm's length. Nelson Piquet - currently ahead of his Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso - pits from eighth.

Lap 41: Sebastian Vettel comes out ahead of Jarno Trulli - which means he'll be second on the podium as things stand.

Lap 40: Kimi Raikkonen posts the fastest time of his race so far. He's running third in his Ferrari but needs to stop again. Seb Vettel into the pits now.

Lap 39: Rubens Barrichello climbing all over Jarno Trulli in fourth. Lewis Hamilton is behind both of them - but McLaren tell the world champion Barrichello needs to stop again.

Lap 38: Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Jarno Trulli all into the pits at the end of lap 37. Button takes the medium tyres - which means he must be on a two-stopper. Button now second, Trulli fourth, Hamilton sixth.

Lap 37: Last year's winner Felipe Massa suffers the ignominy of seeing a blue flag, warning him to give way to Jenson Button as the leader laps him.

From anubisrich on 606: "Kimi is doing an excellent job here today for Ferrari. That car is a sack of rubbish, my drive of the day so far."

Lap 35: Jarno Trulli's race engineer urges him to open a gap to Seb Vettel. The camera pans to an unseemly scrap for 17th between Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa. The times they are a-changing.

Lap 34: Timo Glock in at the end of lap 33 and he rejoins in 10th. Super-softs back on the Toyota.

Lap 33: Jenson Button is just destroying Jarno Trulli, pulling out another half-second on the Toyota. Pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says consensus in the garages is that Button is probably on a two-stop strategy. But there is some doubt.

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Jarno Trulli is ruining this race for everybody! He is holding everybody up and we aren't getting to see the real race everyone wants to see which is Vettel v Jenson. Everyone is keen to compare this young German driver to Michael Schumacher - but the difference for me is that Schumi would never have sat being a car for as long as Vettel has - he needs to do something dynamic to get past the Toyota - it looks like Trulli has sussed him out."

Lap 31: BBC commentator Jonathan Legard remarks that there's only one and a half seconds covering all the cars. Button, Trulli, Vettel the one-two-three. Still no retirements.

Lap 30: Jenson Button's lead is now nearly 13 seconds from Jarno Trulli. Looking very good for the Brit, heading for his third win of the season. Lewis Hamilton is told by his McLaren team he is racing Jarno Trulli for a podium.

Lap 28: Is Rubens Barrichello three-stopping? Another set of super-softs for him...

Lap 26: Rubens Barrichello isn't hanging about behind the Trulli-Vettel-Hamilton train. He's into the pits. Another pair of super-softs for the Brazilian. He's out ahead of Nico Rosberg in eighth and behind Fernando Alonso.

Lap 25: As Jenson Button makes hay at the front, Jarno Trulli, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are bunched up in the battle for second. Rubens Barrichello will be joining them shortly.

Lap 24: Felipe Massa tells his Ferrari team he is still experiencing Kers issues. The Brazilian is in 14th. Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is in the points at the moment in seventh. Button stretches his lead to more than eight seconds.

Lap 23: Rubens Barrichello - back in seventh - is the fastest man on the track right now. Jenson Button is calmly stretching his lead over Jarno Trulli, who has the harder tyres on his Toyota. Timo Glock now back in sixth.

Lap 22: Kimi Raikkonen into the pits and out behind Nelson Piquet in ninth. Piquet yet to pit. Jenson Button now takes his place at the front of the pack, ahead of Trulli and Vettel.

Lap 20: Red Bull seem pretty pleased with Sebastian Vettel's position. "Good job," comes the message over the radio. "The car in front is Trulli, mate."

Lap 19: Rubens has had enough and dives up the inside of Nelson Piquet's Renault. Seb Vettel into the pits - and he rejoins behind Jarno Trulli in fourth. Not bad.

David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live: "The supersofts seem to be the tyres to be on and interestingly when we get to the closing stages of this race the one man with a spare brand new set of supersofts is Mark Webber, thanks to his early exit from qualifying - how useful could they be?"

Lap 18: Seb Vettel leads the Bahrain Grand Prix but he hasn't stopped yet and neither has Kimi Raikkonen in second. Jenson Button - who has - is in third. Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello is back in ninth, and being held up in a big way by Nelson Piquet's Renault.

Lap 17: After his first pit stop, Jenson Button comes out in front of both Toyotas. Job done there. Lewis Hamilton is seventh after his first stop.

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think this could be a big mistake by Toyota, they have put both their drivers on hard tyres but the drivers on those seem to be a second a lap slower and it will put extra pressure on the tyres - Hamilton and McLaren have seen what Toyota have done but it sounds like they have decided to stay on supersofts."

Lap 15: Rubens Barrichello into the pits from fourth - and he's out in 11th. The one-two-three is Button, Hamilton, Vettel - none of whom have pitted.

Lap 14: Jenson Button can only manage a 1:35.123 on his first flyer. He is expected to come in in the next couple of laps. Brilliant battle between Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli, with the Spaniard fending off the Toyota to hold on to sixth.

Lap 13: Jarno Trulli in the pits now. Toyota have gone with the harder tyres for both their drivers. Jenson Button leads - time to put the pedal down.

Lap 11: Timo Glock pits from the lead. Jenson Button has been closing on Jarno Trulli but the Italian has responded with the quickest lap of the race so far. Mistake from Vettel allows Barrichello to close.

Lap 10: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is told to think about saving his tyres. The German is fifth, and still trailing around behind Lewis Hamilton. Rubens Barrichello is going after the Red Bull.

Lap nine: Martin Brundle is already predicting a "thriller". Glock from Trulli from Button.

Lap eight: BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz reveals that Jenson Button has already been told to turn down the engine to prevent over-heating. Ferrari had to turn the Kers off Felipe Massa's car as a precaution but it is now back on.

Lap six: Jarno Trulli may be second but he is the man setting the quick times. He will stop later than current leader Timo Glock. Mark Webber is going after Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr in 10th.

Lap five: Mark Webber, who started 18th, has weaved his Red Bull up to 11th. Felipe Massa has now pitted... Sebastian Vettel is the big loser off the start, dropping back to fifth from third and is stuck behind Lewis Hamilton.

Holly Samos on BBC Radio 5 Live "Felipe Massa has been told to box as soon as possible - they want him back in the pits, he has a problem with his front wing."

Lap three: Robert Kubica into the pits for a new front wing, and Kazuki Nakajima also in for some emergency repairs. Suspect they must have collided at the start.

Lap one: Jarno Trulli started well enough but finds himself behind Timo Glock. Lewis Hamilton back to fourth after briefly taking second - Jenson Button doing brilliantly to go third. Still all sorts of jostling for places.

1304: We are go, Toyotas away well and Lewis Hamilton up to third...

Rubens Barrichello: "It's so hot that even if you went down to the beach you would probably think it's too hot go home and try and again tomorrow…"

1302: Felipe Massa is told by his Ferrari team that Brawn have cut away some bodywork in order to keep their car cool.

1300: Away we go on the formation lap, and off go the mechanics on the mad dash back to the garage.

1257: A week ago, we started behind the safety car. No chance of that today. Three minutes until green light.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "You didn't think I'd leave you hanging for some tyre analysis did you? Of course not - I popped up to Bridgestone's tyre hanger where the I found out the super soft tyres are working really well in Bahrain. They are faster and will last longer. The softer compound will be in good condition for at least half the race distance, which is a huge 28.5 laps.

"We've seen the highest on-track temperatures of the season at the Sakhir circuit, where the thermometer peaked at 51C. In those conditions the rear tyres will really suffer, especially coming out of the low-speed corners. The best tyre strategy would be to start on the super-softs and run the final part of the race on the mediums. By the way, Bridgestone are evaluating different shades of green stripes so in the future it should be much easier to spot when the drivers are running on softs."

1245: Bernie Ecclestone is wearing an eye-wateringly bright red jacket as he hob-knobs with some sponsors in the middle of the grid. Martin Brundle wisely runs away.

1243: Martin Brundle asks Rubens Barrichello what music he's listening to on his iPod. "It's Brazilian music, you won't like it," smiles Barrichello, or 'Ruby' as Brundle refers to him.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "A high-profile lunch meeting took place in the shade of the McLaren motorhome veranda in Bahrain on Sunday. Richard Lapthorne arrived at his first Grand Prix in his new role as the McLaren Group's new non-executive chairman and non-executive director of McLaren Automotive. Lapthorne met FIA president Max Mosley's representative, Alan Donnelly, Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. The team face charges of breaching the International Sporting Code at an FIA hearing on Wednesday so it's fair to say they probably had plenty to talk about."

BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "After being blocked by Adrian Sutil in qualifying, Mark Webber starts in 18th in the second Red Bull but I'm also expecting him to weave his way through the field. Fernando Alonso starts in seventh but his Renault is also fitted with Kers so he'll be right on the tail of those immediately in front of him."

1237: Led Zep frontman Robert Plant is on the grid but doesn't fancy speaking to Martin Brundle. But Eric Clapton isn't so shy. "I love Ferrari," says the guitar-playing legend. "I've loved F1 since the day I was born. Ferrari will be alright in a couple of races..."

1231:Kers is proving a hot topic in the pit-lane this weekend, with Bahrain expected to be a track well-suited to the power-boost and energy recovery system. But Renault boss Flavio Briatore claims the teams want it scrapped, while our very own Andrew Benson says there may soon be a one-size-fits-all solution.
Andrew's blog on the future of Kers

Lewis Hamilton on BBC1: "I love driving, I love my job. No-one can take that away from me, but when you're surrounded by politics... I'm here just to have fun, entertain, win and race my heart out, but everyone has to have an opinion about everything."
Hamilton considered quitting F1

1223:eirebilly on 606 asks: "If the drivers drink litres of water to help combat the heat, surely they may have to pee during the race, how does that work?" An expert replies: "They don't usually need to - because they can lose up to four litres of fluid in a race as hot as this, even though they're drinking to replace it. In the unlikely event that they do need to, well, they don't really have a lot of choice about what to do, do they?"

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Bahrain: "Jenson Button faces a couple of major hurdles this afternoon. The first is to prevent himself being leapfrogged by Lewis Hamilton's Kers-equipped McLaren off the line - a risk that is also there for Sebastian Vettel in third place. If that happens, and they get stuck behind the slower McLaren, their race will be a struggle. For Button, though, there is another worry. His Brawn team only finalised their engine deal with Mercedes a few weeks before the season, and that has meant that the car's cooling is not what it should be. They apparently need an air temperature of no more than 33C - any hotter and they cannot use the full power of the engine. It's 37C at the moment."

1213: Apparently holding-breath-man (see 1201) has broken David Blaine's world record. Well done, I suppose.

Martin Brundle
Martin Brundle proudly displays his artwork
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "Formula 1 is all about team-work and after his sterling work with tea rounds in China, presenter Jake Humphrey has been enlisting the help of his BBC colleagues in Bahrain. No persuasion was needed to convince commentator Martin Brundle and analysts David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan to do a spot of painting. Jake got the boys to create and sign their own butterfly paintings, which will be auctioned to raise funds for the Pasque charity, which raises money for the Keech Cottage children's hospice for terminally-ill children. DC was particularly pleased as he got the chance to hark back to his O'Level art class."
Pasque charity (external website)

1206: Bernie may have seen his fortune nosedive, but I'm pretty sure Lewis Hamilton is one man defying the credit crunch. If you plan to be watching BBC1's F1 coverage, which begins in about four minutes, there'll be an exclusive interview with the world champion at about 20 past.

From Dinz, London, via text on 81111: "Good to see Hamilton working his way up the field. The winner is going to be a wildcard today if you ask me, given the mix of teams and drivers who were fastest in the practices and qualy."

1201: Speak of the... There is Bernie Ecclestone, approaching holding-breath-man (see 1143) with some trepidation. Said man appears to have held his breath under water for 21 minutes! Crikey. He looks a bit cream-crackered unsurprisingly, and not really in the mood for a chat with Bernie.

1155: If you are at the Sakhir track today and you spot Bernie Ecclestone carrying a packed lunch, don't be surprised. There will surely be serious cutbacks in the Ecclestone household after the news that he's lost almost a billion pounds in a year, leaving him with a paltry £1.46 billion. Don't worry Bernie, they've got some terrific deals in Aldi at the moment (other low-cost supermarkets are available).
UK super-rich 'hit in downturn'

1148: Plenty of opportunity for you to get involved today. Just a little plea: if you're texting on 81111, please start your message with 'Formula 1' so I can pick out your messages from all the London Marathon missives. Alternatively, head over to 606.
Join the debate on 606

1143: Several drivers are already on the grid, watching a man in a large water tank holding his breath. That's probably never going to catch on as a spectator sport if you ask me. Still, at least he'll be nice and cool. It's a whopping 36C in Bahrain, track temperature is 46C, with a wind speed of 3.2mph.

From hammydigrassi... on 606"Cheese: Don't forget to add on your thing that Sutil got penalised for blocking Webber in qualifying yesterday and will now start 19th. He got a three-place grid penalty."
Join the debate on 606

1137: The F1 purists will be drooling about these weather conditions because after two wet races, we'll get a real feel of how these cars are performing. The Mole has been doing his/her sums and has worked out that Sebastian Vettel is race favourite today. The German starts third on the grid but has enough fuel on board for 17 laps. BBC Sport's full fuel-corrected grid looks a lot like this:
1 Trulli - lap 13
2 Vettel +0.216 - lap 17
3 Button +0.4725 - lap 15
4 Glock +0.473 - lap 11
5 Hamilton +0.6247 - lap 15
6 Barrichello +0.79 - lap 13
7 Massa +0.827 - lap 20
8 Rosberg +0.933 - lap 21
9 Alonso +1.076 - lap 14
10 Raikkonen +1.144 - lap 22
F1 Mole blog

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Bahrain: "Greetings from Bahrain where rumours of a sandstorm have died down - and so too have the chances of freaky weather affecting another Grand Prix. News flitted around the paddock last night that the sandstorms that had been affecting Baghdad were on their way to Bahrain and things looked ominous when a swirling breeze accompanied us home from the track. However, the local news reports a zero chance of extreme weather so we are all poised for some real racing at the Sakhir circuit. It all starts at 1500 local time (1300 BST)."

1130: Hello there. Would you believe me if I told you it is absolutely chucking it down in Bahrain? No? Fair enough. It's sunny and dry, much like any other day in the middle of the desert I would imagine.

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see also
Brilliant Button wins in Bahrain
26 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix photos
26 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying result
20 Apr 09 |  Results
Trulli on pole as Toyota dominate
25 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying photos
25 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren make apology for 'lying'
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Rosberg quickest as Alonso shines
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain GP practice as it happened
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix practice photos
24 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1

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