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Monaco Grand Prix as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)
606: DEBATE

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By Caroline Cheese

1515: Time for me to say goodbye. But never fear, there is more F1 for you to lap up: the F1 forum, featuring the post-race interviews, continues on the Red Button and on this website for UK users. Au revoir for now.
Silky Button eases to Monaco win

1508: Jenson Button's championship lead is now 16 points from Rubens Barrichello, who in turn is 12 ahead of Sebastien Vettel. Let's big up Sebastien Bourdais, picking up his second point of the season today with eight place in his Toro Rosso, and of course Kimi Raikkonen, with Ferrari's first podium of the season.

1500: BBC1 coverage is at an end but the fun just keeps on going on the good old Red Button, and on this website if you are a UK user. Incidentally, looking at Jenson Button's energetic run back to the podium, it might be worth a punt on him at the London Triathlon which he's competing in this summer. The man has turned into some sort of superhero.

Lewis Hamilton after finishing 12th: "I was thinking of the Rocky films. In the first one, he said 'I just wanna see the end of the fight'. I pushed as hard as I could. Congratulations to Jenson and Brawn. They're clearly doing a fantastic job. I'll be back next year to try to win."

1455: "Was that the race of a champion?" Ross Brawn is asked. "Yeah..." comes the reply. "I'm lost for words with him really. He's exceeding everything I thought possible."

Brawn GP boss Ross Brawn: "It's a special race and a challenging weekend and in those circumstances, first and second is just stunning."

1452: Ross Brawn gets a good soaking as the champagne corks pop. "This is the big one," says the BBC's David Coulthard. "Today the championship becomes a reality for Jenson."

1450: Here goes the national anthem then. Jenson must be sick of hearing it by now. Rubens Barrichello looks pretty content with second. Third-placed man Kimi Raikkonen - as ever - looks like he'd rather be somewhere else.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monaco: "We're being surrounded by the sound of the yachts ringed around the marina honking their horns. They started toasting JB's victory when he crossed the line and it's still going on... Bizarre - but also a totally unique experience."

1447: Haha. Jenson Button makes his first mistake of the day as he parks up in the wrong place and then has to run back along the track to where he's meant to be. Sort of a lap of honour if you like.

David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's a fifth win of the season - it's high fives in Monaco for Jenson Button from pole to the chequered flag. No-one could touch him - his dream season just keeps getting better and better and better."

1444: "Yeeeaaah. Monaco baby, yeah!" is the reaction from an elated Jenson Button, who becomes the sixth Brit to win around Monaco's famous streets. He is the first hat-trick man since Schumacher in 2006 and the first Brit to win three in a row since 1996.

JENSON BUTTON WINS MONACO GRAND PRIX

Lap 78: Gah! Don't worry, it's Kazuki Nakajima nosing it into the wall, but he was running 10th.

Lap 77: Jenson Button embarks on his penultimate lap with his lead now 10.4 seconds from Rubens Barrichello.

From Rick via text on 81111: "Loving Jenson out in front. But again Monaco is showing itself to be a racetrack on which the drivers can't actually race."

Lap 75: Barring disaster, this one's done and dusted, with less than four laps remaining. Giancarlo Fisichella agonisingly one place outside the points in his Force India.

From Niamh, Herts, via text on 81111: "We're in the grandstand opposite the BMW garage, and it's hotter than the worst day in hell. No wonder the super-softs are disappearing quicker than an MP's reputation!"

Lap 73: Lewis Hamilton up the back of Nick Heidfeld's BMW as he challenges for 12th. What a turnaround from 12 months ago...

Anthony Hamilton on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think Brawns strategy of starting on the super-soft tyres was a masterstroke: that gave them the advantage off the line and it's also how Rubens Barrichello managed to jump Kimi Raikkonen at the start - they then had to look after their tyres and no one does that better than Jenson Button."

Lap 70: Top eight update: Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Massa, Webber, Rosberg, Alonso and Bourdais. Jenson Button tells his Brawn team he doesn't really want to catch up the traffic in front of him.

Lap 68: More from Ted Kravitz: "The super-soft tyres seem to be holding out OK on the rubbered-in track." Only one second between Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in third and fourth so that could be an interesting battle...

Lap 67: I apologise. Rosberg wasn't ahead of Alonso at all. Anyway, the Renault man is into the pits now and he is now seventh, more than seven seconds behind young Nico.

Lap 66: And Nico Rosberg finally brings his Williams into the pits for some super-softs. He's out in seventh ahead of Fernando Alonso.

From anon via text on 81111: "How long before McLaren 'pull a Honda' and give up on developing the 2009 car and start focusing 2010?"

Heikki Kovalainen: "My mistake, I lost the car and I crashed. It was my mistake, nothing else. I took the kerb too much, lost the rear and came over."

Lap 62: Pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz tells us that Nico Rosberg definitely does have to stop again, so it looks good for Mark Webber's hopes of picking up fifth for Red Bull.

Lap 61: Worried looks from the Williams garage as Nico Rosberg picks up some debris on his left front tyre. Rosberg lying fifth, but yet to stop.

Sebastian Vettel: "It's one race. It doesn't help if you don't score points when the others do, but it's a long long way [until the end of the season] and there are a lot of races [left]. In the first stint we had problems with the tyres but in the second we were ok. I made a little mistake going into Turn One, locked the tyres, and you pay the price in Monaco."

Lap 58: This is a complete cakewalk for Jenson Button, who is 13.2 seconds ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello. Stay on the track for 21 more laps and the Englishman will be celebrating his fifth win in six races.

Lap 56: Felipe Massa and Mark Webber stop from second and third. So it's back to a Brawn one-two. Massa gets out ahead of Nico Rosberg - but Mark Webber doesn't.

Lap 55: Lewis Hamilton into the pits for a new nose and tyres. McLaren look like they're using this race as a test.

Lap 54: Kimi Raikkonen into the pits and rejoins in fifth, so Jenson Button is back out in front.

Lap 53: Heikki Kovalainen is into the wall at the Swimming Pool, removing his nose before going backwards into the opposite wall. Race over for the McLaren man, who has been in seventh.

Lap 51: In comes Jenson Button from the lead. He comes out ahead of Kimi Raikkonen - but the Finn comes right back past him. That's the first hitch Button has hit. "It's not a disaster," says Martin Brundle. "But he would like to not be in the middle of that Ferrari sandwich."

Lap 50: Rubens Barrichello comes into the pits for his second stop, the first of the frontrunners to do so. Perfect stop for the Brazilian.

Lap 49: Jenson Button whacks a 1:15.190 on the board - nearly a second quicker than Rubens Barrichello. Easy.

David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live: "And Lewis... er sorry, Jenson Button leads the Monaco Grand Prix. Sorry I can't get used to seeing Jenson Button being at the front - it's going to take a few more races. Plus he has that same number 22 car that Lewis drove all the way to the World Championship crown last season, now that would be a strange coincidence…"

Lap 47: Pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz reveals that Nick Heidfeld is fuelled up to the end of the race - another dagger through the heart of Lewis Hamilton, who is behind the BMW in 15th and needs to stop again.

Lap 46: Mark Webber with a quickest lap of 1:15.321 - Ted Rodgers style - and he's closing on those Ferraris.

Lap 45: Ted Kravitz reports that Mark Webber is flying simply because he's nearing his second stop - when he'll have to put on the dreaded super-softs. So the Aussie's charge may not last long.

Lap 43: Felipe Massa loses the rear briefly but hangs on. Mark Webber on the charge now from fifth.

Lap 42: Felipe Massa is being warned not to cut the chicane - that's his second warning of the race. His Ferrari engineer Rob Smedley adds: "But keep pushing."

Lap 40: Giancarlo Fisichella, still on his first stint, is up to ninth in his Force India. Jenson Button stretches his lead back up to more than 15 seconds. Time for some showboating Jenson. Perhaps a quick donut or something?

Lap 38: Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen having a little battle between themselves. Raikkonen responds to a burst from his Ferrari team-mate by going fastest on the first sector.

Lap 36: Kazuki Nakajima in the pits from eighth. Jenson Button's lead now 14.8 seconds but he won't be worried by that - and he's about to lap defending champion Lewis Hamilton for the second time in two races.

From Ken via text on 81111: "I don't think Lewis Hamilton will do anything today - or even this season."

Lap 32: Ferrari tell Raikkonen: "Kimi, we can get Rubens but the problem is Massa behind but we need to find a bit more pace." Huzzah! Ted Kravitz reckons Force India - on a one-stop strategy - could be on for their first point of the season. I imagine he's thinking of Fisi rather than Super Sutil though...

Lap 31: On the plus side, that means Adrian Sutil is up to 16th! Just another eight retirements and we could be in here. Rubens Barrichello sets a fastest lap, as does Kimi Raikkonen - as does Felipe Massa. Jenson Button leads by 15.3 seconds.

Lap 30: Bobby Kubica makes it four retirements. His BMW team are wheeling the Pole's car into the garage and it's another depressing weekend for poor old Bob.

Lap 28: Finally, Fernando Alonso comes into the pits - and it's a quick one so he'll need to stop again. He's back in 11th now. Top eight: Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Massa, Webber, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Nakajima.

Lap 28: Wherefore art thou Adrian Sutil? Languishing in 17th, that's where. Hmmm. Better news for Giancarlo Fisichella, who's up in 11th. Rubens Barrichello slices half a second off Jenson Button's lead...

Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Lewis Hamilton needs a safety car really to have any hope of doing much today - if we don't have a safety car period I can't see Lewis getting any better than P10."

Lap 26: Jenson Button has a comfortable 16.7 second lead - a fact Martin Brundle puts down to the Englishman managing his super-soft tyres so much better than his team-mate Rubens Barrichello.


Lap 25: Just Fernando Alonso of the top eight yet to stop. The Renault man is running fourth ahead of Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg.

Lap 23: Good to see Nelson Piquet Jr taking the moral high ground there. Mark Webber, Red Bull's only runner, now into the pits. That leaves the Brawns back pit in front ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferraris have managed to steal a march on Nico Rosberg's Williams through those pit stops.

Renault's Nelson Piquet on BBC Radio 5 Live: "It was stupid accident, these young drivers need to calm down, Buemi just slammed right into the back of me. These young drivers do these kind of silly mistakes they knew there was a lot of traffic in front and they knew we had to all slow down - they need to calm down."

Lap 20: Felipe Massa pits now and takes on the softs. He also comes out behind Fernando Alonso, who is yet to stop. It's a Button, Kovalainen, Webber one-two-three but the latter two haven't stopped.

Lap 19: Nico Rosberg in the pits now from the lead. He comes out behind Fernando Alonso and is now eighth. Felipe Massa right behind Jenson Button, but the Ferrari man yet to pit.

Lap 17: And Button now pits - returning ahead of Felipe Massa but behind Nico Rosberg. It's all turning out very nicely for the championship leader.

Lap 17: Sebastian Vettel whacks a wall at Ste Devote and that's end game for the German, completing a rather miserable weekend for him. Williams' Nico Rosberg is flying in pursuit of Jenson Button...

Lap 15: Kimi Raikkonen pits and takes on another set of the harder compound tyres and he comes out ahead of Fernando Alonso in seventh. Brawn mechanics are out.

Lap 14: Jenson Button looks like he might have to come in earlier than planned to change those tyres, and now Kimi Raikkonen is really putting the pressure on Rubens Barrichello in second.

Lap 13: That's the end for Nelson Piquet Jr and Sebastien Buemi. Everyone who is pitting is switching from the super-softs, which are not proving very helpful at all around here.

Lap 11: Boom. Rosberg, Massa and Kovalainen are all past Vettel, who quickly comes into the pits to replace those wrecked tyres. And who's that in the wall? It's only Nelson Piquet Jr... but it's not his fault. Sebastien Buemi gets his braking all wrong and goes straight up the back of the unfortunate Brazilian.

Lap 10: So Seb Vettel is now holding up both Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa. Rosberg is climbing all over the back of Vettel's Red Bull but no way through as yet."Look after these tyres where you can," Brawn tell Barrichello. "They may be fragile."

Lap nine: Red Bull have told pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz that Seb Vettel's rear tyres have gone already. He's coming in in three laps.

Lap seven: Incredible. Felipe Massa has to cut the chicane as he tries to get past Seb Vettel. The Brazilian is forced to let Vettel back through - but as he does so, Nico Rosberg seizes his chance to slip by the Ferrari. Nightmare for Massa.

Lap six: Felipe Massa has a little look up the inside of Sebastian Vettel, but nothing. And now Jenson Button sets the fastest lap of the race, which is swiftly bettered by Kimi Raikkonen. Good news for Ferrari right here.

Lap five: Ross Brawn reckons there are no team orders and that should be tested now because Rubens Barrichello is the quickest man on the track behind Jenson Button.

Lap three: Very close between the two Brawns, who are pulling away from the rest... and Robert Kubica is into the pits. Not sure why.

Lap one: Lewis Hamilton is past both Toyotas after the first lap but it's not a dramatic a start as perhaps we were expecting. That start really could not have gone any better for Brawn. It's their race to lose now.

1303: And it's a perfect start for Brawn, Jenson Button holding off Kimi Raikkonen, who is in turn taken by Rubens Barrichello so it's a Brawn one-two.

1303: GO GO GO

1301: Wonder if that was Alan Shearer texting in below... The sun glints off Lewis Hamilton's new diamond-encrusted helmet. Everyone else will be able to see him coming from the back.

1300: Procession lap under way. Timo Glock will start from the pit lane in his Toyota after making changes to his rear suspension.

Text in your views on 81111
From Alan via text on 81111: "Due to my football team being involved in the relegation scrap, this grand prix is a welcome distraction. I just hope that Jenson Button can avoid crashing his car into a crash barrier, unlike Mr Hamilton."

1256: Lordy. Nearly race time and I haven't even mentioned live text hero Adrian Sutil. The Force India legend starts 15th, two behind team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Monaco: "You normally can't move in the paddock at Monaco for fear of tripping over a film star or some other celebrity, but this year the count is comparatively low. The actress Michelle Yeoh is here on the arm of her fiance, former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt (yes, I know...), and Star Wars creator George Lucas has also popped in. Earlier, athletics legend and BBC pundit Michael Johnson oozed cool as he strolled though the paddock ahead (unsurprisingly, given it was Johnson) of a small crowd of admirers."

Rochers
BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Welcome to Monaco's cheap seats. You didn't think they existed did you? Well, I have clambered up the hill at the side of the palace - known as Rochers - to meet the true F1 fans. It costs 70 euros to watch the race from here and the fans have to bring their own shovels to dig themselves holes in the ground to make sure they don't slide down into the road below. Some fans have been here since 6am and the hardcore contingent slept in tents overnight. The reward though is worth it - the atmosphere up here is fantastic and the views here are amazing."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monaco: "When you stand by the circuit and see Jenson Button driving before your eyes the Englishman really does glide his car across the track. It was fascinating yesterday to watch him give just a flick of the wrists to manoeuvre his car around. Technical guru Ross Brawn's car just looks so springy and smooth (probably just the exact words he gave when issuing prerequisites to his design team back in 2007) and that's why they will be the ones to beat again in Monte Carlo."

1246: Martin Brundle mistakes Geri Halliwell for Bernie Ecclestone's daughter. Ah, the perils of live TV. Here's the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice's view: "I love fast cars. I'm a bit of a speed freak. I'm really proud of Jenson Button - he's had a bit of a journey." Meanwhile, Bernie mischievously remarks that it's getting too "predictable" with Button winning all the time.

1242: Sir Cliff Richard... I despair. Anyhoo, Jenson Button is in very chipper mood as he is collared by Martin Brundle. He says he's going for the win and isn't thinking about protecting his lead.

A celeb has been spotted
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monaco: "Will you forgive me for not getting my tyre information this Sunday? It's Monaco - and I know Caroline is more interested in celebrity-hunting than rubber. So, I've just dashed up to the paddock to see who was keeping the snappers busy. Well, Star Wars creator George Lucas was at the heart of it all, five-time Olympic champion - and BBC athletics guru - Michael Johnson was also striding up and down while former world champion Jacques Villeneuve seems to be keeping himself busy. I also bumped into Sir Cliff Richard earlier and rushed back to tell my BBC colleague, who drily replied: "Congratulations". PS: Most drivers are expected to go out on the super soft tyres rather than the soft option."

1239: Speak of the devil, there is Prince Michael of Kent, who informs Martin Brundle is wearing his "RAC hat" today. Although he is not actually wearing a hat - which may not be wise with the sun beating down.

1236: The pit lane is open - which should mean a procession of glamorous people sashaying down the grid. To be honest though, Monaco has failed to deliver on the celebrity front this year. I've seen far too much of James Blunt and far too little of Brad Pitt and P Diddy. There's not much fun to be had from the official race guest list either. As well as Blunt, we have: Jesse Metcalfe, Chris Evans, Geri Halliwell, Princess Beatrice, Prince Michael of Kent, George Lucas, Michael Johnson.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monaco: "Here's some more inside track on the, um, track. The Swimming Pool complex in the final sector of the race, where drivers negotiate a fast left-hand curve and then a slower turn to the right, is also a revealing place to stand and watch the cars. The combination used to be much more dicey before the concrete walls were removed and now the cars plough through at 125mph. Standing there at the side of the circuit during final practice, the smell of sea-salt from the marina hit me from one side, while on the other the drivers raced past three metres from my feet. It was like an assault as the cars roared by, one, two, three, four… The wheels hummed over the curbs and the inside of my ear buzzed with the sound vibration. When I woke up this morning, my hearing definitely felt a little fuggy - that's the downside of being up close to an F1 car."

1235: Nigel Mansell is a man who knows about how to win a world championship. He began 1992 with five straight wins before being forced to settle for second behind a much slower Ayrton Senna at Monaco in 1992. His advice for Button: "You have to keep your head down because you never know when the tide will turn but hopefully it's too late now."

1230: With such a commanding lead in the world championship, there is a suspicion that Jenson Button could play it safe and go for a podium rather than risk everything. David Coulthard reckons that's nonsense and Button will only have his eyes on the top prize.

1226: Kimi Raikkonen - not the world's most optimistic man - isn't convinced Kers is going to be a massive help to him today. If he doesn't take Button off the start, he could have another chance at the harbour chicane. The Finn is second in terms of overtaking manoeuvres this season.

1221: If you've been following this live text commentary all weekend, you'll already know my feelings about… ugh, I don't even want to say it. Let's just say it rhymes with 'fudge-it bap cow'. If you want the latest, read this - and as you can see, it's good news:
F1 budget cap solution in sight

Get involved on 606
From MrSport88 on 606: "It isn't just Kimi's Kers, but the Brawns are also quite poor off the start, the combination will mean Kimi will have Button before the first corner. Rubens will not be able to help him out, he'll be more concerned with Massa behind him."
Join the debate on 606

Text in your views on 81111
From Jamie, Nottingham, via text on 81111: "It will be interesting to see how Kers cars will do in the race and where they deploy it. Will the winner be decided with a drag race down to the first corner or will safety car change the race completely? I love Monaco!!! And I love Formula 1!!!"

1213: Whoop, whoop. BBC1's coverage is under way - streamed live on this website for those of you in the UK. It begins with Jake Humphrey going back in time to interview the stars of Monaco's past. What's that you say? You want to see behind-the-scenes footage? Here ya go then...
Humphrey steps into the past

Jenson Button arrives at the track with girlfriend Jessica Michibata
Jenson Button arrives at the track with girlfriend Jessica Michibata
1207: Jenson Button reckons winning races has turned him into a "right boring..." well, let's just say "so-and-so" and reckoned his girlfriend Jessica Michibata would tell him in no uncertain terms. On the contrary, I'd say she doesn't look all that bothered to be on the arm of the world's best driver.

From Jeffrey, Liverpool, via text on 81111: "I'm just hoping Kimi's Kers car doesn't hit the back of Jenson's when he tries to block him at the start."

1200: The fuel-adjusted grid shows Jenson Button was indeed the quickest man around Monaco yesterday - but it was bad news for Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull man qualified in fourth - but when his light fuel load is taken into account, he's actually back in seventh. Vettel, who appeared to be held up by Kazuki Nakajimi in qualifying, will also have to contend with the Kers-boosted Felipe Massa right behind him off the start.
BBC F1's fuel-adjusted grid

1155: Button would also become the first driver to score a hat-trick of wins since Schumi in 2006 and the first Brit to do so since Sir Damon of Hill in 1996. I love knighting people. I wonder if the Queen would let me take over for the day?

The sun is out
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Monaco: "Monaco is at its most perfect as the start of the race looms. The temperature is just right, there is a soft breeze, and light clouds lace the pale blue sky. There are definitely less boats here than usual as the credit crunch bites but it's a fair bet that's not on many people's minds right now."

1150: So Button very much the favourite for this race - and he would join Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Graham Hill, Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir David Coulthard and Sir Lewis Hamilton as British winners of F1's toughest race.

1147: The all-conquering Jenson Button, of course, starts on pole at 1300 BST - and if you want to know just how good that lap was yesterday, here's Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello: "My car was perfect and I was almost flat out through the first chicane by the swimming pool, which tells you how hard I was trying. I was really proud of what I had achieved and I honestly thought I had the upper hand on Jenson. He must have had a fantastic lap because there wasn't much more I could have done with mine."

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson points to the tyre marks near the barrier
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson points to the tyre marks only inches from the barrier
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monaco: "One of the most awesome things about the Monaco GP is that unlike any other race you can stand at the side of the circuit and almost reach out and touch the cars. There had been warnings about how scared I'd be, but for the most part it was just a burst of noise and a chance to clock the cars up close in a blink of the eye. The only exception to this was at Tabac where you can lean as close into the barriers as you dare. Every time a car hurtled past, I flinched. Romain Grosjean spectacularly ploughed into the barriers here on Saturday, taking himself out of the GP2 race. Standing at the exit of the tunnel was also a little unnerving as the amplified engine noise rumbled up through the tarmac and into my toes before the cars flew past with a rush of following wind."

1136: Cynics - grrrr - will tell you Monaco is nothing but a procession of cars wending their way around a circuit - albeit a very picturesque one. With Lewis Hamilton starting at the back of the grid? With Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa having the advantage of a Kers power boost off the start? I predict a riot.

1130: Hello there. What a truly fabulous day it is to be throwing an F1 car around the streets of Monte Carlo at 180mph.



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see also
Monaco Grand Prix race results
18 May 09 |  Results
Classy Button eases to Monaco win
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix photos
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Superb Button steals Monaco pole
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
Monaco GP qualifying as it happened
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix qualifying results
18 May 09 |  Results
Monaco GP qualification photos
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
Rosberg sets Monaco practice pace
21 May 09 |  Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix practice results
18 May 09 |  Results
F1 budget cap solution in sight
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
BMW Sauber may consider F1 future
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1


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