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Classy Button eases to Monaco win

Jenson Button

Highlights - Monaco Grand Prix

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Monaco

Jenson Button extended his championship lead with a fifth victory in six races as he led Rubens Barrichello to a Brawn one-two in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Button sealed his victory in the early stages of the race, when he managed the deteriorating tyres on his car far better than his Brazilian team-mate.

Barrichello was left to hold off the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, who finished third and fourth.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was fifth with world champion Lewis Hamilton 12th.

Williams's Nico Rosberg, Renault's Fernando Alonso and the Toro Rosso of Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais filled the remaining points places down to eighth.

McLaren driver Hamilton was never in contention after making a disastrous mistake to crash out in qualifying and then starting at the back of the grid after a penalty for changing his gearbox.

I'm lost for words about him [Button] because he's exceeding everything I thought possible. Stunning

Brawn GP team boss Ross Brawn

In contrast, the man who looks increasingly likely to succeed him to the crown had a flawless afternoon.

His only mistake came after the chequered flag when he parked his car in the wrong place and had to run back along the pit straight for the podium ceremony.

Button's victory extends his world championship lead over Barrichello to 16 points - and to 28 over the third-placed man, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who scored no points after crashing out of the race.

It was Button's first win at Formula 1's most glamorous venue, and the drive of a champion in the making, taking advantage of circumstances as they unfolded to carve an unassailable winning margin.

"Before the weekend I said this race doesn't mean anything different from any other, that was more to stop the pressure building up on me," he told BBC Sport. "It's a bit of a lie really.

"We all know the truth - this circuit is fantastic.

Jenson Button

Button exhilarated by 'exceptional' win

"I said on the radio: 'we've got Monaco, baby'. We've got the victory and that means a lot, a one-two here is exceptional. It's going to go down in history [what this team has achieved] this year, for sure."

His team boss, Ross Brawn, added: "I'm lost for words with him because he's exceeding everything I thought possible. Stunning."

Unlike all the other front-runners, the Brawns started on the super-soft tyres, which give better initial grip, but are subject to graining, when the surface of the tyre rips and reduces grip.

Button and Barrichello both suffered the problem from about eight laps into the race but Button coped much better and was able to extend his lead by as much as two seconds a lap.

That meant that Barrichello, who was less than two seconds behind his team-mate on lap six, was 18.2secs adrift by the time he made his first pit stop on 16.

Rubens Barrichello

I lost the race in qualifying - Barrichello (UK only)

From that moment on, the race was effectively over, and Barrichello was left to concern himself far more with the Ferraris behind him rather than with beating Button to the victory.

"The tyres gave us a start, but we didn't expect them to give us so much trouble in the first stint," added Brawn. "But the drivers managed it well.

"It is a special race and it's a challenging weekend. In such circumstances, to come first and second is stunning."

Constructors champions Ferrari achieved their first podium of 2009 as they bid to recover from the worst start to a season in their long history.

Though Raikkonen and Massa were evenly matched, the Finn was able to convert his second place on the grid into third place, while Massa was caught up in some frenetic action in the opening laps.

606: DEBATE
Philinux

"I am very happy about the result because it shows we are working in the right direction," said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domencali.

"We are catching up and getting closer. I am very positive we will push on and this is just a start."

Brazil's Massa trailed Vettel from the start and soon began to climb all over the back of the German's car as the Red Bull driver suffered similar tyre problems to the Brawns.

There was soon a huge queue behind him, right down to 12th place and by lap 10, Vettel's tyres were in such poor shape that he was no longer able to resist his pursuers.

First Rosberg - who had passed Massa after the Ferrari driver tried an overtaking manoeuvre at the chicane that did not come off - powered past the Red Bull, and then the others poured past, too, before Vettel pitted for new tyres at the end of the lap.

His race ended six laps later when he slammed into the barrier at Sainte Devote after making a mistake.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton satisfied after 'tough' race

His team-mate Webber was much more impressive, jumping ahead of Rosberg at the first stops thanks to some consistently fast laps and consolidating that position through the middle of the race.

Hamilton, Monaco GP winner in 2008, said he felt "quite satisfied" with his performance and vowed to return to Monte Carlo stronger.

"I was thinking of the 'Rocky' films. In the first one, he said 'I just want to see the end of the fight'. I pushed as hard as I could.

"Of course, I will be back next year to try and win."



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see also
Monaco Grand Prix race results
18 May 09 |  Results
Relaxed Button cool on title talk
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Button exhilarated by 'exceptional' win
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Fry praises 'special' Brawn win
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton fears continued struggle
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari take 'significant' step
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix as it happened
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix photos
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 budget cap solution in sight
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Button's flying Monaco qualifying lap
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
Button 'chuffed' to snatch Monaco pole
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Malta Independent Daily Motor-Racing - Monaco F1 Grand Prix: Fifth victory for Button to lead Brawn GP 1-2 - 24 hrs ago
TheScore.com High Five: Button dominant in Monaco GP - 26 hrs ago
Brisbane Courier-Mail Formula One: Button makes it five - 27 hrs ago
Abu Dhabi National Button is streets ahead of the pack - 29 hrs ago
Arab Times Another Brawn 1-2 finish as Button masters Monaco GP - 29 hrs ago


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