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Martin Brundle column

Monaco's Prince Albert and Brawn GP's Jenson Button

Monaco Grand Prix in 90 seconds

Martin Brundle
By Martin Brundle
BBC Formula 1 broadcaster

Jenson Button proved, with his fifth victory of the season in Monaco, that he is the most complete driver on the Formula 1 grid at the moment.

The turnaround has been remarkable. He has spent the last few seasons scrambling his way through a series of dismal seasons with Honda, where he made mistakes and often tangled with his rivals towards the back of the field.

Brawn have provided him with a car which suits his driving style and he has raised his game in every respect, seemingly overnight.

Button is managing everything that is thrown at him from adverse weather to difficult tyre phases.

His victory in Australia's season opener - at that time just the second of his career - was down to out and out pace, but in each of the following Grands Prix there has been a critical phase where Button made all the difference.

Jenson Button

Button exhilarated by 'exceptional' win

In Malaysia, the Englishman made his pit in and out laps count and was fast and secure when the deluge, which eventually stopped the race, first arrived.

His next victory in Bahrain hinged on the incisive move he made on Lewis Hamilton when he re-took second place from McLaren's world champion at the start of the second lap.

Then in Barcelona, Button kept on pumping in the lap-times even when he had a heavier fuel load onboard than his team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who had set the early pace.

His latest victory in Monte Carlo relied on his ability to keep the struggling super-soft tyres in reasonably good condition during the first stint.

He built up a 16-second lead, which meant he could pace himself for the rest of the race.

Nick Fry

Fry praises 'special' Brawn win

I didn't see him make a single mistake - apart from parking the car in the wrong place at the end of the race, which meant he had to jog along the pit straight to the podium in a partial lap of honour.

Barrichello, in the other Brawn, is increasingly his chief rival but at crucial moments it's just not coming together for him. It must feel like his years of fighting former team-mate Michael Schumacher at Ferrari.

With five wins in six races and 11 to go, the 2009 world championship is surely well within Button's grasp.

The car seems to have almost bulletproof reliability and Button is driving with such supreme confidence.

JAKE HUMPHREY BLOG
Jake Humphrey F1 BBC presenter

I am really impressed with his attitude. His approach is just to do his best in every practice session, through each part of qualifying and then in the race itself and see how far it gets him. That way he doesn't play the percentage game, as risky as that is especially in Monaco.

I haven't seen any suggestions that the tension is rising.

There is nothing to be gained from Button putting pressure on himself by starting to think 'the championship is mine to lose now.'

Lose is such a negative word - he wants to be living and breathing winning, he doesn't want to even think about losing.

Button needs to continue to look after himself both physically and mentally.

I joined the many who have sponsored him for the London Triathlon that he is competing in this summer and the message I wrote was; "be careful, especially with your right foot".

Rubens Barrichello

I lost the race in qualifying - Barrichello

What makes his championship hopes easier is that no other driver or team are consistently fast so far.

The teams that are coming at him are different each race; it was Toyota in Bahrain, Red Bull in Barcelona and Ferrari in Monaco.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is 2009's only other race-winner but he fell off the track in Monaco to drop further behind.

The fairytale story of Ross Brawn rescuing the remnants of the Honda team and Button's revival has captivated F1 followers - and beyond - this season.

But it is beginning to dawn on more than a few people, including Bernie Ecclestone and Geri Halliwell on my grid walk yesterday, that Button's dazzling dominance means the world championship fight could be over rather too soon.

Funny how quickly we get bored, although the Brawn-Button combo don't care at all about that.


Martin Brundle was talking to BBC Sport's Sarah Holt.



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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
Classy Button eases to Monaco win
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
Superb Button steals Monaco pole
23 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1


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