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Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Fairy tale ending" for Button, Brawn GP

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello capped a dream weekend with a 1-2 result in Brawn GP’s debut at the Australian Grand Prix.

It’s been much said, but worth saying again -- not since 1954 has a new team finished 1-2 in it’s debut. We’re talking Fangio.

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Race

Button took off into the distance at what was otherwise a wild start as Barrichello lost time battling with his anti-stall and getting caught up in a first corner fracas with Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen.

Button’s lead would take a hit, however, when Kaz Nakajima’s crash on lap 19 brought out the safety car, keeping him momentarily within reach of the pursuing Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica.

Button was able to build a gap again in the later stages of the race, but Kubica was continuing to be able to pressure Vettel. On lap 55, Kubica pressed his advantage and came alongside Vettel, but the two drivers touched.

After initially trying to go on, both crashed out, redeploying the safety car and moving Barrichello, who had soldiered on steadily with a damaged front wing, into second.

Jarno Trulli came from the back to the front to claim the third spot on the podium, but was later docked 25 seconds by the stewards for a safety car infraction, gifting the third spot to another back-to-fronter, Lewis Hamilton.

Valuable points for Hamilton. Timo Glock, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Sebastien Buemi completed the top eight finishers.

Rosberg will have to be terribly disappointed, he was running fourth until degrading tires evaporated his advantage and saw him fade after an otherwise strong outing.

Sebastien Bourdais was promoted to the eighth and final points paying position after Trulli’s penalty.

As expected, the old order was shaken up. Lewis Hamilton put in a good drive to get the points he could, while teammate Heikki Kovalainen retired early. Fernando Alonso claimed some crucial points for Renault. Neither Ferrari reached the end of the race. BMW Sauber came away with nothing.

But, once again, this was Brawn’s weekend. Jenson Button’s win -- the 200th for a British driver -- “a fairy tale ending.”

Notes: Brawn GP has one more week to press its point with the season’s second race in Malaysia. Then the FIA Court of Appeal meets on the 14th. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel received a 10-place grid penalty next weekend for ‘causing a collision and forcing a driver (Kubica) off the track.’ He was also fined $50,000 for continuing to drive his damaged car.

The Results
  1. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  4. Timo Glock, Toyota
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  6. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  7. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  8. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  10. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  11. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes
  12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota*
  13. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault
  • Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, retired, 56 laps
  • Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, crash, 55 laps
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, retired, 55 laps
  • Felipe Massa, Ferrari, retired, 45 laps
  • Nelson Piquet, Renault, crash, 24 laps
  • Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, crash, 17 laps
  • Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, retired, 0 laps
* Penalty

The Press Conference

The Quotes

From the BBC: The Australian GP as it happened Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


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