Button leads Brawn one-two in Monaco

Jenson Button took his fifth victory of the season with a masterful drive at the Monaco Grand Prix. Team-mate Rubens Barrichello finished in second earning the Brawn GP’s second straight one-two sweep.

Ferrari had one of its best results of the year so far, with Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa taking in third and fourth positions respectively. The pace of the F60 during the Monaco Grand Prix was impressive, with Massa setting the fastest lap around the tight and twisty street circuit.

As for Brawn GP’s main championship contender Red Bull Racing, this race slipped away from them. Firstly, Sebastian Vettel was unable to benefit from the light fuel load in qualifying, as he was impended by the Williams of Nico Rosberg. Secondly, the young German was struggling with his super-soft Bridgestones, meaning he was losing grip and track position. This led to a crash at Ste Devote on lap 15 as he tried to regain lost ground following his pit stop. As a small consolation, team-mate Mark Webber did get to the chequered flag though it was only for fifth.

Nico Rosberg drove a solid race in the Williams to sixth, ahead of Renault’s Fernando Alonso. Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais took the final point for eighth, just edging out Giancarlo Fisichella’s Force India after a race-long fight.

Despite Button dominating this race, it wasn’t a classic Grand Prix. Yes, the championship leader has match the record of Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher in winning five races, thereby extending his points lead in the drivers’ standings. But in terms of racing spectacle at the 67th running of the Monaco Grand Prix, it lacked excitement.

The only change in the top ten positions in the opening laps was when Rubens Barrichello made the perfect getaway off third on the grid. Any concerns that the KERS assist Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen might get by pole sitter Jenson Button down into the first corner vanished as the five red lights went out.

Sebastian Vettel gave chase in the Red Bull but was unable to catch the leading trio, no thanks to the super soft tyres losing its performance edge after a few laps. Sensing the opportunity behind the gripless Vettel, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa attempted to pass his rival into Nouvelle chicane on lap six.

But the Brazilian was caught out by the early braking from the young German and was forced to take the escape route to avoid making contact. Massa backed off to let Vettel by – or risk taking a penalty for gaining a position after cutting a corner – but that allowed the opportunistic Nico Rosberg to slip by.

Even though Vettel made an earlier than expected pit stop to replace the worn out Bridgestone, his race came to a premature end after crashing at Ste Dévote. This tricky first corner also caught out Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi, who misjudged his braking point and ran into the back of Nelson Piquet Jr. The Renault driver was forced to retire with heavy rear-end damage.

McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen was another driver to hit the barriers after losing control of his car in the Swimming Pool complex – in a similar style to Massa in qualifying – only this time it was harder! It lost him seventh place. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton had a difficult race started from the back but came home in a respectable twelfth position despite damaging his front wing after a brush with Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber in the early part of the race.

Kazuki Nakajima was set to complete the top ten finishers in the Williams until he slid into the Mirabeau barrier with one lap to go. That position went to Toyota’s Timo Glock, who started this race in the pit lane after a change in the set-up to improve the car.

Even with the changes to Glock’s car, both Toyota and the BMW Saubers had a poor weekend in Monte Carlo. The cars simply lacked speed or balance around the twisty street circuit.

As for Button, this was the perfect result for himself and the team. This victory in Monte Carlo stretches his points lead to 51, with team-mate Barrichello 16 points behind. Jenson’s only mistake during the weekend was after the race, when he parked his BGP-001 in the pits instead of the start/finish straight!

In a remarkable display of fitness, he jogged all the way to the podium like the triathlon runner he is. It proved to be a light relief after an intense 78 laps around the streets of the Principality.

In addition, it wasn’t just the driver that showed exceptional longevity but his engine as well. The Mercedes V8 in Jenson’s car was the same one he’d used in the last two Grands Prix, meaning he’d won three races on the trot with the same engine. Remarkable.

Race results from the Monaco Grand Prix, 78 laps:

1.  Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes     1h40:44.282
2.  Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes      +7.666
3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               +13.443
4.  Massa         Ferrari                +15.110
5.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault       +15.730
6.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota         +33.586
7.  Alonso        Renault               +37.839
8.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +1:03.142
9.  Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes    +1:05.040
10.  Glock         Toyota                +1 lap
11.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber              +1 lap
12.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes        +1 lap
13.  Trulli        Toyota                +1 lap
14.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes    +1 lap
15.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota         +2 laps

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:15.154

Not classified/retirements:
Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      52 laps
Kubica        BMW Sauber                31 laps
Vettel        Red Bull-Renault          16 laps
Piquet        Renault               11 laps
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari        11 laps

World Championship standings, round 6:

1.  Button        51
2.  Barrichello   35
3.  Vettel        23
4.  Webber        19.5
5.  Trulli        14.5
6.  Glock         12
7.  Alonso        11
8.  Raikkonen      9
9.  Hamilton       9
10.  Massa          8
11.  Rosberg       7.5
12.  Heidfeld       6
13.  Kovalainen     4
14.  Buemi          3
15.  Bourdais       2

1.  Brawn GP-Mercedes      86
2.  Red Bull-Renault       42.5
3.  Toyota                 26.5
4.  Ferrari                17
5.  McLaren-Mercedes       13
6.  Renault                11
7.  Williams-Toyota        7.5
8.  BMW Sauber              6
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari      5

Next race: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul. June 5-7.

Button beats Raikkonen to pole in Monte Carlo

Championship leader Jenson Button took his fourth pole position of the season after edging out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by two-hundredths of a second in Monaco.

Button’s team-mate Rubens Barrichello lines up in third for Brawn GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull Racing and the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.

As for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who was a dark horse contender for pole, the world champion will start in a disappointing 16th position after crashing in Q1.

The qualifying session didn’t start well for Massa, who lost control of his Ferrari under braking at the swimming pool complex. Fortunately, the Brazilian clipped the barrier with his front nose and was able to pit for a replacement.

Hamilton was not so lucky and after setting the fourth fastest time (one minute, 26. 264 seconds) he lost the rear of his McLaren under braking at Mirabeau. The left-rear tyre made heavy contact with the barrier, which damaged his suspension, and his session was over.

The red flag came out to allow the track marshals to recover the broken McLaren but both BMW Saubers and Toyotas were unable to improve and will start at the bottom end of the grid.

In session two, four drivers shared the honours of setting the quickest time around the Principality with Nico Rosberg initially, then Heikki Kovalainen followed by Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello.

The next driver to lose control on the tricky street circuit was Nelson Piquet Jr. The young Brazilian clipped the outer barrier exiting the swimming pool complex and as he approach the final corner – Anthony Noghes – he lost the back end of the Renault, possibly distracted by the car in front returning to the pits. Luckily his car was undamaged and Piquet was able to continue before team-mate Fernando Alonso arrived on the scene. Alonso reached the top ten, but once again Piquet failed to.

As for Jenson Button, the championship leader had a scare towards the end of Q2, falling down to eighth by the chequered flag. Kimi Raikkonen ended the session the fastest, with fellow countryman Kovalainen in second.

Both Force Indias were eliminated in this session with Giancarlo Fisichella having two of his best times disallowed after cutting the chicane. Despite this, Fishichella at least beat the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Bourdais with his Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil in P15.

In the top-ten shootout, Sebastian Vettel set the benchmark for Red Bull Racing but it was really close, as Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello were both within a tenth of a second away from the young German’s first effort.

Jenson Button was down in fourth position at this point and with Kimi Raikkonen setting a new provisional pole time of one minute, 14. 927 seconds in the resurgent Ferrari, the pressure was on the leading Brawn GP driver.

He responded magnificently with a beautiful, inch-perfect lap around the tight street circuit with a time of one minute, 14. 902 seconds. The margin between pair was only 0.025 seconds!

This pole position was crucial for Jenson Button as overtaking around the Principality is extremely difficult due to the tight and narrow nature of this racing circuit. If Jenson can translate this result with a fine race victory on Sunday, he is looking the favourite for the world championship.

As for Raikkonen, to qualify in second position was an impressive achievement especially when you consider Ferrari’s performance in the last couple of Grands Prix. With the KERS unit fitted to the Iceman’s car, Kimi could have an advantage off the starting grid… So watch out Jenson at Ste Dévote!

Rubens Barrichello lines up third for Brawn GP followed by Vettel, Massa and Rosberg – fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Heikki Kovalainen salvaged some McLaren pride with seventh place, ahead of Mark Webber in the second Red Bull Racing, Renault’s Fernando Alonso, and the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima (the latter making his first Q3 appearance of the year).

So the stage is set for the most glamorous race of the Formula One season. Can Jenson Button take another race victory on Sunday? Or will we see a Ferrari back on the top step with Kimi earning a long overdue win? We shall find out on race day.

Qualifying times from Monte Carlo:

1.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:14.902
2.  Raikkonen    Ferrari                1:14.927
3.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:15.077
4.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:15.271
5.  Massa        Ferrari               1:15.437
6.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       1:15.455
7.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:15.516
8.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1:15.653
9.  Alonso       Renault               1:16.009
10.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       1:17.344
11.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:15.833
12.  Piquet       Renault               1:15.837
13.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  1:16.146
14.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:16.281
15.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1:16.545
16.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes       1:16.264
17.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber             1:16.264
18.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            1:16.405
19.  Trulli       Toyota                1:16.548
20.  Glock        Toyota                 1:16.788

Button leads Brawn GP one-two in Spain

Jenson Button extends his championship lead with another one-two result for Brawn GP, his fourth victory out of five races.

Team-mate Rubens Barrichello was disappointed to finish in second despite making a better start and leading the opening laps at the Circuit de Catalunya, but in the end, the Brazilian was unable to match the remarkable and consistent pace from the Briton.

Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber benefitted from a lengthy first stint to score a great third while his team-mate Sebastian Vettel had his race compromised by getting stuck behind Felipe Massa’s Ferrari off the line.

While all attention was focused on the KERS-powered Ferrari of Massa, who would benefit the most at the start due to the long rundown into the first corner, it was actually his fellow countryman Barrichello who made the best getaway off the grid. The Brazilian swept around the outside of Button into Turn 1 as Massa squeezed past Vettel to take third position.

Behind it was chaos with four cars eliminated just after the start of the Spanish Grand Prix. The accident started as Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg clashed into the first corner. Jarno Trulli was forced to run wide into the gravel to avoid the Williams and spun back across the track.

Adrian Sutil (Force India) couldn’t react in time to avoid the Toyota and the pair made heavy contact, showering the first two corners with broken pieces of expensive carbon fibre.

Meanwhile Sebastian Buemi slowed to avoid the spinning Toyota and was collected by team-mate Sebastien Bourdais, putting both Toro Rossos out on the spot.

This led to a four-lap safety car period, after which Barrichello and Button pulled away from Massa, Vettel and Webber in unison through the opening stint.

Although Button was the lighter car at this stage of the race, the Brawn GP team decided to switch pit-stop strategies between their drivers with Jenson on two while Rubens on the normal three stops.

In theory, stopping three times is the quickest strategy to win the race and initially both drivers stuck to the plan. But after the first rounds of pit stops made by Brawn GP, a sound clip from the team’s radio broadcast told that Button had switched “to plan A.” It soon became clear that Rubens Barrichello was running a three-stop strategy, while Jenson Button would only be stopping twice.

This was a strange decision made by the team. Could it be that Brawn GP deliberately opted to switch the number of stops in a way of backing Button for the championship?

Well, according to team boss Ross Brawn, Jenson Button was switched to the two-stop strategy “to avoid leaving him behind Rosberg”. This makes sense, as Nico was only 18.646 seconds behind Button when the championship leader made his first pit stop on lap 17. So whatever happens, the Briton was going to come out of the pitlane behind the Williams. So opting for a two-stop strategy ensured Rosberg did not hold him up.

Barrichello stuck to his three-stop strategy and came out narrowly ahead of the Williams. But Button was able to stay close enough to Barrichello during his second stint to move ahead of his team-mate after the final pit stops.

This series of pit stop tactics and driving flat-out won the race for Jenson. You can see his relief in winning this Grand Prix immediately after taking the chequered flag. Compare the body language on his Brawn GP team-mate…

As for Massa and Vettel, the pair pitted in together at both their stops, and on each occasion the Ferrari managed to stay ahead of the Red Bull.

This was deeply frustrating for the young German as he was tipped to score another race victory for Red Bull Racing. But yet again, a KERS car halted his progress and ultimately it compromised Vettel’s race for victory honours.

Sebastian eventually got passed the Ferrari with four laps remaining when Massa was forced to back off and save fuel, as too little was delivered at its final pit stop. The Brazilian fell back down to sixth, running out of fuel just after taking the chequered flag.

But the pair missed out on the podium spot, which went to Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber. The Australian was very aggressive in this race and one key moment was that overtaking manoeuvre on double world champion Fernando Alonso on the main start/finish straight just after the restart.

Alonso was in the slipstream and pulled to the right to pass the Red Bull. Webber was having none of it and nudged his rival to the grass but the Renault was still coming through. As soon as the home crowd favourite was ahead, the Australian darted to the right and out-braked his rival into the first corner, getting his place back. This was a spectacular move from Webber and to come home third was a rich reward for his driving.

As for Fernando, he did well to finish in fifth despite starting this race with lightest fuel at the top end of the grid. He gained an extra championship point when he passed the slowing Massa on the final lap and it was great to see his fighting spirit when battling with Webber at the restart.

BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld used a long middle stint to beat Nico Rosberg’s Williams to seventh, while the second BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica was only eleventh after losing ground on the first lap.

As for Lewis Hamilton, this was a difficult race for the world champion. He dropped to last avoiding the first corner crash, then made good progress in the middle of the race before severe tyre wear saw him fall off the pace. Lewis eventually beat Timo Glock to ninth, with the Toyota never recovering from falling into the midfield thanks to an earlier first stop compare to the others.

Both Finns had a weekend to forget with Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen forced to retire with mechanical problems (throttle and gearbox issues respectively).

So, another fantastic result for Brawn GP and Jenson Button. He leads the drivers’ standings with 41 points with team-mate Barrichello on 27 followed by Vettel on 23 and Webber on 15.5. In the constructors’ stakes, Brawn have 68 compared to Red Bull Racing’s 38.5.

Monte Carlo is the next round in this highly exciting Formula One season and it will be fascinating whether the Brawn GP can maintain this winning momentum. The other teams are hoping more upgrades in particular the double diffusers and making the KERS unit reliable will close the gap, but in this competitive sport, everyone really needs to perform better if you want to beat the Button and Brawn combo.

Race Results from the Spanish Grand Prix, 66 laps:backgammon free casino money free craps game play free black jack craps video poker strategy play black jack online how to win video poker casino game online uk best casino online casino secure online gambling jackpot casino online casino black jack learn to play craps how to win at video poker craps online blackjack casino game online casino betting free on line video poker casino games no download casino online gambling casino play free casino slots video poker machine bonus video poker free on line slots double bonus video poker free video poker games free casinos roulette online craps rules free on line casino rules of craps online casino free money blackjack 21 internet casino how to play craps free casino game download fortunelounge online casino free casino download free casino card game free roulette game free casino play no deposit free money casino internet casino online

1.  Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes     1h37:19.202
2.  Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes       +13.056
3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault      +13.924
4.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault       +18.941
5.  Alonso        Renault                +43.166
6.  Massa         Ferrari                +50.827
7.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber              +52.312
8.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota         +1:05.211
9.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes        +1 lap
10.  Glock         Toyota                +1 lap
11.  Kubica        BMW Sauber             +1 lap
12.  Piquet        Renault               +1 lap
13.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota         +1 lap
14.  Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes   +1 lap

Fastest lap: Barrichello, 1:22.762

Not classified/retirements:
Raikkonen     Ferrari                   18 laps
Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes       8 laps
Trulli        Toyota                    1 lap
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1 lap
Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1 lap
Sutil         Force India-Mercedes   1 lap

World Championship standings, round 5:

1.  Button        41
2.  Barrichello   27
3.  Vettel        23
4.  Webber        15.5
5.  Trulli        14.5
6.  Glock         12
7.  Alonso         9
8.  Hamilton       9
9.  Heidfeld       6
10.  Rosberg        4.5
11.  Kovalainen     4
12.  Massa          3
13.  Buemi          3
14.  Raikkonen      3
15.  Bourdais       1

1.  Brawn GP-Mercedes      68
2.  Red Bull-Renault       38.5
3.  Toyota                 26.5
4.  McLaren-Mercedes       13
5.  Renault                 9
6.  BMW Sauber              6
7.  Ferrari                 6
8.  Williams-Toyota         4.5
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari      4

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo. May 21-24

Last-gasp lap puts Button on pole in Spain

Jenson Button recorded his finest pole position with an impressive final lap in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The championship leader had appeared to be struggling to match his Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello in terms of outright pace for most of the weekend, but come Q3, Button was able to recover with a dramatic last-gasp lap that netted the Briton his third pole position this season.

With only a few seconds to spare, Button crossed the start/finish line to begin his last lap just as the chequered flag fell, and proceeded to snatch top spot away from Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel by 0.133 seconds.

As for Barrichello, the Brazilian initially held provisional pole before his Brawn GP team-mate and Red Bull rival improved, leaving him in third.

Thanks to the new aero updates on the Ferrari in particular the double diffuser, Felipe Massa was able to demonstrate better form with a fine fourth place. Massa even set the fastest time in the final practice session leading up to qualifying.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said to his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn had a disastrous session no thanks to a poor first lap in Q1, which was 0.8 seconds slower than his team-mate.

To witness the Scuderia making the same mistake again by not opting for a second run to improve lap times, in a bid to save tyres for the race, Kimi and Ferrari suffered the consequence of being knocked out as others improved… The ‘Iceman’ will start Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix down in a disappointing P16.

Fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen also got caught out in Q1 complaining of a lack of balance in the McLaren. Heikki will start the race in a frustrating P18.

As for his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, the world champion was unable to maintain that good performance in Bahrain and will line up P14 on the grid. The new aero kit didn’t improve the speed in the MP4-24.

Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber will start fifth ahead of the Toyota pair of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli – sixth and seventh respectively.

Home crowd favourite Fernando Alonso could only manage eighth for Renault with Friday’s pace-setter Nico Rosberg ninth for Williams and BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica.

Nelson Piquet Jr had his best qualifying performance of the season and was on course for a top ten start until the final seconds of Q2, when other drivers’ improvements edged the Renault driver back down to P12, in-between the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima and Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber.

Formula One rookie Sebastian Buemi again outperformed his Toro Rosso team-mate Sebastian Bourdais as they took P15 and P17 on the grid, while the Force Indias remained on the back row, Adrian Sutil half a second quicker than Giancarlo Fisichella this time round.

Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix could be fascinating. Not only will Jenson Button be seeking for another victory to extend his championship lead. But hopefully the new 2009-spec rules will make the race more interesting in terms of offering the chance for overtaking on this difficult circuit. The possibility of light rain might play into the hands of Sebastian Vettel or even wet-weather specialist Rubens Barrichello. Let’s find out on race day whether Button can continue the Brawn supremacy in Formula One.

Qualifying times from the Circuit de Catalunya:

1.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:20.527
2.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:20.660
3.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:20.762
4.  Massa        Ferrari               1:20.934
5.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault     1:21.049
6.  Glock        Toyota                1:21.247
7.  Trulli       Toyota                1:21.254
8.  Alonso       Renault               1:21.392
9.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota        1:22.558
10.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber             1:22.685
11.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       1:20.531
12.  Piquet       Renault               1:20.604
13.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            1:20.676
14.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1:20.805
15.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:21.067
16.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               1:21.291
17.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:21.300
18.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:21.675
19.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes   1:21.742
20.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes   1:22.204