The Button and Brawn domination in Formula One continues with the Englishman taking his latest victory at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Button’s triumph matches the record of Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in winning six races out of seven races and it is remarkable that his lead in the drivers’ standing has extended to a mammoth 26 points.
His closest title challenger Rubens Barrichello suffered a horrendous afternoon that resulted in his first retirement of the year. The Brazilian had a clutch problem at the start in which he stuttered off the grid and by the time he crossed the start/finish line a lap later, Rubens had tumbled back to an unlucky 13th position.
Barrichello tried to make amends after a poor start, but unfortunately in doing so, the Brazilian made contact with first Heikki Kovalainen – which resulted in a spin – and later with Adrian Sutil – damaging his front wing in the process. Eleven laps from the chequered flag, Rubens returned to the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. It was a frustrating end for the Brawn GP driver as his team-mate went on to record his sixth race win of the season.
As for Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole position, to finish in third was a major disappointment for the Red Bull Racing driver. The young German lost the lead to Button on the opening lap after making a mistake exiting Turn 9, running wide and losing momentum.
This gave the opportunity to his championship rival, who took the lead and never look back.
Despite losing the lead on the first lap, Vettel came right back at Button after the first round of pit stops. Running on a three-stop strategy and benefitting with a lighter fuel load, the Red Bull was now only a few seconds behind the Brawn.
But there was no way past and after 13 laps of trying to get by Button, Vettel was forced to make his second pit stop, dropping him down to third behind Mark Webber (who was running a two-stop strategy) and out of contention for the race win.
Without the pressure of the Red Bull looming in his mirrors, Button was able to relax and rolled off the remaining laps to seal another victory. Behind the race-winning Brawn GP, it was a Red Bull Racing formation finish with Webber ahead of Vettel.
Jarno Trulli took a well respectable fourth for Toyota despite losing that track position to Nico Rosberg’s Williams at the first round of pit stops. The Italian reclaimed it back from the German in the second pit stop sequences, although a fifth place finish was still a good result for Rosberg given his frustrations in the previous couple of races.
As for Ferrari, in particular Felipe Massa who won this event three times, this latest result was a major disappointment. The Brazilian finished a distant sixth while his Scuderia team-mate Kimi Raikkonen lost significant ground on lap one – damaging his front wing against the back of Fernando Alonso’s Renault – and ended up just out of the points with ninth.
BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica has finally scored some championship points this season by beating the long-stopping Toyota of Timo Glock to seventh.
Double world champion Fernando Alonso struggled with pace in his Renault and could only managed a tenth place finish despite starting the race in eighth.
And what about McLaren? Well, after setting some promising lap times in opening practice on Friday, the race on Sunday reveal the silver cars simply lack downforce with the world champion Lewis Hamilton coming home in P13 (running one stop) with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen doing no better with P14 (on a two-stop strategy).
The Formula One World Championship now heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time and you can expect a hero’s welcome from the passionate crowd. This will be the last race at the former RAF airfield and Jenson Button will be seeking a home win as he moves ever so closer towards the drivers’ title.
Race results after 58 laps at Istanbul Park:
1. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes 1h26:24.848
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault +6.714
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +7.461
4. Trulli Toyota +27.843
5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota +31.539
6. Massa Ferrari +39.996
7. Kubica BMW Sauber +46.247
8. Glock Toyota +46.959
9. Raikkonen Ferrari +50.246
10. Alonso Renault +1:02.420
11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber +1:04.327
12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota +1:06.376
13. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +1:20.454
14. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
16. Piquet Renault +1 lap
17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
18. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
диваниFastest lap: Button, 1:27.579
Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes 49 laps
Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 5 laps
World Championship standings, round 7:
1. Button 61
2. Barrichello 35
3. Vettel 29
4. Webber 27.5
5. Trulli 19.5
6. Glock 13
7. Rosberg 11.5
8. Massa 11
9. Alonso 11
10. Hamilton 9
11. Raikkonen 9
12. Heidfeld 6
13. Kovalainen 4
14. Buemi 3
15. Kubica 2
16. Bourdais 2
1. Brawn GP-Mercedes 96
2. Red Bull-Renault 56.5
3. Toyota 32.5
4. Ferrari 20
5. McLaren-Mercedes 13
6. Williams-Toyota 11.5
7. Renault 11
8. BMW Sauber 8
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 5
Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. June 19-21.