• Bahrain GP

Button scores third victory of the season

ESPNF1 Staff
April 26, 2009
The top three in Bahrain © Sutton Images

Jenson Button claimed his and Brawn GP's third victory of the season, finishing seven seconds clear of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull in Bahrain. Jarno Trulli slipped from pole position to third over the course of the 57-lap race, a light fuel load flattering the Toyota's pace in qualifying but leaving Trulli without a competitive strategy on race day.

It was a fairly routine race, the first of the season not to feature at least one safety car period, but the battle for the race victory was fairly straightforward for Button. Timo Glock got the jump on Trulli and led the field in the early stages but then Toyota opted to run the harder prime tyres during the second stint and both Glock and Trulli quickly fell away from the leading Brawn Mercedes.

Toyota's strategy not only cost them any chance of a race victory but also allowed Vettel to get the jump on Trulli in the second and final stop and the Red Bull Renault racer would go on to finish in second position, withstanding late pressure from Trulli back on the softer (faster) option tyre.

The opening lap of the 57-lap race was key to Button's success as he initially lost position to Lewis Hamilton who made the best of his KERS-equipped McLaren Mercedes off the line. A brave move from the Brawn driver later in the lap saw him regain the position and therefore allow him to tail the Toyota duo to the first round of stops.

Trulli finished in third position for Toyota after a strong race only compromised by strategy, while Hamilton kept the battle for second and third in his view until the closing stages when the McLaren Mercedes driver dropped away on the harder prime tyre.

Rubens Barrichello and Brawn Mercedes opted to switch to a three-stop strategy on his way to fifth position and the extra stop did not seem to cost - or gain - the Brazilian veteran in any way.

Kimi Raikkonen started from tenth position in his Ferrari and took the chequered flag in sixth making good use of his long first stint to vault a number of his rivals. Sixth position may not be a great result in the long history of Ferrari, but it was a good run from Raikkonen as he secured the team their first points of the season.

Glock will be disappointed to finish seventh after leading the early laps but it was the decision to switch to the harder prime tyre for the second stint that really cost him, combined with his light fuel load heading into the race.

Fernando Alonso started from seventh position in the leading Renault and took the chequered flag in eighth position after a pretty lonely race. The double world champion lost out to Raikkonen who made up ground with his long first stint.