• Spanish GP

Button beats Barrichello to Barcelona win

ESPNF1 Staff
May 10, 2009
A first lap shunt provided early entertainment © Sutton Images

Jenson Button stormed to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, extending his lead in the drivers' championship and notching up his fourth win in five races this season.

Rubens Barrichello proved to be his closest competitor, but the Brazilian's hopes of victory were dashed by a poor strategy. Mark Webber joined the Brawn drivers on the podium, getting the better of his team-mate and fourth placed man Sebastian Vettel.

The start of the 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix saw Barrichello get the jump on both Button and Vettel. The Red Bull driver started second but had his race seriously compromised when he fell behind the quick starting KERS-equipped Ferrari of Felipe Massa. As the Brawn Mercedes duo stormed away at the front of the field, Jarno Trulli triggered an accident that would eliminate four runners on the first lap.

Battling with Nico Rosberg, Trulli found himself running off the track exiting the second turn and as he re-joined the circuit, his Toyota made solid contact with Adrian Sutil's Force India. Behind, Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais were forced to take avoiding action and the two Toro Rosso drivers made heavy contact.

The race resumed on lap six once the damaged cars had been removed and Barrichello was able to hold off Button at the front of the field. This would soon become academic however as the team switched Button from a three-stop strategy to two stops, leaving Barrichello on three stops.

This made it an impossible task for the Barrichello who was able to pull out a 15-second advantage over Button at one point but with the extra pit stop, dropped well behind. It was a strange tactical move from Brawn Mercedes and Barrichello must be wondering why his race was so severely compromised, effectively handing his team-mate the victory.

Mark Webber made good use of a long middle stint to vault ahead of both Felipe Massa and Vettel and put in a good charge to the chequered flag. The Australian finished less than a second behind Barrichello. Vettel, who lost out to Massa at the start of the race, shadowed the Ferrari until the closing stages of the race before gaining the position when Massa was forced to slow. Vettel will be frustrated that his poor start cost him any hope of a podium position.

Fernando Alonso had a relatively lonely race and looked on target for a sixth-position finish. However, an error in the Ferrari pit meant that Massa did not have enough fuel to run at full speed to the chequered flag. Massa backed off, dropping ten seconds a lap allowing the Renault star through to take fifth.

Massa finished a disappointed sixth while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen made gains early on in the sister F60 before his car developed a mechanical issue taking him out of the race. Nick Heidfeld made up ground at the start and was able to finish seventh for BMW Sauber with team-mate Robert Kubica having a tough race to 11th, one position lower than his starting position.

Rosberg took the final championship point in his Williams Toyota while team-mate Kazuki Nakajima had a poor race. The team called in the Japanese racer whilst the safety car controlled the field, exiting the pits behind Giancarlo Fisichella. Nakajima would spend most of the race tailing the Force India driver, eventually getting the position in his third pit stop. He finished 13th, ahead of Fisichella.