• Monaco GP

Button dominates at Monte Carlo

ESPNF1 Staff
May 24, 2009
Button runs down the start-finish straight to the podium © Sutton Images

Jenson Button absolutely dominated the 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix from pole position to record his fifth win from six races and extend his championship lead over team-mate Rubens Barrichello to 16 points.

The largely incident-free race was determined in the opening lap as both Brawn drivers made good starts and led into the first corner. Kimi Raikkonen, who had started from second on the grid, fell behind the pair and only just held onto third place ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Barrichello made a race of it in the opening laps keeping Button within a second until his super soft option tyres dramatically faded. The gap quickly extended to 15 seconds as he defended his second position from Raikkonen and, from that point, all Button had to do was control his pace to the chequered flag.

Barrichello retained his second position in the critical first round of pit stops much to the frustration of Ferrari who started both Raikkonen and team-mate Felipe Massa on the harder prime tyre, much the more durable rubber on the streets of Monte Carlo.

Back on the prime tyre and Barrichello was able to lap at a similar pace to Button - who did not suffer the massive performance drop off experienced by his team-mate - but the damage had been done and there was nothing he could do to stop his Brawn Mercedes team-mate taking the chequered flag eight seconds ahead.

Raikkonen drove a strong race, his start aside, keeping the pressure on Barrichello until the second and final round of pit stops. Taking the super soft option tyre for the final stint, the 2007 champion fell back five seconds and duly recorded his first podium position of the season.

Felipe Massa started fifth and battled hard with Vettel in the early laps. The Red Bull driver started the race on a very light fuel load with the option tyre, but by lap seven it was clear that the Chinese Grand Prix runner had destroyed his tyres.

Massa tried a pass exiting the tunnel into the chicane but out-braked himself and cut the chicane. He was forced to yield the position back to Vettel only for Nico Rosberg to sneak through as well.

Vettel pitted on lap 11 for tyres but soon after planted the Red Bull into the tyre barrier at Sainte Devote. Massa was able to regain fourth position in the stops from Rosberg, a position he retained to the flag, crossing the line less than two seconds behind Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen. The result moves Ferrari up to fourth in the standings.

Mark Webber vaulted both Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen in the first round of stops and then drove a solid race in the surviving Red Bull to finish less than a second behind Massa, while Rosberg finished sixth nearly 18 seconds adrift. Williams now move ahead of the struggling BMW Sauber team in the championship.

Fernando Alonso started ninth and finished seventh courtesy of two of the rivals ahead of him on the grid making contact with the tyre wall or Armco barriers, while team-mate Nelson Piquet made a good start from 12th position on the grid only to be taken out by Sebastien Buemi ten laps into the race.

The final point went to Sebastien Bourdais after a solid run in his Toro Rosso. Under pressure for much of the race from Giancarlo Fisichella, the Frenchman kept his cool to score a valuable point for himself and the team.