Jenson Button wins the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli

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    Jenson Button wins the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli

    Post by Ross on 26th April 2009, 15:31

    Button takes commanding Bahrain win


    Masterful: Jenson Button powered through to the front of the field with a mixture of clever tactics and strategy

    Jenson Button reasserted his grip on the 2009 world championship with a brilliant victory in searing desert heat in Bahrain – his third win in four races extending his title lead to 12 points.

    The Briton and his Brawn team turned around the form book from qualifying to beat pre-race favourites Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli thanks to a perfect strategy and inch-perfect driving, the Red Bull and Toyota drivers finishing second and third respectively

    Button had expressed optimism that his BGP 001 remained a force to be reckoned with over a race distance after only qualifying fourth and after jumping the front-row Toyotas during the first pit-stop phase, a strong middle stint ensured he wouldn’t be caught at the front.

    Toyota’s hopes of finally scoring its maiden Formula 1 victory faded after both its drivers made early pit stops, Chinese GP winner Vettel eventually vaulting ahead of pole-sitter Trulli into second place.

    Lewis Hamilton completed McLaren’s best weekend of the season so far to take a morale-boosting fourth, ahead of the second Brawn of Rubens Barrichello who now slips more than a win behind team-mate Button in the points standings.

    Meanwhile, Ferrari managed to avoid the worst start to a Formula 1 season in its history by finally getting on the scoreboard at the fourth attempt, Kimi Raikkonen racing hard to sixth place.

    As had been the case all weekend at Sakhir teams were faced with sweltering race-day conditions and as the 20 cars lined up on the grid under the beating sun the track temperatures nudged 50 degrees.
    At the lights, the significantly lighter-fuelled Glock outdragged pole-sitting team-mate Trulli off the line to take the lead into the first corner.

    And while this may have been a pre-planned arrangement given Glock’s inferior fuel strategy, Trulli came under attack for real by a predictably fast-starting Hamilton – the world champion’s KERS system's power boost having helped him catapult past Button and Vettel off the line from fifth.

    Hamilton then put his KERS to good effect again on the long uphill straight betweens turns three and four to speed past Trulli.

    But the world champion didn’t stay here for long, running wide under braking which allowed the Toyota to regain the position.

    Hamilton was then demoted to fourth at the start of the next lap by Button, the Brawn driver judging an out-braking move to perfection down the inside of the first turn.

    The pass turned out to be crucial as it ensured the championship leader could keep the Toyotas in sight over the first stint.

    Glock, meanwhile, had immediately opened up a one second advantage at the front, but despite his lighter fuel load he never shook Trulli off by more than two seconds.

    Indeed by the time he dived into the pit lane at the end of lap 10 his lead was only 1.8s and, after the published fuel loads suggested Trulli would be carrying on for several more laps, his team-mate now seemed set to take the race by the throat.

    Surprisingly however the Italian headed for service himself at the end of the very next tour, Toyota seemingly bringing its driver’s planned stop forwards.

    Whatever the reason for the change of strategy, it changed the complexion of Trulli’s afternoon and gave Button – who had remained just 1.5s adrift of the Italian – the chance he needed to flex his BGP 001’s muscles.

    For Trulli, while he exited the pit lane ahead of Glock – the German just starting a mysterious slide down the order after switching to the medium tyres – he encountered problems in the shape of Fernando Alonso’s KERS-equipped Renault.

    Having held off his old team-mate on rejoining the track, Alonso quickly showed he was in no mood to have his crucial laps before his own pit stop spoiled by a heavier-fuelled Toyota by sensationally muscling his way around the outside of the Italian at turn four.

    That certaintly wasn't in Trulli's gameplan but in any case as things turned out this made little difference to the Italian's hopes of staying ahead of Button, the Brawn driver using his extra four laps-worth of fuel to easily leapfrog the Toyota.

    This was also the stage of the race when Vettel turned around his afternoon following a difficult first stint spent behind Hamilton in fifth.

    Carrying the most fuel of the leading runners, the German’s RB5 had looked less balanced than it had done when he sped to the fastest time in low-fuel Q2 on Saturday but, as his fuel burned off, he began to push on as the cars ahead of him peeled into the pits.

    By the time he eventually pitted from the lead by lap 18 – promoting Button to the head of the field – he had done enough to not only jump Hamilton, but get himself tagged onto the back of Trulli.

    However, the re-appearance of the notorious ‘Trulli Train’ scuppered his hopes of taking the fight to Button on the super-soft tyres.

    While Trulli was lapping up to a second slower on the medium compound, frustratingly for Vettel all he could do was follow the Toyota around the 3.3-mile track again, again and again – the German and Hamilton running under a second behind the Italian for most of the next 18 laps.

    This was a god-send for Button, who had no similar road-block preventing him exploiting the full potential of the soft tyres and he duly scampered away into the distance.

    The championship leader’s advantage was 16.8s when he pitted for the second and final time on lap 36, the Brawn driver exiting the pit just as Trulli and Hamilton entered for their own respective final stops.

    With Vettel again stopping later than his respective rivals, the Red Bull star almost inevitably was going to move up to second and his three extra laps on track were indeed enough to allow him to stop and then rejoin ahead of Trulli.

    The situation was now reversed, however, with the Toyota driver now the one on the super-soft rubber.

    Trulli duly made a renewed charge and closed onto Vettel’s gearbox, but it was too little and too late and the pole-sitter had to settle for the lowest rung of the podium.

    As long as the now faster Toyota remained tucked up behind the RBR, Button was always going to cruise to the flag and ultimately clocked off the final laps to take the win 7.1s ahead of Vettel.

    Hamilton struggled on the harder tyres in the closing stages but nevertheless finished a comfortable fourth, with Barrichello fifth after his gamble on a three-stop strategy never paid dividends despite some impressive overtaking moves.

    Early leader Glock eventually came home right behind Raikkonen in seventh, thus maintaining his 100% points-scoring record in 2009.

    But he and Toyota will be seeking answers as to how his race unravelled in the middle stint so badly.

    Alonso may have taken the honours for ‘overtaking move of the race’ with his move on Trulli earlier in the day, but a single point was not what the Spaniard or Renault would have been hoping for this weekend after making big progress last week in China.

    Felipe Massa, however, is still waiting for his first points of the season after last year’s championship runner-up finished a lap down in 14th.

    The Brazilian made a poor start from eighth despite having KERS and then had to pit for a new nosecone after lap one contact.

    But while his Ferrari team can take comfort from Raikkonen’s result, rival BMW will want to forget its Bahrain weekend as quickly as possible after its most uncompetitive race showing as an F1 team owner.

    Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finished last of the classified runners after both picking up damage to their F1.09s on the opening lap, each having to pit for new front wings.

    A driver who enjoyed a more positive day, however, was the under-pressure Nelson Piquet Jr who produced his best race performance of his tough season so far to move up from 15th to the top 10 for Renault.


    Bahrain Grand Prix result (57 laps)

    1. BUTTON Brawn 1h31m48.18s
    2. VETTEL Red Bull +7.1s
    3. TRULLI Toyota +9.1s
    4. HAMILTON McLaren +22.0s
    5. BARRICHELLO Brawn +37.7s
    6. RAIKKONEN Ferrari +42.0s
    7. GLOCK Toyota +42.8s
    8. ALONSO Renault +52.7s
    9. ROSBERG Williams +58.1s
    10. PIQUET Renault +1m05.1s
    11. WEBBER Red Bull +1m07.6s
    12. KOVALAINEN McLaren +1m17.8s
    13. BOURDAIS Toro Rosso +1m18.8s
    14. MASSA Ferrari +1 lap
    15. FISICHELLA Force India +1 lap
    16. SUTIL Force India +1 lap
    17. BUEMI Toro Rosso +1 lap
    18. KUBICA BMW +1 lap
    19. HEIDFELD BMW +1 lap
    20. NAKAJIMA Williams +9 laps
    Fastest lap: TRULLI 1m34.556s (lap 10)


    Source: itv.com/f1


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    Ross
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    Re: Jenson Button wins the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli

    Post by Ross on 26th April 2009, 15:38

    Bump


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