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Button celebrates first 'real' chequered flag of 2009

In Melbourne he led a ten-second sprint to the finish line following a late-race safety car intervention and in Sepang the washout that caused an early stoppage threatened to rain on his victory celebrations, but in Sakhir Jenson Button drove all the way to the chequered flag – and drove his heart out to ensure he got there first.

The 2009 Formula 1 World Championship leader was in pessimistic mood after qualifying just fourth in the desert kingdom, some margin from the front row of the grid and on barely more fuel than the pace-setting Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock. The 29-year-old ceded further ground at the first corner when compatriot Lewis Hamilton vaulted past him in his KERS-equipped McLaren-Mercedes, but he regained a position by going boldly all the way around the outside of fellow second row starter Sebastian Vettel into turn one.

The turning-point in Button's race, though, lay just a lap later still, as at the same place he dived bravely down the inside of Hamilton and made the move stick, allowing him to set off in pursuit of the leading Toyotas. By dint of remaining out on-track significantly longer and posting some very quick lap times, he was able to leapfrog both during the first round of pit visits, and from there even extended his advantage throughout the middle stint as second-placed Trulli held the chasing pack at bay on his lesser-favoured 'prime' Bridgestone rubber.

Consistent lap times in the final stint when he switched over the medium-compound tyres were enough to maintain the Frome-born star's lead, and he went on to take the flag just over four seconds clear of Vettel for his third triumph from four starts this season. It was, by all accounts, a magnificent drive.

“It was a great race today,” Button enthused. “I'm so happy to have seen the chequered flag without a safety car or red light in front of me! To achieve my third victory of the season is amazing, and we are going back to Europe with a strong lead in both championships. I couldn't wish for anything more.

“It has been a tough weekend for the team, which makes this win even more rewarding as we didn't have the pace that we had expected. I was really happy with my first lap. I knew that I had to overtake Sebastian quickly and got him round the outside on turn one.

“I had a couple of attempts at Lewis round the first lap and almost got him at the last corner. I knew that he would pull away from me on the straight so I dropped in behind and used the tow to overtake him at turn one. It wasn't easy from there, but getting up to third on the second lap was crucial for me. Our thanks to Mercedes-Benz this weekend who have not only provided us with a powerful engine but have integrated so well with our team. You need a close-knit unit to succeed in Formula 1, and that is what we have at this team.”

The sister car of team-mate Rubens Barrichello was never quite on Button's pace during the grand prix, with an aggressive three-stop strategy failing to really pay off for the experienced Brazilian, with the 36-year-old finding himself caught up in myriad on-track battles, most notably with compatriot Nelsinho Piquet and Glock. The São Paulista secured fifth place in the final reckoning after getting the better of a late-race scrap with Glock and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

“We brought home some valuable points today,” he reflected afterwards, “but it was a tough race for me. I lost a lot of time behind Piquet after my first stop, which was a real shame as it compromised my race plan. We went for a three-stop strategy and then took the decision to come in slightly early for my second stop as I was being held up behind Hamilton.



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Rockii

April 26, 2009 9:58 PM

Fantastic 'real' victory for Jenson. Really good race. Its just proving that he is a class driver and has been waiting for the good car all along. He is a hard worker and deserves the praise. C'mon on Jens !!

Ritchie Goodrum - Unregistered

April 27, 2009 11:38 AM

Yap, u must be watching a different championship, so far it's been superb! Think u need to get ur head out of ur hoop and get used to it being a race where any team has a chance to win, true fans will be loving this year, oh and by the way, GO JENSE!



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