Alonso was unsurprisingly the first of the front-runners to pit from seventh place on lap 14 of 58, as Button extended his lead over Vettel to 5.6 seconds – and the latter was pit-bound on lap 15, with Red Bull aggressively short-fuelling its leading driver as it attempted to minimise the amount of time he would have to spend on the softer-compound Bridgestone rubber later on.
Trulli was next to blink, followed by Button, who comfortably rejoined ahead of Vettel, promoting Webber into the lead from Rosberg, who both pitted next time around. There was bad news for the Australian, who took to the track again right in the wheeltracks of the heavily-fuelled Kubica, but better news for Rosberg, who jumped Trulli by dint of a mistake in the pits by the Italian when he missed his markers.
With Button on a heavy middle stint, the lighter-fuelled Vettel set off in search of the lead, whittling down the gap in the knowledge that he would need to pass the Brawn on the track and then stop once more than the world championship leader if he was to resurrect his fading chances of victory. Five seconds apart immediately following the pit-stops, Vettel quickly halved that deficit – and before long there was nothing in it at all.
The dirty air of the Brawn's slipstream, though, would count against the man from Heppenheim, as he suddenly found his progress stunted. A mistake from Button in the final corner almost gave Vettel the break he needed, but a move was not made, and when the sport's youngest-ever grand prix winner pitted for the second time exactly halfway into the race, the duel for the lead was all-but over. With Button immediately proceeding to up the ante in terms of lap time, now the question had switched to which of the Red Bulls would wind up as runner-up.
Nakajima pitted from fourth following a long opening stint in the Williams as the Grove-based outfit eyed its first double points finish of the year, as some way further down there was a good battle going on with Hamilton forcing his way past the struggling Raikkonen, but whilst the pair might have been duelling for the top spot this time last year, twelve months on their scrap was over just 13th place...
With 24 laps left to run, Button had extended his lead over Webber in second to almost 18 seconds as Brawn broke Red Bull's spirit, with third-placed Vettel similarly making no gains behind, and Rosberg not entirely out of the picture in fourth and beginning to close with his own personal best lap time. Trulli, too, was continuing to hold a steady watching brief in fifth.
Rosberg, though, became the first of the leading runners to pit to change over onto the softer rubber with 18 laps left to run, and in running longer, Trulli would reclaim the place from the Williams when the Italian made his own stop a handful of laps later. There was further bad news for the former multiple world champions as Nakajima – who had performed superbly to haul himself up into the points on his long first stint – suffered a delay in changing his tyres second time around, dropping the unfortunate Japanese ace some way down the order.
With Webber's second stop allowing Vettel back into P2, the pressure was on the latter again to push if he was to remain ahead after his third and final stop – and the 21-year-old was flying, taking as much as seven tenths of a second out of Button per lap. With ten laps to go, he was in for a quick splash n' dash, but Webber was through – and the damage was done.
Barrichello pulling into the pits to register Brawn's first retirement of the season may have put a slight downer on what was another otherwise impeccable day for the ex-Honda F1 outfit, with Button motoring serenely on to his sixth triumph of a peerless campaign, but over at Red Bull there was less composure, with Vettel's continued push inexorably reducing the gap between himself and second-placed Webber as the laps ticked down. The duel, though, was soon called off, with a disgruntled Vettel being told over the team radio not to challenge his 'faster' team-mate.
That saw the status quo
of Button-Webber-Vettel preserved right the way to the chequered flag, with Trulli helping to banish Toyota's Monaco misery with a strong fourth and Rosberg taking his best result of the season to-date in fifth. Massa's Istanbul reign ended with a distant sixth, as Kubica narrowly held off Glock for seventh, with the latter having been aided along the way by some clever Toyota strategy as the Cologne-based concern freed the young German up from team-mate Trulli towards the end of his long first stint to enable him to make up some valuable ground.