2009 Monaco GP: Hat-Trick Button Secures Stunning Victory
Let's flashback to the past real fast.
Hungary, 2006: The moment Jenson Button secured his first victory in Formula One.
Three years later and Button is again winning races, but a lot more of them.
Monaco, 2009: Button exits the race with three straight victories, tallying five wins in six races for Brawn so far this season. His domination early in the season is reminiscent of Michael Schumacher and several other famous Formula One drivers.
Unfortunately, the race around the glamorous streets of Monte Carlo gave spectacle to a rather mediocre race, with very little overtaking. Incidents were scarce, but did provide some interesting twists to the championship.
However, it was all about Button and Brawn GP, as Ross Brawn's team gained their third one-two result of the season.
Button drove a dominating race, untouchable from the very beginning to the end. His smooth style of driving gave him a huge advantage over teammate Rubens Barrichello in the early stages of the race.
The tires that were used at Monaco were the harder compound, as they were more durable and lasted longer. Both Brawn machines started on the super-soft compound, therefore Barrichello's more aggressive approach to racing wore his tires down quicker than Button's.
As was the case, Barrichello pitted earlier than expected, whereas Button stayed out much longer, gaining some major distance over his teammate while low on fuel.
Before his tires wore down too much, Barrichello looked to be Button's only threat, but from then on Button had no equal on the track and continued to cruise to his victory after 78 laps of the tough and twisty streets of Monaco. Barrichello finished second.
Throughout the grid, there were mixed fortunes for all the drivers and teams, with Ferrari making the biggest impact of them all. Kimi Raikkonen finished in third, marking the first podium of 2009 for Ferrari, with Felipe Massa just behind. Raikkonen also had the fastest lap of the race with a one minute, 15.154 seconds lap.
Demonstrating a vast improvement, Ferrari looked set to continue to work towards their first victory of the season.
The same can be said for Nico Rosberg, who drove a very good race, even overtaking Massa in the early stages and finishing in the points. His teammate, however, did not finish the race, crashing on the last lap of the race at Mirabeau.
It was a similar story for Red Bull, as Mark Webber finished in a convincing fifth place, with Sebastian Vettel crashing into the barrier at Sainte Devote early in the race.
The trend continued with Renault and Toro Rosso, with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Bourdais finishing in the points, and both of their teammates retiring.
Sebastian Buemi braked too late going into Sainte Devote, and ended up pushing Nelson Piquet's car into the barrier with him. It was a big blow for the struggling Renault driver who looked set to finish somewhere in the points.
Force India had a great weekend, with their drivers finishing ninth and 14th. Vijay Maliya's team made good progress.
On the other side of the spectrum, McLaren had a promising start to the weekend, which turned out to be abysmal in the end. Lewis Hamilton's incident at Mirabeau in qualifying started off his misfortune as his crash had him starting at the very back of the grid. He could only muster a 12th-place finish this year at Monaco. His 2009 race had a very different scenario than the one last year.
Heikki Kovalainen looked to get some points, but spun at the swimming pool chicane, putting himself into the barrier and out of the race. It was a weekend to be forgotten by the Woking based team.
The top eight finishers (in order) were: Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Massa, Webber, Rosberg, Alonso and Bourdais.
With Monaco under his belt now, Jenson Button will surely be looking forward to his home Grand Prix at Silverstone in two races time, and perhaps this year he will finally secure a victory there.
However, it's on to Istanbul first for the Turkish Grand Prix in two weeks.
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