By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian F1 driver Rubens Barrichello scored his second victory this season at the Monza GP, last Sunday, in Italy. Merging a strong performance with great, albeit risky tactics, team Brawn GP managed to claim its fourth one-two victory of the season, as Barrichello’s teammate and season leader, Jenson Button, finished in second place.
The team chose a risky one-stop strategy with heavy fuel loads, which made their cars slower in exchange for having to stop for gas only once.
‘Rubinho’ and Button began the race in fifth and sixth positions respectively, but managed to overtake Heikki Kovalainen of the McLaren team in the first lap.
In the first lap, Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber was hit by Robert Kubica of the BMW Sauber team and forced to abandon the race, practically ruling out his chances of winning the championship this year.
With great driving and aggressive lap times, the Brawn GP cars kept up with the pace of the lighter front-runners Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonnen and Adrian Sutil. As all three racers had two-stop strategies, they entered the pitstop before Barrichello and Button. At that moment, the Brawn GP drivers took the lead. However, by the thirtieth lap they too had to enter the pitstop, and Hamilton, Raikkonen and Sutil took back the lead.
When the front-runners stopped for fuel the second time, they could not avoid losing the lead once again. After that, Barrichello and Button had just to play it safe to win the Monza GP.
The result in Monza heats up the race for the championship title, as the gap between Button and Barrichello (the two season leaders) narrows down to fourteen points. The British driver has 80 points, while the Brazilian has 66.
With four races left before the end of the season, Barrichello still has a chance of winning the title.
“Monza has always been a great track for me and it feels just wonderful to win here again. We made some great decisions this weekend, and our one-stop strategy really paid off. It’s going to be a good and healthy fight for the championship over the next few races and I’m really looking forward to that. Two wins in three races is pretty good going and I’ll be giving it my all,” said Rubens, who scored his career’s eleventh victory, equaling Felipe Massa’s tally.
Brawn GP leads the Constructors’ Championship with 146 points, 40.5 points ahead of second place, Red Bull Racing.
The next stop of the Formula 1 Season will be the Singapore GP, to be followed by the Japanese GP in Suzuka, the Brazilian GP in São Paulo and the Abu Dhabi GP, in the United Arab Emirates. The racing dates are September 27, October 4 and 18 and November 1, respectively.