By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – This year’s Formula 1 season has already thrown up some major surprises and the amazing performances of the new Brawn GP team and main driver Jenson Button are unquestionably among the most talked about events in F1 in the last few years.
The Brawn team emerged this season after Honda’s crew went bankrupt and was bought by their ex-technical director Ross Brawn. Never before has a new team made such an impact in their first season. Out of the six races disputed so far in this season, Brawn have won five of them, and currently hold the top two positions in the Driver’s Championship.
Their main driver, the Englishman Jenson Button, was always a competitive racer but in the last three seasons for the Honda team ended up in 6th, 15th and 18th positions respectively. On the cusp of becoming a forgotten driver, no one could have predicted he would have such an amazing start in the 2009 season.
Button himself has won five of the six races disputed so far, accumulating 51 points, 16 more than Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, his Brawn teammate who lies second. Third place currently belongs to the German Sebastian Vettel, from the Red Bull Racing Team, with 23 points.
The Monaco GP disputed last Sunday, May 24th, was another indication of Brawn GP and Jenson Button’s superiority this year. Starting in pole-position, he managed to maintain 1st place throughout the whole race without ever being threatened by the man behind him, Rubens Barichello.
Barichello had started in third position on the grid, but passed Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonnen on the first lap. That remained the order on a circuit notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities, giving Ferrari their first podium this season. Brazilian Felipe Massa, his Ferrari teammate, took fourth place, with Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber finishing in fifth.
The other Brazilian in this year’s season, Renault’s Nelsinho Piquet, abandoned the race on the 13th lap after an accident with STR’s Sebastien Buemi. The Brazilian complained about Buemi’s , saying; “This is what happens when you hire an inexperienced driver”, for this is Buemi’s first season in F1, “I was stopping him from passing me, and he hit me in the rear with full power. He was irresponsible, I had to abandon the race and almost hurt my neck.” After the race, Buemi apologized to Piquet.
The next Grand Prix will be held in Istanbul on June 7th, with Button hoping to secure another podium finish as the first half of the 2009 season nears its end.