By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Jenson Button continues his winning spree in this year’s Formula 1 season. The 29-year-old Brit claimed the Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park Circuit last Sunday, June 7th, taking the lead on the first lap and driving a strong and flawless race.
He now holds 61 points in the 2009 season, and has successfully widened the gap to 26 points between himself and the 2nd place driver, Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian, 37, is Button’s teammate in Brawn Grand Prix Formula 1 team, a debuting F1 team who is this season’s biggest sensation.
Barrichello, who has been on the GP circuit since his 1993 Kyalami debut, started the Turkish Grand Prix in 3rd position. Transmission problems in his car’s gearbox forced him to quit by the 47th lap, and he did not finish the race.
He revealed to the press at the race’s end, ” It was a difficult and immensely frustrating day for me today. We had a problem with the clutch at the start which caused the car to go into anti-stall so I wasn’t able to get off the line. That dropped me back into the pack. It was an eventful first half of the race as I tried to compensate for the problems and I had a couple of incidents with other cars. I was prepared to fight my way up the field but the damage caused to the gearbox by the problems at the start began to get worse so the team had to retire my car”.
The Red Bull Racing Team had a great performance and claimed the other two spots on the podium. While their driver, Sebastian Vettel, started in pole position, his lead lasted only until the 1st lap’s 9th curve, when the German driver slewed off the track, letting Button past.
The RBR team chose a risky 3-stop strategy for the pilot, which cost him the 2nd position, as his teammate, Mark Webber, passed him while he was at the pit stop.
The other two Brazilian drivers, Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Nelsinho Piquet (Renault) ended in the 6th and 16th positions, respectively.
The season’s next stop will be the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone. Brawn GP will have its’ first race on home turf on June 21st, and Jenson Button seems optimistic: “To go to Silverstone for our home race leading the Championships is a wonderful feeling but we know that we have to keep pushing to maintain our advantage” said the driver.
World Drivers Championship:
1— J. Button (ENG) 61 pts
2— R. Barrichello (BRA) 35 pts
3— S. Vettel (GER) 29 pts
4— M. Webber (AUS) 27,5 pts
5— J. Trulli (ITA) 19,5 pts
6— T. Glock (GER) 13 pts
7— N. Rosberg (GER) 11,5 pts
8— F. Massa (BRA) 11 pts
9— F. Alonso (SPA) 11 pts
10— K. Raikonnen (FIN) 9 pts