Brawn GP’s Jenson Button wins Turkish Grand Prix for 6th victory in 7 F1 races this season

By Paul Logothetis, Gaea News Network
Sunday, June 7, 2009

F1 leader Button wins Turkish GP for 6th victory

ISTANBUL — Jenson Button continued his dominating Formula One run at the Turkish Grand Prix, where a sixth victory in seven races propelled the Brawn GP driver closer to a championship that is his to lose.

Button overtook pole sitter Sebastian Vettel on the first lap following a mistake by the Red Bull driver and held on for a 6.7-second win over Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

Though it was close, everyone on the podium agreed: the British driver was un-catchable after getting ahead.

The title looks it, too.

“I’m in a good position, for sure,” Button said. “This race showed that we do have the best car but I think that we have the best package. Before this, I really believed the Red Bulls were on our pace, but today we were a step ahead.”

Button’s fourth straight win — the best streak by a Briton for 17 years — makes him the fifth driver to achieve six victories in a season so quickly. The previous four — Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher — all went on to win the championship.

Nigel Mansell was the last British driver to pick up four straight wins in one season on his way to the 1992 title. Button joined Mansell, Damon Hill, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and James Hunt as the only Britons to win six races in a season.

Button leads with 61 points. Teammate Rubens Barrichello, who retired after starting third, has 35 points. Vettel has 29 and Webber 27.5.

It’s an unimaginable start for a driver who languished at the back of the grid these past years, and only knew he would be racing two weeks before the start of this season after Ross Brawn bought out Honda after its December pullout.

“Every race has been pretty emotional, all the old memories come flooding back,” Button said. “We thought it was going to be a tougher battle today.”

Brawn expected Button to handle the pressure with calm.

“I think the fact that he’s been through some very tough years and knows how much he’s had to put in to get to where he is today,” the team principal said. “Jenson’s always had a nice character and it hasn’t changed at all since he started to enjoy this success and I know it won’t.”

Vettel’s slip-up coming out of turn 10, when he touched the astro turf to veer wide, gave Button an opening to pass and may have shut the door on Vettel’s chances of challenging for the title.

“It was my mistake, but I don’t think it would have made a big difference today because Jenson was just too quick,” said the 21-year-old German, the only other race winner this season. “Maybe today was the first day that Jenson showed what he could do.”

Vettel, the first driver not to win from the pole in five races at Istanbul, finished third after his team stuck to a three-stop strategy that left him without a shot of catching Button after he failed to pass in the second stint.

“I am not happy but we should be satisfied,” said Vettel, whose previous two career victories had come from the pole, although both were in rain-soaked conditions.

Webber overtook Vettel after his final stop in the closing stages for his second runner-up finish this season.

“We knew the podium was set, it was just a matter of whether it was me or Sebastian,” Webber said. “(Jenson) was on another planet. We got caned fair and square today.”

Jarno Trulli reversed Toyota’s poor performances at Barcelona and Monaco to finish fourth. Nico Rosberg of Williams was fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who had won in Istanbul the past three years.

BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica earned his first points of the season by finishing seventh. Toyota’s Timo Glock took the final point in eighth.

Barrichello retired with 11 laps left after a frustrating day that started with about a dozen cars passing him as he rolled out of the start when the anti-stall system kicked in after his clutch malfunctioned.

Lewis Hamilton, the defending F1 champion, finished 13th while two-time world champion Fernando Alonso finished 10th.

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