Button Scores First Career Win in Monaco
Button got off to a perfect start on Sunday, leading the field at the first corner ahead of Barrichello. The Brazilian managed to pass 2nd place on the grid Kimi Raikkonen and it seemed the two BGP 001s will have no problem getting away from the pack in the upcoming laps. It wasn’t going to be like that, though, as Raikkonen stayed close to Rubens until the first pit stop.
In the back, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel’s tire wear problems led to a group of no less than 8 drivers compressing within less than 3 seconds. Felipe Massa desperately tried to get past the German driver in order to start his assault on the podium positions, but his short-cutting the chicane at the end of the tunnel only caused him to drop one place to Nico Rosberg.
Vettel soon pitted for new tires, only to call it a day a few laps later, when losing control of his car and hitting the tire barriers.
The first round of pit stops certainly benefited Ferrari, as Massa managed to get in front of Rosberg and started closing the gap on 3rd placed and teammate Raikkonen. The two Ferrari drivers pushed hard for some quick laps midway through the race, which practically neutralized the 3-to-4 seconds difference between them.
The second pit stops brought nothing new to the table, except for Rosberg dropping a further place in the standings to RBR’s Mark Webber. Button cruised to the chequered flag ahead of Barrichello, with the Ferrari duo Raikkonen/Massa finishing in 3rd and 4th respectively. Webber completed the Top 5.
Alonso’s late efforts to catch Rosberg for 6th place served for nothing, as the 2-time world champion had to settle for 7th place. The last driver making the scoreboard in Monaco was STR’s Sebastien Buemi, who made perfect use of his one-pit-stop strategy to bring home the lastpoint remaining.
McLaren had an awful Sunday in the Principality, with Lewis Hamilton being stuck in traffic in the rear of the field and lacking pace all day, and teammate Heikki Kovalainen losing control of his MP4-24 and crashing into the barriers on Lap 52. Toyota and BMW also struggled during the Sunday race, as their drivers spent most of the race in the back of the field.
Soon after crossing the finish line, Button decided to celebrate his maiden Monaco win a bit differently, as he preferred to wave the fans while actually running down the Monte Carlo roads, rather than drive around in his winning BGP 001. The Briton, scoring his 5-out-of-6 win his season, is now leading the world championship by a massive 16 points to Barrichello, while point-less Sebastian Vettel is still in 3rd place.