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GP Week : Issue 43
>>F1BAHRAIN and Red Bull teams, which had looked for much of the early running to be the class of the weekend, with a faultless race that has laid down a bold marker as to his championship aspirations. Having locked out their first ever all-Toyota front row in qualifying, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock made good starts as the lights went out, but it was the German who had the edge into the first corner and took the lead of the Grand Prix. Fuelled lighter than their rivals, it was always clear that the Toyotas would pull away in the early laps if they held their positions, and that is exactly how it played out. Behind them Lewis Hamilton had made a fantastic start, utilising his KERS to move up to third at the first corner. But a stunning battle with Jenson Button saw the Brawn driver outsmart the World Champion in a brave move up the inside of Turn 1 at the start of the second lap, and set in motion Button’s ultimate victory. Hamilton slipped to fourth, with China Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel tucked up behind him. The Toyotas were the first to pit, followed by the Brawns and Hamilton, and it was the second stint that cost Toyota dearly. The duo switched onto the harder tyre and struggled for grip. With Button keeping the softer rubber he was able to pump in some great laps in clear air. Vettel stayed out until the 20th lap and when he emerged from his first stop the order saw Button leading from Trulli, Vettel, Hamilton and Barrichello. By now Glock was struggling on his harder tyres and looked I well out of contention for the win as he struggled to keep Raikkonen’s KERS-enabled Ferrari behind him. It was all about Button, Trulli and Vettel, and the middle stint was the one in which Jenson established the dominance that would net him victory. When the second pitstops had played out Button had maintained his lead, but Vettel and Trulli had switched positions, and despite Trulli now finding himself back on the softer rubber while Vettel had to make do with the harder option, the Italian simply could not find a way past. It finished with Button easing off over the final laps with his ultimate lead reduced to 7s over the line, signalling a disproportionate gap to Vettel than the British driver’s peerless race had merited. Trulli came home third for yet another Toyota podium, while Lewis Hamilton took his best result of the season in fourth. Rubens Barrichello came home fifth after a race that had been affected by the choice of a three stop strategy, while Kimi Raikkonen was a happy sixth to record Ferrari’s first points of 2009. Timo Glock ended up a disappointed seventh, while a dehydrated Fernando Alonso battled his way to an exhausted eighth place. The BrawnGP car may have lost some ground to its rivals over a qualifying run then, but in race trim and under the guidance of Jenson Button, it shows no sign of giving its rivals an easy time. With a major development expected in two weeks’time in Barcelona, the signs are all there that BrawnGP and Jenson Button’s early race successes were no fluke. They’re fast, reliable and, at the moment, the undeniable class act of 2009. 27 T was by no means the most exciting race in history, but Jenson Button’s drive to his third victory of 2009 was nothing short of stunning. The Briton overcame the threat of both the Toyota