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GP Week : Issue 45
> F1SPAIN> in a row we’ve seen such a statistic play out, but the manner in which the race unfolded wasn’t as simple as a straight lights-to-flag canter. Jenson Button had taken pole on Saturday with a simply outstanding lap. He crossed the line to start his final flyer with just two seconds of the session remaining, and put in one of his most committed and faultless qualifying laps of the season to steal top spot away from the rampantly fast Sebastian Vettel. With team-mate Rubens Barrichello in third, both Brawns would start on the clean side of the circuit. And it was Barrichello who made the best use of P that clean-side advantage. Off the line the Brawns battled into Turn 1, with the Brazilian winning out to take the lead. Behind them, Vettel slipped from second to fourth as the KERS-enabled Ferrari of Felipe Massa squeezed through into third. Behind them it all kicked off, as Jarno Trulli was edged onto the gravel at Turn 2, spinning back onto the track in front of the rear half of the grid. He collected Adrian Sutil as the Toro Rossos collected each other in avoidance of the accident, and what could have been a very nasty shunt ended with no more than bruised egos. The Safety Car was brought out but on lap five we were racing again. Button was unable to make a move on Barrichello, but at the first round of pit-stops the team opted to change the Briton’s strategy and take him off a three- stop race and onto a two-stopper. When Barrichello took his first stop, the refuelling time was enough to let everyone know they hadn’t done the same for him, and so it was that, with one extra pit-stop to contend with, Barrichello ultimately lost out on a win which, by rights, should have been his. Vettel’s poor start had seen him get stuck behind what turned out to be a none-too-racey Massa, and at the final pit-stop Mark Webber – who had elected to run a long, heavier second stint on the soft rubber – was able to jump past them both and up into third. The Australian had been involved in a thrilling Turn 1 muscle-contest with Alonso on the Safety Car restart, showing once again that he’s returned to F1 in 2009 with an almighty set of kahunas. With three laps to go the order looked settled – until Massa was given the bad news to slow and conserve fuel. That allowed Vettel up into fourth and, on the final lap Fernando Alonso, in front of a disappointingly small home crowd, got them all on their feet as he flew past the Brazilian and into fifth. Massa wrapped up sixth with Heidfeld seventh and Nico Rosberg eighth. The result sees Button extend his championship lead on 41 points to Barrichello’s 27. Vettel is third on 23 with Webber now fourth on 15.5. In the constructors championship BrawnGP’s 68 points puts them almost 30 ahead of Red Bull on 38.5, with Toyota holding third on 26.5 after a disappointing weekend in Spain. 27 OLE to victory; it’s not an unfamiliar result at the Circuit de Catalunya. Indeed, the 2009 result was the ninth time