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GP Week : Issue 49
>>F1TURKEY T HE final onboard laps of the Turkish Grand Prix showed just how easy the race win had been for Jenson Button. Rising over the crest of the hill after Turn 11 and heading down to Turn 12, his engine note descended gradually, smoothly falling through the octaves. Lifting half way down the straight, his speed had dropped so much that by the turn-in point he barely needed to brake. He wasn’t just cruising; he was coasting around the track to another meteoric victory. Button would admit after the race he’d wanted to get on the radio towards the end and tell his team how utterly incredible the car was to drive … but he hadn’t wanted to tempt fate. After so many years of struggling, he’s learned that in this sport certainties simply don’t exist. The fact that the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel had taken pole highlighted that fact. The German put in an astonishing lap to seal the top spot on the grid, and even when the fuel levels were published the Brawns, who had taken second and third, had good reason to be worried. With Mark Webber in fourth on the grid they were in a Red Bull sandwich, and the blue cars were looking very racey indeed. Which is why the race will have come as the most enormous slap in the chops for them. Red Bull genuinely thought it was in with a shout at the race win, but when Vettel’s RB5 twitched on the exit of Turn 10 on the very first lap, and Jenson Button flew through into a lead he never looked like losing, reality set in hard. On a heavier fuel load he easily pulled out an advantage and left the German in his wake. Had he held the lead, Vettel’s three stop strategy may just have worked out. As it was it dropped him out of contention and handed second position to his team-mate Mark Webber, who had taken full advantage of third-place starter Rubens Barrichello’s disastrous race and had emerged victorious in an opening lap fight with Jarno Trulli to sit third in the early running. On the same strategy as the race winner, Webber eventually came home just 6.7s behind the championship leader. Fourth went to Trulli, who had a much better weekend in the Toyota and held off the advances of Nico Rosberg in the final laps leaving him fifth. Sixth went to Felipe Massa who had a fairly quiet afternoon, with Robert Kubica taking his first points of the season in seventh and Timo Glock eighth after starting 13th. For the race winner’s team-mate it was an afternoon to forget. A shocking start was compounded with an equally appalling race. Kovalainen toughed it out with Barichello, leaving the Brazilian facing the wrong way, and when he came up to try and overtake Adrian Sutil, he managed to break his front wing. He eventually called it quits on lap 47 to record BrawnGP’s first ever F1 retirement. Button, however, is on a roll. He’s in the form of his life, racing with confidence, racing for fun, and racing for the World Championship. He’s had the best car all year, but after this weekend he reckons it is perfect. Be afraid. Be very afraid. 29