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Mike Stevens | May 25, 2009

BRAWN GP HAS continued its dominance of Formula 1, as championship leader Jenson Button led home teammate Rubens Barrichello to cap off a stunning performance at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Starting from pole position, Button was unstoppable, inching his way around Monaco’s notoriously tight street circuit with poise to coast home for a fifth victory this season, extending his lead atop the driver’s standings to 16 points.

Former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen secured the final place on the podium with a solid drive, while fellow Ferrari driver Felipe Massa finished fourth, as the Scuderia maintains its recent rate of progress.

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However, the duo did come under significant pressure in the race’s closing stages from a rampant Mark Webber, who made a late charge for the podium on the temperamental super-soft tyres before finishing fifth.

Williams’ Nico Rosberg did little to dispel concerns over his ability to maintain a consistent pace throughout a Grand Prix, failing to capitalise on a strong start which saw him fourth before the first set of stops to slip back to sixth.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais completed the top eight, both making inroads from their starting positions.

The race wasn’t as successful however for Chinese Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel, capping off a poor weekend by crashing into the barriers at Sainte Devote while pushing hard after he was forced to pit earlier than expected with his tyres ruined.

Barrichello proved to be Button’s main rival early on, jumping past Raikkonen at the start before duelling it out with the Briton for the lead as the Brawn’s established an early advantage over the field.

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The 37-year old’s challenge faded relatively quickly though, struggling for grip as the super-soft tyres quickly deteriorated to fall back towards the chasing Raikkonen.

Button meanwhile, driving with his trademark smooth and fluid style, was able to preserve his option tyres, enabling him to maintain his intended stopping sequence and minimise the time lost on the grained rubber.

Despite playing down the significance of winning in Monaco over the weekend, Button was overjoyed to secure his first victory in the principality, surpassing his previous best result of second to Jarno Trulli in 2004.

“Wow! Winning the Monaco Grand Prix is something that you dream about as a child and as a racing driver and the reality of taking that victory just feels awesome. To win in Monaco is truly a special feeling,” he said.

“With Rubens taking a superb second place, a one-two finish for the Brawn-Mercedes team in Monaco is fantastic.

“The race felt like it went on forever and you feel that the barriers are getting closer and closer as the end of the race approaches. But for the last couple of laps, I was able to relax and really enjoy the moment.”

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