Brazilian Rubens Barrichello won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday in a Brawn one-two to cut team mate Jenson Button’s Formula One lead to 14 points with four races remaining.
Button returned to the podium for the first time in six races with second place, 2.8 seconds behind the veteran, with Kimi Raikkonen third for Ferrari after McLaren’s world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed on the last lap. Hamilton had started on pole position but is now mathematically out of the championship chase.
Button has 80 points to Barrichello’s 66 with Red Bull’s German driver Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber on 54 and 51.5 respectively. Hamilton has 27.
Webber was pitched out on the first lap by BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica while Vettel finished eighth. The victory, in an enthralling strategic battle played out between those on one-stop and two-stop strategies at Formula One’s fastest track, was Barrichello’s second of the season and 11th of his career.
The championship-leading Brawns, who have now won eight of 13 races and two of the last three, made just the one stop.
Hamilton pips Sutil
McLaren’s Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton seized a last-gasp pole position for the Italian Grand Prix from Force India’s Adrian Sutil on Saturday.
“It was a very close qualifying session and I’m very happy to see Adrian up here,” said the Briton of his friend and former Formula Three team mate.
“I don’t think we anticipated being as quick as we are this week, so it’s a bonus for all the team.” The pole was Hamilton’s second of the season, second in three races and 15th in 48 starts.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen will line up in third place for Sunday’s race with fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen next to him in a McLaren. Unlike Sutil, both will have the benefit of a boost at the start from their KERS energy recovery systems.
Championship leader Jenson Button qualified sixth, with Brawn GP team mate and closest title rival Rubens Barrichello alongside him in fifth place.
“The car felt good and that’s important. It’s not just qualifying, it’s the race,” said Button, who had been quickest in the second session.
The Red Bulls of Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber, respectively third and fourth in the championship, qualified ninth and 10th respectively. Britain’s Button is 16 points clear of Brazilian Barrichello with five races remaining.
Sutil’s grid position was the highest of the German’s career, with fast-improving Force India getting both their Mercedes-powered cars into the final session of qualifying for the first time.
Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, replacing compatriot Giancarlo Fisichella at the team, qualified seventh for his first race since he was at Toro Rosso in 2007.