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Sport – Button can celebrate Brawn title double

SAO PAULO: A year on from his Interlagos agony, local hero Felipe Massa may find himself bringing down the chequered flag on more Brazilian
heartbreak and another British Formula One champion on Sunday.

Brawn’s Jenson Button need only finish third in the Brazilian Grand Prix to take the title and end the hopes of team mate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel with a race to spare.

He may not even need any points if the others slip up. Button is 14 clear of Brazilian Barrichello, the oldest man on the starting grid at 37, and 16 ahead of third-placed German Vettel.

Brawn, who must carefully manage the tension between their drivers, will become the first team to take the constructors’ title in their first full season — unless the unthinkable happens and they draw a blank while Red Bull finish one-two.

Ferrari’s Massa, who will not be racing due to the serious head injuries he suffered in Hungary in July, won his home grand prix last year but lost out on the title by a single point to Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.

The Brazilian, who had the crown in his grasp until Hamilton seized the fifth place he needed on the last corner of the last lap, has been invited to wave the chequered flag this time.

He will be hoping it is Barrichello he welcomes first but a victory for the only Brazilian in the race, following Massa’s injury and the departure under a cloud of Nelson Piquet junior, may be bittersweet.


Button knows only too well that Brazil has a reputation for shocks and surprises, with torrential rain occasionally thrown in, and a fanatical home crowd who will hardly make him welcome.

Hamilton could be his secret weapon. The Briton is eager to win in Brazil after his past troubles there and a victory by the 24-year-old, who won in Hungary and Singapore, would make Button’s task easier by taking points from rivals who need to score big.

“Travelling to Sao Paulo this year with our focus solely on achieving the very best result will allow us to attack the race weekend without any additional considerations,” said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Button toiled to eighth place 10 days ago in a Japanese Grand Prix dominated by Vettel and he recognised he still had a fight on his hands.

“Sebastian is quick and the Red Bull seems very quick…so they will be difficult to beat. And Rubens is always quick there so it is going to be a challenging weekend, but a fun weekend as well,” he said.

Barrichello must go all out for victory. He has never won at Interlagos but he needs to now more than ever: “I’ve got to win, win big time,” he said.

Vettel’s approach will be just as straightforward.

“We can just throw caution to the wind and go for it,” said team boss Christian Horner. “It’s still a mountain to climb but we have nothing to lose.”

Ferrari’s former champion Michael Schumacher believes Vettel still has everything to fight for.

“It is not over until it is over; you have to fight until the end,” the German said on his website. “Mathematically everything is still possible and I will keep my fingers crossed for him.”


October 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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