Formula 1: Button gets pole again, Ferrari, McLaren lag behind

April 4th, 2009 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sepang (Malaysia), April 4 (DPA) Jenson Button kept the momentum going Saturday as the Brawn GP driver got his second straight pole position of the Formula One season at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Briton Button grabbed his fifth career pole ahead of Toyota driver Jarno Trulli a week after winning the season-opening Australian GP from first place on the grid for the former Honda team.

“Two poles on the trot, I have never achieved that before. It is a great feeling and shows that the car works on different circuits,” said the 29-year-old Button.

The top teams of Ferrari and McLaren, meanwhile, lagged behind again.

Kimi Raikkonen placed ninth while Ferrari partner Felipe Massa, the 2008 pole holder in Sepang, went out in the first round in 16th place. World champion Lewis Hamilton and McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen placed a modest 13th and 14th, respectively.

Raikkonen will start from seventh place and Hamilton will move up one place on the grid because the third-placed qualifier Sebastian Vettel of Germany was docked 10 places for his role in a race collision in Australia and Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello drops from fourth to eighth over a gearbox change.

Button, meanwhile, was the pace-setter again as he clocked 1 minute 35.181 seconds for the 5.543-kilometres lap in hot and humid conditions to lead from Trulli (1:35.273) and Vettel (1:35.581).

“We didn’t really know where we were (after modest results in Friday practice). But Jenson had a great lap. Our drivers are gaining in confidence,” said team boss Ross Brawn.

Button, who led a Brawn one-two ahead of Barrichello in Melbourne, agreed: “Yesterday I was really struggling with stability. We changed a few things overnight. The car improved a lot, it was much more comfortable.”

Button will have to on his guard against the Toyota duo of Trulli and Timo Glock, who was bumped from fifth in qualifying to third on the grid over the penalties for Vettel and Barrichello.

“We got it right today … I hope for a good fight,” said Trulli.

The Italian is boosted by being reinstated as third-place finisher in Australia when Hamilton was disqualified on Thursday after being deemed to have misled race stewards over a overtaking move under safety car conditions.

Hamilton apologised Friday and McLaren sports director Dave Ryan was suspended over the issue. The mood didn’t get any brighter on Saturday due to the modest qualifying results.

Ferrari also had nothing to celebrate as the team was responsible for Massa’s early exit because it believed his result early in the first session was good enough to get to the second qualifying stage.

“We thought my time would be enough,” said the Brazilian 2008 championship runner-up, who nonetheless hopes to fight his way into the points from 16th place on the grid.

While Ferrari and McLaren aim for the first points of the season, Vettel sets his main hopes in possible rain for Sunday’s race over 56 laps to make up for his loss of 10 positions.

“I hope for rain, that will mix up things,” said German, who will start the race right behind Hamilton. “It is a shame to have plus 10. I will focus on what I am here for, to race.”

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