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September 14, 2009

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Barrichello leads Brawn 1-2

RUBENS Barrichello picked up his second win in three races to lead a Brawn GP 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix yesterday.

Barrichello and teammate Jenson Button both passed the top three thanks to one-stop strategies to lead the sweep at the Monza circuit.

The former Ferrari driver, coming off his first victory in five years at Valencia last month, shaved two points off of Button's overall Formula One championship lead by getting within 14 points with four races remaining.

Lewis Hamilton of McLaren crashed on his final lap while running third, allowing Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium at Ferrari's home race.

Red Bull's title hopes were hanging by a thread after Mark Webber crashed on the opening lap and Sebastian Vettel finished eighth.

Webber, who started 10th, went off at the Della Roggia turn after tangling with Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber to see his deficit to Button stretched to 28.5 points, while Vettel is now 26 points behind the Briton.

"It gives it a blow for sure," Webber said of his title chances. "I haven't scored points in three races."

Button has 80 points, Barrichello has 66, Vettel - who won in the rain here last year - 54 and Webber 51.5. Brawn GP leads Red Bull by 40.5 points in the constructors' series.

Hamilton was heading for a third top-three finish in four races before spinning out at the high-speed Curva di Lesmo corner.

Giancarlo Fisichella finished ninth in his Ferrari debut after replacing Luca Badoer, whose two last-place finishes as Felipe Massa's substitute had prompted a switch.

Raikkonen passed Force India's Adrian Sutil, who started second, going into the opening Del Rettifilo corner while Barrichello, Button and Tonio Liuzzi all pushed ahead of Heikki Kovalainen, who would finish sixth after starting fourth for McLaren.

Hamilton, on a two-stop strategy like Raikkonen and Sutil, had built a near 15-second lead over Barrichello by his pit after 15 laps for a 3.7-second advantage over Raikkonen and 4.7 on Sutil, and would drop to third behind the Brawns after his stop right afterwards.

Sutil finished fourth to pick up his first F1 points, Fernando Alonso of Renault was fifth and BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was seventh.


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