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Button seals victory in sizzling Bahrain

BRITAIN'S Jenson Button won the Bahrain Grand Prix yesterday for the Formula One championship leader's third victory in four races with newcomer Brawn GP this season.

The 29-year-old's success at Sakhir dashed Toyota's hopes of a breakthrough first win after the Japanese manufacturer had started with both its cars on the front row for the first time.

Germany's Sebastian Vettel was second for Red Bull, 7.1 seconds behind Button, with Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli finishing third from pole position.

Button, with four career wins, now has 31 points to Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello's 19 and Vettel's 18.

Brawn is well out front in the constructors' championship as well.

"To come away with the win, at this point in the season, I am chuffed to bits," said the Briton, who overtook McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton on the second lap after his compatriot had powered past at the start.

"That move really made the race for us," he said. "I had to make it stick and I did. This win for us is probably the best of the lot."

Trulli was deflated: "I'm a little bit disappointed because I was waiting for the first win for Toyota."

Champion Ferrari finally opened its account with 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen finishing sixth for the Italian team's first points of the year.

Hamilton, whose team could receive a heavy punishment at a hearing in Paris on Wednesday for lying to stewards at the Australian season-opener, took fourth place after crucially keeping Vettel behind him while Button was pulling away.

Barrichello was fifth, ahead of Raikkonen, with Toyota's Timo Glock seventh and Renault's double world champion Fernando Alonso taking the final point on a hot afternoon with air temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius.

Glock, lighter on fuel than his teammate, made the quicker start and led for the first 10 laps before pitting and handing over to Trulli.

However, Toyota's strategy to use the less-preferred medium-compound tire through the long second stint of the race handed the advantage to Button.

Button led for the first time in the race on lap 13, allowing Vettel and then Raikkonen to take brief turns at the front when he pitted, but was clearly in control for the final third of the race.

"We're going back to Europe with some very good points. Let's do it again in Barcelona," said Button, who had started fourth. The Spanish Grand Prix is next on May 10.

BMW-Sauber, which had hoped to be challenging for the title this season, had a dismal afternoon at the circuit that brought it its first pole position last year with Poland's Robert Kubica. Both cars were lapped just after the halfway mark, with Kubica 18th and Germany's Nick Heidfeld the last finisher in 19th place at the checkered flag.

Williams's Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima was the sole retirement.


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