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Button wins Spanish Grand Prix but Barrichello fumes

FORMULA One leader Jenson Button banked his fourth victory in five races yesterday after a Spanish Grand Prix strategy switch that stunned his downcast Brawn GP teammate Rubens Barrichello.

"I feel like I'm on top of the world at the moment," said Button, now 14 points clear of the Brazilian in the championship.

For the ninth year in a row, victory at the Circuit de Catalunya went to the driver on pole position with the Briton taking the checkered flag 13.0 seconds ahead of Barrichello for Brawn's second one-two of the season.

The Brazilian had seized the lead at the start and was dreaming of his first win since 2004 when the Mercedes-powered team switched Button from a three-stop strategy to what turned out to be a quicker two stops.

Barrichello, who stayed on three stops, looked like his world had been shattered.

"I can't believe how I lost that," the 36-year-old said, adding later that he wanted to know why the team had made the sudden decision to change the strategy while keeping him on three stops.

"I'm disappointed I haven't won the race because I thought I had it in the bag today."

Barrichello started well but then said he could barely keep the car on the track over the last stint as Button pulled away. "My third set of tires was not good ... I couldn't keep my pace up. From there on it was a struggle, a big struggle to keep the car on the track," said the Brazilian, whose last race win came at the Chinese GP in 2004.

Button commiserated and said he had not requested the change. Barrichello was asked if he would ever repeat what happened at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, when he followed Ferrari team orders and allowed seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher to pass on the final straight for a victory that helped him in his title bid.

"If that happens I won't follow any team orders any more," Barrichello said. "I'm making it clear now so everyone knows."

Australian Mark Webber was third for Red Bull, his second podium finish of the season coming on the 50th anniversary of his compatriot Jack Brabham's first victory in F1, ahead of German teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Spain's Fernando Alonso had the home crowd roaring when he snatched fifth place on the final lap from Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil.

Massa, who led for a lap after the first pitstops, had to slow in the closing laps to save fuel with the team warning him that he risked not making it to the finish. The three points were the first of the season for last year's overall runner-up, who had to walk back to the pits after his car crawled across the line.

Germans Nick Heidfeld in a BMW-Sauber and Nico Rosberg for Williams were seventh and eighth, respectively, in the first race in Europe this year.

Ferrari's 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, last year's winner in Barcelona, retired after less than a third of the race while McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton was ninth and lapped by his winning compatriot.

The safety car was deployed for four laps after a pile-up involving Toyota's Jarno Trulli, both Toro Rosso drivers and Force India's Adrian Sutil as the field powered through the second corner.

Button leads with 41 points, Barrichello has 27 and Vettel 23.


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