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September 10, 2009

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Fisichella adds to pressure on Button

ALREADY accused of buckling under the pressure, Formula One leader Jenson Button has the added strain of racing against a fired-up Giancarlo Fisichella at Monza on Sunday.

Champion Ferrari made one of Fisichella's dreams come true when it drafted in the Roman as a replacement for compatriot Luca Badoer, himself standing in for injured Brazilian Felipe Massa, last week.

Fisichella, 36, was not even born when an Italian driver last won his home grand prix at Monza but he has the chance of realizing another lifelong ambition now.

He will have the crowd behind him, a burning desire to show that he still has what it takes after all these years and a car equipped with the KERS energy recovery system that Button's Brawn lacks.

"It will be an incredible weekend, with lots of pressure but it's a pressure that will give me a push forward," Fisichella told Italy's Sky Sports television.

"I know Monza well, I've been racing there since 1992 when I was in F3. It's a track that allows you to think about what to do before braking for a turn because of the quick straights. That helps me a bit."

The last Italian driver to win a grand prix at Monza was Ludovico Scarfiotti with Ferrari in 1966, although Italian-born American Mario Andretti triumphed with Lotus in 1977. Fisichella finished third with Renault in 2005.

Whatever happens in the last European grand prix of the season, Button will head for Singapore as championship leader. He has a 16-point lead over Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello but the air of confidence is starting to crack.

After winning six of the first seven races, the Briton has taken just 11 points from his last five races compared to Barrichello's 21.

Button's problem is that there are now an increasing number of rivals, including Fisichella, capable of keeping him off the podium.

Two of the last three races have been won by KERS cars.


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