By Alex Kapadia
It looks like Jenson Button may have got the 2009 Formula One season all wrapped up – with much of his success down to his handling of the new slick tyres.
His smooth driving style means the Brawn GP driving ace can get the most out of his tyres – especially the super soft compounds.
Apparently, Button was baffled on the grid when most teams removed the tyre warmers to show the harder of the two tyre compounds.
He said the Brawn team had not thought twice about any other strategy.
Yet only three others joined them on super softs – Lewis Hamilton gambling on an all-out attacking first stint from the back, Sebastien Vettel, whose light Red Bull failed to secure the grid spot expected of it, and Adrian Sutil’s Force India, who started from 15th on the grid.
The super softs allowed Button to cancel out any opportunity second-placed Kimi Raikkonen may have thought he had to use his Ferrari’s KERS boost to overtake on the opening lap – but after Barrichello had used the super softs’ extra pace to pass Raikkonen off the line, it was the way Button mastered this opening stint that won him the race.
The super soft tyres get faster lap after lap for the opening few laps before levelling off on a plateau and then going off and deteriorating rapidly.
But it’s Button’s ability to get more pace out of the tyres before the plateau and extend the plateau for a greater number of laps before the tyres go off that has made him the master of these short soft tyre stints.