It started badly and didn't get better, says Button

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The Independent Online

There isn't a lot of humour in Formula One these days, as Rubens Barrichello demonstrated yesterday, but his countryman Felipe Massa managed to maintain a smile, even when Sebastian Vettel kept referring to his Ferrari's Kers and its "special button".

The Brazilian had just taken his first podium of the season after a few wheel-banging moments with Vettel. "It was hard but fair, and we are all racing," he said, turning to the German to add: "Kers can help to keep a position or maybe overtake, but if you want to swap my Kers for a bit of your downforce, I will change very quickly."

For the second race in a row, Jenson Button was missing from the podium. "All points are valuable," he said after taking four for fifth place, "but my race started badly and didn't get much better. I had a poor start to drop back to fifth and was able to get ahead of Massa at the start of the second lap but just couldn't get past [Heikki] Kovalainen.

"We struggled with graining and tyre degradation, with neither the prime nor the option tyres working well. The problem with the fuel rig at Rubens' second stop also affected my race as we were so close on the track and he was struggling on the prime. It's been a tough, disappointing day."

Button's compatriot Lewis Hamilton reminded everyone he has not forgotten how to race, by boiling through to a fractional lead – albeit on the outside – as the field rocketed into the first corner. Unfortunately, Webber tagged his right rear tyre with his front wing, and the puncture dropped the world champion to the back of the field for the rest of the day. The incident also damaged his McLaren, stealing downforce.

"My race was effectively over at the start," he said. "I had quite a good launch down to turn one, and I was braking when I felt a tap from the rear and went straight on. The flat tyre then damaged the rear floor and it felt like I was driving on ice. I suggested to the team that we save the engine and gearbox for the future because there's a lot more potential ahead of us than we'd anticipated before this weekend."

There was also a sob story for Force India driver Adrian Sutil, who qualified seventh and was second before his pit stop. Unfortunately he picked a fight with Kimi Raikkonen as he rejoined, damaging his front wing and necessitating another stop that ended any chance of points.

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