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Formula 1 Championship Not Won Just Yet

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Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

As his teammate strode imperiously to his first victory of the Formula 1 season, Jenson Button looked anything but the driver who, supposedly, has the 2009 drivers championship sown up. Despite his 18-point lead, the championship is not yet his. 

After a recent swing to Red Bull, Valencia, with its favourable hot weather, saw the return to form of Brawn GP.

However, while Rubens Barrichello claimed his first win for the team, Jenson Button struggled after a poor qualifying display and tentative race that saw him finish half a minute behind his teammate and only net two points toward the championship. 

Button has publicly admitted he felt nerves in the summer break as he pondered the title and he knows he cannot afford such poor displays if he is to close out this championship. 

Thankfully for him, main title opponents Red Bull had a stinker in Valencia with a DNF and another engine failure for Sebastian Vettel and a non-points scoring finish for Mark Webber. 

Only teammate Barrichello and the Red Bull pair can, in theory, steal the crown from Button, but it is the return to form of the traditional Formula 1 powerhouses that makes this championship so intriguing as it approaches its conclusion. 

The rejuvenation of McLaren, from their woeful form to race winners, has been one of the most impressive in recent F1 history, and combined with the improved form of Ferrari (albeit as a one car threat while Massa is injured and without M. Schumacher in the car), the genius of Fernando Alonso, and even the odd Williams or BMW Sauber, they are breaking up the Red Bull and Brawn stranglehold of races. 

A team like McLaren for example, has the advantage of KERS, the power booster that was seen as such an impediment at the start of the season yet, when combined with a quick car, has a powerful advantage. 

KERS cars can run heavier in qualifying, allowing a great flexibility in strategy. Even if they qualify on the second or third row as a result, off the line KERS can vault them into the lead by turn one. 

With tracks such as Spa and Monza just around the corner, KERS will be critical. 

While some say the return to form of these teams only helps Button, as they will take away big points scores from the Red Bull pair, they could just as easily bury Button in the mid pack, especially if Brawns weakness in cooler conditions is exposed and Red Bull can get its act together. 

As Valencia showed, we could see huge point swings either way in this championship.

Remember, while Button has an 18-point lead over Barrichello, Webber is only a further 2.5 back with Vettel still in striking distance. 

With six races remaining, a maximum of sixty points available the championship is anything but over, especially when you throw into the mix the rejuvenated powerhouses.

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