Räikkönen back on the podium, but Brawns dominate again in Monaco
Jenson Button chalks up fifth win and F1 season looks to be over before it has really begun
Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) made a welcome return to the podium in Monaco after a dismal start to the season, but could do no better than 3rd place behind the Brawn pairing of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.
Button, who was also the fastest in qualifying, had no trouble staying out in front and won by just under 8 seconds in a somewhat tedious race.
Räikkönen qualified in 2nd, but was beaten into the first corner by Barrichello, and was unable to pass the Brazilian, even during a regular pit-stop on the 50th lap.
Button has won five of the first six races of the season, and is the runaway leader in the drivers' championship with 51 points to team-mate Barrichello's 35.
The Brawn team are naturally streets ahead of their nearest rivals, and there are fears that the Formula One titles are all but decided with only one third of the season's 17 Grands Prix having been raced.
Finnish McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen continued his run of poor form with a crash on the 52nd lap when he was running quite well and in with a chance of scoring a few points.
Nico Rosberg brought his Williams home in sixth, but last year's World Champion Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) will certainly have his work cut out to retain his title, as once again he finished out of the points.
Hamilton's race was already blighted by a crash in qualifying that put him near the back of the grid, and he could finish no better than 12th.
For the Ferraris, Monaco did at least mark some kind of improvement.
With Räikkönen third and Felipe Massa fourth, the team more than doubled its points total for the season.
Even so, they now have only 17 points from six races, compared with the 86 racked up by Brawn.
Räikkönen is 8th in the drivers' standings with a meagre nine points, while Rosberg has 7.5 points and Heikki Kovalainen just four.
It is proving to be a strange Formula One season, and if the results continue in this vein, the big constructors' names like Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams may have nothing to fight for by July, let alone when things wrap up in the autumn.
Jenson Button's name has already been pencilled in for the drivers' title, since his only half-serious rival is his own team-mate Barrichello.
Sebastian Vettel of Germany (Red Bull) is third on 23 points.
Vettel, the winner in the wet in China in April, slid into the barriers and retired on Lap 15.
The next race will be the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul on June 7th.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Formula One: Slimmed and trimmed Kimi Räikkönen in best shape of his life (25.3.2009)
2009 Monaco Grand Prix (Wikipedia)