Rubens Barrichello finished today’s thrilling Monaco Grand Prix in fourth place. It was his best result of the year for the Honda Racing F1 Team, but it could have been even better had he not had a drive through penalty late in the race.
Jenson Button, by contrast, endured a difficult afternoon. He never really recovered from his 13th position on the grid and he came home in 11th place.
At the start, Rubens converted his fifth position on the grid. He tucked in behind Juan Pablo Montoya and ahead of Jarno Trulli, and he drove consistently prior to his first – and only scheduled – pitstop of the race on lap 45.
Trulli pitted on the same lap as Rubens and the Honda Racing F1 Team pit crew did a fantastic stop to ensure their man stayed ahead.
Jenson drove a solid opening stint, but his pace was dictated by the slower cars ahead of him. At the start he dropped to 15th place and he had a good dice with Michael Schumacher, until the seven-time world champion passed him into the chicane on lap 20. Jenson made his only scheduled pitstop on lap 42.
On lap 48, the field closed up behind the Safety Car, which had been deployed because of Mark Webber’s stricken Williams on the exit of Sainte Devote. And it was behind the Safety Car that Kimi Raikkonen’s engine failed, so both Honda Racing F1 Team drivers gained two places in the space of two laps.
When the race re-started, Rubens looked set for third place until he was penalised for speeding in the pitlane and had to pit for his drive-through penalty. He dropped to fifth, but when Trulli retired on lap 74 he inherited fourth place, and by the chequered flag he was just one second behind third-placed David Coulthard.
The Honda Racing F1 Team now moves to Barcelona in Spain for a test session ahead of the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.