THE BATTLE for the drivers’ championship seems certain to be a duel between colleagues Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello after another Brawn GP one-two at yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix.<br /><br />Barrichello took the chequered flag at Monza to cut Button’s lead to 14 points but, with just four races of the season remaining, the pair look to be too far ahead of the rest of the pack. Red Bull’s Sebastien Vettel could only manage eighth place, meaning he trails Button by 26 points, while his team-mate Mark Webber’s first-lap crash leaves him 28.5 points adrift of the Englishman.<br /><br />Defending champion Lewis Hamilton’s challenge is officially over, meanwhile, after his spin on the last lap saw him finish 12th, despite starting on pole and leading for much of the race.<br /><br />Hamilton’s late woe was warmly welcomed by the Italian crowd, however, since it elevated Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen into a podium position at the team’s home track. Force India’s Adrian Sutil took a surprise fourth place, and his first points for the team, while Renault’s Fernando Alonso pushed hard to claim fifth.<br /><br />With Hamilton on pole on a track notorious for frustrating overtakers, and determined to finish the season as strongly as possible, an intriguing race was in prospect.<br /><br />But while McLaren had sent him out with a two-stop strategy, the Brawn pair started with enough fuel to make just one stop each. And once Hamilton emerged from the pit for a second time narrowly behind Barrichello and Button, it was destined to be a Brawn victory.<br /><br />Showing the competitiveness that made him the sport’s youngest ever champion last year, Hamilton chased Button hard and cut his lead to one second. But his aggression came at a price, the Englishman losing control of his car on the final lap and being classified 12th.<br /><br />Barrichello ultimately opened up a comfortable lead over his colleague and title rival Button, finishing almost three seconds before him. Brawn’s fourth one-two of a staggering debut season also increased their lead over Red Bull in the constructors’ standings to 40.5 points.