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F1 NEWS 

Brawn insists competition is close

Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn played down his squad's margin of superiority in Australia, saying that Red Bull and BMW are also right on the pace.

Although Brawn took a one-two in Melbourne with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and BMW's Robert Kubica were battling for second and third just a few seconds behind Button when they collided with three laps to go.

Brawn confirmed that he had been keeping a close eye on Vettel as he shadowed Button throughout the race.

"Yes we were, because clearly he was quick and he was keeping a good distance to Jenson and we weren't taking it easy," said Brawn. "When the safety cars came we could have got caught out, but we didn't.

"It was a great race for us, but there's a lot of good competition with Red Bull and BMW."

He also felt that there had been question marks over the Brawn BGP 001's chances of reaching the finish given its lack of testing.

"It wasn't that easy," Brawn said. "There were times when we had to look after things and of course reliability was a worry because we hadn't done a race distance until today.

"Rubens had a problem at the start and that compromised his race because there was quite a lot of damage on the car. Then with Jenson it was looking after tyres all the time. It's the first race distance we've done so it's good to get to the end."

Brawn thinks his team will now get even stronger after its incredible debut achievement.

"Obviously we've got a very good car and the team having now won a race it's going to give them the confidence to go forward," he said. "Who knows. Maybe there's another fairytale."

He also revealed that the Honda hierarchy in Tokyo had been in touch to pass on their good wishes to the team they put up for sale last winter.

"I had something before the race - they were very pleased," said Brawn.

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