He might have started from P2 on the grid but that didn’t stop Jenson Button from storming to victory at the season opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. Reigning Champion Sebastian Vettel finished second, ahead of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in third.
Button took the lead on the first corner itself and never looked like relinquishing it as he kept the gap to those behind him and controlled the race pace. It was a lucky break with the Safety Car for Vettel on lap 38 as he took second spot and Hamilton ended up behind him in third place.
Mark Webber finished fourth ahead of Fernando Alonso who had started from 12th but drove a good race to finish fifth. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi finished sixth with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen in seventh & Sergio Perez in eighth. Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth for Toro Rosso and the last point in tenth place was taken up by Paul Di Resta of Force India.
The race got off to an eventful start as Button passed Hamilton into the lead at the head of the order and a coming together in the middle of the pack saw Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg make contact and so did Bruno Senna and Daniel Ricciardo. Hulkenberg had to retire from the race as a result. Another casualty at the start was third place starter Romain Grosjean who tagged with Pastor Maldonado’s Williams and retired due to a broken suspension.
Further incidents in the race saw Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher retire with a mechanical failure and both the Caterhams of Vitaly Petrov & Heikki Kovalainen retiring with steering & suspension problems. The incidents continued until the last lap of the race which saw sixth placed Maldonado lose control and hit the wall and retire. Rosberg also lost his eight place on the last lap and dropped down to twelfth.
As Button and Vettel would take loads of confidence into the second race at Malaysia, Lewis Hamilton gave the impression of a forlorn loser as he could only finish third after starting from pole. And despite the evident problems with the Ferrari, Alonso wrung out fifth place from it, which would at least go some way into assuaging the disappointment of the fans.
The next race is at Sepang in Malaysia in a week’s time – 24th & 25th March. A wet race, possibly!