Melbourne – Race Report
Williams driver Bruno Senna of Brazil, car 19, spins at turn one at the start of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Button's walk in the park
At the start line the McLaren's tail wings read Lucozade. A popular energy drink brand. Its significance is huge as Jenson Button drives home his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to the chequered flag and wins the 2012 Formula One Qantas Australian Grand Prix.
Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton made a mess of it with too much wheel spin and ultimately lost P1 to teammate Button. Behind them, yesterday's star Romain Grosjean lost ground as expected to Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes cars.
He got caught up with the charging Pastor Maldonado and Red Bull cars of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber as well. The Williams driver Maldonado nudged the Lotus of Grosjean out. And that was the end of the Frenchman's race.
On lap 4 it was an all-German affair with Michael Schumacher being hounded down by Sebastian Vettel.
On lap 9 the Ferrari drivers had made up lots of places. Alonso 6 and Massa 8!
We were denied a great fight when Schumacher's Mercedes slowed down by the track with gearbox issues. The seven-time champion looking for a strong comeback after two years of development was out.
On lap 17 Button pitted for hard compound tyres. The first of the front runners to do so.
Out on the track, the Ferrari of Alonso held out against the Mercedes of Rosberg and Mark Webber's Red Bull. The Sauber of Sergio Perez proved disastrous for Lewis Hamilton as he held him back on lap 21. He's on a single stop strategy. Will it unfold beneficial for the Mexican?
Meanwhile at the front, Jenson Button was flying. Lewis was more than 12 seconds behind in P2.
Perez is soon overcome by Hamilton and this time he begins to hold position against Vettel.
Lap 25 and Kimi Raikkonen in the sole surviving Lotus, pulls a move on the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi. The Finn hasn't lost any speed after two years at the WRC!
Lap 27 and the resurgent Williams team are amongst the points with new power from Renault. Pastor Maldonado is running in P7. The race is going to McLaren's plan with Button leading from Hamilton. Kimi comes over on the car-to-pit radio and goes "Why are they waving blue flags?" only to be assured by his engineers that they weren't for him. Welcome back to Formula1, Kimi.
On Lap 31, Mark Webber is giving the home fans something to cheer about. A superb dogfight with Nico Rosberg and the Williams of Maldonado.