Jenson Button Wins the Australian GP
Button did not have a great first few laps in Australia, as the slight drizzle in Melbourne caused quite a chaos after the start. While Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher touched in the first corner – the former spun, while the latter had to pit with front wing damage – Kamui Kobayashi crashed into Nico Hulkenberg and Sebastien Buemi, causing the safety car to come out.
A few laps after the SC went in, Hamilton passed his teammate for 4th place, and it seemed Button would suffer yet another defeat to the 2008 F1 champion. However, as the track started to dry out, the Somerset-born driver was the first one to pit for slick tires, whereas all the other drivers remained on intermediate compound for several laps. Here is where it all started to pay off for Button, who scored some consecutive fastest laps that helped him move up the field.
As the other racers started entering the pits for new tires, Button emerged in 2nd place overall, behind race leader Sebastian Vettel and ahead of Renault’s Robert Kubica. A few laps later, bad luck once again struck for the 22-year old German, whose car suffered a braking failure and went off the track. He eventually had to register his first DNF of the season.
The Spaniard’s spin in the first lap dropped him all the way to 22nd, but by Lap 17 he was already inside the Top 10. Benefiting from some great pit strategy, but also from his team’s opting for a single stint on slick tires – Hamilton and Mark Webber proceeded to an additional tire change while on slicks – Alonso made it all the way to 4th place.
After some failed attempts to pass his teammate, he focused on keeping his position while challenged by Hamilton and Webber in the last 6-7 laps of the race. The two drivers exchanged positions on top of the “fastest lap classification” in the second part of the race, scoring lap times some 1.5 – 2 seconds faster that the Top 4 (who pitted for a single time on Sunday).
In the end, Hamilton got himself into attacking position with 5 laps to go, but disaster struck for both him and Webber with only 2 laps remaining. While trying to pass Alonso on the outside, the Spaniard stepped aggressively on the brakes and caused Hamilton to make contact with Webber, both being thrown into the run-off area.
While the Aussie had to pit for a new front wing – eventually finishing the race in 9th place, Hamilton returned to the track and settled for 6th place, behind Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg.
Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi once again managed to have a trouble-free race and finished the Aussie GP in 7th place, ahead of Williams’ Rubens Barrichello. Michael Schumacher had to settle for 10th place, after having lost himself in the field through the entire race.
In the overall classification, Button’s win lifts him all the way to 3rd place, some 6 points behind leader Fernando Alonso and 2 points behind Felipe Massa. Ferrari continues to lead the manufacturers’ standings, where they are now 16 points clear of McLaren-Mercedes.
For FULL RESULTS click HERE. For the complete STANDINGS, click HERE.