Button commandingly wins Australian Grand Prix

Button commandingly wins Australian Grand Prix

18 March 2012 – Jenson Button has claimed his third victory in the Australian Grand Prix, controlling the first race of the 2012 season in style. After losing the lead to his McLaren team-mate at the first corner, Lewis Hamilton lost a further position to World Champion Sebastian Vettel when a mid-race Safety Car reshuffled the order.

Sunday’s opening event of the year always did promise a selection of dramatic moments, thanks to evenly-matched tyre compounds and a mixed up grid. Hamilton headed the pack from his 20th career pole, as a four-day attendance of almost 315,000 made this Melbourne’s largest crowd since 2005. Sergio Pérez started 22nd and last thanks to a five-place gearbox penalty, but HRT packed up early after failing to qualify for the second consecutive year.

Unlike in past seasons, it was a clean start for the front-runners, as Button out-braked Hamilton at the first corner. Behind, Mark Webber was squeezed by both Nico Hülkenberg and newcomer Jean-Éric Vergne, with the latter cutting across the grass as the former became the season’s first retirement. Attempting to avoid his compatriot, Daniel Ricciardo was forced to brake early, allowing Bruno Senna to take the outside line as the two cars made contact, spinning the Williams across the charging pack. A lap later, Romain Grosjean’s brilliant third-place qualifying came to nothing after contact at Turn 13 with Pastor Maldonado.

In a similar style to 2009, Button emphatically extended his lead from Hamilton, with Vettel pulling an impressive move on Nico Rosberg to take fourth place around the outside of Turn 9; he proceeded to catch Michael Schumacher, who duly suffered a downshift problem, running off-track and retiring from the race.

When the McLaren cars followed each other into the pits for their final stops on Lap 36, the Caterham of Vitaly Petrov ground to a halt on the start/finish straight, resulting in the deployment of the Safety Car; this allowed Vettel to enjoy one chiefly quick lap back to the pits, easily jumping Hamilton for second when he rejoined. On a clean restart, the front positions remained static for the final 17 laps, with Mark Webber marking his best ever home result with fourth.

There were inspiring drives and a number of highly impressive overtaking manoeuvres throughout the field. Fernando Alonso dragged his under-performing Ferrari up to the top five, suggesting that all is not yet lost for the Italian team’s radical 2012 design. Following a double disqualification last year, Sauber enjoyed a double top ten result this evening. From the back of the grid, Pérez was one of only three drivers to start on the harder tyres, mirroring his aggressive strategy of 2011. This allowed him to run as high as second, battling with World Champions Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso, but knowing when to concede the places.

The Mexican ran seventh, but last-lap contact with Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes dropped both cars down the order as Kimi Räikkönen took advantage to finish seventh from 17th on the grid. A promising day for Williams ended in disaster on the ultimate tour; shortly after Bruno Senna retired, Pastor Maldonado - chasing Alonso for fifth place – touched the grass and slammed into the wall at Turn 7, throwing away a strong points finish. As Räikkönen took advantage, eighth to 11th places were locked together over the line, with Ricciardo ensuring two Australians were in the top ten - despite being at the back of the field after the start - and Paul di Resta making up for a disappointing weekend by scoring another point in Melbourne, with Vergne just missing out.

While Heikki Kovalainen’s steering arm failure cemented a double Caterham exit, Felipe Massa’s torrid weekend also finished in the pit lane following a clumsy late-race incident with Senna, as the two Brazilians locked together when battling at Turn 4. On his 30th birthday, Timo Glock led new Marussia team-mate Charles Pic to 14th and 15th places.

Button took the chequered flag from Vettel by two seconds. The victory marks the Frome man’s 13th win in Formula 1, equalling the sums of David Coulthard and former double World Champion Alberto Ascari. In a season which features no less than six title winners, the year begins with an all-Champion rostrum.


- Post-race feelings from winner Jenson Button


The 2012 Formula 1 season begins with back-to-back races; Round 2 will take place at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit next weekend

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 30 June 2016

  2. Haas opts to switch focus to 2017 car 12:24

    Haas opts to switch focus to 2017 car

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says the outfit has now switched the majority of its focus to development of its 2017 car…

    F1
  3. Video: Formula 1 driver eye-tracking 12:08

    Video: Formula 1 driver eye-tracking

    Explore the skills and reaction times of Nico Hülkenberg as he wears special eye-tracking glasses.

    F1
  4. Pérez not distracted by Ferrari rumours 12:03

    Pérez not distracted by Ferrari rumours

    Force India driver Sergio Pérez insists he will not become distracted across a busy period of four races in five weekends as…

    F1
  5. IndyCar linked with Surfers Paradise return 08:40

    IndyCar linked with Surfers Paradise return

    IndyCar has been linked with a return to Surfers Paradise in Australia, eight years after the category last visited the…

    Indy
  6. Mick Schumacher will not 'rush' career 07:42

    Mick Schumacher will not 'rush' career

    Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, says that he will not be "rushed" as he attempts to…

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: Ferrari on Austrian GP 05:36

    Video of the Day: Ferrari on Austrian GP

    Ferrari looks ahead to the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring with performance engineer Jock Clear.

    F1
  8. Wednesday 29 June 2016

  9. 17:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  10. Sainz Jr. to stay at Toro Rosso in 2017 15:50

    Sainz Jr. to stay at Toro Rosso in 2017

    Carlos Sainz Jr. will remain at Toro Rosso in 2017, for what will be a third successive campaign, Red Bull team boss Christian…

    F1
  11. Video: Vettel's Austrian Grand Prix guide 15:44

    Video: Vettel's Austrian Grand Prix guide

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel looks ahead to this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.

    F1
  12. Lauda: Halo could threaten F1's DNA 15:32

    Lauda: Halo could threaten F1's DNA

    Triple Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda reckons the sport's DNA could be threatened by its ongoing safety drive, which…

    F1
  13. Stoner makes Ducati MotoGP test return 13:03

    Stoner makes Ducati MotoGP test return

    Casey Stoner has returned to action for Ducati during this week's private MotoGP running at the Misano circuit, marking his…

    MotoGP
  14. Various track changes at Red Bull Ring 12:36

    Various track changes at Red Bull Ring

    Various track changes have been made at the Red Bull Ring ahead of this year's Austrian Grand Prix, with extra run-off areas and…

    F1
  15. Video: Brawn BGP 001 back in action 12:02

    Video: Brawn BGP 001 back in action

    Watch as Martin Brundle drives Jenson Button's 2009 title-winning Brawn-Mercedes BGP 001 at Goodwood.

    F1
  16. Räikkönen told to prove he 'deserves' seat 10:35

    Räikkönen told to prove he 'deserves' seat

    Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has told Kimi Räikkönen he must prove that he "deserves" a contract extension by…

    F1
  17. Binder takes Matsushita's seat for Austria 08:23

    Binder takes Matsushita's seat for Austria

    René Binder will replace the banned Nobuharu Matsushita at ART Grand Prix for this weekend's GP2 round in his home country of…

    GP2
  18.  Preview: Austrian Grand Prix - Round 9 07:26

    Preview: Austrian Grand Prix - Round 9

    Formula 1 teams head to Spielberg, Austria for the first of four Grands Prix in just five weekends, as part of a particularly…

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Perfect F1 pit-stop 05:28

    Video of the Day: Perfect F1 pit-stop

    Go behind-the-scenes at the McLaren Technology Centre to discover what goes into a perfect pit-stop.

    F1
  20. Tuesday 28 June 2016

  21. 16:35

    F1 photos: Hockenheim media event

    F1
  22. In photos: Austria and its F1 drivers 15:42

    In photos: Austria and its F1 drivers

    Austria and the Red Bull Ring play host to Formula 1 this weekend, but there is no home racer for the local crowd to support. It…

    F1
  23. Aguri to leave FE after selling licence 14:37

    Aguri to leave FE after selling licence

    Team Aguri has announced that it has agreed the sale of its Formula E licence to new investors, meaning this weekend's season…

    FE
  24. Williams confident over Austria chances 14:12

    Williams confident over Austria chances

    Pat Symonds is confident that Williams will deliver another strong Austrian Grand Prix performance, though remains wary of…

    F1
  25. Mallya targets more podium finishes 12:32

    Mallya targets more podium finishes

    Force India team boss Vijay Mallya has set his sights on achieving further podium finishes over the course of the 2016 campaign…

    F1
  26. Pirelli reveals British GP tyre selections 11:08

    Pirelli reveals British GP tyre selections

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has revealed the team-by-team tyre compound selections for the British Grand Prix, with the Soft…

    F1
  27. Video: IndyCar Road America highlights 11:04

    Video: IndyCar Road America highlights

    Watch highlights of last weekend's Kohler Grand Prix at Road America, won by Penske driver Will Power.

    Indy
  28. Rosberg set for new two-year deal 10:22

    Rosberg set for new two-year deal

    Nico Rosberg is close to signing a two-year contract extension to remain at Mercedes, with only small "details" to be finalised…

    F1
  29. Steiner: Haas will get on top of tyre woes 10:12

    Steiner: Haas will get on top of tyre woes

    Haas team boss Guenther Steiner is adamant that the outfit will eventually get on top of its tyre-related struggles, linking…

    F1
  30. Hernández left to rue lost victory chance 09:22

    Hernández left to rue lost victory chance

    Aspar rider Yonny Hernández was left to rue a lost victory chance as he crashed out of the lead during last weekend's Dutch TT…

    MotoGP
  31. Ecclestone to look at 'more equal' payments 07:46

    Ecclestone to look at 'more equal' payments

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says that he will be looking into how prize money is split and handed out within the sport…

    F1
  32. Video of the Day: Ferrari at Goodwood 05:18

    Video of the Day: Ferrari at Goodwood

    Ferrari presents highlights of its time at the 2016 edition of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    F1
  33. Monday 27 June 2016

  34. Wolff: Mercedes' competition 'growing' 16:32

    Wolff: Mercedes' competition 'growing'

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has urged the squad to cut out mistakes at upcoming Grands Prix to deal with "growing" competition from…

    F1
  35. McLaren focused on reliability, points return 15:12

    McLaren focused on reliability, points return

    McLaren-Honda's focus at the Austrian Grand Prix will be on improved reliability and a return to the points-paying positions…

    F1
  36. Hamilton keen to 'tick off' Austria victory 14:32

    Hamilton keen to 'tick off' Austria victory

    Lewis Hamilton says he is keen to "tick off" the Austrian Grand Prix from his list of Formula 1 victories after finishing as…

    F1
  37. Sette Câmara to test for Toro Rosso 13:58

    Sette Câmara to test for Toro Rosso

    Red Bull youngster Sérgio Sette Câmara will drive for Toro Rosso at the post-British Grand Prix test. Brazilian racer Sette…

    F1
  38. Redding delighted with return to podium 12:38

    Redding delighted with return to podium

    Pramac Ducati rider Scott Redding hailed an "amazing" result at the Dutch TT as he finished on the podium for the second time in…

    MotoGP
  39. Video: Chandhok onboard at Goodwood 11:33

    Video: Chandhok onboard at Goodwood

    Ride onboard with Williams Heritage Driver Karun Chandhok as he pilots the FW08C at Goodwood.

    F1
  40. Rosberg eyes third straight Austrian GP win 11:19

    Rosberg eyes third straight Austrian GP win

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has set his sights on securing a third successive Austrian Grand Prix victory at this year's event…

    F1
  41. Assen hints at potential Formula 1 interest 09:28

    Assen hints at potential Formula 1 interest

    Assen has indicated that it would be interested in hosting Formula 1 in the future, should a Dutch Grand Prix make a return…

    F1
  42. Salo tips Bottas to end up at Mercedes 08:32

    Salo tips Bottas to end up at Mercedes

    Mika Salo says he is "pretty sure" that fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas will make the move to Mercedes later in his Formula 1…

    F1
  43. Video of the Day: Testing Fangio's cars 05:00

    Video of the Day: Testing Fangio's cars

    Formula E's Bruno Senna and Jérôme d'Ambrosio tries some of Juan Manuel Fangio's cars in Argentina.

    FE
  44. Sunday 26 June 2016

  45. Power outduels Kanaan to Road America win 21:01

    Power outduels Kanaan to Road America win

    Will Power won a dramatic and frenetic shootout at the end of IndyCar's return to the legendary Road America circuit on…

    Indy
more news