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. Monday 27 February 2017

  2. 19:25

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing - Day 1

    F1
  3. Sainz Jr. baffled by top-team mileage 19:23

    Sainz Jr. baffled by top-team mileage

    Carlos Sainz Jr. says he "doesn't understand" how Mercedes and Ferrari were able to rack up so much mileage on the first day of…

    F1
  4. Hamilton: Mercedes still the 'team to beat' 19:02

    Hamilton: Mercedes still the 'team to beat'

    Lewis Hamilton says he feels that Mercedes is still the "team to beat" in Formula 1 after topping the timesheets on the first…

    F1
  5. Alonso laments restricted first test day 18:31

    Alonso laments restricted first test day

    Fernando Alonso says it is too early to judge McLaren's MCL32 after being restricted to "checking laps" on the first day of…

    F1
  6. Steiner: 2016 lessons aiding Haas progress 18:18

    Steiner: 2016 lessons aiding Haas progress

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says the squad's 2016 experiences have aided its pre-season cause, despite a handful of…

    F1
  7. Ricciardo: 2017 cars will go 'a lot quicker' 17:48

    Ricciardo: 2017 cars will go 'a lot quicker'

    Daniel Ricciardo reckons Formula 1 cars will be able to go "a lot quicker" as testing develops, despite an already fast start to…

    F1
  8. 17:11

    Formula 1 pre-season testing - Day 1 results

    F1
  9. Hamilton on top as F1's new era begins 17:04

    Hamilton on top as F1's new era begins

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton topped the times as Formula 1's new era got under way with pre-season testing at the Circuit de…

    F1
  10. Horner sure Red Bull problems 'not major' 16:09

    Horner sure Red Bull problems 'not major'

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has played down the team's reliability issues on the opening day of testing, describing…

    F1
  11. Boullier: McLaren 'surprised' by test issue 15:20

    Boullier: McLaren 'surprised' by test issue

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has admitted that the problem which impacted Fernando Alonso's running on the opening day…

    F1
  12. Mercedes debuts 'shark fin' during testing 14:08

    Mercedes debuts 'shark fin' during testing

    Mercedes debuted a 'shark fin' on its W08 during the afternoon of the opening day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de…

    F1
  13. Wehrlein hopes to be fit for second test 13:58

    Wehrlein hopes to be fit for second test

    Pascal Wehrlein says he will undergo a further medical assessment at the end of the week, which will determine whether he can…

    F1
  14. Vettel on top, McLaren/Red Bull hit trouble 12:02

    Vettel on top, McLaren/Red Bull hit trouble

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel led the way during the morning session as pre-season testing kicked off at the Circuit de…

    F1
  15. McLaren dealt setback on first test day 09:21

    McLaren dealt setback on first test day

    McLaren-Honda's start to the 2017 Formula 1 season has been dealt a setback after the MCL32 suffered an oil systems issue on the…

    F1
  16. 09:03

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  17. In photos: F1 class of 2017 hits track 08:31

    In photos: F1 class of 2017 hits track

    Formula 1's new era kicked off at 09:00 local time this morning (Monday) when testing got underway at the Circuit de…

    F1
  18. 07:35

    Follow Day 1 of pre-season testing live!

    F1
  19. Red Bull releases RB13 studio photos 07:21

    Red Bull releases RB13 studio photos

    Red Bull has released full studio shots of its new Formula 1 challenger, the RB13, following on from an online video launch on…

    F1
  20. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 1 line-up 06:34

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 1 line-up

    Formula 1 returns to action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday, for the first day of pre-season testing.…

    F1
  21. Video of the Day: Verstappen previews 2017 05:22

    Video of the Day: Verstappen previews 2017

    Red Bull racer Max Verstappen looks ahead to the 2017 Formula 1 season, his third in the championship.

    F1
  22. Sunday 26 February 2017

  23. Key: STR boosted by Renault, driver stability 17:59

    Key: STR boosted by Renault, driver stability

    Toro Rosso Technical Director James Key believes the team will be lifted by returning to using current-year Renault power units…

    F1
  24. 17:39

    Photos: Toro Rosso unveils striking STR12

    F1
  25. Sauber confirms schedule for first test 17:33

    Sauber confirms schedule for first test

    Sauber has confirmed its driver schedule for the opening pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Sauber will…

    F1
  26. Video: Toro Rosso STR12 at Misano 17:22

    Video: Toro Rosso STR12 at Misano

    Watch as Toro Rosso's new-look STR12 is put through its paces during a filming day at Misano.

    F1
  27. In photos: Formula 1 designs of 2017 17:18

    In photos: Formula 1 designs of 2017

    Formula 1's 2017 cars have been presented throughout 'launch week', in the build up to pre-season testing in Barcelona. Did you…

    F1
  28. Toro Rosso reveals new look with STR12 17:12

    Toro Rosso reveals new look with STR12

    Toro Rosso has completed Formula 1's launch season by unveiling its new-look STR12 in the pit lane at the Circuit de…

    F1
  29. Video: Red Bull reveals RB13 online 16:32

    Video: Red Bull reveals RB13 online

    Watch the online presentation as Red Bull reveals its new Formula 1 challenger, called the RB13.

    F1
  30. 14:08

    Photos: Haas presents 2017 F1 design

    F1
  31. Haas F1 unveils VF-17 after filming day 14:02

    Haas F1 unveils VF-17 after filming day

    Haas has officially unveiled its 2017 car, the VF-17, as the American squad prepares to embark on its second season in Formula…

    F1
  32. Red Bull unveils RB13 ahead of testing 12:17

    Red Bull unveils RB13 ahead of testing

    Red Bull has launched its Renault-powered RB13, the car with which it hopes to challenge Mercedes for the World Championship in…

    F1
  33. Driver line-ups for opening Barcelona test 10:44

    Driver line-ups for opening Barcelona test

    Formula 1 finally returns to action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this week with the first four-day test of the year.…

    F1
  34. Alonso gives McLaren MCL32 track debut 08:56

    Alonso gives McLaren MCL32 track debut

    Fernando Alonso has given the McLaren MCL32 its track debut during a filming day at a chilly but sunny Circuit de…

    F1
  35. Preview: Formula 1 gears up for testing 08:46

    Preview: Formula 1 gears up for testing

    Formula 1 will roar back into life on Monday morning with the first of 2017's two pre-season test sessions at the Circuit de…

    F1
  36. Video of the Day: Ricciardo on 2017 season 05:32

    Video of the Day: Ricciardo on 2017 season

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo talks about his and the team's chances during the 2017 season.

    F1
  37. Saturday 25 February 2017

  38. Márquez dislocates shoulder in test crash 19:20

    Márquez dislocates shoulder in test crash

    MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez dislocated his shoulder in a crash during Repsol Honda's private test at the Circuito de…

    MotoGP
  39. Haas runs VF-17 for first time in filming day 19:07

    Haas runs VF-17 for first time in filming day

    Haas has run its new Formula 1 car, the VF-17, for the first time during a filming day in Barcelona. Haas is one of only…

    F1
  40. McLaren wary 2017 too soon for success 16:52

    McLaren wary 2017 too soon for success

    McLaren Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale is confident that the team will continue to make gains in 2017, but is conscious…

    F1
  41. Video: Vettel drives SF70-H at Fiorano 14:40

    Video: Vettel drives SF70-H at Fiorano

    Sebastian Vettel receives his first taste of Ferrari's SF70-H at Fiorano, after Kimi Räikkönen's run.

    F1
  42. FIA and FIM approve Barcelona changes 12:02

    FIA and FIM approve Barcelona changes

    Representatives from the FIA and the FIM have approved changes undertaken at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which hosts…

    F1
  43. Wolff: Mercedes to develop intra-team rules 10:12

    Wolff: Mercedes to develop intra-team rules

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the reigning World Champion team will develop its internal driver directive over the course of the…

    F1
more news