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 5 December 2016

  2. French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi 15:58

    French GP comeback dedicated to Bianchi

    Organisers behind the returning French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard have dedicated the development to late Formula 1 driver Jules…

    F1
  3. Overview: History of the French Grand Prix 15:12

    Overview: History of the French Grand Prix

    It was announced earlier on Monday that the French Grand Prix will return at Paul Ricard from 2018. GPUpdate.net looks back at…

    F1
  4. 14:32

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  5. French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed 13:41

    French GP return at Paul Ricard confirmed

    Formula 1 will again feature the French Grand Prix on its calendar from the 2018 season, with a five-year deal to stage the…

    F1
  6. McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave 12:39

    McLaren adamant Alonso will not leave

    Fernando Alonso will not be leaving McLaren to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, according to…

    F1
  7. Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes 10:32

    Wehrlein 'ready for the job' at Mercedes

    Pascal Wehrlein says he would feel "ready for the job" of replacing Nico Rosberg at Mercedes for the 2017 season, following the…

    F1
  8. Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge 10:02

    Marko expects Red Bull 2017 challenge

    Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says he expects the team to be in a position to challenge Mercedes for both Drivers…

    F1
  9. Vettel quells Rosberg replacement talk 09:07

    Vettel quells Rosberg replacement talk

    Sebastian Vettel has downplayed speculation linking him to the Mercedes seat vacated by Nico Rosberg, stating that "it should be…

    F1
  10. Norris wins McLaren Formula 1 test run 08:43

    Norris wins McLaren Formula 1 test run

    Lando Norris will receive a Formula 1 test with McLaren after clinching the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC award at a…

    F1
  11. In photos: Where Hamilton lost the title 07:32

    In photos: Where Hamilton lost the title

    Nico Rosberg has been crowned a worthy World Champion, but with a narrow five-point margin over Mercedes team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  12. Video of the Day: Red Bull parallax highlights 05:20

    Video of the Day: Red Bull parallax highlights

    Red Bull presents its 2016 Formula 1 highlights in this parallax video, made entirely from still imagery.

    F1
  13. Sunday 4 December 2016

  14. Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi 16:14

    Alonso samples Honda's RC213V at Motegi

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso completed laps on Repsol Honda's title-winning RC213V MotoGP bike during the Japanese…

    F1
  15. F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity' 15:03

    F1 urged to end corner-cutting 'subjectivity'

    Formula 1 could end "subjectivity" over corner-cutting if circuits are modified to disadvantage drivers who run off track…

    F1
  16. Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan 14:02

    Manor still has 'big strides' to make - Ryan

    Manor boss Dave Ryan says the outfit's improvement across the past year has been "incredible" but has cautioned that it still…

    F1
  17. Overview: A year with no reigning Champion 13:06

    Overview: A year with no reigning Champion

    For only the sixth time in history, the defending Formula 1 World Champion will not line-up on the grid, with Nico Rosberg…

    F1
  18. Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017 12:02

    Hamilton only wants 'equal rights' in 2017

    Lewis Hamilton says he is not fussed by who partners him at Mercedes next season, and that his only request is that he has…

    F1
  19. Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage 11:01

    Video: Nico Rosberg title-winning montage

    GPUpdate.net looks back at Nico Rosberg's title-winning year with some of Sutton Images' best shots.

    F1
  20. Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure' 10:30

    Lauda: Rosberg has left us 'under pressure'

    Mercedes non-executive Chairman Niki Lauda says he is disappointed by Nico Rosberg's decision to retire and, with hindsight…

    F1
  21. Zetsche lauds 'perfect' Mercedes hat-trick 09:46

    Zetsche lauds 'perfect' Mercedes hat-trick

    Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes' parent company Daimler, has hailed its Formula 1 team after securing the "perfect hat-trick…

    F1
  22. Video of the Day: Lorenzo opens museum 05:26

    Video of the Day: Lorenzo opens museum

    MotoGP star Jorge Lorenzo's opens his new museum, 'World Champions by 99', in Andorra.

    MotoGP
  23. Saturday 3 December 2016

  24. 18:34

    Gallery: Mercedes' Sindelfingen event

    F1
  25. Rosberg would have stayed if he lost title 14:46

    Rosberg would have stayed if he lost title

    World Champion Nico Rosberg says he would have stayed in Formula 1 for another season had he not beaten Mercedes team-mate Lewis…

    F1
  26. F1 paddock pays tribute to retiring Rosberg 13:06

    F1 paddock pays tribute to retiring Rosberg

    Formula 1 drivers, paddock members and the wider motorsport world have been paying tribute to Nico Rosberg, following his shock…

    F1
  27. 11:44

    Gallery: FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Vienna

    F1
  28. Hamilton: Rosberg retirement 'not a surprise' 10:32

    Hamilton: Rosberg retirement 'not a surprise'

    Lewis Hamilton says Nico Rosberg's decision to retire was "not a surprise", despite the newly-crowned World Champion stunning…

    F1
  29. Verstappen receives two FIA Gala awards 09:17

    Verstappen receives two FIA Gala awards

    Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen has been handed two awards at the FIA's Prize-Giving Gala, held at Vienna's Hofburg…

    F1
  30. Video: Rosberg collects Formula 1 trophy 09:13

    Video: Rosberg collects Formula 1 trophy

    The retiring Nico Rosberg receives his World Championship trophy during the FIA's annual Prize-Giving Gala.

    F1
  31. Rosberg crowned World Champion at Gala 09:08

    Rosberg crowned World Champion at Gala

    The retiring Nico Rosberg has been officially crowned as the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion during the FIA's annual Prize-Giving…

    F1
  32. In photos: Rosberg's final F1 race day 08:32

    In photos: Rosberg's final F1 race day

    Nico Rosberg announced on Friday that he will be retiring from Formula 1 as World Champion. GPUpdate.net flicks through…

    F1
  33. Video of the Day: Ferrari's 'Flying Aces' 05:28

    Video of the Day: Ferrari's 'Flying Aces'

    Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen experienced the world's tallest loop rollercoaster at Ferrari World in Abu…

    F1
  34. Friday 2 December 2016

  35. Sato joins Andretti Autosport for 2017 20:05

    Sato joins Andretti Autosport for 2017

    Takuma Sato will make the switch to Andretti Autosport for 2017, completing the team's four-car line-up. Sato, 39, has raced…

    Indy
  36. Latifi on top as GP2 post-season test ends 17:56

    Latifi on top as GP2 post-season test ends

    DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi set the pace as GP2's end-of-season test reached its conclusion at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit on…

    GP2
  37. Overview: Candidates to replace Rosberg 15:08

    Overview: Candidates to replace Rosberg

    Following the shock news that Nico Rosberg will retire from Formula 1 with immediate effect, GPUpdate.net looks at the potential…

    F1
  38. Video: Rosberg on his decision to retire 14:02

    Video: Rosberg on his decision to retire

    Nico Rosberg explains why he has decided to retire from Formula 1 after winning the world title.

    F1
  39. Mercedes will 'take time' over replacement 13:47

    Mercedes will 'take time' over replacement

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the manufacturer will "take time" in deciding who will replace Nico Rosberg, who has announced his…

    F1
  40. Wolff applauds 'brave' Rosberg decision 13:45

    Wolff applauds 'brave' Rosberg decision

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has applauded Nico Rosberg's "brave decision" to retire from Formula 1 as World Champion, following a…

    F1
  41. Rosberg retires from F1 as champion 13:20

    Rosberg retires from F1 as champion

    Nico Rosberg has announced that he is to retire from Formula 1, just a few days after beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton…

    F1
  42. Video: Nico Rosberg celebrates in Brackley 13:12

    Video: Nico Rosberg celebrates in Brackley

    Nico Rosberg celebrates his maiden Formula 1 title win at Mercedes' headquarters in Brackley.

    F1
  43. Ecclestone confirms French GP reports 11:58

    Ecclestone confirms French GP reports

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed recent reports that the French Grand Prix is poised to return to the calendar…

    F1
  44. Magnussen 'learned a lot' over Renault stint 10:32

    Magnussen 'learned a lot' over Renault stint

    Kevin Magnussen says he "learned a lot" from Renault over the course of the 2017 season, as he prepares to embark on the next…

    F1
more news