Button takes victory in action-packed race at Melbourne

Jenson Button took his first victory for McLaren with a fantastic drive and an inspired tyre strategy in an action-packed Australian Grand Prix.

After many critics complained about the lack of on-track entertainment in the previous event in Bahrain, the race in Albert Park delivered in terms of intense battles and overtaking, all thanks to the rain!

The reigning world champion’s bold early switch from intermediates to slicks paid off, with the race that began in damp conditions. Even though Jenson tapped the former champion Fernando Alonso into a spin at the first corner which also damaged Michael Schumacher’s front wing, he was able to recover from this and benefitted Sebastian Vettel’s brake failure to take the chequered flag in style.

Renault’s Robert Kubica finished in a superb second position, holding off the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. While Nico Rosberg grabbing fifth for Mercedes after a late tangle between Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren and Mark Webber’s Red Bull.

In a direct contrast to the processional race in Sakhir, Melbourne provided thrills and spills, with the race commencing on a damp track.

As the 22-car the field approached Turn 1 for the first time, contact between the slow-starting Alonso and Button sent the Ferrari spinning into Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes, breaking the front wing, with Hamilton taking avoiding action with a trip across the grass.

But a far bigger accident occurred at Turn 6. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi arrived at the corner missing a front wing and lacking downforce, speared into the wall before sledging back across the track and violently collecting both Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso and Nico Hulkenberg’s Williams mid-corner. That shunt promoted a safety car.

Even though Red Bull Racing took the front row slot, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa made a superb getaway from fifth to split Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on the opening lap. But the normal formation was resumed two laps after the restart. As the home favourite slipped pass the Brazilian into Turn 6.

The McLarens had ended up sixth and seventh once the first corner chaos unfolded, with Button in front until Hamilton dived past him into Turn 3 on lap six. Jenson then took a risk to pit for dry Bridgestone which initially looked like it was the wrong decision as he skittered over the gravel at Turn 3 on his out lap – but fastest sector times around the rest of the lap proved Button’s gamble was wise.

Soon the whole field took notice of Button’s purple sector times and although the two Red Bulls stayed out longer expecting more rain, both Vettel and Webber pitted for a fresh set of Bridgestone.

That pit-stop went well for Vettel as he rejoined the circuit in front of the all-form Button, who had vaulted to second position thanks to his inspired early tyre switch, but for Webber who pitted until lap ten, it was too late… As Kubica and Rosberg went passed followed by Massa as the Australian exited the pits.

Sebastian soon started to edge away from his rival Jenson, while Kubica and Rosberg dropping back from the two leaders. Behind them, we had an epic racing scenario, mostly involving drivers trying to get around Massa.

Webber surged down the inside of the Ferrari into Turn 1 on lap 15, with Hamilton immediately following the Red Bull through and then attacking Webber into Turn 3 – where both went wide, with the Australian going right over the gravel. That allowed Felipe back ahead of Lewis, while by the time Mark regained the asphalt the charging Fernando had also gone through, the Bahrain winner making an aggressive fightback following his first lap spin.

Six laps later Hamilton successfully passed Massa for fifth into Turn 1, despite the Ferrari’s best defensive efforts, with Alonso trying to do likewise into Turn 3, only to run wide on the still-damp extremes of the track and lose a place to Webber again!

Once free of Massa, Hamilton charged straight onto the gearbox of Rosberg’s Silver Arrows and took fourth with an incredible pass around the outside into the sixth gear Turn 11. That cost the McLaren momentum onto the next straight and Rosberg looked set to repass him into Turn 13 – but had to back off due to yellow flags as moments earlier race leader Vettel had slid into the gravel as his Red Bull suffered a brake failure.

Poor Sebastian. Yet again, he was driving well but to record another DNF is a major disappointment. Better reliability is needed if Red Bull Racing wants to win the championship.

With Vettel out of the race, Button found himself in the lead by six seconds over Kubica with Hamilton determined to get by.

By half-distance many drivers were struggling with tyre degradation on the soft compound once the track dried and for Hamilton, Rosberg and Webber, the trio made the decision to pit for a fresh set rubber.

Webber pitted on lap 31, and managed to get around Rosberg through Turns 2 and 3 as the Mercedes rejoined after its stop a lap later. Hamilton waited two laps longer and stayed ahead of the now-flying Webber, despite a scare at Turn 13 when he took to the grass but was able to muscle back in front of the Red Bull at Turn 14 as it too slid wide.

Button had no concerns about tyre wear and continued to pull away from the Sauber of Kubica, who now had both Ferraris hounding him, while half a minute behind Button, Hamilton, Webber and Rosberg made the most of their fresher tyres to take time advantage out of the leaders.

With eight laps left, Kubica, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton and Webber were running close together holding second to sixth positions, with Rosberg gaining on this train of cars as well. Hamilton’s tyres went off again in the Ferraris’ dirty air, but he still got alongside Alonso into Turn 13 two laps from the end. As Alonso kept Hamilton to the outside, Webber hit the back of the McLaren under braking, smashing the Red Bull’s front wing and spinning Hamilton through the gravel. The latter rejoined in sixth, with Webber falling to ninth spot.

This was a frustrating end for Lewis Hamilton’s trouble weekend and it was no surprise to hear the McLaren driver voicing his strong opinions after the chequered flag.

As for his team-mate Jenson Button, he stayed out of the mayhem – maintaining his tyres in perfect shape – to score his dream victory for the team. His margin over Kubica was a comfortable 12 seconds.

Although Adrian Sutil was an early retirement for Force India, team-mate Tonio Liuzzi managed to score again with seventh – passing Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa earlier and then gaining another position when Rubens Barrichello decided to pit for new tyres and dropped from eighth to tenth. He then inherited seventh thanks to the Hamilton/Webber tangle.

As for Michael Schumacher, it was another sub-par performance for the seven-time world champion. It didn’t help that he was delayed in the first corner incident and he spent most of the other laps stuck behind Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso. Eventually he passed the young Spaniard and both were able to get pass the struggling de la Rosa, allowing Michael to at least salvage a point for Mercedes GP.

Heikki Kovalainen got to the finish for Lotus in P13, with Karun Chandhok also going the distance for Hispania in P14. A great achievement for the team considering the lack of testing. As for the other new team cars, Jarno Trulli didn’t make the start for Lotus due to hydraulic problems. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov was the other retirement, spinning into the gravel on lap nine.

So a fantastic result for Jenson Button and McLaren, but an even greater one for the sport’s reputation. After the heavy criticism following the season-opener Bahrain Grand Prix, the race in Melbourne provided many on-track action and incidents to entertain the fans. Perhaps the FIA should organise more racing events in the changeable weather conditions from now on?

Race results from Albert Park, 58 laps:

1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h33:36.531
2.  Kubica        Renault                    +12.034
3.  Massa         Ferrari                    +14.488
4.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +16.304
5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +16.683
6.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +29.898
7.  Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes       +59.847
8.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +1:00.536
9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +1:07.319
10. Schumacher    Mercedes                   +1:09.391
11. Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1:11.301
12. De la Rosa    Sauber-Ferrari             +1:14.084
13. Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth             +2 laps
14. Chandhok      HRT-Cosworth               +4 laps

Not classified/retirements:

Glock         Virgin-Cosworth              41 laps
Vettel        Red Bull-Renault             26 laps
Di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth              25 laps
Sutil         Force India-Mercedes         12 laps
Petrov        Renault                      10 laps
Senna         HRT-Cosworth                 5 laps
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari           1 lap
Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth            1 lap
Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari               1 lap
Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth               1 lap

World Championship standings, round 2:

1.  Alonso        37
2.  Massa         33
3.  Button        31
4.  Hamilton      23
5.  Rosberg       20
6.  Kubica        18
7.  Vettel        12
8.  Schumacher     9
9.  Liuzzi         8
10. Webber         6
11. Barrichello    5

1.  Ferrari                    70
2.  McLaren-Mercedes           54
3.  Mercedes                   29
4.  Red Bull-Renault           18
5.  Renault                    18
6.  Force India-Mercedes        8
7.  Williams-Cosworth           5

NEXT RACE: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang. April 2-4.

11 thoughts to “Button takes victory in action-packed race at Melbourne”

  1. The top three drivers’ views on the Australian Grand Prix, courtesy from Autosport.com.

    Jenson Button says the decision to pit for slick tyres in the Australian Grand Prix was key in taking his first win with McLaren.

    The Briton was the first man to pit for slicks when the track began to dry up following an early shower, and the decision paid off as he found himself in the lead once his rivals had pitted.

    Button said the decision had been his and was delighted to have made it.

    “It was,” said Button of the decision. “I think it is a lot easier for the drivers to feel the conditions. Teams can see clouds coming in but we can feel what is coming in. I didn’t have balance at all on inters, so I thought let’s get in and stick slicks on.

    “There was a dry line but a few places were wet. When I went into pits I thought it was a catastrophic decision as it was wet in the pitlane but once I got up to speed it was pretty good. I was able to put in some laps and overtake a few cars.

    “It was the right call – I’m very happy to have made it.”

    The world champion, in his second race with McLaren, admitted the victory felt special and believes it will boost his confidence even more.

    “It is very special,” he added. “It has taken me a little while to get to grips inside the car, but the team has been fantastic and welcomed me in.

    “It is difficult to put it into words, it is a very special feeling and we will take a lot from this. I feel I am building in confidence, and I hope in the next rate we can do something similar as this feels too good.”

    He claimed pitting again, like team-mate Lewis Hamilton did, was never an option for him.

    “For me I never thought of putting on another set. It was to run the race on one set of tyres if we could. My pace was not great. Once I settled into the car I felt I was starting to damage the tyres. I settled into pace that would not destroy the rears.

    “We could not have done a better strategy. My decision at the beginning was my call but with a lot of feedback from the circuit. I need to thank McLaren for all our hard work. It’s good to see us get a result for the hard work.”

    Robert Kubica described his second place in the Australian Grand Prix as a ‘special’ result for the improving Renault team, but warned that it was not the kind of finish the squad could expect in a straightforward race at the moment.

    The Pole made good early progress from ninth on the grid, and then emerged in third when the stops for slick tyres were complete. He gained a position through Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from the lead, and then fended off a string of rivals to hold second to the flag.

    “Unfortunately Australia has not always been lucky for me, in the last two years I could have finished on the podium easily,” said Kubica, who had a late tangle with Vettel a year ago while fighting for second in Melbourne.

    “To be honest we were not expecting to finish on the podium, for Renault and myself it is a special result. We were pushing hard during the winter and this was the best result we could get for the beginning of the season. This is big thanks to all the guys.

    “We have to stay realistic, we are not up to pace to finish on the podium normally. We need to keep pushing and I am sure we will manage sooner or later to be on the pace.”

    Kubica had briefly been ahead of eventual winner Jenson Button during the flurry of tyre changes as the track dried, but could not fend off the McLaren as its slicks were already warmed up.

    “It was difficult because we struggled with the warm-up so when we saw Button was quick on slicks we pitted on the same lap as Felipe [Massa],” Kubica explained.

    “My guys did a fantastic job, we overtook Felipe in the pitstop but Button was much quicker with one or two laps on his tyres – he built temperature up, and they are very quick on straightline speed. I was not confident with the conditions as it was my first lap on slicks so it was hard to fight with Button.”

    The subsequent decision not to make a second tyre stop later in the race then proved key to Kubica’s result, as the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber lost ground when they came in for fresh rubber.

    Kubica said he had initially expected to pit until the team realised that nursing the tyres to the finish could pay dividends.

    “I thought we would pit again but when we had big degradation I asked if we should pit, they said if we could manage not to do it,” Kubica explained.

    “I had Lewis attacking me, he came very quickly, then he decided to pit, then Felipe came. I was hoping with good speed to keep second until the end.”

    Felipe Massa believes his best-ever finish in the Australian Grand Prix can help him challenge for the world title this season.

    After finishing second in the season opener in Bahrain, the Brazilian took third in Melbourne today after several wheel-to-wheel fights, and held off Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.

    “I had a fantastic start, without wheelspin, and I saw many cars, especially Fernando and [Mark] Webber having some wheelspin,” said Massa. “I did a very smooth start and passed them in a very good way. I was happy with the start and whole race was very difficult, very slippery and low grip everywhere.

    “My best result in Australia before was sixth, and in 2007 I had problems in qualifying and started last. It’s not the best race for me in terms of pace, and we lost some positions at the pitstop and a bit on track because of mistakes, so it is fantastic to have one second and one third.

    “We know how important this is for the championship and in the past I have not scored as many points as I have now. The team did a fantastic job today and I’m happy to finish third in a difficult race like this.”

  2. Poor Sebastian Vettel. After taking a brilliant pole position and leading the race in the Red Bull, he suffered yet another DNF. Without that brake failure, the German would have won the race. See the Autosport.com below for the full story.

    Sebastian Vettel believes he would have won the Australian Grand Prix today had a brake failure not pitched him off the road just before half-distance.

    The Red Bull driver led the race from pole until a front brake failure sent him into the gravel at turn 13.

    It is the second race in a row Vettel has lost due to a mechanical issue after a spark plug problem slowed him in Bahrain.

    “We had a braking failure,” confirmed Vettel. “Earlier on the lap I felt some vibrations. There was nothing I could have done and I lost the car. It’s a shame – I think we had the race under control even though the conditions were difficult.”

    Vettel has called for his Red Bull squad to make a push so that he can improve his finishing record and get his title challenge on track.

    “It breaks my balls,” he said. “We are all pushing and trying to do our best. It’s nobody’s fault, but we need to get on top of it and make sure that we see the chequered flag in Malaysia.”

  3. As for Mark Webber in the other Red Bull, the Australian went down fighting to the bitter end in his home race. Read this Autosport.com for his views.

    Mark Webber says he at least was happy to “go down fighting” after a disappointing Australian Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver, starting from second position, finished in ninth place after a troubled race which included a crash with Lewis Hamilton at the end of the event.

    The incident forced Webber to pit to repairs, dropping him down the order.

    Webber hoped that at least he produced an entertaining race.

    “Well, I went down fighting,” Webber told the BBC. “In the end, when you are a little on the back foot, as we were for different reasons, like I say the first stop and things like that.

    “I think it was best to throw caution to the wind and get into it. I was thinking of Bahrain for the people at home, maybe we should do something different, so in the end I didn’t want it to finish like that but hopefully it was a bit more enjoyable.”

    Webber was running in second behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, but a pitstop a lap later than the German saw the Australian drop down to sixth.

    The Red Bull driver was then running behind Hamilton when the Briton tried to pass Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

    Webber left his braking too late and crash into the back of Hamilton.

    “It was very difficult to get the moves done on the inside because it was still a bit greasy and obviously Lewis enjoys an incredible straight-line speed so it was very difficult to get the moves done on those guys. Then Lewis and I both caught Fernando.

    “I was looking forward to the last part of the race, thought it would be a good fight. We both got a run on Fernando. I apologised to Lewis.

    “I was looking to get also the run coming back out but when I got that close, the front wing just basically did not work – I could not get the car stopped. It lifted up … I just locked up, tried to get more on the inside to make it wheel-to-wheel but in the end obviously I hit him with the front wing and the rear tyre. That’s car racing.”

  4. This was a really frustrating weekend for Lewis Hamilton. Caught doing ‘burnouts’ by the Australian police for his ‘boy racer’ behaviour off track, suffered a shocking qualifying session and then racing through the field only to get hit by Webber in the closing stages of the Grand Prix was a bitter pill to swallow. No surprise he has criticise McLaren’s pit strategy – see the Autosport story below and the F1 Fanatic web link.


    Lewis Hamilton described the Australian Grand Prix as one of the finest drives of his career, and blamed a poor strategy and Mark Webber’s mistake for costing him a good finish.

    The McLaren driver fought through from 11th on the grid to challenge Robert Kubica for second by half-distance, but then pitted for fresh tyres along with most of the field.

    Jenson Button, Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso decided to nurse their tyres to the finish, though, leaving Hamilton back in fifth. He caught the battle between the Renault and the two Ferraris, then was pushed into a spin by Webber with two laps to go and finished only sixth.

    “To sum up the race I think I probably had one of the drives of my life and unfortunately, due to the strategy, I was put further back and then I got taken out by Mark Webber,” Hamilton told the BBC.

    “I’m happy with the job that I did. I think I honestly drove my heart out today and I think I deserved better than what I ended up with, but I’ll keep fighting to the next race.”

    Hamilton had criticised McLaren’s strategy over the radio, and he remained certain that pitting for a second time had been the wrong move.

    “All I know is the guys do, always, a fantastic job, but the strategy was not right,” he said. “Everyone else in front of me did one stop and for some reason I did two.”

    When asked whose decision the second stop had been, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know, we’ll find out.”

  5. For the second time Nico Rosberg out-raced his more experienced team-mate Michael Schumacher. The young German finished the race in Melbourne in fifth, with Schumacher in tenth. Autosport.com has the full story on Rosberg.

    Nico Rosberg was happy to collect points at the Australian Grand Prix, where the German driver finished in fifth position.

    “Fifth place is a good result after a mixed-up race today,” said the Mercedes driver, who had finished in sixth at the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago.

    “I had a bad start in the wet and after that we lacked pace and I struggled with the option tyre. The rear degradation was pretty bad so we decided to go for a second stop and get some fresh tyres to try to attack the group ahead.

    “Even with the tyre advantage, it would have been difficult to pass once we caught up and therefore it was good to make up a couple of places when Mark and Lewis had an incident, so I’m pleased with that.

    “We need to keep on taking the points whilst we improve the car so overall it was a decent weekend,” added Rosberg.

    Team-mate Michael Schumacher had a difficult day after making contact with Fernando Alonso at the start.

    The seven-time champion was forced to pit to repair his front wing and could only climb up to tenth position in the end.

    “I could have had a good race today so it was a pity that I was hit right after the start,” Schumacher said. “That incident decided my race obviously. But things like that happen and you have to just say ‘that’s racing’.

    “I had to take the remainder of the race from last position but I have to say that I was still having fun as our pace today was promising and for part of the race, we were going quicker than the top group.

    “It was nice to pick up a point and we can take that good feeling into the next race where we will look forward to another challenge.”

  6. Despite Sebastian Vettel brake failure in the Australian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner believes that without that problem, the young German would have wonn the race quite easily. Read this Autosport story for the full details:

    Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel was on his way to a comfortable victory in Australia before he was hit by mechanical problems.

    The German driver retired from the race while leading in what Horner described as cruel luck for Vettel.

    “Ultimately an extremely disappointing day,” said Horner, whose team started from the front row but left Australia with just two points.

    “Having been in control of the race, the second in succession, Sebastian unfortunately retired with what looks like a wheel related issue (front left), which certainly cost him a comfortable race win today.

    “It was cruel luck for him for the second year in a row here in Australia.”

    Vettel had also being hit by car problems at the Bahrain Grand Prix when he too looked set for victory.

    Team-mate Mark Webber completed a poor day for Red Bull, the Australian finishing in ninth after a difficult race.

    “With Mark, at his home GP, he dropped a place at the start, but then was making progress in the damp and tricky conditions,” added Horner. “We had to leave him a lap longer than Sebastian to change to dry tyres, as he would have lost too much ground pitting immediately behind him.

    “As the circuit went from intermediates to slicks, he made a couple of good passing moves on Massa, but then, unfortunately, he got tangled up with Hamilton for the first time in the race.

    “After everything had settled down and with the position he was running in, we decided we had nothing to lose by putting another set of tyres on to let him have a go in the last ten laps, which Rosberg and Hamilton also elected to do. We got Rosberg at the stop but Lewis and Mark got tangled together which resulted in Mark having to pit again for a nose change.

    “Ninth place after starting the race with two cars at the front of the grid is massively disappointing.”

  7. As for Mark Webber, the Red Bull Racing driver was reprimanded by the race stewards following his crash with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Brief details on this taken from Autosport.com.

    Mark Webber was given a reprimand by the race stewards after the Australian Grand Prix for his part in a collision with Lewis Hamilton.

    The Red Bull Racing driver was locked in a thrilling duel with Hamilton and Fernando Alonso for fourth place in the closing stages of the race when he slid into the back of Hamilton.

    Webber lost his front wing and Hamilton was pushed off into the gravel trap – although the pair recovered to finish ninth and sixth respectively.

    Hamilton saw the race stewards after the event to explain how he saw the accident – and it was decided that Webber would be handed a reprimand for causing a crash.

  8. World championship leader Fernando Alonso has commented that he would have won the race due to the efficiency of his Ferrari F10, but unfortunately that spin on the first lap prevented the Spaniard in winning the second race of the season. Story taken from Autosport.com.

    Autosport’s Q&A with Alonso – http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/82508

    Fernando Alonso declared himself extremely happy after recovering to fourth position at the Australian Grand Prix.

    The Spanish driver, starting from third position, dropped to the back of the field after spinning when making contact with Jenson Button’s McLaren.

    From there, however, Alonso charged through the field to finish right behind Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.

    “I was P22 so I was not thinking about my team-mate at that moment, I was just thinking about scoring some points,” said Alonso of the start, when Massa overtook him.

    “Then, it was a fantastic result in the end for the team, and for myself as well. So, I was ready to sign before the race for this result – if you win the race you take seven points to your main competitor.

    “Now, I took 12 points to Vettel, to Michael and to some of the main rivals for the championship. So it has been a much better race in terms of points than Bahrain, if you compare with your main competitor.

    “So, I am extremely happy – especially how the race developed. Being last at the first corner, and then the reward at the end of the race has been much better than I expected.”

    Alonso admitted he did not think he could recover to score, but claimed his car was perfect and that could have won even from the back of the grid.

    “I was not convinced that I could recover the positions to get into the points,” he added. “The first laps with the intermediate tyres, if you see the times I was like two seconds quicker than anyone because I was not caring too much. I thought maybe I will crash or maybe I will recover my position – so it was maximum attack.

    “The car was perfect, and now even thinking through the race and all the analysis – there is the possibility that you can win the race even starting last because the car was so much quicker today than all the others.

    “I was very, very happy and very confident with the car. I enjoyed it – and I prefer to start first and be bored until the end of the race, but it was an interesting race in terms of overtaking and in terms of battles.”

    The two-time champion also made it clear that he did not think Massa should have let him through, despite being slower than him when he caught the Brazilian.

    “No. I don’t think so. We are racing also with your team-mate. This is the second race of the championship, so there is nothing you can do. Also, when I arrive behind Felipe my tyres were not in any more a good shape because I was pushing very hard at the beginning.

    “I don’t think at that time that I could do any more than that. I was more concentrating on Hamilton and Webber – who were coming behind, than attacking Felipe and Robert. I was super happy with fourth, so I stayed there.”

  9. This was a fantastic result for McLaren and Jenson Button hopes that this race victory will spur on the team for more success. Autosport.com has the full story:

    Jenson Button hopes that his Australian Grand Prix victory acts as a platform to spur his McLaren team on to even greater success this season.

    The world champion outclassed the opposition with a well-timed early switch to slick tyres in the rain-affected race in Melbourne – before brilliantly conserving his rubber over the remainder of the race distance to grab the win.

    And although Button is not shying away from the fact that McLaren still needs to improve its pace if it is to take the world title fight to Red Bull Racing, the Briton thinks that the Australian triumph will help motivate that push forwards.

    “I just want to run around and scream because this is the most amazing experience,” said Button on Sunday night as he prepared for some quiet celebrations with his team and family. “For this moment in my career, it is very special and hopefully this is something we can build on for this year.

    “This has given us a bit of direction. We are very hungry for victory – and this one is just a taster. Hopefully with a few improvements, this is going to continue.

    “The team has done a great job this weekend, we’ve made some good steps forward, but we are still not quick enough. We still want to be quicker than we are, but this is a great result and to win here with what we have is spectacular – and we have to keep building on this.”

    Button reckons that his first win for McLaren means just as much to him as his victory in last year’s Australian Grand Prix when he was racing for Brawn GP.

    “It is massive. It really is,” he said. “It means so much to me because last year was a very special season. This winter has been very long getting to know the team, and they have been great.

    “They’ve really welcomed me in, and it has been a big part of that. I thought I would struggle a little with it and haven’t so far. The car is taking me a little bit longer to get used to than the team itself, but I am happy – and this wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t happy in the cockpit.”

    The key to Button’s victory was his early switch to slick tyres which, although viewed by some as inspired, the man himself reckons was a necessity.

    “For me it was a must – I was losing places left, right and centre [on the intermediates]. They are normally conditions I really enjoy, but I didn’t have a balance, and I thought I am going to end up sixth, seventh or eighth if I don’t do something. I thought if I am destroying tyres this quickly it must be dry.

    “When we put the tyre on it was always let’s put them on to the end, as one stop is always the way at the moment. Then after seven or eight laps I had been pushing so hard to catch the cars that had just come out on slicks that the rears starting going off and I thought, ‘oh no this could all end in tears’.

    “I did everything I could then to change the settings on the car to give me understeer, and I got it about right. I had to conserve the tyres until the final 20 laps when I could kick it in.”

    He added: “We didn’t have the pace of the quick cars on the front row in qualifying, but our race pace has been better over the past two grands prix. The conditions helped us today and we made some good calls – but F1 is not just about being the quickest out there. It is about making the right calls, conserving the car and the tyres, and I think we did everything right.

    “I am very, very happy. The team has done a very good job – we should enjoy ourselves tonight. This is a special day for me.”

  10. Wow, what a contrast from the last race ( well cars driving round and round on a circuit ).

    Brilliant, just brilliant!. Massa’s leap at the start was just incredible and was the sole reason for his podium finish.

    Jensons decision to change to slicks was excellent as getting those early few laps in before everyone else meant he had hot tyres and so keep or overtake with ease.

    On the other hand the teams decision to change Lewis’ tyres late on was mental. Being no slower than anyone else does not mean it’s time to change tyres. Prats. But then as always, Lewis gave in and did what he was told. Grow some bollocks man! But then being a team player means that when these stupid orders take place and go wrong, THEN you can complain with full rights. Before all that, I think I must give Lewis “driver of the race”. He did some excellent overtaking. Dunno what it was, but that straight line speed was incredible! It’s just a shame Webber was driving like a complete c**t!

    Then of course we had Vettels brake failure. This is not good news for Red Bull as having a fast car means squat if it doesn’t finish the race ( or being driven by a twat ). Nothing in the last two races has pushed the car to braking point. I hope they get things sorted as they are a great team and on any other day both fantastic drivers.

    Kubica did a good job of being completely unnoticed for the race lol. Though as always, the damn/wet tracks do a great leveling job of the teams, so we’ll see how Renault do in a completely dry race.

    It was again awesome to see the quick pit stops and to see the cars drive off still bouncing after being dropped off the jacks. With last years fuelling, they had to wait for the hose to be cleared ( or not in some cases! ) before driving off. Glad to see the allowed gap time was decreased also. Seeing all those cars come in at once to change to slicks could have meant many penalties if they had kept to the 55m min gap rules.
    I do like the total pit-stop times that get posted along with the stationary time, but I do wish they would stick with showing the stationary time in real time; now it means we have to wait for the car to get racing again before we find out how lightening quick the tyre change was. It’s really annoying.

    But yet again, the BBC have done a stirling job. Great pre show after show and as always, inspired music choices that get played at the end of the show. They nearly always get a really apt choice of song/s. The one thing I would like to see though is a slightly bigger/better highlight package. A bit more discussion before and afterwards would be great.

    So a wet race proves yet again, it normally makes for a great race. Maybe we should have those huge Hollywood rain curtains all over each track!

    I fear the worst again for this weekend, but, just like 24 no matter how bad it can be, I’ll still be watching!

  11. Oh forgot to talk about Jenson’s race win a bit more.

    It was a fantastic drive from him and given the appearance of the straight line speed of the Mclaren yesterday, I don’t think Vettel would have been able to hold of Jenson had his brakes stayed in one piece. Cool, calm, collected and great tire change timing is what will get you a good race and respect in a team.

    This win will hopefully help justify his decision to change teams for this year for all the doubters. One thing it will do for sure is help his stature in the team. Nothing like a win backed up by more wins or solid performances to help cement your place in a team, even if that is “Lewis'” team!

    The one thing that is doubtful about his skills though. If the car isn’t perfect I think he struggles. Many other top drivers get around them and seem to just adjust more than Button does. If the car isn’t in top form, then neither is Jenson.

    I think that maybe the one problem he’ll have with Mclaren. Shuey for Ferrari, Lewis to an extent for Mclaren and many others both got more out of a bad car than Jenson can. Until he can run that car ragged, I just cannot see the Mclaren going OTT to help JB. He got the win and Mclaren will love that, but for a team ( any ), it’s the win first and none of them care who gets it.

    But have to say, so far the new points system actually works!! As long as you have varied winners then there could be many position changes and a race win for a lower placed driver could make a huge difference.

    Anyways, great write up as usual Elton. Here’s hoping that the next race which will be this weekend already will be another good one. Not putting a single pound bet on it though!

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