McLaren’s Jenson Button has secured victory at the season opening race at Melbourne. The 2009 World Champion started 2nd but had a great start to leap frog team mate Lewis Hamilton into the first corner. Michael Schumacher jumped from 4th to 3rd as Lotus’ Romain Grosjean had a bad start and was swamped off the line. Mark Webber continued his bad run of starts which blighted him last year, dropping him to ninth while his team mate, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel made it up to 4th.
Rookie Jean-Eric Vergne highlighted his inexperience in F1 by smashing sideways into slow starting Mark Webber at the first corner. Webber was then pushed into Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg and this caused a chain reaction leading to Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo making contact with the Williams of Bruno Senna.
Jenson Button soon built a gap over team mate Lewis Hamilton in 2nd place as Nico Hulkenburg retired with a damaged car and Romain Grosjean made contact with Pastor Maldonado on lap 2, breaking Grosjean’s front right axle and sending him into the gravel.
Sebastian Vettel hunted down the third placed Mercedes of Michael Schumacher until Schumacher went wide on turn one with gearbox problems. The 7-time world champion cruised around the lap before pulling up in the pit lane to retire from the race.
Returning World Champion Kimi Raikkonen clawed his way up from 17th place, making it up to third place during the pit stop phase but finishing in seventh. Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber had a scrap for position which Webber finally came out on top of.
On Lap 37, The Caterham of Vitaly Petrov pulled off on the pit straight. A safety car was deployed to clear the car while the pack was held up by a recovery truck coming out to move the stricken car. Petrov’s team mate, Heikki Kovalainen was handed a five place grid penalty for Malaysia for overtaking two cars under the safety car, as he entered the pits and the pack continued on. Kovalainen then retired for suspension problems.
On the restart, Button led from Vettel from Hamilton from Webber from Alonso from Kobayashi. Button wasn’t long building up a gap from Vettel while Vettel, Hamilton and Webber pulled away from Alonso.
Perez collided lightly with the back of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa who suffered a puncture. Bruno Senna tried to overtake the fellow brazillian but Massa could not turn the corner due to the puncture and went into the side of Senna. The two became locked together and drove from turn four to turn six joined together before Senna went off at the Gravel. Felipe Massa pulled into his garage to retire from the race while Bruno Senna pitted for new tyres.
Pastor Maldonado proved that Williams have improved leaps and bounds from last year while attacking Fernando Alonso for 5th place. However on the penultimate lap, The Venezuelan got onto the grass at Turn 6 and flew into the wall in a very hard collision. He retired instantly.
The race finished with Perez eighth, Ricciardo ninth and Paul Di Resta having a fabulous lap to make it into the points in 10th position.
Nico Rosberg was unfortunate on the last lap as he makes contact with Perez and has to endure a lap at a much slower speed, dropping him to 12th place.
1. Jenson Button
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Mark Webber
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Kamui Kobayashi
7. Kimi Raikkonen
8. Sergio Perez
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Paul Di Resta
11. Jean-Eric Vergne
12. Nico Rosberg
13. Timo Glock
14. Bruno Senna
15. Charles Pic
Nico Hulkenburg – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Collision
Michael Schumacher – Gearbox Failure
Vitaly Petrov – Steering Wheel issue
Heikki Kovalainen – Suspension Failure
Felipe Massa – Collision
Pastor Maldonado – Collision