McLaren's Jenson Button is confident they can fight for the 2012 F1 world championships following his victory in Australia.
Button took the lead at the start and while he conceded the safety car near the end was a 'big worry' he held on and eventually crossed the line 2.1 seconds up on Sebastian Vettel, who was second for Red Bull.
Button attributed the win at Melbourne's Albert Park to a strong pre-season and added that it made all the difference.
“Every victory means a lot – but today shows just how important it was to have a strong winter,” he confirmed. “The starts of the past two seasons have both been tricky for us, so today is really encouraging. The guys at the circuit and all the men and women back in Woking have done an amazing job to get us here.
“Today means a lot to me, and I'm sure it'll mean a lot to all of them too: it'll make those extra hours worked in the early hours of the morning all the more worthwhile, because we know we can do great things with this car.
“At the start, I really wanted to get away fast in the first two laps to avoid the threat of DRS – it wasn't easy because I had Lewis right on my tail. But the race went smoothly after that. My biggest worry was the late-race Safety Car: I had a 10-second advantage, which was pretty healthy, but the Safety Car cut that to nothing.
“And, since it was 6.00pm, with the sun going down, it was quite difficult to keep temperature in the tyres when we were running slowly behind the Safety Car. That was a big worry for me, but it worked out okay in the end: I got clear of Seb [Vettel] and the DRS zone pretty quickly and was able to pull out an advantage and hold it to the end.
“There's a huge amount of positives to take away from this weekend: we've got a great car and we can fight for the world championships.
"This is a perfect start to my season and I'm already really looking forward to Malaysia [next weekend].”