After weeks of posturing and conjecture on the tarmac of Jerez and Barcelona, the 2012 F1 world championship finally got underway in the leafy surrounds of Albert Park
at the weekend.
An action-packed weekend, which briefly threatened to get political, ended with Jenson Button
taking the honours after a controlled lights-to-flag run and leaping into an early championship lead by keeping reigning champion Sebastian Vettel
at arms length in the closing stages.
McLaren proved to have the upper hand throughout the weekend, with Lewis Hamilton
pipping Button for pole on Saturday afternoon. Red Bull, many people's pre-season favourites despite a far from smooth run in testing, only managed to qualify on row three, with Romain Grosjean
and Michael Schumacher putting themselves between Vettel, Mark Webber
and the McLarens. In the race, however, the row two occupants failed to see the chequered flag, allowing Webber to overcome a poor start and turn one collision to finish fourth - his best result in his home race - ahead of Fernando Alonso, who overcame a recalcitrant Ferrari
and row six start to round out the top five.
The Spaniard was under pressure from Pastor Maldonado
and a rejuvenated Williams
until the Venezuelan crashed two laps from home, allowing Kamui Kobayashi
and Kimi Raikkonen
to move up a place, both having qualified outside the top ten. Nico Rosberg
should have scored for Mercedes, but a late clash with Sergio Perez - who again used a single-stop strategy to transform 22nd on the grid into points - left him with a puncture, and prompted a frenetic dash for points involving Daniel Ricciardo, who came from a lap down thanks to the safety car, Paul di Resta and rookie Jean-Eric Vergne, with the Frenchman the one to miss out at the line. Further back, both Caterhams ran into problems, allowing Marussia - for all its lack of pre-season testing - to claim 'division three' honours courtesy of birthday boy Timo Glock
and newcomer Charles Pic.
While Grosjean deserves an honourable mention for his qualifying exploits, we want to know who you felt was the star of the race in Melbourne, and have provided a short-list of ten names to choose from. Simply CLICK HERE
to cast your vote, and use the comments section below to explain your decision....