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Jenson Button takes third Australian GP victory

The order as the race passed through half distance still suggested the race was McLaren's to lose, despite Vettel's pursuit of Hamilton, while Alonso had somehow hauled the recalcitrant Ferrari into fourth, ahead of Rosberg, Webber, Maldonado - who had emerged undamaged from his moment with Grosjean - Kimi Raikkonen, up from 17th on the grid, and Kobayashi, who was enjoying a spirited tussle with the returning Finn.

Alonso triggered the second round of pit-stops among the leaders, with McLaren opting to service its two cars at the same. That briefly allowed Vettel into the lead, but more tellingly for the Woking team, Vitaly Petrov's Caterham ground to a halt on the start-finish straight, prompting the first appearance of the safety car. Vettel pitted immediately and, while Button was able to regain his lead, Hamilton's luck again failed him, as the Red Bull slotted in between the two McLarens. RBR suddenly looked in good stead, as Webber closed in behind Hamilton, with Maldonado now ahead of Alonso, Perez and Raikkonen, as Rosberg dropped back to ninth, in front of Kobayashi.

Having been made to wait for the lapped backmarkers to work their way around to the tail of the field, Button paced the restart perfectly, pulling away from Vettel as the Red Bull struggled to get its tyres up to temperature. Hamilton had a look at retaking second, but was unable to make a move stick as second, third and fourth ran together.

The order, at the front at least, remained the same to the flag, with Button pulling out a couple of seconds over his pursuers. At the same time, Hamilton dropped away from Vettel by almost the same amount, leaving the Briton to defend from Webber, the Australian keen to finally land a home race podium. He was to be denied by just 0.4secs as the top four came home well clear of the rest, but still improved on his previous best Melbourne finish.

While Ferrari team-mate Massa retired after a clash with Senna, Alonso survived to take a fifth place that looked unlikely after qualifying. The Spaniard had to withstand prolonged pressure from a fired-up Maldonado, only escaping when the Venezuelan made an error on the penultimate lap, putting a wheel over the kerbs and being fired into a tankslapper that resulted in heavy contact with the wall.

That incident appeared to precipitate late chaos among the lower half of the top ten, with Perez and Rosberg clashing on the last lap. That not only left the Mercedes hobbling home with a puncture and the Sauber unable to resist the subsequent challenge from Raikkonen and Kobayashi, but saw Vergne briefly promoted to a points position - only to lose out to both team-mate Ricciardo and Force India's Paul di Resta, who went from 13th to tenth on the run to the line. Vergne eventually claimed eleventh on his STR debut, with Rosberg classified twelfth ahead of Maldonado, the two Marussias - which made it home despite very little pre-season running - and Senna.

Button's victory was not only the first time he had won at the same circuit three times, but also ensured that Vettel would not feature at the top of the standings for the first time since Abu Dhabi in 2010. The Briton will also hope that a record established over the past six seasons, in which the Australian GP winner has gone on to take the title five times, holds fast.....

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
Race Start
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes and 1st place Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
2nd place Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing with 1st place Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes and 3rd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
28.07.2016 - Red Bull Racing RB12, detail
28.07.2016 - Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
28.07.2016 - Red Bull Racing RB12, detail
28.07.2016 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver
28.07.2016 - McLaren Honda MP4-31, detail
28.07.2016 - McLaren Honda MP4-31 steering wheel
28.07.2016 - Manor Racing MRT05 steering wheel
28.07.2016 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12

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Firestorm - Unregistered

March 18, 2012 10:02 AM

Great Jenson!Where are people which said before the start of 2010 F1 season that Button will be destroyed or even murdered by Hamilton inside the team.It seems to me that is happening the opposite.Red Bull managed to save his face after the disaster of yesterday.Ferrari must change their name.Maybe is better to call them Scuderia Alonso because he is the only inside the team that works seriously.Dissapointed by Mercedes and impressed by Williams even they crashed in the final part of the race.I am very happy watching Williams-Renault making ground.

Sparrow - Unregistered

March 18, 2012 2:02 PM

Slick-magic - if Lewis is soooo much faster than jenson, why is it Button opened up a 5 sec lead in the first 10 laps when the tyres were fresh. Button just had the legs on Hamilton today, simple as that. Deal with it.

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