British driver, Jenson Button of McLaren got his 2012 Formula 1 World Championship season off to the best possible of starts, in picking up an opening race win in Melbourne, Australia.
Button leapfrogged his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, at the start, and lead for the entire race to take the victory, from holding World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, of Red Bull. Hamilton, Button’s McLaren team-mate was third, ahead of the other Red Bull driver, home hero Australian Mark Webber.
Fernando Alonso showed some good pace in his Ferrari to turn an out-of-the-top-ten qualifying session into a solid fifth place, ahead of Japanese driver, Kobayashi in the Sauber, who was placed sixth.
Another former World Champion, the returning Kimi Raikkonen worked his way up from 18th on the grid to place a good 7th in his Lotus machine, ahead of second Sauber man Sergio Perez.
The story of the race is surely the pace of the McLarens in comparison with last season’s runaway winners, Red Bull. Also, despite being written off by many commentators, following a poor qualifying performance from both drivers, this race pace showed that Ferrari might just have a competitive car on their hands, after all.
Of the “second tier” it looks as though Sauber have a reasonable season ahead of them and, providing they can get Raikkonen to qualify better, and keep both cars on the tarmac for plenty of full races, Lotus-Renault will pick up plenty of points in 2012.
But this first race often sees some teams appearing in public a little undercooked. Expect to see more from Ferrari later in the season, and Red Bull could well, as so often before, pull some pace out of an upgrade or two down the track.
We only have a week to wait for the next installment, however, as Formula 1 moves to Malaysia in a week’s time.
For now it is Jenson Button and McLaren who sit on top of the table, but there’s an awful lot of racing to go yet.
A great curtain raiser in Melbourne probably creates more questions than it answered. This story is very much to be continued.
Formula 1 2012: Melbourne Result
|2||GER||Sebastian Vettel||1||Red Bull-Renault||6||1:29.417||+00:02.139||18|
|4||AUS||Mark Webber||2||Red Bull-Renault||5||1:29.438||+00:04.547||12|
|9||AUS||Daniel Ricciardo||16||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||10||1:30.592||+00:39.556||2|
|10||GBR||Paul Di Resta||11||Force India-Mercedes||15||1:30.605||+00:39.737||1|
|11||FRA||Jean-Eric Vergne||17||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||11||1:30.274||+00:39.848|
|12||GER||Nico Rosberg||8||Mercedes GP||7||1:30.931||+00:57.642|
|13||VEN||Pastor Maldonado||18||Williams-Renault||8||1:30.254||crash, 57 laps|
|16||BRA||Bruno Senna||19||Williams-Renault||14||1:30.855||retired, 52 laps|
|17||BRA||Felipe Massa||6||Ferrari||16||1:31.940||retired, 46 laps|
|18||FIN||Heikki Kovalainen||20||Caterham-Renault||18||1:33.693||retired, 38 laps|
|19||RUS||Vitaly Petrov||21||Caterham-Renault||19||1:33.214||retired, 34 laps|
|20||GER||Michael Schumacher||7||Mercedes GP||4||1:34.021||retired, 10 laps|
|21||SUI||Romain Grosjean||10||Lotus-Renault||3||crash, 1 laps|
|22||GER||Nico Hulkenberg||12||Force India-Mercedes||9||retired, 0 laps|