Formula 1: Jenson Button & McLaren Off To Flying Start in Australia

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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

Pos Ctry Driver No Team Grd Fast lap Result Pts
1 GBR Jenson Button 3 McLaren-Mercedes 2 1:29.187 1:34:09.565 25
2 GER Sebastian Vettel 1 Red Bull-Renault 6 1:29.417 +00:02.139 18
3 GBR Lewis Hamilton 4 McLaren-Mercedes 1 1:29.538 +00:04.075 15
4 AUS Mark Webber 2 Red Bull-Renault 5 1:29.438 +00:04.547 12
5 ESP Fernando Alonso 5 Ferrari 12 1:30.277 +00:21.565 10
6 JAP Kamui Kobayashi 14 Sauber 13 1:30.620 +00:36.766 8
7 FIN Kimi Raikkonen 9 Lotus-Renault 17 1:30.759 +00:38.014 6
8 MEX Sergio Perez 15 Sauber 22 1:30.843 +00:39.458 4
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
14 GER Timo Glock 24 Marussia-Cosworth 20 1:34.253 lapped
15 FRA Charles Pic 25 Marussia-Cosworth 21 1:35.011 lapped
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

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