F1: Button scores first McLaren victory for the season

Aussie GP's on-track drama makes up for the Bahrain boredom
by Patrick Everett Tadeo | Mar 28, 2010
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The 2010 Australian Grand Prix was everything this season's Bahrain Grand Prix was not: a Formula One weekend packed with overtaking action and pitstop drama.

McLaren's Jenson Button made a rash decision to pit in and change into slick tires while the track was still damp. Eventually, this turned out to be a smart move as Button proceeded to hammer in some fast laps as he eventually took the lead once Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel suffered another setback when his RB6's brakes failed after 25 laps. Like in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Vettel was on pole and was leading the race when his RB6 gave up, raising questions about the RB6's reliability.

Equally as livid as Vettel was McLaren's  Lewis Hamilton as what turned out to be an ill-advised order from his team to pit in and replace his tires for the second time. He lost his hold on third place in the process and ended up a hard time to recover. Hamilton landed on sixth place.

Renault's Robert Kubica drove a near-faultless race to claim second place while a determined Felipe Massa held off Red Bull's Mark Webber, Hamilton and Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso to finish in third place.

Jenson Button, McLaren
"To not only be on the podium, but to be on the top step, after just two races, is amazing. It's crucial to get the big points when perhaps we don't have the out-and-out pace: these are really important points to us. Now we've really got to get our heads down and hopefully turn up in Malaysia next week with an even better car." (JensonButton.com)

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Robert Kubica, Renault
"It was difficult because we struggled with the warm-up, so when we saw Jenson being very quick we just pitted in the same lap as Felipe did. Our guys, the mechanics, did a fantastic job and I overtook Felipe in the pit stop but Jenson was much quicker with one or two laps already on the tyres. He built the temperature up, so they are very quick on the straight lines and I was not confident about the conditions as it was my first lap going through the corners with the slick tyres, so it was very difficult to fight with Jenson. It was tough." (Formula1.com)

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
"These points are very important for the classification: I have never been very lucky here and in the past, I have often struggled in the early part of the season. The key to getting on the podium was the start. I managed not to spin the wheels, while other drivers struggled for grip and I managed to move up to second. Then I lost some places in the early stages, when I had a few problems with grip, but thanks to the strategy, I then managed to make up some. I was able to close on Kubica but I never had a real chance of passing him, while behind me Fernando got very close on more than one occasion, making the most of a few errors." (Ferrari.com)

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
"It breaks my balls not to get the win, but there's still a long way to go in this Championship. We're working hard to get on top the reliability issues and we hope to have a solid race and see the chequered flag in Malaysia." (RedBullRacing.com)

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
"To sum up the race I think I probably had one of the drives of my life and unfortunately, due to the strategy, I was put further back and then I got taken out by Webber. I'm happy with the job that I did. I think I honestly drove my heart out today and I think I deserved better than what I ended up with, but I'll keep fighting to the next race." (ESPNF1.com)

Andrew Benson, F1 analyst
"Sunday's events in Albert Park proved the folly of writing off one of the world's most unpredictable sports so early and the wisdom of those--such as the world championship leader Fernando Alonso--who said that the new season should be given more time before being condemned... Not all races this year will be as good as Melbourne, of course, and the sport's bosses do need to look at how hard it is to overtake. But there were hints in the Australian Grand Prix that banning refueling may not be such a bad idea after all." (BBC)

Joe Saward, F1 analyst
"After the race in Bahrain there was a huge amount of negative comment about Formula 1. The race had been a bore; the new rules were wrong; everything needed to be changed; the baby had to be thrown out with the bath water. And then the Australian GP came along and F1 produced a brilliant race. If ever there was an illustration of why F1 needs not to panic, here it was. Perhaps there will be other dull races in the year ahead, and there is no doubt that there are issues that need to be addressed in relation to the design of the cars, but the sport does not need revolutionary change. F1 is very definitely not broken."(JoeSaward.wordpress.com)

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2010 Australian Grand Prix
Ranking  Driver Team  Race Points 2010 Points
1 Jenson Button McLaren 25 31
2 Robert Kubica Renault 18 18
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 15 33
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 12 37
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 10 20
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 8 23
7 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 6 8
8 Rubens Barrichello Williams 4 5
9 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 2 6
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1 9
11 Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso    
12 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber    
13 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus    
14 Karun Chandhok Hispania Racing    
Ret Timo Glock Virgin    
Ret Lucas di Grassi Virgin    
Ret Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing   12
Ret Adrian Suttil Force India    
Ret Vitaly Petrov Renault    
Ret Bruno Senna Hispania Racing    
Ret Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso    
Ret Nico Hulkenberg Williams    
Ret Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber    
Ret Jarno Trullo Lotus    

 

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