The race itself started in wet conditions and proved eventful from the very first corner. Button was left with nowhere to go by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and the pair touched. Alonso, the winner of the last race in Bahrain, ended up pointing the wrong way, losing all of the advantages qualifying third had given him. At the same corner, Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes suffered front wing damage and he had to change his nose cone. This in effect ruined his race.But a little bit down the road – still on lap 1 – came the first racing crash of the season. Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber lost its front wing, it got stuck underneath his car and sent him into the wall. But this didn’t slow him down and he t-boned the unsuspecting and extremely unfortunate Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) and Nico Hülkenberg (Williams). None of the drivers were hurt.
After the Safety Car came in when all the debris was clear from the above accident, Jenson Button made the call to come into the pits and change onto dry tyres. I thought he was mad, and after he slid off at turn three I believed he had blown the race. But the racing Gods rewarded his brave decision, lifting the rain clouds and sending all the other leaders into the pits to change their tyres. After everyone was back on slicks only Vettel’s Red Bull was ahead of Button.
The next big drama took place on lap 16. Mark Webber passed Felipe Massa’s Ferrari going into turn one to the delight of the home fans. Lewis Hamilton then passed Massa in the very same corner and drag raced Webber down to turn three. But Webber overshot the corner and ran into the gravel trap. This caused Hamilton to almost go off as well and allowed Massa to re-pass the pair of them.
Lap 22 saw Hamilton pass Massa again going into the first corner in a daring slipstreaming move. But as Massa tried to get his old place back from Hamilton, his closely following Ferrari team-mate Alonso was forced off of the dry racing line, letting Mark Webber through.
Four laps later Lewis passed Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes around the outside at turn 11 in what will probably be a contender for pass of the season. As the pair tore down to turn 13 they were greeted by yellow flags. They were being shown because Sebastian Vettel had spun out of the lead and out of the race due to a damaged wheel mounting. This meant that Jenson Button was leading the Australian Grand Prix, just as he had done for Brawn in 2009.
For the next few laps it was just Robert Kubica’s Renault in between the two McLaren’s upfront.
But on lap 35 McLaren pulled Hamilton into the pits to change his tyres again. This was to prove costly and in effect gifted victory to his team-mate Button.
A vast majority of the rest of the race saw Button taking it easy out on his own. Then came Kubica followed by Massa and Alonso. These three just couldn’t keep Hamilton, Webber and Rosberg from closing them down.
With six laps to go all six drivers were in a train, but nobody could find the speed to be able to pass one another.
Something had to give.
And on lap 56 of 58, it did.
Hamilton had pulled out to try and pass Alonso around the outside of turn 13. But Alonso kept the corner and Hamilton tried to feed back into the train. He was then punted of the track and into the gravel by Mark Webber, ruining great drives by both drivers. Both got going again, but all was lost in terms of passing the Ferraris.
Button won his first race since Turkey ’09 by 12 seconds from Robert Kubica, with Felipe Massa in third. The remaining points paying positions were taken by: Alonso (Ferrari), Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton (McLaren), Liuzzi (Force India), Barrichello (Williams), Webber (Red Bull) and Schumacher (Mercedes).
Ever since Bahrain people have been saying that F1 is boring. These people will now surely be eating steaming hot humble pie. This was a fantastic race, and well worth getting up at 05:45 for.
PS: Well done to young Jamie Alguersuari, 20, (Toro Rosso) for keeping Schumacher, 41, behind him for a vast majority of the race. Also well done to HRT and Chandhok for finishing their first race.
- Alonso 37pts
- Massa 33pts
- Button 31pts
- Hamilton 23pts
- Rosberg 20pts
- Kubica 18pts
- Vettel 12pts
- Schumacher 9pts
- Liuzzi 8pts
- Webber 6pts
- Ferrari 70pts
- McLaren 54pts
- Mercedes 29pts
- Renault 18pts
- Red Bull 18pts
- Force India 8pts
- Williams 5pts