TWO MELBOURNE GP’S IN A ROW FOR MCLAREN’S JENSON BUTTON!

–   Anestis Mantzouranis

Jenson Button Wins the 2010 Qantas Australian Grand Prix

One thing you can say is consistent about the Australian GP’s, is that they are unpredictable, competitive and thrilling, edge of the seat stuff !

The 2010 edition was certainly no exception, with what began as a confident Red Bull surge, ending up with one bull down and the other just hanging onto the top 10! But the race champion was Jenson Button in the Team McLaren car and whilst this marks the first win for the season, it’s actually second in a row for him at Melbourne. This places Button in an elite group of only 3 drivers to have ever won two in a row at Melbourne; Schumaker, Coulthard and now Button.

Although it was a typically great drive that brought home the McLaren, if you could point to one deciding point of strategy for the team, it would be the  tyre strategy. The decision of wet or dry tyres is always the bane of  drivers and with the rain clouds looming overhead it was certainly a brave one for Jenson to stay with dry.

This strategy meant that Jenson was in the right place at the right time to take the lead from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel when a brake / diff problem saw him hit the gravel early on.

In second spot, Robert Kubica was brilliant and fault free for the Renault team. Probably equally as brave as Button, Kubica stretched his tyre life as long as possible to battle with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso who did the same. Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was in there as well to round off the top four run to the finish.

It was very unfortunate for Australia’s Mark Webber in the second Red Bull car though when he clipped the back of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren sending both into the gravel and costing Webber points. Not a great way to finish for the Australian and certainly not what he was expecting to do in his home town race.

Hamilton had avoided an earlier incident when as early as Turn 1 / Lap 1, Alonso’s Ferrari smacked into Michael Schumaker’s Mercedes after making slight contact with Button.

But the first safety car appeared after Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi hit the inside wall around Turn 6 before bouncing back on track to collect Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso and Nico Hulkenburg’s Williams !

In the end, the victory came down to a battle between wet or dry tyre choices! After Button’s bold earlier move to switch to dry tyres proved to be a successful one, most of the field followed although Webber stayed out longer expecting more rain. By Lap 10, Webber had lost position holdings to Kubica, Rosberg and Massa with Button now holding a very strong second spot.

Massa though, had become the bottle neck to the front and all had to fight his superb defensive moves to pass him. It took Hamilton six laps, then Alonso but no more as Massa held his number 3 spot for the duration.

By Lap 31 Webber lead the way towards pits for tyre changes and the rest of the leaders followed. Button however was managing his tyres well and stayed out to do battle with the freshly tyre adorned Webber, Hamilton and Roseberg.

But where was Schumaker in all this ? Unfortunately for the Mercedes driver, the Lap 1 incident with Alonso’s Ferrari slowed him down and left him caught behind Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso. Here, he swapped places back and forth, before he managed to pass both the Toro and Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa.

A disappointing end for some, but as much as that is the nature of racing, so too it is that thrills and spills and unexpected results has come to be the nature of the Melbourne Grand Prix !

 

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PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Australian Grand Prix Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia; 58 laps; 307.574km; Weather: Wet then dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time
 1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h33:36.531
 2.  Kubica        Renault                    +    12.034
 3.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    14.488
 4.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    16.304
 5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    16.683
 6.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    29.898
 7.  Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes       +    59.847
 8.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +  1:00.536
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +  1:07.319
10.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +  1:09.391
11.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:11.301
12.  De la Rosa    Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:14.084
13.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth             +    2 laps
14.  Chandhok      HRT-Cosworth               +    4 laps

Fastest lap: 

Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap
Glock         Virgin-Cosworth              41
Vettel        Red Bull-Renault             26
Di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth              25
Sutil         Force India-Mercedes         12
Petrov        Renault                      10
Senna         HRT-Cosworth                 5
Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari           1
Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth            1
Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari               1
Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth               1

World Championship standings, round 2: Drivers: Constructors: 
 1.  Alonso        37        1.  Ferrari                    70
 2.  Massa         33        2.  McLaren-Mercedes           54
 3.  Button        31        3.  Mercedes                   29
 4.  Hamilton      23        4.  Red Bull-Renault           18
 5.  Rosberg       20        5.  Renault                    18
 6.  Kubica        18        6.  Force India-Mercedes        8
 7.  Vettel        12        7.  Williams-Cosworth           5
 8.  Schumacher     9                                         
 9.  Liuzzi         8                                         
10.  Webber         6                                        
11.  Barrichello    5                                        

All timing unofficial

 

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