– 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 !
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