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Jenson Button takes third Australian GP win

Sunday 18th March, 2012 - 5:17pm

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Jenson Button's McLaren

Jenson Button's McLaren

Jenson Button has taken his third Qantas Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix victory in four years at Albert Park.

The 2009 World Champion led home Sebastian Vettel by 2.1s seconds, with Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso rounding out the top five.

Button took the lead from pole-sitter Hamilton off the start and was only headed during the pitstop cycles thereafter.

Hamilton ran second in the early laps but lost the place to Vettel in the second pitstops, which were disrupted by a Safety Car period.

Hamilton had pegged Button’s lead at 3s during the first stint, but dropped more than 7s following the first stops when stuck behind a yet-to-pit Sergio Perez.

Vettel could not do anything about Button when the race resumed from its single Safety Car period with 17 laps to go. Button reset the fastest lap three consecutive times following the restart and was not threatened for the remainder.

Fourth represents Webber’s best ever finish at the Australian Grand Prix, and came despite the local hero falling from fifth to ninth at the first corner.

The Red Bull driver recovered to sixth place by the midway point, before jumping ahead of both Nico Rosberg and Alonso in the second round of stops.

Compatriot Daniel Ricciardo was forced to pit on the opening lap after breaking his front-wing at Turn 1, but eventually took a sensational ninth having benefited from being handed his lap back under the Safety Car.

Ricciardo gained three places on the final lap alone, taking advantage of incidents for Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado before passing his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne at three corners from the chequered flag.

Maldonado had run in the top 10 for the majority of the race, but crashed out in spectacular fashion while pressuring Alonso on the last lap. The Venezuelan lost control of his Williams exiting Turn 7 and made heavy head-on contact with the concrete wall.

Rosberg also saw a strong result go begging on the final lap, the Mercedes driver dropping out of the top 10 after a brush with Perez caused a puncutre.

Team-mate Michael Schumacher too missed out on points after suffering a gearbox failure while running third in the first stint.

Also out on Lap 1 were Nico Hulkenberg (who stopped at Turn 12) and Romain Grosjean (who clashed with Maldonado at Turn 13).

Bruno Senna had spun at the very first corner of the race, and would later retire after side-to-side contact with Felipe Massa at Turn 4.

Both Caterhams failed to finish, with Vitaly Petrov’s car stopping on the main straight with steering problems to cause the race’s one and only Safety Car.

Team-mate Heikki Koavalainen retired with broken suspension, and was later hit with a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix after passing before the Safety Car line at the restart.

See below for the full race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Laps

Time/Retired

1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 58 Winner
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 58 +2.1 secs
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58 +4.0 secs
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 58 +4.5 secs
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 58 +21.5 secs
6 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 58 +36.7 secs
7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 58 +38.0 secs
8 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 58 +39.4 secs
9 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 58 +39.5 secs
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 58 +39.7 secs
11 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 58 +39.8 secs
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 58 +57.6 secs
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 57 +1 Lap
14 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 57 +1 Lap
15 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 53 +5 Laps
16 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 52 +6 Laps
Ret Felipe Massa Ferrari 46 +12 Laps
Ret Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 38 +20 Laps
Ret Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 34 +24 Laps
Ret Michael Schumacher Mercedes 10 +48 Laps
Ret Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1 +57 Laps
Ret Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 0 + 58 Laps
DNS Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
DNS Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth

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