Reigning World Champion Jenson Button emerged victorious at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix after starting from fourth position. Second place went to Renault’s Robert Kubica and the final podium position went to Felipe Massa in his scarlet Ferrari. Unlike the Bahrain GP which took place a fortnight ago the Australian race at the Albert Park street circuit was very entertaining due to rain and various other incidents. We also saw more overtaking moves compared to the Middle Eastern event.
Bahrain GP winner Fernando Alonso collected fourth place ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Button’s team mate Lewis Hamilton. Force India did very well today with Vitantonio Liuzzi’s seventh place. Rubens Barrichello of Williams, Mark Webber of Red Bull and finally 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher rounded off the top ten for Mercedes.
Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen and Hispania’s Karun Chandhok were the only ones from the new teams who crossed the finish line. The Finn finished in 13th place, two laps behind Button while Karun finished five laps behind in 14th. The rest including both the Virgin cars and Bruno Senna from Hispania retired. Jarno Trulli did not start the race as his car suffered from hydraulics failure.
The incident-filled race started in wet conditions and all cars were fitted with wet weather tires. As with previous Australian GP’s, the first corner on the first lap collected some prisoners. Fernando Alonso who started from third had a poor start and was hit by eventual race winner Button causing the Spaniard to spin. Alonso then hit Schumacher. Button managed to continue while Alonso dropped to the back of the grid.
Schumacher had to pit for a new front wing as well. The ‘Gullwing’ safety car was then deployed. Just seconds later Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber hit the barrier and subsequently collected Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg as well. Sebastien Buemi from Toro Rosso also went off and retired. As the race restarted Vettel, Massa, Webber, Kubica, Rosberg, Button, Hamilton, Sutil, Barrichello, Petrov made up the top ten.
Alonso restarted in 18th and Schumacher did so in 20th. As expected both Alonso and Schumacher went on to pass slower cars although the Ferrari driver had it easier. Schumacher tried to make a move on Virgin’s Glock but Glock took the position back. That was a very interesting overtaking move.
Button then pitted at the end of Lap 6 and was the first to use slicks. He came out and it was quite slippery for him but as the tires collected more heat, Button’s decision of switching to slicks proved to be a good one. Just a while later more cars pitted as Button set the fastest lap time. At Lap 12 it was still Vettel who was leading, followed by Button, Kubica, Rosberg, Massa, Webber, Hamilton, Barrichello, de la Rosa and Alonso.
Vettel was having a comfortable lead but unfortunately for the German, the brakes on his Red Bull failed and push him onto the gravel trap. That was the end of his race after scoring his second consecutive pole position yesterday. Button took over the lead ahead of Kubica, Hamilton and Rosberg.
Towards the closing stages of the race, it was Button, Kubica, Massa and Alonso who were at the top four. Hamilton and Webber, following their pit stops were closing in on both the Ferraris. Both Massa and Alonso opt not to pit and decided to stay on with worn tires. Hamilton and Webber, thanks to fresh tires closed up and started to pressure Alonso. In a surprising move, Webber hit the back of Hamilton and pushed both of them out of the battle for fourth place.
Hamilton got back on track but only managed to finish in sixth place. Webber had to pit for a new front wing and only managed ninth. In one week’s time the Formula 1 fraternity will gather again for the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix and hopefully we won’t see a single red flag! Although today’s race was pretty exciting, imagine if it did not pour at the beginning. For now fans can only hope for more rain to add excitement into a grand prix