Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012

Jenson Button starts his season with an emphatic win in Melbourne

2012 Australian Grand Prix reportPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012Jenson Button produced a dominant performance to win the first race of 2012.

He took the lead from team mate Lewis Hamilton at the start and never looked back.

Sebastian Vettel split the two McLaren drivers on the podium after a safety car period played into his hands.

Button grabs the lead

A frantic first lap set the scene for the race: close action in the midfield, but at the front a consummate performance from Button.

As Hamilton bogged down, Button got “excited” and shifted up into second too quickly. Despite that he was was cleanly into a lead he rarely looked like losing.

From third on the grid, Romain Grosjean started slowly, finding trouble selecting second gear. Nico Rosberg, who started four places back, drew alongside him on the outside of the first corner. Rosberg braked later and made the turn, taking up fourth behind his team mate.

Grosjean’s race didn’t last much a longer. Pastor Maldonado dived down the inside of him at turn 13 on the next lap, the pair made contact and the Lotus’s front suspension broke.

Vettel picked off Nico Rosberg on the second lap, sweeping around the outside of the Mercedes at turn nine. He set off after Michael Schumacher, but went off at turn one on lap six and briefly fell back into the clutches of Rosberg.

Rosberg was under pressure from Fernando Alonso, who’d made remarkable progress from 12th on the grid.

Mark Webber made a poor start by his own admission and suffered damage to his RB8 in contact with Nico Hulkenberg. Having fallen to ninth he passed Maldonado when the Williams driver collided with Grosjean, and took up the running behind Alonso.

Massa hits tyre trouble

The other Ferrari of Felipe Massa had also started well and he too moved up at Maldonado’s expense. But within the fist ten laps he was struggling with tyre wear and Maldonado re-passed him.

Button pulled away quickly at the start, building up a 3.4s lead over Hamilton. His advantage was boosted by Vettel’s mistake and Schumacher’s retirement on lap 11. By lap 13, the closest driver to him besides his team mate was Vettel, 13 seconds behind.

Massa came in to shed his worn tyres on lap 12, and the drivers in front soon began to pit in response.

McLaren faced a dilemma familiar to Red Bull last year, of how to manage the pit stops of their drivers who were running one-two, without inadvertently handing one an advantage over the other.

“We give control for selection of the lap to the car in front,” explained Whitmarsh. So it was Button who came in first, followed by Hamilton on the next lap.

At their second stops McLaren brought both their cars in together: “We nearly did it at the first stop – we chickened out of that one,” added Whitmarsh.

Vettel followed Button in on lap 17. When Hamilton emerged from the pits on the following lap he came out behind Sergio Perez, who was repeating Sauber’s tactics from last year of running a long first stint on the harder tyre.

Hamilton spent a costly two laps behind Perez before using DRS to pass him on lap 21. Vettel, now within range of the McLaren, followed him past on the same lap.

The next man past was Alonso, who was running in an impressive fourth place in a Ferrari which had looked a handful all weekend.

Further back Rosberg and Webber were disputing fifth place. Webber took a brave look at Rosberg in the high-speed turn 11, but backed out of it just as Rosberg realised he couldn’t make the corner and took to the escape road.

The Mercedes driver pitted at the end of the lap, releasing Webber to hunt down Alonso. He took over a second per lap out of the Ferrari before Alonso, too, headed for the pits.

Hamilton loses out under safety car

After passing Perez, Hamilton initially made an impression on Button’s lead, bringing it down to under ten seconds. But by the time they were ready for their second pit stops the gap was back up to ten seconds and McLaren felt they could risk bringing both their drivers in on the same lap without losing any time.

They were ill-rewarded for this risky move as the appearance of the safety car shortly afterwards ultimately cost Hamilton second place to Vettel.

Vettel believed he would have had a chance at passing the McLaren even without the safety car appearance, which was triggered by Vitaly Petrov’s Caterham stopping by the start/finish line.

But in another respect the safety car was good news for McLaren, as the team had found they were using fuel at a quicker rate than they expected and needed to back off to make sure they reached the finish.

Having let the lapped cars move out of the way – a revived procedure that not all the drivers in the queue seemed to be ready for – the safety car released the field for a 17-lap sprint to the finish.

Button pulled 1.9 seconds out on Vettel at the restart. Behind him Hamilton initially kept Vettel in range before slipping back – the pair and Webber in a three-way stalemate.

Maldonado’s last-lap blunder

Behind him the action built to a dramatic climax. Maldonado was piling the pressure on Alonso for fifth place and as they headed into turn three he braked desperately lately, almost hitting the back of the F2012.

A few corners later he came completely unstuck, battering the barriers at turn seven. He had been on course for sixth place – better than any Williams managed last year.

Further back his team mate’s race had ended after contact with the other Ferrari. Bruno Senna had been knocked into a spin on the first lap and was making a recovery drive. He tried to take Massa on the outside of turn four and the pair collided, putting both out.

Maldonado’s crash wasn’t the only last-lap drama. Perez made contact with Rosberg while trying to pass, damaging one of Mercedes’ tyres and dropping Rosberg out of the top ten.

The cars behind pounced and Kimi Raikkonen took three places in the final lap to clinch seventh.

Perez hung on to seventh while Daniel Ricciardo and Paul di Resta passed Jean-Eric Vergne for the final points places.

Both Marussia drivers were classified despite their car having done no pre-season testing. Timo Glock celebrated his birthday with 14th place.

Maldonado, Senna and Charles Pic were all classified despite having stopped, leaving just 13 cars circulating at the finish.

“Every lap it felt a little bit in doubt”

If Button’s run to victory had looked straightforward, he said it wasn’t. “Every lap it felt a little bit in doubt,” he admitted afterwards.

McLaren’s win shows they can challenge Red Bull’s supremacy in 2012. But despite their strong showing Hamilton looked distinctly unhappy after a race which saw him start first and finish third.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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254 comments on “Jenson Button starts his season with an emphatic win in Melbourne”

  1. Poor performance from massa, he has to go

    1. I’m baffled as to how he’s stayed in F1 for so long. Fair enough he was almost champion in 2008 but since then he’s lacked pace.

    2. To fellow Hamilton’s fans
      With the quality of performance given to us today by Lewis, we can rightfully conclude that even if Button hadn’t o’taken Ham at the start, he still would have passed him. And since Hamilton couldn’t maximize the potentials of the car, he would have messed up Button’s race had he stayed in front of Button. Considering also how long it took Ham to pass Schumacher and Button’s relative ease in doing so during one of the races last year, and Hamiltons long ride behind Perez today, I would say sadly that Hamilton seems to be fast becoming just another driver on the grid.
      As for Massa, I would say that Ferrari have ”tried” in staying with him this much. Time to cut the cord.

      1. And all this on the basis of the result of….ONE race, eh? Stunning analysis.

      2. I believe Hamilton was very impressive in the second stint when he controlled the gap to a chasing Vettel, even as he was on the medium(slower tire) and Vettel was on the faster soft tire. At that point I realised how much faster the McLaren is and fuel load could have been a major factor in Hamilton’s finish.

        1. I assume you also noticed how Vettel was able to keep his soft tire from degrading as quickly as Hamilton lost his medium (and longer-lasting) tire?

      3. Thinking about it now..
        I am quite sorry for my harsh judgement of these 2 great drivers whom I greatly admire. I am happy that Maclaren were able to garner the extra 15 points from Lewis’ careful finish in 3rd place cos those points could also have been lost had he made a ”controversial” attempt on Perez.
        As for Massa, I hope his fortunes greatly turn around with Ferrari, after all the season is just beginning.
        I wish both drivers well!

      4. MercedesBeanz
        18th March 2012, 15:04

        ‘Baffelledd’ is the right word to describe Lewis’ car performance. How do you out-qualify your team-mate by a tenth and half, and then have that margin reversed in 24hrs!!
        Button could win another thousand races over lewis, but to us who understand how this sport really works, he’ll always be vastly over-rated…disgrace!

        1. Over-rated? Button?
          Did you see the race? He was far from over-rated, he was simply the best today! It’s rather Lewis who’s over-rated and spoilt. Disgrace!

          1. He was good, Alonso was better than him. He’s a great driver, nobody can deny that, but what he did today was a great start and controlling the race from the best spot and you and me know how meaningful it is leading a race in Melbourne.

          2. Button spent the whole race building a lead and setting fastest laps. What else can you ask of him?

        2. Button could win another thousand races over lewis, but to us who understand how this sport really works, he’ll always be vastly over-rated…disgrace!

          Yes, stick your fingers in your ears, put dirt in your eyes, and sing loudly to prevent you from making a reasoned judgement.

      5. Damn Latina! I think it’s to early for such conclusions. You mentioned the Italian GP but forgot that Lewis won in Abu Dhabi months later!

        I bet you were hoping he forced an overtake move so you could make your case of the “reckless Lewis”. When he’s cautious he put him in the same bag as Massa as a loser… that’s harsh girl.

        1. Yeah, I think it is too early for such harsh words. I was just disappointed with Lewis’ performance and so said what I did, but I have also calmed down knowing that the season is just beginning. I just wish he could win this title.

      6. To fellow Hamilton’s fans

        I really admire your honesty regardless if you’re really a Lewis fan but conclusions can’t be drawn from other races in 2011 as well as just the current sole race of the new season, there’s plenty of racing left to be seen during this season. Other than that, Another brilliant, confident & dominant performance, Vettel-esque to say the least by JB.

        Massa, I have nothing to say about his performance this weekend. Not trying to be derogatory but i wish there was a series on this website regarding under performed drivers of the weekend or something along the lines.

      7. themagicofspeed (@)
        19th March 2012, 8:57

        Massa has had enough chances. Enough is enough. He should have been out the door last year, with a year to go on his contract (they paid Raikkonen off under the same situation) but Ferrari were either skint or went soft.

      8. Massa has never been the same after taking that spring to the head. He never will be the same (also the brutal loss in 2008 on the last lap can’t help). He won’t be at Ferrari next year, BUT he will be in F1….

        As for Lewis, I’m not really for or against Lewis, but I think your comment is silly. He is good. He is one of the ‘best’. But that is what he has always been, so if people think Lewis is the best there ever was, they’re mistaken, but I wouldn’t call him “just another driver”.

    3. What I’ve learned today:

      1. Massa will not drive a Ferrari next year
      2. Red Bull has less to improve than I thought
      3. Sergio Perez will drive a Ferrari next year
      4. Saubers and Williams are very good
      5. Ferrari has some pace (at least when driven by Alonso)
      6. Lewis Hamilton needs a win soon to relax (he seems too worried about what people will say about his moves)
      7. Webber will be in the mix.

      1. Hear hear!

        Would add a qualifying “race” ahead of the pace in option 5, and
        8. Mercedes chew through tyres still, but have good qualy pace.

        Methinks this supposed duct gives them good balance when using DRS.

      2. Yeah..

      3. What we did not learn; Where Rubens might have finished had Williams kept him ?

        1. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
          19th March 2012, 4:56

          Thats an excellent question… Really… Being the most experienced F1 driver ever has its own advantages :)

        2. That would have been interesting.

          Not in the wall at Turn 8, I bet.

        3. I think it could have quite possibly been a heroic 5th.

      4. Should you add that Kimi still a brilliant driver. He was the driver who gained more positions in the race (10), except Perez who stopped just once. His times were very consistent and faster than the guys in front many times. My guess is that he could have easily been on podium if he didn’t have missed the last lap in classification. Can’t wait for the next round.

        1. Yes! We need him not below row#3 in Sepang.

    4. Agree with most of the comments posted, but I think that Ferrari have been patient enough with Massa. I’d give him 2 more races. If he can’t deliver, then he’s out the door. Ferrari have the juice and the money to get any driver they want. Luca needs to man up now and do what’s best for the team.

      1. Totally not gona happen.Ferrari need to sort out their car way before they sort out their drivers.Sorry but Alonso is a bad reference point for Massa’s performance.Massa is not a driver capable of handling this dog of a car,neither is the most of the grid for that matter.Precious few drivers able to handle this monstrosity wouldn’t touch it with a yardstick.So i’m afraid ferrari are stuck with Massa for the time being.Btw this is my first post on F1F,im glad to be a part of this community.

        1. Well, what is a good reference point? Shumacher or Kimi? There aren’t any other reference points for Massa, they all did better than he did today. . As far a a pig of a car… well Alonso it to got 5th today. We would have to wait for another ice age to get a car from Ferrari that Massa could win in. Put a fork in Massa, he’ done.

          1. It’s 5th because it’s driven by Alonso,not because it’s fundamentally fast.He is done(Massa),but with whom would you replace him with.What top class driver would want to drive that thing,and be number two to Alonso btw.And to replace him with another mediocre driver is no solution,it’ll be more of the same me thinks.Alonso is not a reference point for Masssa because one is a top class driver,and another is a mediocre at best,there’s a reason why Massa is a number two driver.

          2. He beat Kimi in 2008….

        2. Shane (@shane-pinnell)
          18th March 2012, 23:10

          I could definitely see Massa being replaced by any number of their development drivers if, and only if, the title seems out of their grasp. I think as long as they are championship contenders Massa is safe. If their pace isn’t up to the challenge of McLaren or RedBull, then I could see Ferrari doing some serious soul searching come the summer break.

          1. I doubt it, Massa is better than any of their development drivers and he’s always been a decent ‘development’ driver himself. Also, Ferrari doesn’t use their development drivers the way other teams do. In the past they haven’t really pulled anyone out of the ranks and the one time I can remember them doing it (Bodoer) it was disastrous and he was immediately replaced by someone they swiped from another team (Fisi). If they replaced him tomorrow, they would be more likely to use someone with experience and a name. Almost any of the drivers outside of Mac, Merc, RBR would break their contracts to go there and if they didn’t take a current driver they would look to something like Heidfeld, Trulli, Rubens, even Buemi, and dare I say Kubica….

      2. Ferrari might be patient with Massa but how long will Alonso be patient with scrapy Ferrari???

        1. Good point…I think he said he would finish his career at Ferrari and with 2 WDC’s I can kind of see him being patient, but if the car is really that bad it will wear thin quickly.

    5. It’s clear the F2012 isn’t to his liking, and it’s hard to criticise him for this. However in 2010 he had the speed it required for him to win, but in 2011 everything faded away. It’s unlikely he went from being a potential winner to not being able to finish on the podium just based on him, and not on the car, but if he finishes this season like last year then he will definitely not be confirmed at Ferrari.

      1. Drop Valencia
        18th March 2012, 12:21

        He had one good race in 2010, even then he was struggling to hold off Alonso (before the order).
        Massa won’t last past the Summer break unless he wins.

        1. Well, at least in 2010 he wasn’t that bad.

          Last year and this race, it was rather dreadful. I like Massa, but the performance is not there. And if that’s not there, what can you do?

    6. The 50 euros I spent on him a week ago are crying right now.

      1. This won’t help, but I told you so :)

    7. Agreed I think his Ferrari days are numbered

      1. I’ve never seen such doom and gloom after just one race into a season! Albert Park is a very unusual circuit.

        Yes Massa had a bad race, and the Ferrari is not a top car. Yes Lewis had his butt kicked by Button. But people need to chill a little. Wait and see how the teams develop the cars and how the drivers adapt to driving them. The lack of rear downforce seemed to effect all the drivers at some point this weekend, even greats like Schumacher and Vettel struggled at times.

        Give everyone a few races into the season before making bold statements and calling for blood.

        1. I agree with you almost completely…Australia is always a toss up and not necessarily representative of the year to come, but, Massa has been off for a while….last year he was pretty bad and I don’t think it’s going to turn around…I think the accident he had has changed him…

  2. yeah he really has to go.

    I cant see how anybody would expect Hamilton to look happy if he finished 3rd behind Button and Vettel. Especially given how it was looking for him on pole. Button was superb. Vettel perhaps did get a bit lucky but he showed good pace too. If any of these 3 are to be world champion again thay will have to work very hard for it

    1. I think, Massa has maybe given up, the car looks to be rubbish, & Alo is always going to faster than him anyway. I mean yeah, for sure he’ll be getting paid well, but it can’t be easy for him. He may as well, just crash into people.

      1. Oops, to be faster than.

    2. I think Lewis lost the race on T1, in Melbourne it’s very important to lead and I don’t think Button would’ve win without that great start because nobody in McLaren would allow unnecessary racing between the two in GP#1. Lewis woudl’ve lead ’till the end in case he managed to fend off Jenson before turn 1.

      1. Lewis Hamiltons biggest problem is Lewis Hamilton. He needs to get passed all this stuff going on in his head. ok so he got jumped at the start, but Jenson was still way quicker for that first stint, and after the safety car he made little effort to overtake or challenge Vettel, he just accepted his fate and drove for the line collectiing the points. Where is the fighter, out and out racer that we all enjoyed before. People will argue that his been subjected to unfair stewards decisions, that he has been singled out by other drivers. But the truth is Lewis needs to sort his mind out, and although I am a McLaren fan (and a lewis one) I am beginning to think that he won’t be able to do this at McLaren, he needs new impetuous in his career and a change in direction may give him a jump start. After all they do say a change is as good as a rest!

        1. The racer was hammered back in by people – including some who claimed to be his fans – accusing him of “reckless” driving in the past two seasons, and with the Stewards always waiting to slap him with a penalty. That’s Lewis.
          Fingers crossed, he gets his act together for the next race. A race with a docile Lewis is a boring race.

          1. That’s exactly what a said in a comment above. Lewis must win one of the first 3 races and relax. He seems afraid of getting criticized. Button was faster, but not dramatically faster, he was 4 seconds behind after first stint and was exposed to Vettel once he had to pit after Jenson.

            But it was the first race, there was no point in racing Button fiercely.

          2. +1
            Hamilton needs a confidence and aggression reboot. It’s like Button and Whitmarsh have neutralized him with sensibleness: he needs to some passion back in his racing, the feeling he used to radiate with his driving that he considered it absurd he wasn’t leading the race. The two years of Red Bull dominance, after a year of Brawn/Red Bull, seem to have made him accept not being there and taken away some of his edge – by which I mean passion and concentration, as he showed in the first half of 2007, not the lapses and mistimed aggression. Time to wake up Lewis!

        2. There are 21 other drivers who would be overjoyed if they started the year with a podium, each of them would see it as a good first step towards the championship, far better than doing a Maldonado and crashing out.

        3. Maybe Alonso will ask Montezemolo to hire Hamilton as his partner. :)

          1. Actually, if I were Alonso, I would look for a job at Mercedes

  3. Sangeen Khan
    18th March 2012, 9:29

    Amazing performance from Fernando,really is the top guy out there.Brilliant races by Button and vettel (with a bit of his trademark luck).Appaling from mercedes.Rosberg really lacks in wheel to wheel fighting and race craft.Sauber and Williams pace was surprising.Caterham was a big disappointment after all their self hyping.And Massa needs to go before malaysia.Straight to Brazil from melbourne.

    1. massa was in trouble all the week-end it’s the car that was undrivable comparing him to Alonso is a bit harsh Fernando is the reference for all the drivers not only for him i doubt that any other driver on the grid could finish higher than 7/8 position with that Ferrari
      the performance of massa in the Ferrari is suitable with his status of a number 2 driver

      1. We have a saying in the trade…”A poor craftsman always blame his tools”

      2. We have a saying in the trade…”A poor craftsman always blames his tools”

        1. except these are all great craftsmen, so the tools make more difference

    2. I mostly agree, I just don’t feel as negative about Rosberg and Massa. Astonishing to see Alonso challenge for a 4th place for quite a while. The harder tyre still doesn’t seem to be ideal for the Ferrari, but at the moment what really is ideal there?!

      I just had an idea, in the analysis I would love to see a graph showing each drivers laptime as a percentage of the fastesttime driven that lap. That’d be interesting especially for drivers whose teammates dropped, but it would also give an indication of how a drivers race evolved.

      1. Very interesting lapchart idea @bananarama
        I agree about not feeling negative. Everyone hops on the forums to bash drivers when they do poorly even more than they do to praise them when they do well.

        The real fact of the matter is that all 24 of the men on the grid are exceptional drivers, talented, committed and brave as hell. Just to get to Formula One is an achievement, and it is far beyond the driving skill of us mere mortals.

  4. I really hope Ferrari resolves their troubles fast. Adding Alonso to the mix will provide for even more exciting season as well as Raikkonen, while his car seems very good it’s him who needs “tuning” but it should not take too long. Too bad Mercs race pace doesn’t look impressive, although I might be getting wrong impression with Rosberg just not getting as much as possible from the car. And as I said before, Massa is simply a disaster. He looks like he’s been broken by the pressure from the very beginning. It’s just painful to look at him and his driving.

    1. Pretty much that @cyclops_PL, if Lotus gets both cars qualifying where the car’s speed allows them and Ferrari get a tad better, the action will hugely improve. And if Merc manage to keep at least part of their speed for the race it might be superb.

      Massa – lets see, but it does not look like he has been able to do much to impress and stay on so far.

    2. I also agree, I was again a little disappointed about Rosberg’s race pace but on the other hand Schumi’s qualification performance and race pace was a pleasant surprise as I didn’t put much faith in him since he had come back.
      I think on more conventional tracks (with more grip) the Bulls may be quicker so there may still be a fascinating and tight fight for poles and wins. I also hope Mercedes and, especially, Lotus can up the pace they showed today so the leading Champions’ pack (Button, Vettel, Hamilton) will be chased by the other three, accompanied by Rosberg, Webber and occassionally Grosjean.
      And treading on their heels are hungry youngsters of nicely tightened midfield pack of Saubers, Williamses and Toro Rossos, though Senna and Force Indias are for me a bit of a question mark at the moment. At the back it looks like Caterhams will remain in their no-man’s land and Marussias and HRTs will provide usual lapping troubles. It’s also part of the game, isn’t it?
      It seems we’re in for another really great season, perhaps one of the best. Let’s hope so!

    3. I feel really sorry for Alonso. Even though I’m not a fan of him, I still rate him as one of the best drivers I’ve even seen in F1 (I’m 27).

      I hope Ferrari fix ASAP.

    4. I too would like to join with the impression that Rosberg needs brushing up his skills and adapting to the new Merc. MS might as well be ahead of him this season.

  5. Shall we call the win Schumacher-esque or Vettle-esque?

    1. Neither really. Button didn’t dominate as Vettel was a threat to his lead, it just didn’t come to anything in the end.

      1. It was quite clear button was controlling the pace and gap – masterful drive by Jenson

      2. Button didn’t dominate as Vettel was a threat to his lead, it just didn’t come to anything in the end.

        I must have missed that bit?

      3. Fastest lap at the end of the race suggested he had plenty of pace in hand. Up until the safety car he had a well controlled 12 seconds over Vettel in 3rd place. Vettel never looked like catching Button without a race extension of say 20 laps.

        Looked like he had it under control to me.

        1. Agreed, Button set quite a few fastest laps leading up to the end, and he pulled a lead both at the start and after the safety car. I don’t think anyone could really have troubled him ignoring things like car trouble or safety cars.

    2. I would say it was Vettel-esque, or if I would push it a little further, Prost-esque.

      1. Vettel made a habit out of it, so Vettel-esque is as also as far as Prost-esque.

        1. Works for me.

    3. Sound obvious but I’d call it Button-esque. He managed his tyres, maintained a gap and performed well in Australia like he usually does.

      1. Button-esque traditionally involves a damp track.

  6. I was amazed by both the Ferrari drivers’ performances.

    1. I was “amazed” by Felipe Massa’s performance too.

    2. sid_prasher (@)
      18th March 2012, 9:56

      I agree…they seemed to be driving for different teams! Sad to see Massa struggling so badly!

      1. there goes mass with his “thou shall not pass me” commandment. :-)

        1. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
          19th March 2012, 8:43

          LOL! That was epic!! :)

    3. Great comment

    4. Yep it was night and day was night and day for Ferrari in Australia today.

    5. It’s strange how Massa had tyre problems, and Alonso didn’t – you can’t really blame Felipe if his car is horrible on its tyres and has no traction (as was frequently visible).

      1. Jack Flash (Aust)
        18th March 2012, 11:58

        it’s not stange really. Alonso and Massa have totally different driving styles, braking and corner entry/exit lines etc. Alonso’s style manages to make the Ferrari suck a little less, lap a great deal faster, and not chew thru rear tyres as fast as it could do… Massa the opposite. Sad to see such an incredible gulf between the ‘best driver on the grid’ Alonso and the shadow that now is Flip Massa 2011-12. (I’m no Alonso fanboi, but what he managed in that unruly, bucking, tail-happy Prancin’ horse today, is very impressive; and deserves the Cred for it) . JF

        1. I think that Ferrari has designed their car completely around Alonso’s driving style (but have not even done such a good job of that so far) , not taking a thing away from Alonso by saying that , as he is no doubt a brilliant driver , but it has also worked very much against Massa , whom I still don’t believe is a bad driver , he just needs a good car , and looks worse than average in a bad one.

      2. Strange, how so? He was horrible last season as well.

      3. sid_prasher (@)
        19th March 2012, 5:07

        @fixy:I liked the way Ferrari has come out in support of him and suggested that it was down to the poor balance of the car. Perhaps it would have been better if they had more dry running over the weekend. I wonder how difficult it is to find a good setup? Or is it that the Ferrari has a very small zone in which it works well…

  7. Brilliant opening race. Button cool as a cucumber, Vettel fortunate but kept Ham in sight without SC. Ham unlucky but must refocus. Alonso showed his class but I’ll be surprised to see Massa at Silverstone! Croft/Brundle excellent but rest of Sky show quite poor. What is Ant’s role – very under-used and Georgie and that touch screen is pointless. Looking forward to next week and BBC highlights with Jake, Ben and DC and then some sleep. F1 is back…

    1. but, but… her nodding is a vital part of the SKY coverage. @millsyboy

    2. schumi_the greatest
      18th March 2012, 13:20

      georgie thompson – what a female! she’s a vital part of the coverage

      1. Lee Mckenzie Is Better :) and cheaper :)

    3. I love the bits with Davidson anaylsing the incidents. For some reason Davidson has got haters, but I find him really funny + very technically minded. He pointed out some stuff I had missed during the race and qualifying.

      And well I think we all know what Georgie is there for, and I’m certainly not complaining =).

  8. Jenson drove a superb race, no question about that.
    Hamilton’s lack of pace was a bit puzzling. It had nothing to do with tyre wear like Coulthard was saying.
    Mclaren also didn’t use the undercut to get him a safer distance from the Bulls before the safety car.
    It is likely he could have defended a second position than try to get one.

    As I said on another post, Hamilton didn’t try to block Button unlike Vettel kis willing to do to his own team mate.

    Massa didn’t take long to find a buddy to play hanky panky with. Look at how he drove Senna off track. He might be need a psychologist soon.

    Williams sad missed opportunity. Maldonado can’t shake a fist at anyone or brake test Alonso next race. He was a victim of his own making.

    Sauber!!! Kobayashi!! Perez!!!. Great drive from that tean.

    Di Resta suddenly seemed to have a parachute stuck to the rear of his car. Force India was the letdown of the race.

    Caterham have only 2 more races to find theit TURBO button else they might finish 11th if Marussia lucks into a 14th place finishing position.

    Alonso a very stubborn dude. A very very top notch performance from him. He is a fantastic specimen.

    The Redbull kindergarten, well a toss of a coin was all it took. But Heimi or Buemi could have achieved an equal or better result.

    Mercedes still making lamb chops with their tyres but fast though. Of what use is speed without control.

    Great race.

    1. ‘Alonso a very stubborn dude. A very very top notch performance from him. He is a fantastic specimen.’

      I completely agree with you. Alonso makes miracles with whatever he is given. He is truly a great driver.

      1. the best in da grid… only he can giv 10 points from that ferrari 2012

      2. I do not like Alonso as a person, but even so I am amazed at how he handles even the poorest cars. That Ferrari was all over the place and Massa is showing what I think what it’s true pace should be Alonso, is easily outperforming the machinery.

    2. Massa didn’t take long to find a buddy to play hanky panky with.

      so funny and so true.

    3. @ Oliver your comment… on MaSsA (Massa didn’t take long to find a buddy to play hanky panky with) kept me laughing… :) it was hilarious… and I absolutely agree with you on Alonso.. he is a legend..

      1. For Massa It looks even more horrible in a bad car in the team that is supposed to be among the top.
        If Ferrari does get .400sec improvement over next several races and Massa underperforms, he’s history and Perez is the pefect subtitute.

        1. It’s ironic, years ago Massa was the daring young challenger in a Sauber. He moved up to Ferrari and did quite well, 11 victories and nearly a WDC. Now he is almost universally despised and laughed at by fans. It is an unfitting end for a driver who has greater reserves of dignity than many who finished ahead of him yesterday.

          I hope everyone will go a bit easier on Perez, who seems destined to take on Felipe’s unenviable role of playing second fiddle to Alonso in a Ferrari that seems stuck in the mire.

          1. That is extactly what crossed my mind when I saw him retire.F1 is a very tough business.

    4. Who else thought Maldanado did Grosjean on purpose like he did with Hamilton at Spa last year?
      He’s not very clean, and i am sure he knew the outcome when he did it….
      I don’t like that guy, he’s a moron!

  9. 1. Whohoo, the nicest car wins the first race!
    2. Good to see Vettel fight for track positions
    3. Great comeback performance from Raikkonen
    4. good race pace from both the Saubers and the Williams
    5. Fernando Alonso truly is a great driver
    6. too bad for Grosjean and Hulkenberg :-(
    7. what’s wrong with Massa and Maldonado

    1. I’m so happy the low nose of the McLaren has proved stepped noses aren’t necessarily better!

  10. Shame alot of people seem to lose the reality of an F1 race. It’s about 58 laps. Maldonado was pushing to the extreme to achieve his teams best results, if you asked him, I bet he’d say he was quicker than Alonso, who might been in average car and producing great results, but at the end it’s first over the line. Nico Roseberg deserved more, but problems left him limping, allowing other cars to pass him. The big question I have is way does the Mclaren struggle so much in dirty air? Lewis was obvious not getting the clear run that Jenson was therefore leaving him subject to a Redbull threat while Jenson had the clean air and ran away with the win? This season will be an interesting one> Props to Jenson, great drive, snatched from the start and you could tell how devastated Lewis was again beaten by Button.

    1. personally i think Lewis was more devastated by loosing 2nd when he never got passed on the track.
      Alonso drove the pants off that Ferrari, i am not a Alonso fan but i am willing to give credit where it is due.
      Schum just might of had his first podium, hope he manages one this season.
      great race i certainly enjoyed it, hope it carrys on like this.

    2. @funkyf1, I saw Alonso’s comments after the race and even he felt sorry for Maldonado and said he had really been struggling those last laps being pushed to the maximum before Maldonado lost the Williams there.

    3. Maldonado was very clearly faster than Alonso, lap after lap he was pushing him and trying to get close enough to pass.

  11. Great drive by Button, surprised Lewis was so disappointed – Yes he was on pole and should have won but take away the loss of time behind Perez and the pot luck of losing his place to Vettel because of the pace car and he probably would have maintained a 3 -4 second gap to Jenson albeit under pressure from Vettel, so overall a good race for him in terms of looking at the rest of the season. I guessed he was hoping to blow JB away and lay down a bit of a marker instead it’s JB who’s got the jump.

    Massa really is appalling, he spent all of last year saying Lewis needed a ban etc but really proved today that he refuses to yield in any situation even if it costs him his race, he’s always been hot headed, cooled down when he was team mate to Schumacher but since 2008 seems to have lost a degree of mind management as jackie Stewart would say.

    Here’s looking forward to a great season based on this weekend.

    1. @Matt.
      Last season, Mclaren brought Button in first then Hamilton a lap later, hence the gap went from 3.5+ seconds to 11. 3+ seconds.
      what they had to do was Pti Hamilton earlier net pit cycle, that way he will still be about 5 seconds behind Button but crucially several ahead of the Bulls.

      Mclaren were doing that a lot last season with Button, when he was a bit behind.

      But as I aways say, they seem to drop the ball when it comes to Hamilton.
      Before I am hounded, I don’t imply it was resposible for Button winning, Button drove a great race, I was happy with his drive. but the team could have protectd Lewis even wit the safety car, he would still be ahead of the Bulls.

      1. I agree – It is an interesting question, the “undercut” scenario seems to have left some teams at a loss how to handle the situation of evenly matched drivers and the potential gain / loss based on pitstop order. In the past it was simple the last one to blink usually benefited by pitting last. I think maybe Lewis needs to look at his tyre wear – is it as good as JB if it isn’t and he is behind JB him and his engineer need to have alternative strategies to cope. Lewis is the kind of driver who in my mind a bit like Schumacher can drive a series of sprints if required in order to make a strategy switch work, but unlike schumacher / brawn needs a bit more support from the pit wall to make those kind of calls. I think on pace today he wasn’t being dropped by Button, but didn’t have the flexibility strategy wise to find a different way to race him. I hope Lewis can add this to his armoury this year as if he does he could have a massively important season. If he doesn’t and just expects to beat JB every race on pace alone I think he may come unstuck and lose his cool.

      2. I think that Lewis’s pit was OK. His 3rd was more a factor of RB seizing the moment, a bit lucky on RB’s part but it worked. Ham’s attitude on the podium and in the press conference was a childish… it was embarrassing to watch.

      3. I think that Lewis’s pit was OK. His 3rd was more a factor of RB seizing the moment, a bit lucky on RB’s part but it worked. Ham’s attitude on the podium and in the press conference was childish… it was embarrassing to watch.

        1. Great comment Matt. I totally agree.
          Alex bkk – we’ve heard it all before. Childish and embarrassing??? Give it a rest. If a drivers unhappy about their race, I wanna hear about it. Many drivers would switch into PR mode.

          1. Then he should have said so, but what would he have said? Jenson was better than me… RB got the jump on me…. no he was like a child that missed his pudding. It was his race to lose, and he did. As for PR mode…. I’d rather have seen him angry and tossing the furniture around and yelling out every expletive under the sun than to see that wimpy bit of self pity. As far as “we’ve heard it all before” well you will continue to hear “childish and embarrassing” as long as Lewis acts that way.

          2. I agree with Alex Bkk. I didn’t want to mention it for fear of being attacked by Lewis fans. I was hoping Lewis was going to be a changed man, mentally this year. Sadly at the first race he seems to have the same petulant attitude. Sorry but it needs to be said.

        2. Im not bothered about drivers looking happy or miserable really. important stuff happens on track. in any case it comes to show their feelings so its high quality information for us. thats the way i see it anyway

      4. @OOliver, I think you are somehow insinuating that it’s Macca’s fault for Hamilton’s 3rd position. In truth, he had a terrible start, but then he was just unbelievably slow. Button pulled a 3 second gap on him before DRS was enabled. He then pulled ahead by 11 seconds! And at that point they realized they had under fueled both cars and asked him to save fuel, during which point Hamilton pulled back 2 seconds. But at no point did he seem to have the pace that Button was enjoying. Yes he may have avoided some traffic if they had pitted him first or double shuffled as they like to call it. But when leading the race, the leader always gets first dibs.

        Not to mention you couldn’t have predicted Vettel would have got an advantage because of the safety car. He was pretty damn lucky and I don’t think he was as fast as he believes, because he was clearly holding both Hamilton & Webber up until their tyres had cried and died.

        1. Forotherruns
          19th March 2012, 7:51

          What is with all the vitriol towards Hamilton? When Alonso almost shoved a marshal aside yesterday no one said anything. If that had been Hamilton, we would not have heard the end of it. You guys should please give it a rest. He is not happy about being beaten by whoever and he shows it. Plain and simple. Is there anything wrong with a driver showing his emotions? When he criticized the strategy in 2010, I’m sure you were one of those who came out to say that he was throwing his toys out of the pram and complaining.

          By the way, he did not loose 11 seconds to Button until after the pit stops when he lost almost 4 seconds on that last lap. Had the team brought him in first, he would have been close behind Button. I think McLaren needs to look at their strategy critically.

          Finally, please give it a rest. Hamilton is a human being with emotions. I know he can do no right in your eyes and in the eyes of so many others but give it a rest. He is one of the most talented drivers out there.

        2. @Le Jimster
          At no point in time did I mention the safety car.
          The team has since come out to say they were forced to start conserving fuel from very early on in the race.

          Regarding your statement about me implying Mclaren were responsible for Hamilton coming 3rd, I put it this way, no one expected the safety car at that time right?
          Now while the race was running and Massa, Rosberg and a few others had stopped, I was saying to myself, since the gap to Button was over 11 seconds, Mclaren should bring in Hamilton first, he uses the undercut to get about 5 seconds closer to Button, and about that same gap ahead of the cars behind him.
          What that means is that, he can run a more conservative race and maintain a steady pace, knowing that even if he is .5s a lap slower than Vettel and the chasing pack, it will take probably close to 10laps for them to get close enough to over take at the same time they use up their tyres trying to catch up.
          Hamilton can also increase his pace to defend his position and would not have used up his tyres trying to maintain or increase the gap to Vettel and those behind.

          The fact the safety car was deployed when it was, is immaterial. You can’t use the safety car deployment as the reason why Hamilton lost 3rd position. Because Hamilton and Vettel stopped at the very same time and were very close to each other at that point.

          So get it clear, Mclaren could have reduced the pressure on Hamilton from those behind by pitting him a lap earlier. The safety car was deployed after they had made their stops, so didn’t play any part in the decision they had made.
          One can also argue, based on the safety car deployment, that Mclaren’s fear was if they had stopped Hamilton earlier and they had a race interruption, like was experienced, and Button had not made his stop, then Button may have lost his lead to Hamilton.
          Perhaps that scenario was thought out by Mclaren which influenced their strategy.
          At the end of the day, no one knows what guided their decisions, but I believe their focus was more on getting the win, than a one -two.

          1. ***Correction

            The fact the safety car was deployed when it was, is immaterial. You can’t use the safety car deployment as the reason why Hamilton lost 3rd position. Because Hamilton and Vettel stopped at the very same time and were very close to each other at that point.

            I meant to say Vettel was already catching up with Hamilton and seemed to have a faster pace. The fact he got past him after he Vettel made his stop, may have been just academic, has he probably would have been able to overtake him on track.
            So the safety car is probably the obvious reason Vettel got past Hamilton, but he may have done so, without the safety car.

  12. Redbull still a very fast car, they just didn’t get qualifying right.
    They don’t have the 1+ second they had last season, but they are about par with Mclaren.
    The Mclaren just has a good single lap pace.

    1. I’d still say they’re a little off the pace of the Mclarens. The safety car did help Red Bull get closer to the Mclarens.

  13. On another note Ricciardo showed excellent understanding of what it takes to be a race driver to snatch points. Toro Rosso have made the right choice for this years campaign. In terms of Sky coverage, Croft is a joke! No idea, play the money and get DC or someone else… maybe B1 he’d do a better job,

  14. Super happy for JB. He is such a great character. Jensen has to listen to all the Lewis is faster than you and that he can only win when Hamilton has a mishap nonsense but he still behaves like a champion. Today Jensen beat Lewis and everyone else fairly and squarely, without any excuses about weather or mechanical mishaps or incidents. No one should question or devalue Jensens win today (though I am sure some will try).

    1. Button keeps surprising me race after race. I always liked Button but I never thought he would seriously challenge Hamilton. It’s still the first race of the season so we’ll have to wait to see how things progress but you really can’t take anything away from Button this race. He did as good a job with his car as Vettel did last year. I don’t see how anyone could have done any better.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. Button just seems to get better and more likeable all the time.

  15. Omg JB every time he wins with those fingers, so annoying /sarcasm

    Seriously, good win from the guy. I’m not a fan of his driving style and I don’t support him, but well-deserved.

    1. vettel : “the finger”
      button : “the thumb”

  16. We give control for selection of the lap to the car in front

    Does this automatically mean that the second driver has to pit later? If Button was planning on stopping on lap 17, then Hamilton could easily have come in from lap 14 onwards, as he should have. I think Keith’s race analysis (you will still do those this season, Keith?) will show that in the last 5 laps before his stop, Hamilton lost a lot of time, maybe as much as 6-8 seconds (so even without getting stuck behind Perez). I saw him do a 1m36 on lap 17, while drivers behind were still doing 1m33 (the pace at which Hamilton and Button had been running for the first 12 or so laps), and his inlap can’t have been much better.

    I was disappointed to see Hamilton so dejected after a faultless weekend and a useful podium (there were few enough of those last season). If he cannot get over the fact that Button can beat him on race pace, then this will be a difficult season for him.

    Mark Webber: I was happy to see him so quick, but he needs to iron out at least one of two weaknesses: his starts, and his inability to put a move together. I think Mark is a good wheel-to-wheel racer, and he should have the confidence to throw it up the inside (or outside, as his teammate demonstrated) from time to time.

    Kimi Raikkonen: He was fast at the end of his stints, and I think the safety car prevented him from taking more advantage from his lower tyre wear.

    Michael Schumacher: too bad he ran into trouble; I think he would have managed his tyres better than Rosberg. On the other hand, some attrition now is a good thing, otherwise it’s always the same people in the points.

    Maldonado: Although I’m indifferent to Maldonado as a driver, I am absolutely gutted for Williams. This was an excellent opportunity to put the disastrous 2011 behind them. Athough the car is competitive, so are many others, and it’s by no means a certainty that any P6 finishes will come Williams’s way soon.

    1. Yeah agree on Hamy’s dejection after the race. A championship winning McLaren with Button on top might mean the end of the harmonious Hamilton/Button relationship…

    2. I don’t think Mclaren totally stick to that leader pits first strategy.
      They alter it when it is convenient as they did so many times last season.

      1. Forotherruns
        19th March 2012, 8:03

        They only alter it to suit Button not Hamilton. Just check to see. This is not to say that they favour Button but I think Hamilton’s race engineer is not experienced and assertive enough. On the other hand……..

    3. Drop Valencia
      18th March 2012, 12:30

      Webbers starts are shocking, his moves are fine, did you see compromise Rosberg onto the escape? That was brave sitting in there!

      1. Yes, and if you leave out the 1st. lap Webber drove a faster race than Vettel ( from what I saw, need to analyse lap times to be sure), Webber needs to be sent to the drag strip with an old RBR car to practice at every opportunity. How hard can it be ?

    4. I think Michael Schumacher could be in 4th or 5th

    5. Mclaren destroyed Hamilton’s race on the first pit stop e he knows it. Flawless drive by Jenson but the team assured that no fight on the track would be allowed with the pit strategy. Hamilton knows that and if you look to what happened just before the podium you could see that the relationship between LH and JB will not be so harmonious like the years before. Lewis barely talked do Jenson, and barely looked at his face. It’s too early in the season to say that but I start to doubt Lewis will continue in Mclaren next season.

  17. Firstly congratulations to JB and the McLaren team, anybody know when Glock was lapped after the SC? He could’ve been close to a P12 today.

  18. Loved how Button bet Hamy from the dirty side of the start :) Vettel stated that even though they didnt qualify that well their race pace was going to be good…

  19. Button owns Albert Park. Great start to the season in general

  20. A little off topic, but can I just say Kieth how much I enjoy this site, I hope that although you are having to scale back your commitment to the site that you’ll still maintain the enthusiasm and informative nature of it. I live in Australia and it’s slim pickings over here for F1 so I find F1 fanatic a real boon.

    We get Sky commentary feed over here, am I right in thinking Croft used to be a radio commentator or used to do touring cars? His approach seemed a bit OTT especially compared to DC and MB last year who seemed to have built a good rapport.On the other hand it was a pretty gripping race so maybe his excitement was justified but it would be nice if him and MB can strike a balance as MB’s insights are informative and amusing, he seemed to get talked over a bit today.

    1. Thanks Matt!

    2. seconded on all points, croft would constantly create his own wild fantastic theorys only to be shot down by brundle. great site keith!

    3. Well this year MB is only the expert not the main commentator as he was last year at the BBC, therefore it’s obvious that Croft talks most of the time. And I personally like it more than Brundle along Coulthard, as I also liked the late ITV combination.

  21. Australian GP 2012, JB 1st LH 3rd. nuff said…. seriously though I’m a big JB fan, have been for years, but these 2 are totally different drivers, both great, who will excel in different cars, circuits or even with differing FIA rules., though JB seems to have the edge over LH under current circumstances. I fuly expect LH will get his mojo back, though maybe not this year as I don’t think current rules suit his style as much as Button. Hopefully he is a big enough “Man” to realise he can learn a lot from JB ( as I think JB may have done in reverse, finding more speed by learning from his team mate??)
    Lewis has many years ahead of him in F1, he will have many more chances at becoming WDC, Button less so, possibly spurring him on to his recent form success, coupled with the years of experience he has picked up. Remember his playboy tag a few years ago?? Since then, he has matured and developed as a driver, something LH just needs time to do too. Instead of knocking this driver or that, we Brits should be grateful that we have 2 world class drivers representing us with PD in the wings too. Awesome for the future of British F1 racing. This just maybe JB’s best chance of winning a 2nd championship as it feels like a McLaren season. Though I’m sure even then some people will still say JB was just lucky.

    1. 2nd this. JB has definitely made the best of competing with Lewis to push himself to another level, Maccas must love him for his media skills as well. He did a bit for Aussie tv this weekend, he was cool, funny and approachable, then again he’s a west country lad so what else would you expect. I think he has a good chance of a second WDC this year and I hope Lewis can keep his equilibrium and draw off Jensons experience to strengthen his game. In the long term I see JB as a 2 time championship type of driver, well respected and great for the team, Lewis on the other hand could be alongside Alonso and Vettel a multiple mega champ but he’s got to use teammates like JB to get him there mentally and proffessionally. Having Kovalienen as a team mate probably did nothing for Lewis’s development, after all look what amazing heights driving alongside Fernando as a rookie pushed him too.

      I think it’s superb to have these 2 British drivers in the same team and they’re both in their own ways really likable and great to support.

      1. I am not British but I like your view.

  22. Great race by Ricciardo, he was last for about half the race and then got into the points with a help from the safety car. In 2011 Red Bull dominated quali but McLaren caught up in race pace, and this weekend it has been a complete reversal of last year.

    1. Second this, race pace wise things are matched, qualification pace wise McLaren have the upper hand for now. Next week will be the real test for proper speed evaluation

    2. @tomand95 expanding on your safety car comment as I haven’t seen anyone really address it. Though I think there was a clue this could happen, the new safety car rule and the unlapping of lapped cars could be a very big deal this year in the driver’s championship.

      The fact that Ricciardo was involved in that collision at the beginning, had to pit and then finished in the points mainly because he could unlap shows that a major championship front runner could pull out some very crucial points in a race this year after an early incident. Maybe enough to put them on top at the end of the year….

  23. I posted this on an old forum in error but so will repost.

    Australian GP 2012, JB 1st LH 3rd. nuff said…. seriously though I’m a big JB fan, have been for years, but these 2 are totally different drivers, both great, who will excel in different cars, circuits or even with differing FIA rules., though JB seems to have the edge over LH under current circumstances. I fuly expect LH will get his mojo back, though maybe not this year as I don’t think current rules suit his style as much as Button. Hopefully he is a big enough “Man” to realise he can learn a lot from JB ( as I think JB may have done in reverse, finding more speed by learning from his team mate??)
    Lewis has many years ahead of him in F1, he will have many more chances at becoming WDC, Button less so, possibly spurring him on to his recent form success, coupled with the years of experience he has picked up. Remember his playboy tag a few years ago?? Since then, he has matured and developed as a driver, something LH just needs time to do too. Instead of knocking this driver or that, we Brits should be grateful that we have 2 world class drivers representing us with PD in the wings too. Awesome for the future of British F1 racing. This just maybe JB’s best chance of winning a 2nd championship as it feels like a McLaren season. Though I’m sure even then some people will still say JB was just lucky.

    1. Sorry about the double posting, Lagg got me confused. Hopefully this one will get deleted. and thnks Matt

      matt said on 18th March 2012, 10:57
      2nd this. JB has definitely made the best of competing with Lewis to push himself to another level, Maccas must love him for his media skills as well. He did a bit for Aussie tv this weekend, he was cool, funny and approachable, then again he’s a west country lad so what else would you expect. I think he has a good chance of a second WDC this year and I hope Lewis can keep his equilibrium and draw off Jensons experience to strengthen his game. In the long term I see JB as a 2 time championship type of driver, well respected and great for the team, Lewis on the other hand could be alongside Alonso and Vettel a multiple mega champ but he’s got to use teammates like JB to get him there mentally and proffessionally. Having Kovalienen as a team mate probably did nothing for Lewis’s development, after all look what amazing heights driving alongside Fernando as a rookie pushed him too.

      I think it’s superb to have these 2 British drivers in the same team and they’re both in their own ways really likable and great to support.

      I think your reply comment was just about spot on.

  24. Jenson was fantastic today. I had a feeling that he’d be able to get in front of Hamilton at the first corner, and when he did, I was ecstatic. The whole race for me was very exciting, and the pace of some of the cars was fantastic to see!

    The Saubers looked great, and the Williams as well, although I’m really not a fan of Maldonado and was quite happy when he crashed out on the last lap. It seemed only fair considering he ended Grosjean’s race, who was probably going to have a decent points haul.

    At one stage, I had 4 of the top 5 drivers in their correct positions for my predictions, but unfortunately, the safety car kind of messed that up for me. Vettel was able to get into 2nd, and Alonso and Rosberg didn’t have the pace to stop Webber getting 4th.

    I thought it was quite bad that Red Bull was intentionally positioning their mechanics in the pit lane in order to restrict the McLaren drivers from getting away well, when their drivers weren’t actually coming in to pit. Not only is it unsafe, but it’s very unsportsmanlike.

    1. @jamiefranklinf1

      I remember Mclaren’s mechanics being rather poorly positioned as well when Vettel came in for his first stop. It likely wasn’t intentional from either team.

      1. @David-A – There’s a difference though. The McLaren mechanics were out because their car had just pitted, meaning that they were bound to get in the way a little. What I’m talking about, is during the second round of pit stops when Button and Hamilton came in, and the Red Bull mechanics were out, even though neither Vettel or Webber was pitting.

  25. I think what happen today was anlucky to H amilton, and his race wnd the firts corner, after team desided not let him pas him his team mate “Team sabotage his car then Hamilton to started struggling his pace

    1. Were we watching the same race…are we talking the same language??

    2. When?

      To begin with, at no point was Hamilton in a position to try to overtake Button. Button took the lead at the start, then drove away from him.

      So at which of Hamilton’s non-existent attempts to overtake Button did the team, in your words, “decide not to let him pass him”?

    3. @Exciting
      You are excited with the completely wrong facts! :P

  26. I hate the new tyres technology. it’s eating into the driving style of the aggressive drivers. the tyres are clearly too soft and demand smoother drive, which button and Kimi would manage, but those with an aggressive style of driving have to suffer. If this continues, then I dont think Lewis’ll ever win the 2 more titles that he always dreams of.

    1. By aggressive you actually mean a rough style, which in all honesty cannot be called a style, but instead a flaw. Drivers who turn the wheel too much or spin the wheels on corner exit are doing it wrong, not matter how you look at it. Anyone with race experience will tell you that.

      Lewis might have struggled with turning the wheel too much (using more angle than necessary) which would make anyone a bit faster for a short amount of time, but with any tires that will wear them out faster, which ends up giving you a slower combined race time. Lewis has mostly corrected these errors as his tires have been lasting much longer than they did at the start of 2011 (in comparesen to other drivers). Obviously he is not going to match Button, as that is buttons main strength.

      Perhaps Lewis was able to be more rough on his tires in the past because the tires were much more durable, but racing is not meant to be forgiving like that.

      1. Aggressive drivers -senna,schumacher,fangio,hakkinen,raikkonen,alonso,hamilton. Thats a few world championships there. Imagine how many more they would have had if they had been doing it right!

      2. Also I believe these tyres need to “bed in” for a couple of laps if they are to last, makes qualifying fast a self handicapping proposition.

    2. It’s not a cart race you know?

    3. Actually I would say that is not really true. Indeed it rather favours drivers who are able to drive a car that is less planted on track, only Button seems to have found a setup in the McLaren that makes it stick really well.

      Alonso was doing better than Massa by better coping with the car sliding around, not wanting to overly control that but just anticipating and reacting to it. I would say the same was true at Red Bull on saturday making Webber beat Vettel. Although Vettel got out of his scare and into a groove again on Sunday.

      1. Hmmm. Maybe.

        1. Two words for everyone: Ronnie Peterson. That guy could be sideways lap after lap and he was always fast.

          That said, the sport has changed, the tires have changed. One sign of a great driver is adaptability. Button may be the master of it out of this generation of drivers, but the others are more than capable of learning to deal with the loss in downforce and the new tires. I suspect this is going to be an amazing season!!

      2. i dunno, now f1 now feels a lot like one is praised for driving precisely and saving the tyres rather than on track action and passing other people and opportunistic moves and braking late.
        First they arent supposed to wear out the tyres and then they have to use both kinds of compounds given.

    4. Completly agree.

  27. That was a pleasant surprise to see Fernando mixing it with the Bulls and Rosberg for a while. Only Fernando could have gotten that car to 5th! At the same time, I can see Mercedes and Lotus being more competitive in Malaysia and pushing Ferrari back, not to mention Sauber and Williams being threatening. So while today was a good result for the Tifosi, Ferrari need to sort themselves out very very soon!

    Great to see JB win, and Vettel showed his worth battling up to 2nd. Hamilton needs to stop sulking every time something doesn’t go his way!

  28. What a drive from Button,right from the word he didn’t put a wheel wrong,even under the safety car made a great getaway from Vettel.

  29. What’s with Lewis and Nicole being back together again? Is this the third incarnation of their stop-go relationship?

    1. Well what else is he going to blame his poor performance on? The mans got a plan.

    2. I think she got more airtime than the whole Marussia team.

      1. Lol yea +1

  30. At their second stops McLaren brought both their cars in together: “We nearly did it at the first stop – we chickened out of that one,” added Whitmarsh.

    – a real shame for Hamilton, because had they pulled that one off, he might have been able to keep closer to Button. In stopping a lap later he lost quite a lot of time on track.

    Although in that case they couldn’t have done it at the second stop. I would love to see teams have a go at that one more often.

    1. Imagine if they didn’t do it at the second stop! Then Ham would have pitted after the safety car and Vettel would not get that advantage. Ham would be second, won’t he?

  31. Hamilton’s race pace simply wasn’t up to Buttons level today. People who say it was tyres are mislead, Button was faster than Hamilton even when they both had new tyres on. If it was tyre management Button would only be faster when Hamilton had used the best of his up – this simply wasn’t the case today.
    I have a feeling that is the real reason why Hamilton was dejected afterwards, he knew he simply wasn’t quick enough from the off – it’s a long year though.

    1. Looked to me like Hamilton was baffled by Button driving away from him and sort of lost the confidence and determination to fight for it. Lets hope he nails it on pole next week again and gives a good fight for it.

    2. Not only because of the lack of pace, poor strategy affected him too.
      Excerpt from El Pais “Y hoy, Jenson Button dejó constancia del potencial de los bólidos británicos … por delante de un inconformista Sebastian Vettel y de Lewis Hamilton, perjudicado por la estrategia del equipo.” => “And today, Jenson Button recorded the potential of British racing cars … ahead of maverick Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, hurt by the team’s strategy”

    3. My hypothesis is that Button turned up his engine to full mode at the start (after passing Hamilton) and after the restart. This allowed him to get away and out of the reach of the DRS. Once settled, Hamilton was able to either egged back or maintain the gap to Button. Unfortunately, Hamilton did need to pit before Button and not doing so at the right time contributed to his race greatly. But I think the most deciding factor was that Button used more engine revs (gas) than Hamilton. [of course it’s a guess].

  32. Sitting @ turn 2 today – the mclarens have an obvious downforce advantage, their cars looked stable and controlled while the rest of the field were twitching and sliding on exit! Very cool to watch only 15m away!! Disappointed to see webber get sandwiched and his start, but 4th was pretty good. Riccardo in the points – very big cheers all around!
    Congrats to mclaren – starting the season strong!

  33. When will we get to see the predictions table updated!

    1. I think i am only one inversion away from perfect (VET HAM) !

  34. schumi_the greatest
    18th March 2012, 13:49

    Some of the comments on this site amaze me! people twisting reality to suit theyre theories etc, ridiculous.

    Was a good race, Button drove brilliantly, I knew as soon as he was past at the 1st corner it was always going to be hard for Hamilton to get back in front because of the pit stop situation. Thats the problem when your racing your team mate, rightfully the team gives the best strategy to the guy in front. But i also think thats a weankess on Hamilton/Mclarens past. At the 2nd round of stops Hamilton was starting to come under pressure from Vettel, Button was 10 seconds clear so was never going to be under threat by the “undercut” from Button. Mclaren should have brought lewis in first to protect his 2nd place from Vettel. What happened after was a bit lucky on Vettels part but (and Im a huge fan of Lewis) needs to be more assertive in these situations – that’s 1 of buttons strengths he’s prepared to make his own decisions out there sometimes and lewis needs to learn from that. The fact he was clearly not happy after the race is understandable i’d put it down to just a bad day at the office – it happens and to be fair to Jenson when he’s on form in a car that’s to his liking he’s a very good driver. Be interesting to see what happens in Malaysia, i would think mclaren would be even better there with the long corners etc their car seems much more planted on the track than the red bulls.

    Another impressive drive by Perez he faded off a little last season but he had a great race today, bad luck for Grosjean but he did let Maldonado bully him a little there. Good recovery from Raikkonen and a fantastic drive by Alonso. Massa needs to look at what hes doing, the car isnt any better for alonso but hes just throwing the car around whereas massa seems to expect it to just work for him, he’s been crap the last 2 years.

    Not sure what happened to Mercedes but there’s definitely pace there shame to see Schumacher retire but we should get a better idea of the pecking order next week. I think Mclaren are a little ahead of Red Bull with Lotus/Mercedes not far behind.

    Great to have F1 back and I thought the sky coverage was brilliant to be fair. I certainly didn’t miss listening to eddie jordan talk complete drivel or the cringey banter between the pundits (something brunle alluded to as a reason for leaving)

    1. at the second pitstop they both came in the same lap as hamilton was so far behind already. button exited his pit box well before hamilton arrived – so mclaren did nothing wrong to hamper hamiltons race. hamilton was outdriven this race in every aspect by his teammate, but not by as much as his pathetic attitude after the race showed. he should have been happy to have points on the board as its obvious it is going to be a tight season. such a poor attitude by hamilton shows a sign on mental weakness, this will hamper him over the season, he has to realise he is not the next ayrton senna like he thinks he is, and should just do the best he can, and be happy for every opportunity he gets to drive a top-2 car in f1.

    2. ALonso had a good race, but won 2 places (grosjean and maldonado) in the beginning, and had fresh tires to overtake both rosberg and webber (1st pit stop). If Massa continues like this, dont know if Ferrari will be patient to wait until the end of the year. Yes, the golden years are definitely gone. :(

  35. Really pleased for JB, but more concerned about Lewis, he seems to be missing the bit of magic he had in his first couple of seasons.
    This could be the closest of seasons and yes…..vettel can race and mix it when he needs to.

  36. Great stuff Williams!

  37. Massa is already blaming everything else but himself.

  38. Alonso came in 5th behind 2 Red Bulls and 2 Mclarens and this in the grand scheme of things is not a bad result at all. He was actually running 4th ahead of Webber for a while. Surprised they still haven’t resolved their qualifying issues from 2011. As for Massa…well.

    1. alonso and vettel are the best at getting the best out of the car they have. alonsos car looked liked 8-10th position finishing car, and after qualifying vettels car looked liked 4-6th position, and both showed their worth in the race and finished the best their cars possibly could.

  39. Great drive from Button, but i still wouldnt dismiss Hamiltons chances in the Championship race this year. Its only the first race for goodness sake! I’d understand if Button won and Hamilton ended up in another incident involving the stewards, but overall it definately wasnt a bad drive from Hamilton.

    1. Exactly, but Hamilton fans and non-fans, even haters, probably always expect greatness from him every lap of every race, so anything less than perfect is a ‘terrible’ result or something to do with Lewis losing his ‘mojo’.

      Fact is today was just an unfortunate series of events caused by a less-than-perfect getaway from the line.

      Theres many races to come and everyone will have their fair share of good and bad luck.

  40. It was the first race but gosh this is another major psicological blow on Hamilton. JB just went by and never looked back, whereas Hami found himself yet again trying everything while looking at his team mate from the back.

    JB’s reputation is going up every day with smart races and now very fast fautless pace. Sure there were no mistakes from Hami today but to be beaten like that… one has to wonder: who really is the best driver of the two?.

    Hope Jenson continues like this. It’s just a great pleasure seeing him win like that, so classy!.

    1. I get the sense that Lewis has still got the shackles on somewhat. My guess would be that it’s down to (a) fear of being criticised as being reckless and (b) worried about his tyre management compared to his team mate.

      As many have said before, Jensen is in his element where strategy plays as big a part as raw speed (not to say he’s slow, but he’s not the quite the fastest either). The Pirelli tyres in particular really play to his strengths and full credit to him for his performances over the past 12 months.

      I’ve always thought that Lewis would secretly love to have the most recent Bridgestone era back!

      1. hamilton has to adapt. the best drivers can adapt, and tyre usage is a major factor in nearly every motorsport. maybe hamilton was so good in 2007 and 2008 because of the ease and consistency of the bridgestones. now he is still very fast, but cant manage a race pace, he is lucky he has the fastest or second fastest car at every race. in a sauber he might look totally dreadful with his tyre management.

        1. He’s fortunate in the respect that he has Jenson as his team mate. I can’t think of a better experienced driver to learn the “softer” skills from, providing he embraces it.

          Having said that, it’s not like Lewis is that far behind. Let’s not forget that at the midpoint of last season, he was ahead in all aspects of his battle with Jenson (qualifying, race results and championship points). After that, Jenson raised his game and Lewis dropped his.

          Whilst there are certainly areas that Lewis can / should improve upon, those stats highlight to me that the real problem has been in his head…

        2. Firstly, cant manage a race pace? – Mclaren have said their cars had a higher fuel consumption rate than they expected, both cars where in fuel saving mode from lap 8, by then with Jenson out in clean air, he already had a little gap.

          Had lewis got a good start, the roles would have been reversed, Hamilton would have been able to pull a few second gap in first stint, would have therefore got pit choice, therefore wouldnt have came out in traffic, therefore wouldnt have got caught out by that SC.

          Anyone looking at Lewis 3rd place and saying ‘see, cant manage tyres. Isnt as good as people expect. Hasnt sorted out his personal problems, bla bla’ are either delusional, or just simply dont understand the details of this sport.

          and secondly, if he was in a Sauber? go back and watch a 2009 review, when he was in one of the worst cars in the field. Try and tell me he looked ordinary, or even bad, in a bad car… You wont be able to because you’d make yourself look foolish.

          1. Spot on! The only thing Hamilton got wrong was the start. After that, they both switched to fuel saving mode but only one of them was in dirty air and got the short end of the safety car stick. It is truly amazing to see how everyone is ready to jump on the guys back with all sorts of frankly ridiculous statements. The worst is ‘his attitude was pathetic etc’ – come on, you want him to celebrate 15 points when his target was 25?

          2. @N said…while I do agree with you in general that one race does not a season make, and LH has tons of time to take the fight to JB and everyone else, I think that it isn’t entirely unfair to criticise him after the year that he just had with enough mistakes that will always ensure no WDC.

            Since you are into playing woulda, coulda, shoulda (ie. had he gotten a better start this would have happened and this wouldn’t etc) I’ll add this…If he hadn’t made so many mistakes last year, allowed JB to best him in the end, and then to top it off recently admitted that he had too much fun last year that cost him training days which hurt him at the track, perhaps I would feel for him a little more.

            But he got pole, and then one could say squandered it…JB has shown last year was not just a fluke and he didn’t shine just because LH struggled at times, he shone because he is good and fast and doesn’t seem to get distracted whether he is leading or coming up through the field, nor with a teammate who many have claimed is faster and who has the team centered around him.

            LH to me is showing signs of a sense of entitlement. He’s been in F1 for long enough to know that the ‘fun’ he had last year would hurt him on race weekends, not to mention I think it is a terrible thing for the team and it’s sponsors to hear…that their WDC level driver hurt everyone with his ‘fun’. And now his sour-puss look after the race…get over yourself LH…the world doesn’t revolve around you….and you are not the next Senna in spite of claiming that for yourself…that’s how I feel about LH now.

          3. Well robbie, we obviously have compleltly opposite views of what happend at the weekend.

            You think its not unfair to critise him after his performance given what happend to him last year? I say the opposite, i say he kept his head down and got on with the job in Aus instead of letting his frustration at having not only lost first place, but then lost 2nd through bad luck. Maybe in past years he would have tried too hard in the remaining laps after the SC restart to try and re-pass Vettel. Can you imagine what people would be saying had he tried too much to retake 2nd place and did a Maldonado?

            Lewis came across to me as someone with their eye on the long-game, precisly because of how last year went.

            “he shone because he is good and fast and doesn’t seem to get distracted whether he is leading or coming up through the field, nor with a teammate who many have claimed is faster and who has the team centered around him.”

            Jensons wins have typically came about when hes either backed into a strategical corner and tries something contrary to the main runners, which eventually pays off, or, when his main rivals come into troubles.

            It’s also a bit strange you mention its terrible for him to be admitting he let his focus slip by ‘partying’ too much for one year, when Jenson admitted he did the same thing for most of his F1 career, only really knuckling down since mid 2000’s.

            Young, wealthy… it’s going to happen. Atleast Lewis has recognised it early enough and now seems focused on the job.

            Also, don’t think i’ve ever seen one quote by Lewis claiming to be the ‘next Senna’


            I know those quotes were talked about on this site last year. I’m sure it’s in the archives here but I just googled “Lewis Hamilton ‘I am Senna’ quote” and found the reference I have pasted above quite quickly.

            Anyway, I take your point and perhaps it will turn out to be the case that LH is now focused with his eye on the long-game after last season. We’ll see how he now deals with what JB has done so far this season.

            As to the partying thing…you are right about JB and I had forgotten that, so good on you to bring it up, but that said, since you’ve reminded me, I’m quite sure JB fell into that trap early on in his career and realized it early on too, and corrected his behaviour…well before he was anywhere near being a proven winner and/or WDC. The difference with LH is that this is last year we are talking about…already a proven winner and WDC, he decided to become a partier too? Different from JB, and I say LH had way more reason/experience such that he should have known better than JB, a relative rookie when he learned his lesson.

    2. Jb is each year more like Prost, and Hamilton more like Mansell.

  41. Disappointed not to see a 1-2 for Mclaren today. Even though I’d have preferred a victory for Lewis, once Jenson got past in the first corner and had clean air, combined with his slighlty better tyre management, he was always going to be tough to beat. Good result for him.

    The first pit stop was at least one lap too late for both drivers and cost Lewis in particular a lot of time as a result; his tyres had clearly gone off during the last lap (or two) of that stint.

    I actually thought Mclaren had pulled off a superb move for the 2nd stop (redeeming themselves for the earlier mistake), getting both drivers in at once. Vettel can count himself very fortunate to be in a position to drive round part of the track faster than his rivals (which shouldn’t be allowed, but does seem to be a loop-hole in the current rules).

    I’m hoping for a season full of twists and turns, and the early signs are it might just deliver!

  42. So disappointed that Maldonado crashed out in the last lap ,he deserved that 6th place.

  43. The mercedes website says that rosberg got a puncture when he collided with perez – which would explain his lack of pace on the last lap

    1. Anyone see any video of this incident? Even a shaky-cam from the crowd would do.

  44. Unreal how HAM so often suffers from McLaren poor strategy, how could they not spot he’d be stuck being Perez? Whitmarsh said they chickened out, prob wasnt enough time, make sure you optimize stops, pull Hamilton in before BUT if he has priority.
    Safety car costing him second is just crazy.
    Didnt see any evidence that VET could have taken him, McLaren had at least equal pace.

    Anyway, BUT was imperious, look like McLaren have the edge right now, dev. will keep them there I reckon, so fancy BUT and HAM to fight for teh title, with VET, aided by Rud Bulls uncanny race management, in the mix.

    Another bit of Alonso durability and skill to get 4th, he is such an asset to Ferrari, while Massa is just a liability, as you all seemingly agree :) Appears Ferrari is not the mess that it seemed.

    Awesome Sauber.

  45. This new pits feed that FOM are producing for this year & that Sky are taking is simply fantastic.

    I ended up keeping that feed on my ipad for the entire race just to get all the team radio comms.

    1. @GT_Racer That is incredible! I want! I’m in the States. Is that something you get exclusive by paying for Sky?

  46. i am really dissapointed at hamiltons attitude. he should be happy to have a podium. its the first race of the year, and its not like button beat him by a minute. im sick of his sour grapes, he acts like such a spoilt sport, youd think the reality of the last 2 years which showed he isnt the best in the world would bring him down to earth, but instead the whole world has to put up with his attitude problem. why cant he be grateful that every year he gets to drive a top 2 car in f1. look at vettels reaction after the race, he is much more grateful for the opportunity he gets, and can still show grace after not winning, his attitude towards race winner button was exemplary, while hamiltons just stunk of sour grapes.
    if mclaren has the advantage in the next few races i can see similar results, button first ahead of hamilton. hamilton is faster over a single lap, but he cant manage his tyres, which is required in the current generation of f1, and button can, so button has the advantage over a race distance. hamilton only shows good sportsmanship when he wins, but i hope if the result is the same in malaysia he will be a bit more respectful and sportsmanlike with his behaviour on the podium, he should realise there are drivers who spend their whole career in f1 without a podium, and even if he has high expectations, you should still respect the result.

    1. I understand there is a need for humility and good sportmanship but having a go at lewis for being disappointed at the result is ridiculous. His sportsmanship was there when he shook Jensons hand and congratulated him. He was personally dissappointed at the result and didnt feel the need to mask it and pretend to convey genuine joy at the podium. I see nothing wrong with that.

      I would understand your comment if he later blamed someone else for not have won the race but he didnt.

      I believe that he was disappointed because he (and the rest of us) now realise that Jenson is a genuine threat to his future successes in formula 1 more than anyone else and he will not settle for second best at Mclaren. I see nothing wrong with him being disappointed when he knows that his team mate can have him more regularly than most.

      I am a lewis fan and can only hope that the benchmark raised by Button (all credit to him) will only propel Lewis to greater heights in the future. But for now, no doubt, even Button in my opinion is favourite for the title. With this much improved Mclaren under him, he only need to start on the front 2 rows to challenge for victory.

    2. He had a quick enough car to win the race but his team mate won. Show me a driver who’s happy with that and I’ll show you a driver who doesn’t belong in the top flight.

      1. Vettel was exactly the same when he was beaten by his team mate, they are not there to come second/third.
        look at how Vettel got passed Lewis,
        lewis was slowed due to speed restrictions under the SC, while Vettel powered down the the pit lane at full speed, to the restricted zone,
        that in itself was enough to make most drives cry, loosing 2nd like that was not easy to take in anyone’s book.

      2. Have to agree with Keith and Eric on that 1. It probably made Hamilton even more angry that he’d lost 2nd place like that too. Everytime Button beats Hamilton everyone is so quick to step on Hamilton’s throat. There were many occasions last year when Jenson couldn’t get near lewis….wasn’t the same reaction then though……

        1. While I do agree with what you say Keith, and perhaps it is folly to criticise LH for not exactly doing handstands over his placing at the end of the race, I think LH has only himself to look at in the mirror. As you say he was in a race winning car and didn’t win the race. So I think there is room for criticism, even if his demeanor after the race isn’t the place to start.

          I have been indifferent about LH all along, and in general I have seen him make a lot of mistakes and squander a few WDCs that were his to lose, and only just squeak in the WDC he did win…but what I thought was really unfortunate with LH is his admission that last year he had too much fun which cost him training days which hurt him on race days…that to me is inexcusable with all that is on the line, and after hearing that I’m am much less indifferent…now I want to see JB dominate him. And now that this has happened to LH, I wonder if he is already rattled and will start to once again make mistakes. We’ll see. He has a proven record of it, in spite of all the times he has also shown himself to be incredibly good and worthy of accolades.

  47. Hollis Graham (@)
    18th March 2012, 16:40

    You would be dissapointed as well. McLarens looked above pace of red bulls for qualy then he loses first to Jenson and second to Vettel from pole on the grid so I think he should maybe be slightly happier yeah but it’s not a good result seeing how his team-mate and slower (or so he thought) car beat him.

  48. HardbrakingStan
    18th March 2012, 16:50

    I want to hibernate from now until Friday morning!

    1. Hollis Graham (@)
      18th March 2012, 18:23

      Same. :(
      To long to wait. 4 days till practice. :/

  49. My 2 cents on Hamilton’s performance

    Button made a better start, Hamilton gave him space – a wise and fair move considering.

    Button was evidently a bit faster in race conditions, Hamilton went to looking after his tyres. This went well, he showed good pace and his tyres lasted as long as Button’s.
    This is where it started going wrong. First pit stops, BAD decision making by McLaren AGAIN… Lewis should have come in a lap earlier than Jenson rather than waiting for the cliff – we can kinda let them off as it’s early in the season and they didn’t know when it would happen for them but they could see other cars dropping off so… Well that happened.

    Hamilton came out slightly ahead of Vettel. Vettel closed up but when he did, Hamilton upped his pace – I presume they hoped that Vettel’s tyres would go off, either way again, he managed the gap, managed tyres and fuel and showed extra pace when needed. Second pit stop was just flat out unfortunate. McLaren were trying to manage Vettel and secure the 1-2 Red Bull were just hoping for something to happen and they got their luck.

    Hamilton did try to get the place back but frankly, he couldn’t get close enough out of the last few turns. Crucially I think the Bulls might have better traction or the McLaren was struggling in the dirty air. Because of pushing for several laps the tyres then started to go and he was under pressure from behind which he then managed.

    In summary, he tried to drive a smarter race, taking care of his tyres and managing his stints – OK he didn’t race for 1st but I think he didn’t reckon it was on. He was frankly unlucky and fair enough if he had a bit of a grump… He’s not been catching much luck recently and he must have felt he drove a much better race and came off quite poorly considering.

    1. Platine (@)
      19th March 2012, 1:03

      Exactly !

  50. I don’t think there was a problem with Hamilton’s attitude, and it’s strange how people are linking his bad pace to his mindset. You are doing him a disservice, he’s a professional at the end of the day and by all accounts he says he is in a stable position.

    He found it difficult to keep pace with Button because he was wearing his tyres out much faster, and couldn’t get back at Vettel because Vettel had been gifted a bit of a lead and was on fresher tyres. Surely it’s better to come up with a physical reason, than to speculate on an emotional one. He was dissapointed with where he came – he admitted defeat to Button, but was annoyed about being behind Vettel, that doesn’t sound like giving up on me!

    1. “he’s a professional at the end of the day”…but yet he admitted to last year having too much fun, which cost him on race days…that is not the type of professional any top team needs, nor should expect from a WDC.

  51. would love to have seen schumacher keep going. looked like he could have got in the top 4 but tough to say w/o seeing the tire degradation

  52. Disclaimer:button fan here (as well as Lewis)

    Can we say we’ve finally reached the point where we no longer feel button is no match for hammy?

    That said, I’ve no doubt that Lewis will have the better of button an approximately equal # of times this season.

    As a NON fan of red bull, their race pace today worries me, but at least they’re not a second faster than the rest of the field….

    1. You and I are in complete agreement.

    2. You know what, im still not convinced. Button is great at grabbing opportunities when they arise, but, therein lies the problem.

      Yesterdays race was decided by turn 1, ‘all’ Button had to do was do what was neccesary of any driver – get a good start, get in clean air.

      Hamiltons bad start gave Button that opportunity.

      Button is great at seizing upon other peoples misfortunes, this will get him some results from time to time, as we see, but overall, im still not convinced hes in the class of Ham/Alonso, and unless Hamilton has the same amount of DNFs/crashes as last year, i dont see him Button beating him on out right Qual or Race performance.

      1. This is what I don’t quite get…’other people’s misfortunes’…what, you mean like starting on pole? Yeah…poor guy…that Button is such an opportunity grabber…the nerve of him. Or….wait…isn’t that a big part of racing?

        Bottom line…JB did a better job from P2 than LH from P1…and in spite of LH’s best time that put him on pole, he couldn’t reel JB in during the race and take back the lead. LH squandered his pole position, JB outstarted him and didn’t squander that.

        JB-1, LH-0

        1. Don’t get your knickers twisted, your basically saying what i said, Button did his start as he should, Hamilton didn’t. Button pounced on Hamiltons bad start, therefore got into clean air and first choice on strategy.

          This to me is not proof that Button is at Hamiltons level, its like a vulture, hes always ‘right there’ for when Hamilton messes up, to pounce on it. But this is the point i was making in the first place – Button is not a -match- for Hamilton. The only ‘true’ match Hamilton had was Alonso.

          1. Lol, now who’s knickers seem twisted? Sounds like you are unwilling to say JB got a great start, and would rather word it that LH got a poor start and JB capitalized. I think it is both…JB got a great start, no question…he did not gain the first corner in the lead strictly because LH didn’t get away as well…it’s not like JB was behind LH and had to swerve out of LH’s way to get around him…ie. JB got a good solid clean start all on his own no matter what LH did.

            I also think the ‘Button is not a match for Hamilton’ concept is old news…JB is not the same driver he was, and has obviously picked up where he left off last season…a definite match for LH. As shown yesterday.

            After a ragged season last year, and a poor start, squandering his pole position yesterday, the onus is on LH to prove ‘N said on’ right. So far JB-1, LH-0…

      2. @N said i see where your coming from. This was only his 2nd dry weather victory for Mclaren (unless im mistaken) and it was a great drive…I Just dont think Button would be able to drag the Mclaren to places it shouldnt be like hamilton could do and Alonso does for Ferrari (Vettel did a similar thing in the torro rosso in 08) and that will be problematic for him in a close championship fight. it didnt cost him in 09 because when the car was on song in the first 7 races he dominated….he wont be able to do that this year, that’s why I cant see him winning the title but he will be in the hunt.

        1. Fair comment from both of you…perhaps the onus is on JB to prove that that was then and this is now, like I think he will do (is doing going back to last year), not just on LH to prove that he can keep it together and be as mistake free as it takes to win the WDC. Imho, he’s already squandered a pole position. Mistake number 1 against a driver who I think might be better than ever, gaining confidents by the minute. Part of LH’s job is to keep JB from gaining confidents, and so far it isn’t working. Just one race though of course and he did get pole. Everything is yet to be sorted out.

  53. Senna said it best “we are competing to win. And the main motivation to all of us is to compete for victory, it’s not to come 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. I race to win as long as I feel it’s possible”
    why would a driver be happy with 3rd when they had a car capable to win.
    Jenson drove great, got a well deserved first win of the season. Was a little disappointed with Hamilton kind of expected a batte between the two mclarens but Jenson pulled away in first stint and controlled the race. Red bull are still very strong race pace was very close with mclaren. The saubers did well as did alonso with a ferrari perforing better on race pace, still outperformed the car though.
    We should be in for a great season

  54. Exciting race mostly in the mid-pack.
    1. Button the master.
    2. Ham the crybaby
    3. Shcumy creshed under pressure
    4. Alonso : the beast tamer. A miraculous 5th. Great!
    5. Perez: brave race. 6ht place was sooo close…
    6. Maldonado: unfortunate mistake. Ok, kind ow way too anxious. Great job though.
    7. Grosjean: I can’t wait to see him next race

    1. Schu’s gearbox failed on the way into the corner, no rear drive hence he slid wide, it was a car failure, not MS.

    2. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
      19th March 2012, 9:41

      Schumi didnt crash under pressure.
      As Aussie Fan says his gearbox failed. Till then he was doing a good job.
      Unfortunate as it was just a glimpse of the old schumi. Would have loved to see his old form back but I guess saying that is a stretch. With the current passing/defending rules, volatile tires and all, aggressive driving is a thing of the past.
      Sadly we may never see drives like senna in suzuka in 1989 after the collision. :(

  55. Great article @keithcollantine

    It was good to read what happened on the last lap, it sure was fraught. I had no idea what was happening!

  56. themagicofspeed (@)
    19th March 2012, 9:12

    Massa has never gone well at Albert Park. Literally never, he’s always messing up in the race. Like he has again. He has had chance enough and as others have said if he doesn’t do something pretty quickly he will be replaced by one of the FDA drivers mid-season and that will be the end of him. It took that sad day in Brazil in 2008 to destroy his confidence, and career thereafter. I don’t think his heart is in it anymore. He will never improve, Im strongly sure of that. He will end up either at the back of the grid, or into retirement.

    As for Ferrari in general. What a load of garbage. I will be entirely honest in saying i didnt watch any of the coverage this weekend at all. I had better things to do than watch the sad signt of a team that has been in F1 longer than anybody else, trawling around in the midfield looking like its their 2nd or 3rd season. Its sad and its pathetic and i dont want to see it. When they pull out their finger, i’ll be watching. I just dont want to waste 3 hours every Sunday, watching a flagged horse die.

    1. True enough, last year he dropped away after first fighting with Button and being in front of Alonso after the start.

  57. For those that watched it, I’m curious to know what everyone thought of the Sky coverage. I’ve watched both the BBC and Sky versions. Really missed Martin on the BBC, but missed Coulthard on Sky as well. Opinions?

  58. Also, it looked as though Sam Michael and Ron Dennis were having an abrasive chat after the podium ceremony. All I could make out was Ron saying, “He was catching him….” and then it trailed off. He didn’t really look pleased. Any ideas what that was about?

    1. Where did you see that?

      1. It was on the BBC feed on TSN here in Canada. I think the feed is universal though. They had a camera come up behind them in the McLaren garage while they were speaking. They sort of turned away to avoid being heard, but Ron didn’t look happy (not that he ever does, really). I’m pretty sure it was between the podium and the interviews. Were I more technologically literate, I’d try to post a link. It really could have been quite innocent. It was more Sam’s body language than anything which looked defensive.

  59. I don’t think Lewis’s bad humour was at being beaten by his teamate, I think he sees a repeat of last season . He knows that if JB gets past him all things being equal there is no chance of retaking him. He knows, that with tyres that his driving style does not allow all out attack for more than a couple of corners, he can only go slower and trundle along behind. If he was a carbon copy of JB. perhaps they could drive around side by side and finish equal ,wouldn’t that be exciting. Untill the tyre stategy in F1 reverts to real gungo racing tyres I am afraid we are going to see more of this , if a racer cannot push hard to intimidate the guy in front into a mistake ,for me this is not racing . I am not anti. JB.just want to see aggressive racing throughout the race not on one lap.

  60. I just think it’s a little cute how after so many races, time and time again, people act like Alonso putting in a solid performance when he shouldn’t is remarkable in any way.

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