Jenson Button wins dramatic Australian Grand Prix

Reigning world champion Jenson Button produced a brilliant performance to claim his first win of the season at a fascinating Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne today.

The McLaren driver had started fourth on the grid but with pole sitter Sebastian Vettel and Red-Bull team-mate Mark Webber notably faster during qualifying, the 30-year-old seemed to be facing a tough task if he was to challenge for victory.

However, Vettel was once again the victim of bad luck as a brake problem ended his race midway through and, after he had made his move following a frenetic start at Albert Park, Button surged into the lead on lap 26 where he remained to the chequered flag, finishing over 12 seconds ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa secured his place on the podium for the second successive race as he climbed from fifth to take third place in his Ferrari.

Massa's team-mate Fernando Alonso recovered from a spin at turn one on the first lap to take fourth place while Mercedes' Nico Rosberg finished fifth with 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton claiming sixth place.

The victory for Button also marked his first with his new team and the Briton was struggling to find the words to describe his feelings after he climbed from his car.

"It is very special," he said. "It has taken me a while to get to grips with the car but the team have been fantastic.

"I don't know what to say, it is very difficult to put into words. I feel I am building in confidence.This is just too good."

Button's team-mate Hamilton had delivered a charging drive, having climbed from 11th to second at one stage, but a late clash with Webber saw him drop away from challenging for a podium finish.

Tonio Liuzzi once again finished inside the points as he took seventh place in his Force India while Williams' Rubens Barrichello secured eighth.

Webber will no doubt be disappointed with his finish at his home race after the Australian's clash with Hamilton ensured he finished ninth.

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher - who has four wins to his name in Australia - came out on top of a late tussle with Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari for 10th place.

BMW Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa took 12th place with Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen and Karun Chandhok of HRT finishing 13th and 14th place respectively. A total of 10 drivers retired from the race.

Clouds filled the skies above Albert Park to end concerns over a glare issues from a bright setting sun but instead, after threatening to do so for much of the afternoon, rain started to fall 10 minutes before the start of the race to present a different concern for the drivers.

It set the stage for an exciting start and so it proved as the five red lights went out and Vettel streamed away but there was drama at turn one as Bahrain GP winner Alonso spun after first clipping Button before hitting Schumacher to drop to 22nd.

From then on there was plenty of action on the circuit as both Hamilton and Button took advantage of the chaotic start to climb through the field.

Hamilton had quickly moved up to seventh by lap 16 before winning a wheel-to-wheel battle with Webber to move ahead of the Red Bull.

Button, meanwhile, had made an early pit stop to change to slick tyres and it was to prove an inspired decision.

The Briton was attacking Vettel, although the German looked comfortable in first before disaster struck on lap 26 with brake failure seeing him beach the car in the gravel.

From then on Button maintained a comfortable lead ahead of Kubica to ease to the eighth victory of his career.

Results

1. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1 hr 33 mins 36.531 secs

2. Robert Kubica (Poland) Renault +12.034 secs

3. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 14.488

4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 16.304

5. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 16.683

6. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 29.898

7. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Force India-Mercedes 59.847

8. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Williams - Cosworth 1:00.536

9. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:07.319

10. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1:09.391

11. Jaime Alguersuari (Spain) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:11.301

12. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:14.084

13. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Lotus - Cosworth 2 laps

14. Karun Chandhok (India) HRT - Cosworth 5 laps

*****

r. Timo Glock (Germany) Virgin - Cosworth 17 laps

r. Lucas Di Grassi (Brazil) Virgin - Cosworth 32 laps

r. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 33 laps

r. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India-Mercedes 49 laps

r. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Renault 49 laps

r. Bruno Senna (Brazil) HRT - Cosworth 54 laps

r. Sebastien Buemi (Switzerland) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 58 laps

r. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Williams - Cosworth 58 laps

r. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber - Ferrari 58 laps

DNS. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Lotus - Cosworth 58 laps

(rank: r = retired)

Fastest Lap: Mark Webber, 1:28.358, lap 47.

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