Button heads dream Brawn one-two in Australia

By Ian Parkes,Pa
Monday 14 October 2013 04:12

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Brawn GP created a slice of Formula One history with a memorable one-two in today's Australian Grand Prix.

For the first time since 1954 when the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio led home Karl Kling for Mercedes in the French Grand Prix, a debut team captured the top two places in a race.

It was a relatively easy day for Button, a walk in Albert Park you could say, as he led from start to finish for only the second win of his 154-race career.

However, for veteran Barrichello it was an eventful day as he was initially involved in a first-corner melee.

After surviving that, he only took the runner-up spot thanks to Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica colliding three laps from home when running second and third.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who had started in the pit lane along with team-mate Timo Glock after their cars were yesterday deemed to be using illegal flexi wings, finished third with the German fifth.

The duo sandwiched Lewis Hamilton, who produced a world champion's drive from 18th in a woefully under-performing McLaren.

The race, as expected, started as dramatically as it finished, and it was thanks to Barrichello who suffered a poor getaway, which led to him being swallowed up by a number of cars.

On the run down to the first corner, as Barrichello attempted to pass down the inside of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, he collided into the German, sparking a domino effect.

Heidfeld in turn sideswiped Red Bull's Mark Webber, who then caught the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen and Adrian Sutil in his Force India.

Remarkably, of the five involved in the incident, only Barrichello managed to avoid returning to the pits, and for Kovalainen it was terminal as he was forced to retire.

The accident was perfect for Hamilton, though, as it allowed him to make up six places on the first lap.

The chaos behind him allowed Button to comfortably pull away, and by the end of lap 17 he had built up a lead of nearly 35 seconds, albeit he had yet to pit.

That became crucial as on lap 18 Kazuki Nakajima caught a kerb coming out of the left-hander turn four, sending him careering nose first into a wall.

It then became a question of how quickly the safety car would be deployed as Nakajima's car was strewn across the track.

In the past, when such an incident has occurred, the stewards have swiftly acted, but on this occasion there was a considerable delay.

Whatever the reason, it worked in Button's favour as he was able to mercifully make his stop, moments prior to the safety car finally being sent out, even if his lead had been whittled down to nothing.

But by the time of his second stop on lap 46, he had built up such a cushion again that he comfortably emerged ahead of second-placed Vettel.

In the minutes preceding that, Ferrari's woeful weekend continued as 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was seen sliding across the track before kissing a wall with both tyres on the right side of his car.

The Finn was able to continue, but was a long way down the field at that stage, ultimately retiring shortly before the finish, a fate that also befell Massa.

Last year's runner-up slowed to a trundle on lap 46, just making it back to the garage where he forlornly watched the remainder of the race unfold, and it ended dramatically.

With just three laps remaining, with Vettel and Kubica dicing for second place, the Pole attempted to pass the German around the outside of a right-hand turn.

They inevitably collided, resulting in the Red Bull losing its front wing, and with the BMW Sauber's severely damaged.

Vettel soon collided into a wall, almost losing his left front wheel, whilst Kubica crashed out as he tried to continue.

It led to the deployment of the safety car for the second time, and behind it they virtually finished the race as it pulled in prior to the final corner.

Moments later the flag came down on a stunning victory for Brawn GP and Button.

In taking a 200th win for a British driver, Button was heard to tell his team over his radio: "You're all legends. This is going to be a great year."

Reflecting on the race, Button said: "It was an amazing day.

"Some people might say it was a shame to finish behind the safety car, but it wasn't, and I don't care. I've won the race.

"This win is not just for me, but the whole team. It's a fairytale ending for the first race of our career.

"I just hope we can now continue this way. I know we are going to fight to keep the car competitive and at the front.

"But this is where we deserve to be, and bring on Malaysia."

The result, though, is subject to a Court of Appeal ruling as they it sit on April 14 to hear a protest from Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull.

The trio of teams appealed against a stewards' decision in deeming the Brawn GPs, Toyotas and Williams legal in relation to their rear diffusers.

Despite that a happy Barrichello was stunned to claim second, admitting: "I never felt I could finish on the podium after the start.

"I hit someone from behind, hit someone out front, and I thought my race was done because I had almost lost my front nose.

"But the car stayed strong, so after that start I'm delighted to be here."

With a twist to a remarkable week, Hamilton was elevated to third after Trulli was handed a 25-second penalty after the race by the stewards.

It transpired the veteran Italian passed Hamilton under yellow flags following the crash involving Vettel and Kubica, forcing the stewards to intervene.

However, it is understood Toyota will appeal against the penalty.

In addition, Vettel has received a 10-place grid penalty for next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, along with a USD 50,000 (£35,000) fine.

The penalty has been issued for causing the accident whilst the fine has been imposed as the stewards deem he failed to leave the track as soon as it was safe to do so.

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