Formula 1 News

Bright Button leaves Hamilton downcast

The 2009 champion was plain faster than his teammate, who could not hold his starting grid position -pole- nor the second place the fell to Vettel.
Sunday, March 18, 2012

MELBOURNE, March 18, 2012 (AFP) - Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton cut contrasting figures in the wake of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the victorious Button ecstatic and Hamilton downcast.

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The two McLaren drivers had started on the front row after Hamilton had pipped his teammate for pole.

But Button enjoyed the better start to take victory while Hamilton slipped back to third, allowing world champion Sebastian Vettel to take second.

"It was very special," said Button.

"Starting the year with a win is important. To come away with Lewis's pole yesterday and victory today, I think it puts us in a great position for the next few races and on the right foot, so a big thank you to everyone in the team.

"I am very excited heading to Malaysia (the site of next week's race) but not thinking about that now. I will enjoy this now with friends and family and tomorrow turn my attention to Malaysia."

Button led from the first corner and was comfortably in control when the Safety Car was introduced with 11 laps remaining after Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham pulled up.

"The biggest worry was the Safety Car," he said.

"When you have a 10-second gap, it is a great place to be but as soon as the Safety Car comes out and it is 6pm, it's difficult to keep the temperature in those tyres.

"That was a big worry for me. I was able to keep the heat in the tyres and saved a lot of fuel, which was important for us, and then got a good restart.

"I was able to do that, which I was very happy about, and was then controlling pace to the end of the race, so, a pretty amazing day.

"It was good but the last stint I was struggling as the tyres were working very differently, but this time through the stints the car felt good and there was good balance between the pace at the start of the stint and the pace at the end of stints.

"It is probably better than any year I have raced in."

Hamilton by contrast was downcast. "I just struggled out there," he said. "I got a shocking start, which was
really the beginning of it all.

"It was obviously a tough race but congratulations to Jenson -- it was great race for him. It would have been great to have had a one-two but it just wasn't a good day for me.

"I will just re-focus, get my head down, there's lots of races ahead. In these championships it's all about consistency, so that is what I am going to focus on."

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1 Lewis Hamilton 241
2 Nico Rosberg 238
3 Daniel Ricciardo 181
4 Fernando Alonso 131
5 Sebastian Vettel 124
6 Valtteri Bottas 122
1 Mercedes 479
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4 Ferrari 176
5 McLaren 117
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