Button and Hamilton succeed in Australia
Season gets off to a great start with Button, Brawn and Hamilton doing Britain proud
Who’d have thought that when Honda called time on its F1 team, we’d end up with a race like that? Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were left without a team and with little chance of starting the new season in Australia.
What a surprise then when the Brawn GP team, thriving on the new FIA regulations, turned up in Melbourne with a blisteringly quick car that Button and Barrichello were able to drive to the front row of the grid. For the first time since Jackie Stewart drove for Tyrrell in 1970, a new team had made pole position with the first car it had entered and it was Button on pole.
With a British driver in pole position driving a British car, all that was missing was a British sponsor. Step up Richard Branson. Never one to miss an opportunity, Branson put his Virgin logo on the previously whitewashed Brawn cars only twelve hours before the media broadcast images of the two cars sitting on the front row to audiences all over the world.
Following a faultless drive from Button, which led him to an historic win for the Brawn team, new sponsor Virgin announced it will unveil a new colour scheme for the newly named Virgin BGP cars at the Malaysian Grand Prix this coming weekend.
Rubens Barrichello rounded off Brawn’s historic day, finishing second behind Button after a terrible start to the race. The anti-stall device unexpectedly cut in on his car, leaving him languishing in seventh before Heiki Kovaleinen nudged the back of Barrichello’s car in the first corner, sending him into the side of Mark Webber’s Red Bull.
Luckily for Barrichello the damage to his front wing was minimal and he was able to hold seventh with only a slight dip in performance. Excellent pit-stops and impeccable tactics left Barrichello battling for points until second and third place Vettel (Red Bull) and Kubica (BMW Sauber) collided with three laps to go when Kubica attempted to take advantage of a mistake as Vettel’s run-down tyres caused him to run wide.
Barrichello was left in second to chase down his British team-mate under the safety car while the Brawn garage erupted in a flurry of big grins and 90’s style high-fives in anticipation of their debut one-two; a feat only previously achieved by Mercedes-Benz in 1954.
Last year’s world champion, Lewis Hamilton, proved his talent in a severely under-performing Mclaren, overtaking from 18th place on the grid to finish fourth before being promoted to the podium after Jarno Trulli’s third place Toyota was hit with a 25-second penalty. It ensures a podium Brits can be proud of, no matter how unexpected.
How the race finished -
|2||Rubens Barrichello||Brawn-Mercedes||+0.8 secs|
|3||Jarno Trulli*||Toyota||+1.6 secs|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||+2.9 secs|
|5||Timo Glock||Toyota||+4.4 secs|
|6||Fernando Alonso||Renault||+4.8 secs|
|7||Nico Rosberg||Williams-Toyota||+5.7 secs|
|8||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||+6.0 secs|
|9||Sebastien Bourdais||STR-Ferrari||+6.2 secs|
|10||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||+6.3 secs|
|11||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+7.0 secs|
|12||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Mercedes||+7.3 secs|
|13||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||+1 Lap|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||+2 Laps|
|15||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||+3 Laps|
|16||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||+3 Laps|
|Ret||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||+13 Laps|
|Ret||Heikki Kovalainen||McLaren-Mercedes||Accident damage|