Wizard GP thriller in Oz

2012-03-18 09:45

MELBOURNE, Australia - An opening lap crash set the tone for a gruelling season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Jenson Button dominated throughout the race to claim the first Grand Prix victory of the 2012 season.

Button said: "Oh fantastic, what a great way to start the year, guys! Seriously, fantastic. Shows what a winter does. The car is beautiful and she's quick. Thanks guys."

Read Dieter Rencken and eight post-race reports in our F1 section.

Button's team mate Lewis Hamilton held onto second place for most of the race but was finally passed by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and had to settle for the third podium spot.


The race for fourth place continued to be a battle between Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Red Bull's Mark Webber. Ultimately the Red Bull veteran trumped Alonso who had to settle for fifth place ahead of Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi.

During the final two laps of the race Pastor Maldonado could've secured a fifth place finish but crashed against the barriers, ending a fantastic effort for the F1 rookie.

Raikkonen, one of six former world champions in the field, impressed on his return from two years out of the sport to finish seventh for Lotus after starting 17th on the grid.

Lotus' Romain Grosjean who trumped F1 veteran and team mate Kimi Raikkonen crashed out in lap 3. Mercedes Michael Schumacher looked set for a third place podium unfortunately the veteran crashed out in lap 11.


Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth on his home race debut for Toro Rosso despite an accident at the start, while the last point was won by Force India's Paul Di Resta in 10th.

Felipe Massa's run of bad luck continued in 2012 as the Ferrari driver was relegated to the back of the grid after a minor scrap with Kobayashi.

Sauber's Sergio Perez had started right from the back after changing his gearbox overnight but finished a creditable eighth, the same place he claimed on his Formula 1 debut in Australian 2011 before both he and Kobayashi were disqualified for technical infringements.

Race results from the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park

1 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1h 34min09.565 seconds
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull +2.1
3 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren +4.0
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull  +4.5
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari  +21.5
6 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber  +36.7
7 Kimi Räikkönen (Finland) Lotus  +38
8 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber  +39.4
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso  +39.5
10 Paul di Resta (Britain) Force India  +39.7
11 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso  +39.8
12 Nico Rosberg (Germany)  Mercedes +57.6
13 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams + 1 lap
14 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia   + 1 lap
15 Charles Pic (France) Marussia + 2 laps
16 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams + 4 laps

Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari
Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham
Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham
Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes
Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India

Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT
Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT

Drivers and Constructors’ points standings after the 2012 Australian Formula 1 GP at Albert
Park, Melbourne
1 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren - 25
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - 18
3 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren - 15
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - 12
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari - 10
6 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber - 8
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Renault - 6
8 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - 4
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - 2
10 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - 1
11 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - 0
12 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP - 0
13 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - 0
14 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - 0
15 Charles Pic (France) Marussia - 0
16 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams - 0    
1 McLaren - 40
2 RedBull 30
3 Sauber - 12
4 Ferrari - 10
5 Lotus - 6
6 Toro Rosso - 2
7 Force India - 1
8 Mercedes 0
9 Williams - 0
10 Marussia - 0
11 Caterham - 0   
12 HRT - 0    

Qualifying results

1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min24.922
2 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min25.074
3 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min25.302
4 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min25.336
5 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min25.651
6 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min25.668
7 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min25.686
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min25.908
9 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min26.451
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso DNS
11 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min26.429
12 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min26.494
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min26.590
14 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min26.663
15 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min27.086
16 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min27.497
17 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber DNF
18 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min27.758
19 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min28.679
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min29.018
21 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min30.923
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min31.670
Did not qualify (DNQ) Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 1min33.495
DNQ Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 1min33.643

Third free practice times from the 2012 Australian F1 GP at Albert Park in Melbourne

1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min25.681
2 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus +0.077
3 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull +0.219
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren +0.225
5 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +0.248
6 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +0.397
7 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull +0.530
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams +0.789
9 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber +0.951
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso +1.042
11Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso +1.052
12 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus +1.056
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +1.074
14 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India +1.348
15 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1.438
16 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +1.642
17 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India +1.747
18 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +2.342
19 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +2.660
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham +3.021
21 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +5.047
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia +5.544
23 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT +7.433
24 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT +7.580

Second free practice times
1 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min29.183
2 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min29.292
3 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min30.199
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min30.341
5 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Ferrari 1min30.709
6 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min31.466
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min31.505
8 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min31.932
9 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min32.184
10 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull1min32.194
11 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min32.296
12 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min32.632
13 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min32.767
14 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min32.822
15 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min33.039
16 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min33.252
17 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min34.108
18 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min34.275
19 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min34.312
20 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min34.485
21 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min34.604
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min34.770
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 1min42.627
24 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT N/A

First free practice times
1 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min27.560
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min27.805
3 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.235
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min28.360
5 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min28.467
6 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.683
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min28.908
8 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min29.415
9 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min29.565
10 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min29.722
11 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min29.790
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min29.865
13 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min29.881
14 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min29.953
15 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min30.124
16 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min30.515
17 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min30.586
18 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min30.743
19 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min31.178
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min31.983
21 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min34.730
22 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min40.256
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT
24 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT

  • Tony - 2012-03-18 13:18

    A most enjoyable GP. It looks far more competitive this season. Congrats to Jenson for a well controlled race. Lets see how the rest of the season pans out.

  • Russha Hull - 2012-03-18 17:53

    Thanks to SABC for another year NOT broadcasting the F1 Grand Prix.

  • christo.stone - 2012-03-19 08:32

    Really hope McLaren can keep on winning and become champions again :)

  • Rechelle - 2012-03-19 09:43

    What an awesome race it was! This is going to be a very interesting year! Go Vettel go!

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