What a start for the team from Woking in the 2012 Formula 1 season. Starting off at P1 and P2 after qualifying on Saturday, McLaren ends the weekend with Jenson Button taking the win and Lewis Hamilton taking third position in the first race of the season at Albert Park, Melbourne.
McLaren’s perfect weekend was spoiled by the Red Bull Racing’s car of Sebastian Vettel who was aided by the Safety Car late in the race which put him ahead of Lewis’ McLaren. Lewis, after being jumped at the start by Button was nicely settled in 2nd place for most of the race when the Safety Car was deployed due to Vitaly Petrov’s retirement on the main straightaway. In the end, McLaren finished P1 and P3, with Red Bull Racing finishing at P2 (Vettel) and P4 (Webber). The race also saw strong drives from Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari and the Ice Man Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. Michael Schumacher also had a great start but unfortunately had to retire due to transmission related issues.
It was a great start to the season and it looks like several teams are more closely matched this time around. No runaway favorites here. Just a fun fact: The winner of the Australian Grand Prix usually ends up winning the championship. Will 2012 be Button’s year? We’ll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned!