Jenson Button opens his account for McLaren

Posted on March 28, 2010

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Jenson Button has marked out his territory at McLaren taking a brilliant first victory for the Woking team in 2010, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton trailing home in sixth.

A brave early call put him on slick tyres earlier than everyone else and he made them work all the way to the finish, pumping in personal best after personal best, open a 17-second lead on the final lap ahead of Robert Kubica’s Renault and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. The delight of the reiging world champion was clear in his radio transmissions on the way back to the pits.

Hamilton wasn’t able to exploit the pace of his car after a curious second stop and some terrible luck. He consolidated back to sixth after a late accident with Mark Webber. Earlier in the race he was in a position to launch a tilt for victory and in his immediate post-race interviews the frustration was clear from the 2008 champion.

Red Bull had a terrible day after locking out the front row of the grid. Webber caused the late accident with Hamilton, dumping the Australian back to P9 at his home race. Another mechanical failing ended Vettel’s race as the fragility of the car again showed through. This time it was a brake failure to go with the electrical problem in the Renault engine in Bahrain.

Schumacher was disappointing for Mercedes. He spent most of his time studying the Toro Rosso rear wing of Jaime Alguersuari after losing his front wing on the first lap. Other people were able to make passes not not much sign of it from the seven-time champion.

The attrition rate was high, with a couple of smashes on lap one, including a big accident for Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese driver has dropped a long way off his standards from his late cameos last season. Lotus got one car to the finish despite losing Trulli to a hydraulic failure on the grid and HRT will be delighted to Karun Chandhok to the chequered flag, albeit five laps down. Neither Virgin made it though not apparently because of low fuel.

Best of all was the quality of the racing. Yes it needed a bit of rain and a safety car after a big accident but these are natural racing variables. Enforcing a second pit stop or even stops for fuel create nothing like the interest of wildcard factors. The turning point today was Button’s ballsy call to go to slick tyres early on but there was exciting racing right down the field. Both Alonso and Hamilton were able to go on storming runs after dropping back.

The fact we’re at a proper racing track helps a lot. The shorter lap, various passing opportunities and a greasy surface in damp conditions  early on set the perfect stage. Formula One 2010 is finally underway after its stuttering start.

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