If the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this month raised fears that new regulations would turn Formula 1 races into a bore, Saturday’s Australian Grand Prix showed that there is still plenty of promise for the season. Defending world champion Jensen Button claimed the victory after a race featuring plenty of action and drama.
There were passes aplenty in Melbourne along with several incidents — including a first-lap crash that involved Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi and Nico Hulkenberg that necessitated the safety car. During this period, Button came into the pits and switched from wet weather tires to dry weather slicks -the track was drying out after heavy rains, which almost backfired immediately as he went off-course exiting the pits.
However, the move turned out to be a tactical stroke of genius. Button moved his way through the field and took the lead on lap 26 when leader Sebastian Vettel dropped out with brake failure. From there, Button sailed through traffic to defend the Australian Grand Prix title he won last year.
“In less than an hour this afternoon, it’s fair to say that he almost single-handedly debunked the much-touted recent theory that Formula One has become boring,” McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh told Bloomberg News.