Jenson Button has put his mark down and shows he is eager to win many more races this season. He took first position right at the start and didn't give it away any more. A safety car period allowed Vettel to be second while the second McLaren of Lewis Hamilton is third.
The Melbourne GP of 2012 obviously kicks off with Lewis Hamilton on pole, ahead of Jenson Button. Romain Grosjean is in third position, Schumacher 4thn Webber 5th and Vettel 6th. The first Ferrari is that of Alonso in 12th, Räikkönen is 17th. Sergio Pérez meanwhile starts from the back of the grid after he got a 5 place grid panelty after a gearbox change.
All drivers are starting here on soft tyres, except Petrov and Pérez.
As the lights went out, Button had the cleanest start and turned into turn 1 in the lead, just ahead of his teammate who was on pole. Grosjean didn't get off the line too well and dropped to 6th. Schumacher moved up to third, Rosberg 4th.
On lap 2, Vettel who was closely behind Rosberg managed to pass the German. Several corners later Maldonado also had a go on Grosjean. He easily passed but didn't leave any room for Grosjean, eventually breaking Grosjean's front suspension and ending his race.
The struggle allowed Alonso got get by Maldonado one turn further, moving him up to 6th place, while Massa in the other Ferrari is also already 9th after starting from 16th place.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo and Senna came into the pits for new tyres after they got hit by other cars at the start of the race. Webber was also bumped into from both left and right, but his car nor his tyres were damaged.
On lap 6 Maldonado then went through the gravel, dropping to 9th, behind Massa. One lap later Vettel oversteered a bit himself in turn 1, also going through through the gravel and only just rejoining the track ahead of Rosberg. Before his off, he was right on the tail of 3rd place runner Michael Schumacher.
By lap 10, positions are Button, Hamilton (+3.9), Schumacher (+8.5), Vettel (+0.5), Rosberg (+2.9), Alonso (+0.7).
On lap 11 Schumacher's third place is gone as he is stuck in gear and goes off into turn 1. The German manages to get around the track and back to the pits, but there's nothing the team can do.
At the end of that lap Massa is the first to enter the pitlane for a normal tyre change. A train had formed behind the Ferrari driver as he started to badly struggle with the rear tyres.
One lap later, Rosberg is also in the pits for a new set of tyres, releasing Alonso and Webber. Alonso however pits one lap later, fitting the harder tyres, contrary to Rosberg who got fitted with another set of yellow softs. Webber pits another lap later on, also taking on medium tyres.
After their stops, their relative positions are Alonso, Rosberg, Webber.
On lap 16 Button is in the pits, as well as Vettel. Both are taking another set of soft tyres. While Button rejoins in second place, Vettel gets back on track in 6th, only a second ahead of Fernando Alonso.
Meanwhile Hamilton is still stuck behind Pérez and can't seem to get past the Sauber. Mind you that the Mexican started from the back of the grid and is still running on his first set of medium tyres.
When Hamilton finally gets past, Vettel is right behind them as well, with Alonso looming 2 seconds down the road.
The trouble with Pérez left Hamilton 11 seconds behind the leader while Vettel is now just 1.3 seconds behind. Alonso follows another 4 seconds further, just ahead of Rosberg and Webber.
Räikkönen is meanwhile showing how much he likes being back in Formula One. In a struggle between Massa, Kobayashi and himself, he actually managed to pass the Sauber through the outside of turn 5, and 2 laps later he also gets along Massa to get back up to 8th place.
Webber's lack of top speed meant he could impossibly get alongside Rosberg, but on lap 32 the German fortunately entered the pitlane. By that time, Maldonado had also joined Webber while Räikkönen was just connecting to the pack as well.
On lap 35 Alonso pits for another new set of mediums, followed by Button and Hamilton, both in the same lap.
Just after the McLarens return to the track, Petrov comes to a halt on the pit straight. As his car cannot be cleared from the track there, a safety car is immediately triggered.
This also means that Vettel could pit under SC, as well as Webber, Maldonado and many others. Positions behind the SC are therefore Button, Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Alonso, Maldonado, Pérez, Rosberg, Räikkönen, Kobayashi. In the top 10, only Pérez is now on soft tyres.
On lap 40, Kovalainen is also being pulled into the pits after the first Caterham of Petrov abandoned few laps earlier.
After 4 laps, the safety car returns to the pits on lap 41, allowing everybody to race again.
There were no immediate position changes in the restart, but one lap later it was clear that Button is considerably faster than Vettel. Just 4 laps after the restart, the difference is again 4 seconds.
On lap 47 Massa and Senna got tangled up into each other. Both Senna's left front tyre as well as Massa's rear right tyre got punctured in the event, effectively ending all of their hopes to get any points away from this race. Senna pitted for new tyres and continues to run while Massa is pulled into the pits as his car is apparently too damaged to continue.
5 laps from the end, suddenly Vettel shakes off a few fastest laps and pulls away from Hamilton and Webber. 3 laps from the end the advantage of Button is slightly reduced to 3.2 seconds.
In fifth place Alonso was unable to follow the McLarens and Red Bulls, but still have Maldonado on his tail. On the final lap however, Maldonado clipped a kerb a little bit too hard and ended up head on in the wall. The driver is ok, but the debris on track caused problems for several cars behind him.
Rosberg crossed the line with a puncture while Kobayashi was perhaps a little too careful through the yellow flag zone that he eventually got passed by Räikkönen in the penultimate corner of the race.
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||58||+2.1 secs||6||18|
|3||4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||58||+4.0 secs||1||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||58||+4.5 secs||5||12|
|5||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||58||+21.5 secs||12||10|
|6||14||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||58||+36.7 secs||13||8|
|7||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||58||+38.0 secs||17||6|
|8||15||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||58||+39.4 secs||22||4|
|9||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||58||+39.5 secs||10||2|
|10||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||58||+39.7 secs||15||1|
|11||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||58||+39.8 secs||11|
|12||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||58||+57.6 secs||7|
|13||18||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||57||+1 Lap||8|
|14||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||20|
|15||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||53||+5 Laps||21|
|16||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||52||+6 Laps||14|
|Ret||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||46||+12 Laps||16|
|Ret||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||38||+20 Laps||18|
|Ret||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||34||+24 Laps||19|
|Ret||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||10||+48 Laps||4|
|Ret||10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||1||+57 Laps||3|
|Ret||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||0||+ 58 Laps||9|
|DNS||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||-||-||23|