Sunday was a memorable day for British motor racing, as Jenson Button enjoyed his second-ever race victory, Brawn GP’s debut race resulted in a two-one and Lewis Hamilton’s awe-inspiring climb from 18th to third place demonstrated why he’s the sport’s youngest world champion (and a t5m favourite).
Formula 1 fans were alerted to Jenson’s comeback with his surprise qualifying result on Saturday, which put him in pole position for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The win for Brawn GP was the first by a team on its debut since Mercedes-Benz in 1954.
The rule changes introduced this season have certainly given the sport a shake-up, and the first race of the season was far from boring. Melbourne’s Albert Park track isn’t renowned for edge-of-the-seat races, but Sunday started with a practically back-to-front grid, and the race was peppered with overtaking and incidents.
An ecstatic Jenson Button celebrated the team’s first and second place by vigorously spraying champagne from the podium, and was seen still jubilantly whooping in the Brawn garages long after all the other teams and fans had left the site.
“This is a fairy tale ending to the first race of my career with Brawn and I hope that we can continue this way,” Button said. “Now the important thing is to just keep improving the car. It has been a traumatic few months for all of us, as I have said already, but I can’t put it out there how tough it has been so I have got to say thank you to the whole team and also to my family for being so strong.”
This surprise win by Jenson has now put Lewis Hamilton under a lot of pressure for the next race in Malaysia – there are fears that Hamilton’s car is becoming unwieldy and hard to drive, with it failing on sharp corners and experiencing serious gearbox problems on Friday’s practice sessions. So in order to prevent the gap between his own Maclaren team and Brawn GP getting any larger, Lewis has pinpointed the third race of the season to start making up the difference.
Controversy may arise, however, as Button’s win is still only provisional pending the outcome of an appeal next month. Other teams have protested the design of the Brawn’s diffuser, a component that governs air flow at the rear of the car. Stay tuned to t5m Insider as the story unfolds.