Round-up and reactions from the Australian GP
After a sleep inducing opener at Bahrain, Formula One got exactly what it needed at yesterday's Australian Grand Prix.
There was more action at the first corner of the damp Melbourne track than had occurred in the entire race at Bahrain, and thanks in part to Lewis Hamilton's bravura drive, there was plenty of overtaking to savour.
But the real plaudits should be reserved for race winner Jensen Button. With fuel stops gone the 2010 season will hinge on the kind of tactical decision the current world champion made at the start of the race, and his smooth controlled style should continue to serve him well.
"I just want to run around and scream because this is the most amazing experience," Button said after the race. "For this moment in my career, it is very special and hopefully this is something we can build on for this year.
"This has given us a bit of direction. We are very hungry for victory – and this one is just a taster. Hopefully with a few improvements, this is going to continue."
Red Bull will curse their continued reliability problems as Vettel surrendered the lead from the gravel trap. Doubtless the team will redouble their efforts as prior to the car's braking problem Vettel looked set for the win that he was denied in Bahrain.
In contrast, Renault were delighted by Robert Kubica's second place finish.
"To be honest we were not expecting to finish on the podium, for Renault and myself it is a special result," he said. "We were pushing hard during the winter and this was the best result we could get for the beginning of the season. This is big thanks to all the guys.
"We have to stay realistic; we are not up to pace to finish on the podium normally. We need to keep pushing and I am sure we will manage sooner or later to be on the pace."
The headlines though were reserved for Hamilton, who by his own admission had one of the drives of his life, only to be denied a podium finish by an apparently unnecessary second tyre change.
"My tyres were fine," Hamilton said. "I started off on a good set, got a good start, was up to a pretty good position, up to third, happy with everything and I was pulled in - I don't know why I was pulled in."
Unfortunately for the former world champion the Mclaren pit computer insisted that his car would require new tyres to finish the race, and the team pulled Hamilton in.
Worse was to follow as Mark Webber dumped the British driver off the track as the pair fought to pass Alonso's Ferrari. The Australian admitted his mistake after the race and apologised to Hamilton. He may yet face a penalty from the race stewards. Hamilton crossed the finish line in sixth.
The Mclaren driver's sheer talent will mean he has better days, but for now the team will be wholly satisfied with the result in Australia, and there will be no man happier this morning than Jensen Button.
The F1 circus moves on to Malaysia next – hopefully the sport will maintain the level of entertainment it generated in Australia.