Button rules Down Under
Formula One world champion Jenson Button timed his pitstop to perfection to chalk up his first win for McLaren in a rain-affected Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Briton, a winner in Melbourne with Brawn GP last year, took the lead when Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, starting on pole position, was pitched into the gravel mid-race by a brake failure.
"It feels so good. I think we got that pitstop pretty much perfect," Button, who went for an early change to slicks that proved crucial, shouted over the team radio after beating Renault's Robert Kubica by 12.034 seconds.
Image: Jeson Button, Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa after the race
Kubica edges past Massa
Image: Robert Kubica
After locking out the front row, Red Bull's race again unraveled with Vettel crashing out on lap 26 of 58 and Australian Mark Webber colliding with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap while fighting for fifth place.
"I had some sparks coming up from the front left wheel," Vettel, who had missed out on victory from pole in Bahrain due to a spark plug failure, told television reporters.
"We didn't know what it was, we wanted to pit on that lap.
"A couple of corners before I had huge vibrations building up and approaching turn 13 as soon as I touched the brakes the brake disk exploded it felt like," he added.
Image: Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton hits out at team
Lewis Hamilton capped off his troubled return to Australia on Sunday by tangling with local hero Mark Webber and then blaming his own McLaren team for costing him a podium finish.
"Unfortunately due to the strategy I was put further back and then I got taken out by Mark Webber," Hamilton told reporters, after earlier describing the pitstop as a "terrible idea" over the team radio.
"I am happy with the job that I did, I think I honestly drove my heart out today and I think I deserved better than what I ended up with. But I'll keep fighting to the next race," he added.
When asked about the pitstop, Hamilton sighed heavily. "All I know is that the guys always do a fantastic job but the strategy was not right," he said.
Image: Hamilton during a pitstop
Force India log points again
Vitantonio Liuzzi kept his cool in a rollercoaster of a race to finish seventh and win six invaluable points for Force India while Karun Chandhok was among the 14 drivers who lasted the distance in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.
Liuzzi bettered his ninth place finish in Bahrain Grand Prix with yet another mature performance to ensure Force India didn't return empty-handed from the race.
Hispania driver Karun survived numerous intrigues and managed to bring his car to the chequered flag as the 14th and last driver to do so but it was no mean achievement for the rookie Indian.
Image: Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi