Button races to victory in Melbourne

Jenson Button won the first Grand Prix of the new Formula One season. A cool drive in Melbourne demonstrated that the McLaren team have the dominant car after winter testing.

Button passed his teammate Lewis Hamilton at the first bend, and never looked in danger of losing top place on the podium. The world champion Sebastian Vettel took second, with Hamilton in third.

"We had a strong winter and this will help them to push even harder," Button said. "I was a little bit on edge, trying to keep heat in tyres when the safety car came out. But it was an amazing day."

The safety car, which came out on the 37th lap after Vitaly Petrov stopped in the straight, was a minor inconvenience for Button who surrendered some of his lead, and it helped Vettel to pass Hamilton. Vettel had hopes of catching Button at that stage, but the British driver maintained his lead and began to pull away.

It was a frustrating race for the other McLaren driver. Wheelspin prevented Hamilton taking full advantage of pole position and he never looked likely to catch up with his teammate once Button had passed him. "It was a tough day but there are plenty more races ahead so I'll keep my head up," Hamilton said.

The next race is in Malysia, where Hamilton was particularly annoyed with his McLaren support team last season, and where Button managed a second place in 2011. That race could have a big bearing on how the season will progress.

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