JENSON GOES BACK TO BACK IN AUSTRALIA
Defending Formula One World Champion Jenson Button gave a great demonstration in tyre management on his way to his second Australian Grand Prix win in successive years.
Early rain saw the entire grid start on Bridgestone's intermediate tyre, but the McLaren driver was the first to pit for a set of the soft compound Bridgestone Potenza dry weather tyres.
Then, when brake problems put Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel into a gravel trap and out of the race, Button assumed the lead and never looked back, managing to make his Potenzas last the 52 laps until the chequered flag while many in the chasing pack stopped for more tyres later in the race.
"This was a great day for tyre performance, strategy and racing as we saw interesting action on track and a good illustration of the benefits of tyre management," said Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone's Director of Motorsport Tyre Development.
"The soft tyre was the preferred race tyre once the track dried, and this is a reflection of the track and weather conditions suiting the lower temperature working range tyre. Jenson Button did a superb job to look after his soft tyres for 52 laps for an impressive victory."
Renault's Robert Kubica took a surprise second place ahead of the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, who had a race-long battle for the final podium position.
However, it wasn't a good race for Red Bull's Mark Webber in front of his home crowd. Poor pit stop strategy pushed him out of the lead and he had a number of incidents throughout the race, culminating in an accident with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton with just two laps to go.
The Briton recovered to finish sixth while Webber had to stop for a new front wing and could only manage ninth.
The teams now head to Malaysia for the third round of the World Championship on April 4th.
Fernando Alonso (SP)
Felipe Massa (BR)
Jenson Button (GB)
Lewis Hamilton (GB)
TANDER STILL OUT IN FRONT
Garth Tander - driving a Bridgestone-backed Holden Racing Team Commodore - has continued his great form from the Clipsal 500 by winning the non-championship Supercar Challenge at the Australian Grand Prix.
After winning Saturday's 13-lap race, Tander was locked in a close battle in Sunday's race with TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup and Jim Beam Racing's James Courtney. However, both dropped out with mechanical dramas to their cars, leaving Tander to take the flag.
"I think it was a shame that Jamie went out first and then James because it probably deprived everyone here of a pretty good race," Tander said.
"Jamie certainly had speed in the opening lap and it would have been interesting to see how that progressed over 13 laps but you've only got to beat the guys and finish the race and we beat all of those, so we're really happy with our performance this weekend."
The result makes Tander the man to beat as the V8 Supercars head to New Zealand for the ITM400 in Hamilton.