Australian GP: McLaren Mercedes race report

LEWIS HAMILTON Started: 18th Finished: 3rd Fastest lap: 1m29.020s on lap 39 (13th) Pitstops: two (O-P-P; lap 11, 12.0s; lap 43, 7.8s) A fantastic, storming race from Lewis to charge from 18th on the grid to third at the finish. Always on the...

LEWIS HAMILTON
Started: 18th
Finished: 3rd
Fastest lap: 1m29.020s on lap 39 (13th)
Pitstops: two (O-P-P; lap 11, 12.0s; lap 43, 7.8s)

A fantastic, storming race from Lewis to charge from 18th on the grid to third at the finish. Always on the attack, he profited from the opening-lap melee and an aggressive first stint on low fuel and option tyres to slot into the top 10 by lap five.

He made his first stop on lap 11 (12.0s), where he was long-fuelled and switched to primes. A relentless middle stint saw him surge to fifth: evidence of his push was evident, with several opposite-locking moments clearly visible on successive laps out of Turn Nine.

A second stop (7.8s) on lap 43 and an adjustment to the front-wing settings dropped him to 10th, allowing him to remain ahead of Buemi. Pitting cars pushed him back to seventh, after which he really got his head down, catching and passing Rosberg for sixth (into Turn Nine, on lap 54). The Vettel-Kubica shunt elevated him to fourth and a mistake by Trulli, when behind the Safety Car, vaulted him into the top three -- one of Lewis's greatest ever Formula 1 drives and truly worthy of a world champion.

"We scored way more points than we could have realistically expected," said Lewis: "I was looking to try and get one point, so to get six is a great achievement. We've definitely not forgotten how to win: our strategy was perfect and the team did a fantastic job. Considering the package we've got, I wrung every last ounce of pace out of the car, drove one of my best ever races and absolutely raced my heart out -- I'm so satisfied. Also, my heartfelt congratulations to Jenson -- he's driven brilliantly all weekend and both he and his team really deserve this success."

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN
Started: 12th
Finished: ret
Fastest lap: -
Pitstops: -

Elevated from 14th to 12th by the Toyota grid penalties, Heikki got a good start but was an innocent victim in the first-corner accident, touching wheels with a spinning Mark Webber -- contact that punctured his left-front tyre and damaged his suspension. "Obviously, my race was very short," he said afterwards. "Webber had a moment at the first corner and his front wheel hit my left-front. It was a racing accident -- these things unfortunately happen."

MARTIN WHITMARSH -- team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

"Today was one of those days on which Lewis demonstrated very clearly just what a fantastic racing driver he is. Throughout the race he showed great speed and tenacity, tempered when necessary by commendable patience. The car we supplied him wasn't as competitive as we'd have liked it to be -- we've made no secret of that -- but we're working flat-out, night and day, to improve it. The points Lewis scored today are of course very welcome -- and, as and when we regain our form, we hope they'll take on a greater significance still. As for Heikki, he started with a heavy fuel-load and could also have scored points today -- but, sadly, and blamelessly on his part, his race was ended early on when he happened upon an incident involving two other cars. Lastly, well done to all at Brawn GP -- and of course also to Mercedes-Benz, whose superb engines powered the first three cars."

NORBERT HAUG -- vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"Lewis finally in third place and the best car with KERS -- this is more than we had expected after starting 18th. He drove an excellent race under very difficult circumstances and proved his world-champion class. During the second Safety Car period, Trulli had an off and Lewis overtook him for third place, but he let Trulli past again. But the stewards' decision after the race gave him back third place. It's a shame for Heikki; without the first-corner multiple-car collision which was not his fault, he also could have scored a solid result in this turbulent race. Congratulations to Brawn GP, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello on their one-two victory -- three times Mercedes-powered cars in the top three makes us happy. Our customer team did a great job and we helped to 'Keep the Customer Satisfied'!"

-credit: mclaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Brawn GP