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F1 2009, Round 1 - Australia - Jenson Button wins with a surprisingly dominant Brawn GP car

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

We'd waited so long for the Formula 1 season to begin that it couldn't be anything but brilliant. The Free Practice sessions proved from the outset that the natural order of things from last year was being completely turned on its head. Nico Rosberg, in the Williams, led all three sessions, dominating Friday and Saturday practice. Meanwhile, Vettel, promoted to Red Bull from sister team Toro Rosso, was struggling, and he didn't manage to finish any of the sessions until qualifying.

Saturday afternoon was much busier than usual. Last year, a routine emerged where the teams would leave it until the last possible qualifying minute to show their true pace. This year, with so many unknowns, drivers were getting the laps in and hoping for good times. By the end of the session, we knew that Brawn GP were going to dominate, as Button qualified in pole position, with Barrichello joining him on the front row. Vettel finally got his car to work and was third.

Race day dawned, amid much excitement, and as soon as the lights went out, we were granted the first corner incident we had all expected. It wasn't actually as bad as anticipated, with just four cars tangling together. Kovalainen's race was over before it had begun, whilst Webber, Sutil and Heidfeld had to pit for new noses, the BMW also suffering a puncture.

At the front, Button was streaking away into the distance, with Vettel only just managing to keep up with him. Barrichello had gone nowhere off the line, so was busy trying to make up the places he had lost.

The new regulations appeared to have made the racing closer, there were plenty of battles out on track, although overtaking didn't seem to be any more prevalent. We saw limited use of KERS, and the TV graphics didn't really make it clear what was happening with that particular technology. The softer compound of the tyres did not last at all long, so drivers struggled when they were on the softer stint.

By the end of what was a chaotic race, with two safety car periods - one for Nakajima who spun and hit the wall, and one for a collision between Vettel and Kubica who knocked each other out of second and third place - we saw a Brawn maiden victory.

Button took the second win of his career, and Barrichello had managed to join him on the podium in second place. What had started as a nightmare year for the team had come good after only the first race.