CarBuzz chooses the five winners and five losers of the Australian Grand Prix.
Winners: Jenson Button - Button enjoyed a perfect weekend with the icing on the cake being teammate Hamilton's 3rd place finish. Since he isn't as spectacular as Hamilton, he at least secured himself second place on the grid that he efficiently converted into leading the race within the first few seconds of the green lights. He dominated from the front, never challenged, neither by Hamilton nor by Vettel, and as the cliche goes, never put a wheel wrong. All weekend long.
Fernando Alonso - His moment of brilliance came just at the start of the race, as from 12th on the grid he completed the first lap five places up, and gained two more on the next lap following some incidents in front of him. It was free sailing from then on as he was never challenged by the McLaren
and Red Bull cars (though he led Weber until a safety car intervened and let the Australian jump him). As Ferrari
described, it was a damage limitation exercise. However not in every race will the starting lottery play in Alonso's favor.
Pastor Maldonado - The Venezuelan driver used his new Renault
engine impressively and qualified as the 8th fastest. His race was solid and toward the end he was chasing Alonso's Ferrari, though having no real chance of overtaking when he lost the back end of the car and slid into the safety wall. This lost Williams eight valuable championship points, more than the team's total haul last year and possibly a few 'Bernie Bucks.' Martin Whitmarsh - Whitmarsh's decision last year to extend Button's contract, despite having Hamilton on board has paid off handsomely.
That decision was taken in light of Hamilton's erratic performances and caustic lifestyle. However from now on Whitmarsh is going to face the sort of difficulties Ron Dennis experienced when dealing with Senna and Prost simultaneously. Sergio Perez - He's starting his second F1 season due to the generosity of Telmex, the Mexican Sauber sponsor. Going from last place on the grid, Perez opted for a one stop race strategy and made it work. Within three laps of the start he was in 10th place and occupied 2nd place on lap 20 before stopping for a fresh set of hard tires for the final 33 laps. He finished 8th, two places behind his teammate.
Losers: Lewis Hamilton -McLaren adopted a habit of celebrating victory by dressing up the team with orange shirts and posing in front of the world's cameras. Even the driver who hasn't won the race, like Hamilton in Australia, has to play his part in the ceremony. And if you look even not too sharply at Hamilton's expression at the photo-op, you'll notice how bitter his smile was. If a driver, who started from pole position and finished in third place, was beaten by his winning teammate, it is a natural, bitter, and devastating experience for the ambitious Hamilton.
Stefano Domenicali - Unless Fernando Alonso can perform better Houdini escapes than his fifth place finish, then Domenicali, Ferrari team principal, is doomed. Despite the team starting development of the F2012 early last year, the results are disappointing. Although it's not his direct fault, it's his direct responsibility. Nico Rosberg - His race, from 7th place, three spots behind his teammate, was crippled from the moment the team pitted him for an early tire change due to deteriorating rubber. He struggled on and was punished in the last lap by losing three places and dropping out of the points to 12th place.
Bruno Senna - Senna races in Formula 1 thanks to his surname and the money he brought the team. He qualified miles behind his teammate, made a good start but suffered a nudge from behind in the first corner that rotated its car on its axe. He had an early pit stop with four in total, and retired a few laps from the end. Williams - Having not issued Maldonado with the order to keep track of Alonso and not trying to overtake him cost the team dearly. It seems that the new cooperation with Renault increased the team's potential. In order to realize it's a quick thinking on the pit wall will be appreciated.