Button opens F1 season with win

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 18, 2012

NEWBURY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes at the unveiling of the new car for the 2010 Formula 1 season at the headquaters of Vodafone on January 29, 2010 in Newbury, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
McLaren driver Jenson Button won the Formula One season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, taking the race Down Under for the third time in four years. Button beat reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull by 2.1 seconds after the race turned into a 17-lap shootout after Vitaly Petrov stopped on the main straight, bringing out the safety car. Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was third, just ahead of Mark Webber of Red Bull. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was fifth, with Williams' Pastor Maldonado hitting a wall while chasing the Spaniard. Mercedes' Michael Schumacher held third place for the opening nine laps but ran wide over the grass at turn one under pressure from Vettel, and soon after retired with a gear problem.
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