Date: 27th March 2011 at 9:28am
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Defending Formula One World champion Sebastian Vettel dominated the entire weekend in Australia to take the win in the opening round of the 2011 season.

Vettel was on a different level to the rest of the field and rather ominously the German did it without the benefit of KERS.

Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber also ran without KERS, but he showed no where near the performance levels of the reigning World champion finishing fifth to equal his best result in his home grand prix.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both showed solid form, with both drivers having very different races. Much like Vettel, Hamilton had a race on his own, at times he was giving Vettel something to think about, but realistically, Hamilton was nailed on for second once he had made his way through the first series of corners on the opening lap.

Button had a more eventful race, he dropped down a couple of places on the start and ended up behind Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, the two had a bit of a dual which ended with Button and Massa being along side each other, but to avoid an incident Button took to an escape road to gain the position.

Button would probably have surrendered the position immediately under normal circumstances, however conveniently for Ferrari Fernando Alonso swarmed over Massa and took the place.

Button rather than pulling over to let both Ferrari’s past, the McLaren team waited for a call from the race stewards, the result, rather predictably was a drive through penalty.

Despite the loss of about 25 seconds, Button went on to finish sixth.

Drive of the day arguably went to Renault’s Vitaly Petrov who claimed his first podium position of his career. The Russian gained two places at the start of the race and ran a solid race to finish third.

To the surprise of everyone and to the bemusement of new tyre manufacturer Pirelli, Sauber’s Sergio Perez completed the race with just one pit stop, making both the Pirelli soft and hard tyres survive for the whole 58 laps.

Throughout the winter Pirelli came under criticism for designing a tyre which didn’t last very long in comparison to Bridgestone and yet once we get to the opening race of the season, one of the drivers managed to make the tyres survive, which could prove to be an indication for how future races will pan out.

Elsewhere and Britain’s Paul di Resta finished in twelfth for Force India on his F1 debut.

It was a disappointing weekend for Mercedes, with both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg retiring following contact.

Schumacher had an incident with Alguersuari at the start which resulted in the seven-time World champion eventually retiring after 19 laps, three laps later and Rosberg was forced to retire after he was the innocent party in a collision with Barrichello.

The result of course leaves Vettel starting this season as he ended last year, winning his third race in succession to lead the 2011 drivers championship, while Red Bull leads the Constructors on 35 points, with McLaren second with 26 points.

We now have a two week wait until Round Two in Sepang for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

 

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