Button wins Australian Grand Prix with inspired tyres strategy
By Alex Kapadia
Jenson Button stormed to victory at the Australian Grand Prix after he surprised his team with an inspired decision to switch to slick tyres early.
The reigning Formula One champion finished 12 seconds clear of the field in an action-packed race at Albert Park.
But his bold tyres strategy and changing weather conditions helped to secure his win after he switched to dry-weather slick tyres early in the race.
The McLaren driver made the call to come in for the swap from intermediates before anyone else - a move which surprised pundits especially as he went off the track and briefly into the gravel soon after the stop.
He said: “I didn’t have a balance on the intermediate tyres. I had so much oversteer and the rear tyres were destroying themselves after four or five laps.
“If that is happening so quickly, you have got to take a punt. I thought I had made the wrong decision but when I drove out onto the circuit, I felt pretty good about it.
“I made a mistake at Turn Three but I could get into a rhythm pretty quickly and when everyone else pitted, their tyres were cold. I knew where to brake and I could just pick them off.”
He also said that he never intended to pit again, unlike his team mate Lewis Hamilton.
“For me I never thought of putting on another set. It was to run the race on one set of tyres if we could. My pace was not great. Once I settled into the car I felt I was starting to damage the tyres. I settled into pace that would not destroy the rears.
“We could not have done a better strategy. My decision at the beginning was my call but with a lot of feedback from the circuit. I need to thank McLaren for all our hard work. It’s good to see us get a result for the hard work.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton criticised his team for their two-pit strategy for his car which saw him finishing in sixth place.