Jenson Button thrilled to win

Jenson Button was thrilled to kick off his challenge for a second World title with victory in Melbourne after what he admitted was a “tough race”.

The 2009 champion led from lights to flag at Albert Park after beating McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton off the line at the start and steadily increasing his advantage at the front to over 10s before a late Safety Car suddenly wiped out his lead.

However, a storming first green-flag lap gave him a cushion over eventual second placed man Sebastian Vettel and from there he appeared to enjoy a relative cruise to his 13th career victory and third win in Melbourne in the past four attempts.

But asked by┬áSky Sports F1’s Natalie Pinkham to pinpoint the moment when he knew he had the race in the bag, Button replied: “It’s in doubt every lap you’re driving round this circuit!

“It’s bumpy, you’re driving close to walls all the time and the sun’s going down, and it’s tough because it’s in our eyes half the lap.

“So a tough race and amazing to come away with this victory. This team’s done a great job. Lewis did a great job yesterday to put it on pole, I got as close as I could and today we came away with the victory.”

The 32-year-old admitted he had felt comfortable with the MP4-27’s handling throughout the weekend despite the relative lack of running in practice following rain – although revealed he had to drive with fuel saving in mind for part of the 58-lap event.

“It’s feeling pretty good. I’m very happy with the way the car is. Sometimes you can have a car that’s good at the start of the stint, and sometimes at the end of the stint, but it doesn’t do both,” he said.

“And I think we have a good balance considering the amount of testing we’ve done here.

“We were doing fuel saving for some of the race which made it a little bit tricky to keep heat into the tyres, but all in all great – and I got the fastest lap of the race, which isn’t everything, but I just needed to find out near the end what we could do.”

Put to him that the winner in Melbourne invariably goes on to become World Champion at the end of the year, Button responded: “That sounds great doesn’t it? I did do it in 2010 and didn’t win the championship, but to win at the start of the season is great for yourself and your motivation and the whole team. Not that they [the team] need it.”

He added: “Big celebrations [tonight] hopefully but not too much because we’ve got to do the same at the next race.”

The Briton is delighted the team delivered on the target to come out with a race-winning car from the very start this season and, given he feels so at one with the MP4-27, is hoping there is plenty more victories to come over the next 19 races.

“We always said if we have a good winter we’ll start the season on a high and we’ve done exactly that,” Button added.

“I’m in a great place with the team right now and feel so important in the car which is important to me. It’s a car that gives me lot of confidence so hopefully we’ll see some more of this this year.”