Jenson Button took a second successive Australian Grand Prix victory in a dramatic race at Albert Park that banished memories of the Bahrain dirge that opened the season.
The Briton was again helped by an incident involving Sebastian Vettel, who appeared on course to lead from lights to flag before brake failure intervened mid-race, but also vindicated an early switch back to slicks after the entire field was forced onto intermediate Bridgestones by a pre-race rain shower.
Button made a mistake on his out-lap following the change, but was ideally placed to gain places as the majority of the pack pitted next time around. When Red Bull delayed the stops for both Vettel and Mark Webber, Button vaulted into second spot and then inherited the lead when the German was pitched into the gravel by what he claimed was left front brake failure.
The McLaren man, who had survived contact with Fernando Alonso at turn one, could have come under threat in the late stages, most notably from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but the 2008 world champion opted for a second tyre stop on lap 34 when lying a competitive third, and dropped back behind both Ferraris, neither of whom, like Button and second-placed Robert Kubica, planned to pit again.
The closing stages hinted at a barnstormer as the Ferraris lost grip but, when Hamilton radioed that he too was struggling with his tyres, the action became static, until a challenge on Alonso saw Webber clash with the Briton as he attempted to capitalise. The home favourite lost his front wing in the collision, capping a fraught race, but still managing to salvage a couple of points in ninth.
The incident allowed Nico Rosberg into fifth, ahead of Hamilton, with Tonio Liuzzi, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher rounding out the points after the German was an unwitting victim of the Button/Alonso moment on lap one.