Sebastian Vettel started the new Formula One season as he finished last year, with a crushing victory at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver's margin of victory in Melbourne was a yawning 22 seconds to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who had earlier damaged his car in running wide at turn one. In only his second season with Renault, Vitaly Petrov finished on the podium for the first time in his F1 career.
On three-stop strategies, Fernando Alonso was fourth for Ferrari, followed by Mark Webber in his Red Bull, the Australian on home turf again unable to finish any higher than fifth, with Jenson Button sixth in his McLaren.
Vettel won from pole, leaving Hamilton trailing at the start even though his Red Bull was not equipped with the KERS power-boost system. Once the Briton safely kept his nose ahead of the Webber after a dicey start, it was a simple run to the finish for the duo, bar Hamilton's error late on that damaged the undertray of his car.
Behind, however, was a different story, in particular for Button who dropped from fourth to sixth by the second corner as he found himself baulked through the first two turns. The same went for Alonso, with Petrov and Felipe Massa the main beneficiaries as they moved up to fourth and fifth behind the leading trio.
Over the following laps Button then endured a battle royale with Massa, pulling alongside the Brazilian on a number of occasions down the start-finish straight as he deployed the new overtaking device for 2011, the adjustable rear wing.
But with the straight a short one, Button never managed to quite get in front, although he believed he did at one stage on the 11th lap as the duo approached turn 11. With nowhere to go, the 2009 world champion cut the corner, but did not cede back the place. That incurred the wrath of the stewards who handed him a drive-through penalty.
Rubens Barrichello was another handed a drive-through penalty for causing a collision, rightly so as he attempted a ridiculous move up the inside of Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes. Rosberg retired within a lap with engine failure, leaving glum faces all round within Mercedes as Michael Schumacher had retired three laps earlier.
Button did gain a measure of revenge on lap 49 when he again came up behind Massa into turn one, making the move stick to grab his sixth place. Behind Button, Sauber's rookie Sergio Perez produced the drive of the race to claim seventh after making a solitary pit stop.
Perez's team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was eighth, followed by Massa in ninth and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi 10th, with Paul di Resta on his F1 debut with Force India 12th behind team-mate Adrian Sutil.