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Button wins F1's season-opening Australian GP
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Jenson Button won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, giving Brawn GP a victory in its first Formula One race.

The Englishman led from start to finish, beating teammate Rubens Barrichello and Toyota's Jarno Trulli, with the race finishing under caution following a late crash.

Barrichello, a Brazilian, recovered after being slow off the line at the start, while Italy's Trulli was strong after starting from pit lane.

It was the first time since 1977 that a F1 team had won in its debut, and the third time that a team had finished first and second in its first attempt. Alfa Romeo did it in the first ever grand prix in Britain in 1950, and Mercedes did it at the French GP in 1954.

It was only the second GP win for Button, who is in his 10th year of F1. He averaged 121.649 mph (195.775 kph) at the 3.3-mile (5.3-kilometer) Albert Park circuit and finished in 1:34:15.784.

The win capped a remarkable turnaround for the former Honda team which was at risk of disbanding in the offseason when the Japanese automaker pulled out of F1. Team principal Ross Brawn took over the team, which has benefited from development spending for 2009 by its former owner last year.

"This is a fairytale ending for the first race," Button said. "Some people may say it's a pity the race finished under the safety car but I don't care, I won the race and that's all I care about."

Further boosting Brawn GP spirits was the knowledge that the past three winners of the Australian GP went on to win the championship.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and BMW's Robert Kubica collided while running second and third with only four laps to go, ending their days and bringing out the safety car.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth for McLaren after starting 18th, finishing ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock, Renault's Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg of Williams and Red Bull's Sebastien Buemi, who got one point in his first grand prix.

For the second year in a row, Ferrari finished without a point in the season opener. Felipe Massa was running in third place before his steering went on lap 45, three laps after Kimi Raikkonen spun out.

There was a crash at the first corner that ended the race for McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, and forced BMW's Nick Heidfeld, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Force India's Adrian Sutil to pit, effectively ending their chances.

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