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Button gets 2012 season off to the perfect start

NEWS STORY
18/03/2012

While yesterday answered most of the questions on everyone's lips, today should hopefully answer a lot more.

If nothing else, we know that Ferrari is in trouble, the picture of the two drivers in the team garage, helmets on, heads bowed, encapsulating the mood of the Maranello team and its millions of fans.

In contrast, the mood at McLaren, having locked-out the front row, is ecstatic, though all concerned refuse to get carried away. Last year, the Woking outfit gave Red Bull a run for its money following a difficult start to the season, this year the silver cars have hit the ground running.

As for Red Bull, don't even think of dismissing them, Saturday's result was a million miles away from 2011, but the Milton Keynes outfit is hardly on the back foot.

The big talking point, other than Ferrari's problems, is the obvious step forward taken by Mercedes, even if some believe this is more about 'devices'. It should not be forgotten that the Brackley team was always a work in progress, and with the hiring of the likes of Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis and Bob Bell, the team clearly signalled its intent to move up the grid.

It was mixed emotions at Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen failing to make it to Q2, while teammate Romain Grosjean qualified on the front row, albeit for just a couple of seconds. The Enstone outfit should be good fun to watch today, not only to see the youngster's progress but to watch how 'The Iceman' fares in the opening laps as he deals with the likes of di Resta, Massa and Perez ahead of him, and Kovalainen and Petrov to his rear.

Indeed, the opening lap(s) should be fun and games all around, what with Alonso trying to escape the clutches of Kobayashi and Senna as he battles the Toro Rossos, Hulkenberg and Maldonado.

If emotions are mixed at Lotus, then what of Force India, Williams and Sauber, each of whose drivers enjoyed a day of varying emotion, unlike Toro Rosso where Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne qualified tenth and eleventh.

While Caterham has made the step forward expected, as yet it isn't enough, and though clear of Marussia and HRT, the Anglo-Malaysian squad still has some work to do to reach the tail end of the midfield far less mix it with them.

While Marussia made the 107% cut, a worthy achievement under the circumstances, HRT failed, and will therefore watch the race along with the rest of us.

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