A lap around Melbourne
With Jenson Button
March 2, 2004

BAR's Jenson Button drives a lap of Melbourne's Albert Park

"The Melbourne Grand Prix really is a great race to start the season with, I can't think of a better way. The circuit, however, is not one of the quickest and features a lot of short straights and very tight chicanes. We run a lot of downforce and pull a lot of Gs at various points on the track.

"When you get to the first corner you're braking down from just under 310kph to 140kph. It's a very quick chicane which is right then left, and you've really got to think about the exit. Then it's down to another tight right-hander, which is the slowest corner on the circuit. It's a first gear, you're pulling a lot of Gs under braking and it's one of the best places on the circuit to overtake.

"After that, you have little left followed by a full-speed right which you take at 230kph. You are still accelerating through the rev range in fifth gear at that point. It's a really exciting corner.

"You then drive through the trees down through a full-gas chicane, braking down into a right-hand corner. It's a reasonably quick right-hand kink, which you take at about 140kph. You exit that corner and go into a long right-hander. It's a pretty easy corner, full-gas and you just steer as little as possible to keep up the momentum.

"You're then round the back part of the circuit, braking down into another slow right-left chicane, in second gear at about 110kph. It's very important to get a good exit as it leads you onto another straight, where there is the possibility of overtaking. At the end of the straight there is a very quick left-right, which is one of the most exciting corners on the circuit, where you carry a speed of around 220kph in fifth gear, and more than 4G at each apex.

"That chicane leads you onto another long straight down the back. You're braking down from 305kph to 130kph for a 90 degree right-hand corner. There is a possibility of overtaking here, although it's not easy.

"After that, you quickly get into a long right-hander, which you take in fifth gear at 190kph. This is probably the place where you pull the highest Gs in Melbourne. After exiting that corner, you immediately brake into a sharp left, which is taken in first gear at 80kph. That corner always comes up quicker than you expect."

"Again, you've got to have a good exit and stay over on the left as much as possible in order to prepare for the last corner, which is a long third gear right-hander. You take that at about 160kph, and you always seem to have understeer. You are then back out onto the start/finish straight." Bar

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