Pole sitter SEBASTIAN VETTEL/Red Bull Racing continued his winning ways Sunday at Albert Park for the Qantas Australian Grand Prix by winning the first Formula One race of the 2011 season. His Margin of Victory over nearest competitor, LEWIS HAMILTON/Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, was 2.297.

Third through fifth were VITALY PETROV/Lotus Renault GP – his first podium, FERNANDO ALONSO/Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, and Australia’s MARK WEBBER/Red Bull Racing, who ran third for awhile. Webber was not a happy camper and stopped his car just past the checkered flag.

Sixth through tenth and earning points were JENSON BUTTON/Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Rookie SERGIO PEREZ and teammate KAMUI KOBAYASHI/Sauber F1 Team; FELIPE MASSA/Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, and SEBASTIEN BUEMI/Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Button was racing Massa and went off-track to pass, and for that maneuver earned a drive-through penalty for is short cut, and that ended his victory chances.

Vettel lead several times, and had three pit stops during the race. His trophy was a big shiny simulated steering wheel, which reminded me of a solar or satellite dish.

Massa turned the fastest lap of 1:28.947 on Lap 55. All the drivers’ fastest laps were with less than 20 laps to go, and Massa was within three laps of the checkered flag for his.

In his first-ever F1 race, Perez, top Rookie, finished seventh on the lead lap, with only one pit stop – the only finishing driver to have one pit stop. And ahead of his teammate. Sauber has 14 Constructor points, for fifth place.

Nine drivers finished on the lead lap, and 16 were classified.

The Pirelli tires seemed to work just fine.

All the cars got off OK with their standing start and made it all the way to Turn Three before one car went off and on in the gravel. It was a green flag race start to finish.

Two drivers who retired early had problems: MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team DNF with puncture damage after a scuffle with JAIME ALGUERSUARI/Scuderia Toro Rosso. Schumacher pitted for a new right rear, and later retired for safety reasons. He had been warned by the Stewards on Saturday after he was called for impeding NICK HEIDFELD/Lotus Renault GP in Qualifying.

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN/Team Lotus retired a water leak. Rookie PASTOR MOLDONADO/AT&T Williams was the first DNF with only nine laps and no explanation.

RUEBENS BARRICHELLO/AT&T Williams was a DNF. Earlier he served a drive-througth penalty for causing a collision with NICO ROSBERG/Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team. Neither driver finished the race. Rosberg had been admonished Saturday for impeding Perez in Qualifying.

Vettel leads the Driver’s Championship with 25 points. Ten drivers have points. In the Constructor’s Championship, six teams gained points, with RBR on top with 35 with a first and fifth.

A moment of silence for Japan was held before the race started.

The second race of the season is in a fortnight in Malaysia.