Ron Dennis says there were some issues with Button’s Energy Recovery System and adds it would have likely failed if McLaren started the race.
While the reigning world champion always looked in control at the front, there was a thrilling battle for the trio of places behind him with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen coming out on top to score his first podium of 2015.
Raikkonen also closed on Hamilton, who had some late brake worries, but the Briton stayed clear.
Nico Rosberg finished third, ahead of Williams’s Valtteri Bottas and the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in the first night race of the season.
Hamilton made a clean start from pole, with Vettel going defensive and successfully holding on to second. That backed Rosberg up, allowing Raikkonen to snatch third.
However, Rosberg battled his way back past Raikkonen and then took advantage of Vettel running wide at Turn 1 to close and then pass at the same corner next time around.
Ferrari successfully used the undercut to jump Rosberg at the first round of pitstops, but Vettel was then distracted by Hamilton exiting the pitlane and Rosberg took advantage – diving down the inside of Turn 1 to retake second.
The Scuderia repeated the undercut trick at the second stops and again it worked, with Vettel jumping Rosberg, but another mistake by Vettel, this time running wide at the final corner, allowed Rosberg back through.
That slip also caused front wing damage for Vettel and forced him to pit for repairs.
Raikkonen then started catching Rosberg in the final stint of the race, as he was running the softer of the two compound tyres.
And the Finn capitalised when Rosberg – who also had brake problems – ran wide at Turn 1 in the closing laps, allowing the Ferrari to snatch second.
Vettel dropped to fifth with his extra pitstop and could not get back past Bottas despite a long chase.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault engine let go coming out of the final corner of the last lap, but he managed to cross the line to take sixth for Red Bull.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||1h35m05.809s|
|2||Kimi Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||3.380s|
|3||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||6.033s|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing||Williams/Mercedes||42.957s|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||43.989s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Renault||1m01.751s|
|7||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team||Lotus/Mercedes||1m24.763s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team||Lotus/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team||Marussia/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|17||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|–||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||McLaren/Honda||Not started|