Sebastian Vettel won the Australian Grand Prix, first round of the new season in Formula 1. This was the first victory for Ferrari since Singapore 2015. He beat Lewis Hamilton after going longer on a one-stop strategy. Hamilton led the early stages of the race from pole position.
But lost out to Vettel in the single pit-stop phase, Lewis pitted first and went out behind the slower Max Verstappen. Vettel built up a sizeable advantage and held it until the chequered flag.Hamilton held on to second. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas rounded out the podium on his Mercedes debut.
Hamilton converted pole into the lead at the first corner. Vettel stuck with him over the course of his opening stint. The Britain was the first to stop, on Lap 17 of 57. He came back out behind Verstappen.
While Vettel continued with quick, consistent lap times. After his pitstop, Vettel came out just in front of Verstapen and defended well his position into turn 3. By the time Verstappen pitted, Hamilton was effectively out of victory contention on older Soft rubber.
Kimi Raikkönen had a lonely race en-route to fourth, never threatening Vettel, Hamilton or Bottas. Verstappen had a similar quiet run to fifth place.
Daniel Ricciardo failed to make the start after stopping on his lap to the grid. He rejoined two laps in and then suffered an engine failure. Felipe Massa was the ‘best of the rest’ behind Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull in sixth. Romain Grosjean in Haas was running sixth but lost power and retired.
Force India and Toro Rosso filled the final points-paying places. Sergio Pérez taking seventh, ahead of Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat, with new team-mate Esteban Ocon 10th. Fernando Alonso held 10th until the closing stages in McLaren-Honda. But he reported a potential suspension issue and retired afterwards.
“There’s a long, long way ahead, but for now we’re over the moon, Vettel said. – It was an incredible race, at the start I was not entirely happy, I was a bit too nervous, and I had a bit of wheel slip off the line. Lewis was a tiny bit better, then I had to take care or Valtteri into Turn 1, but I had a decent exit.
Then I was keeping the pressure on to make sure they got the message, ‘We are here, we are here to fight. Obviously I got a bit lucky when Lewis came out in traffic, but I was hanging in there, the tyres were still good, still working.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 26, 2017