Vettel wins the GP after 28 races with Ferrari.
German driver Sebastian Vettel stormed to victory in the F1 season’s first race at the Australian track on Sunday 26th March 2017.
The Ferrari driver took the lead over Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in his first win of the year.
Vettel wins the GP after 28 races with Ferrari, making it a fantastic start to the season just pipping Lewis Hamilton early on in the race.
In his third F1 season with the team, Vettel has shown a pace to truly match the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Bottas. After three dominant Mercedes years, it’s a welcome change to see another team battling it out on the grid.
New rules and regulations saw the teams sticking to 1 stop strategies in a bid to make tyres last longer. However, whilst Ferrari handled this well, Mercedes could not match the pace and Hamilton complained of worn out tyres early on in the race.
The Triple F1 World Champion was left considerably disappointed as he could not catch up with the race leader Vettel and was forced to take 2nd place on the podium, with team-mate Bottas in 3rd respectively.
Perhaps a greater disappointment came for Australian Daniel Ricciardo, whose home race was over before it even began.
Riccardo was unable to start the race with a gearbox failure, shortly afterwards he re-joined during lap 3, hoping to make amends to an awful start. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire on just lap 29, missing out on a race in front of his home crowd.
Other retirements during the 57 lap race were: Romain Grosjean, Jolyon Palmer, Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso.
What started off as a great weekend for Mercedes, ended up with concerns over race strategy and tyre durability.
Part of the new rules was to scrap the now famous ‘Verstappen rule’, courtesy of Max Verstappen, this rule allows drivers to defend their positions on the grid. Although, overtaking during the first race was scarce from the race leaders.
The Briton pitted before Vettel, but came out in front of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, and could not no matter what he did, overtake the youngster.
Hamilton told his team on numerous occasions: “There’s no way I can pass this guy,” of Verstappen. Despite having arguably the best car on the grid, Hamilton’s turbulent air issues caused him problems.
Team-mate Bottas though is still confident Mercedes can catch up to Ferrari in China. He said:
“I’m glad there are 19 races to go and we are definitely not standing still. That’s why I’m happy. Third is not the best result but there is so much more to come.”
Elsewhere on the grid, McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso almost pinched 10th place but retired from the race on lap 54. The Spaniard hinted during a pre-season press conference that he has only a few more years left in the sport.
F1 returns on 9th April 2017 in Shanghai, China.