Vettel beats Hamilton to Australian GP win

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel beats the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas to claim his and Ferrari’s first win since Singapore GP 2015 as Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo retires from his home race.

26/03/17

Tyre choice

The top 9 will start on old Ultrasoft tyres with Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon and Stoffel Vandoorne on new Ultrasoft tyres. Marcus Ericsson and Lance Stroll will start on Supersoft tyres with Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer starting on the Soft compound tyre.

Race

The lights go green and away we go. Everyone has a neutral start with Lewis Hamilton keeping 1st place as they head to turn 1. He is followed by Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas. On the run down to turn 3, Kevin Magnussen is on the inside and Marcus Ericsson on the outside. Both turn in but Magnussen gets onto the kerb and the car slides right into Ericsson. Ericsson spins with Magnussen facing him. Big gainers from the start are Lance Stroll, who is now 14th and Jolyon Palmer, now in 15th.

Lap 3, Sebastian Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race on a 1:29:780 as Daniel Ricciardo make it out the pits to rejoin. Lap 5, the Stewards are investigating the collision at the start between Ericsson and Magnussen. Lap 6, Lewis Hamilton responds to Vettel’s fastest lap and sets a 1:28:786.  Hamilton is still flying on lap with with a new fastest lap of a 1:28:379. The Stewards confirm that there is not going to be any further action between Ericsson and Magnussen at the start. Lap 15, Romain Grosjean pulls into the pits with smoke exiting the rear of the car. Later it was found it that is was a water leak and steam pouring out of the car, not to do with the gearbox.

Lap 16, Esteban Ocon pits for Force India and goes onto the Soft tyre with Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg pitting a lap later onto the Soft tyre as well. Lewis Hamilton pits on lap 17, he goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins out in 5th. Jolyon Palmer pulls into the pits. He is retiring from the race due to a problem with his brakes. Hamilton is flying and sets a new fastest lap of a 1:27:551, he has now caught up to the back of Max Verstappen in 4th. Hamilton can not find a way past the Red Bull driver and Mercedes come over the radio saying that passing Verstappen is now very critical. Marcus Ericsson stops just before turn 13. He pulls over to the left hand-side at the marshal post and is out. Sebastian Vettel pits from the lead, he goes onto the Soft tyre and…

Appears ahead of Max Verstappen,who is still ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Vettel is now the race leader in 3rd with Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen still to make their first pit stop. Vettel is now streaking ahead of with Hamilton still behind Verstappen. Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff is seen on TV banging his fists off the table in the Mercedes pit garage in reaction to Vettel now being ahead of Hamilton. Lap 25, Bottas and Verstappen pit with Bottas going onto the Soft tyre and Verstappen onto the Supersoft tyre. Lap 26, Raikkonen pits from the lead and goes onto the Soft tyre. Vettel is now leading ahead of Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen and Verstappen.

Lap 29, Daniel Ricciardo has pulled off the track at turn 3. His race and horrible weekend for the home favourite is over. Lap 34, Sebastian Vettel still leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton by 5.1 seconds with Valterri Bottas catching Hamilton now only 4.2 seconds behind. Lap 35, Daniil Kvyat is the last driver to make their first pit stop. He goes onto the Soft tyre. Lap 38, Bottas is closing down on Hamilton. The gap is now only 2.8 seconds. The gap is also coming down between Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen in 4th and 5th. 3.6 seconds separates the Ferrari and Red Bull driver. Lap 44, Lance Stroll is in the pits. Not for a pit-stop but for retirement. He is retiring with brake failure that caused him to run wide. Max Verstappen sets a new fastest lap of a 1:26:964.

Lap 50, Lewis Hamilton is having to negotiate lapped cars with Valterri Bottas closing the gap now down to 2.1 seconds. The battle for 10th place is currently being held by Fernando Alonso but he has Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg right behind. Ocon makes a move into the penultimate corner round the outside but it doesn’t pay off but he is right behind as they go onto the main straight. Ocon pulls to the right hand-side with Hulkenberg behind getting a great tow going to the right of Ocon. All 3 drivers are three abreast as they head into turn 1. Ocon makes the overtake with Hulkenberg following through. Alonso has been mugged, dropping from 10th to 12th. Lap 54, Alonso pulls into the pits and retires with only a handful of laps to go. Front wing damage is to blame as it was effecting the rest of the cars aerodynamics.

Kimi Raikkonen sets the fastest lap of a 1:26:538. Sebastian Vettel comes round to take the opening race win of the 2017 season ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas. Vettel was awarded “Driver of the Day” by the fans.

Race Results

1.Vettel  2.Hamilton  3.Bottas  4.Raikkonen  5.Verstappen  6.Massa  7.Perez  8.Sainz  9.Kvyat  10.Ocon  11.Hulkenberg  12.Giovinazzi  13.Vandoorne  DNF Alonso, Magnussen, Stroll, Ricciardo, Ericsson, Palmer and Grosjean

Race Stats

  • It was Vettel’s 43rd career victory, his fourth for Ferrari, and his and the Prancing Horse’s first since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, 28 races ago.
  • Sebastian Vettel is the first non-Mercedes driver to lead the world championship since he was on top at the end of his title-winning campaign in 2013.
  • Valtteri Bottas capped his debut race for Mercedes with his tenth career podium.
  • In finishing tenth, Esteban Ocon picked up his first F1 point in what was his tenth race.

Constructors Championship

  1. Ferrari 37pts
  2. Mercedes 33pts
  3. Red Bull 10pts
  4. Williams 8pts
  5. Force India 7pts
  6. Torro Rosso 6pts
  7. Renault 0pts
  8. Sauber 0pts
  9. McLaren 0pts
  10. Haas 0pts
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