After going without a race win in 2016, Ferrari started the new Formula 1 season with a bang, as four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday. Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas completed the podium in second and third place respectively. Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen came fourth, narrowly beating Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Force India also had a good opening race, with both drivers finishing in the points. Sergio Perez finished seventh and newcomer Esteban Ocon came 10th. Ocon produced a thrilling overtaking move to pull ahead of Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg, and get his first points in Formula One.
Meanwhile, Red Bull Racing’s Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo failed to finish the race, as did McLaren’s Alonso. Haas’s Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, debutant Lance Stroll from Williams, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer were the other retirees.
This is Vettel’s first win since the Singapore Grand Prix back in 2015 and first in Melbourne since 2011. The four-time champion started the race second, but overtook leader Hamilton after the latter’s pit stop and maintained his lead since then. Hamilton, on the other hand, tried hard to overtake but was seemingly facing technical problems with his tyres. The three-time world champion was locked in a stiff contest with new teammate Bottas, who was consistently third on the grid and got his first points with Mercedes.