Sergio Perez of Force India finish 7th
Internet Desk: Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari piped Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to win the Australian GP on Sunday at the Albert Park. The German kick started the season by winning the first title in the new era.
Vettel was quicker than Hamilton by almost 10 seconds. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finished third in the season’s first Grand Prix.
It was Ferrari’s first win in Melbourne since Kimi Raikkonen’s victory in 2007 and Vettel’s second in Australia after winning the 2011 race with Red Bull.
It was a repeat of the Australian GP last year for Hamilton as he ended up second even after starting on the pole position. Last year, he lost to then Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who went on to edge him for the world championship before retiring. This time, four-time world champion Vettel took the lead when Hamilton pitted for new tyres on lap 18 and then got stuck in traffic behind Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
Vettel was able to pit much later and gradually build up his lead as Hamilton drove conservatively on older tires to ensure he finished the race. It was the German four-time world champion’s fourth win for Ferrari and his first since Singapore in 2015 and his 43rd career win.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth with Red Bull’s Verstappen ending fifth ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa in the Williams.
Local hope Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull had a disastrous race in front of his home support. The Australian driver almost didn’t start. Ricciardo’s day started badly and kept getting worse as he got a grid penalty, missed the start after a mechanical failure in the warmup, and then retired after 28 laps. He was among seven drivers who retired during the race.
Felipe Massa earned points for Williams with a sixth-place finish, while Force India teammates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were 7th and 10th in their pink cars and finished either side of Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat.