Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has won the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the 2017 season. After a win-less 2016, it seems that Ferrari is seeing a flash of hope for a strong 2017.
After staying close behind pole-sitter Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the race, Vettel overcut the Brit at the first round of pit stops, leaving Hamilton unable to overtake the German.
From then on, Vettel drove a strong race to clinch the win a whole seven seconds clear of Hamilton.
Behind Vettel and Hamilton, the Brit’s teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third on his debut for Mercedes, followed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who also secured the fastest lap of the race.
Red Bull woes
After being a string contender last season, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing the World Driver’s Championship third, everyone was looking forward to seeing them challenge again in 2017.
However, after the first race at least, that was not the case. After having to start from the pitlane, Ricciardo began the race two laps behind the pack, as he battled to catch up. However, it was not to be, as the Australian came to a stop on Lap 29, just after Turn 4 with an engine failure.
Although teammate Max Verstappen seemed strong with good pace in the latter stages of the race, as he closed the gap behind Raikkonen, he did not manage to overtake, as he finished fifth, which is still a fairly good start to the season.
Despite this, we are still in the very early stages of the season, so there is a chance for Red Bull to improve and show their true colours.
There were a total of six retirements in Melbourne, including both Haas drivers.
The first retirement came from Haas’ Romain Grosjean after smoke was coming from the engine. It was a disappointment for the Frenchman, as he started sixth on the grid, Haas’ best start.
Soon after, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer also retired, after suffering from brake woes, a problem which has stuck with the Brit all weekend. “Argh, same again,” Palmer complained, as his brakes kept locking. He soon returned to the pits to retire.
On Lap 29, at his home race, Ricciardo retired after attempting to un-lap himself after starting from the pit lane. He stopped just after Turn 4 on the edge of the track, with an engine failure.
At his maiden Grand Prix, Williams’ Lance Stroll also retired, after running off the track and having to go over the gravel trap in order to re-join the track. After having to start at the back of the grid due to a gearbox penalty, it has not been an ideal first race for the young Canadian.
After seeing his teammate retire in the early stages of the race, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen retired, due to a suspension failure. A disappointing race for the American team at the start of the season, with both drivers not managing to see the finish line.
And finally, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso retired due to suspension problems, as the Spaniard reported “there is something wrong with the car, it is pulling to the left.” He later returned to the pits, into retirement.
Images from Sky Sports F1 and Sutton Motorsport Images