Sebastian Vettel won the first race of the new F1 season for Ferrari after beating Lewis Hamilton with superior pace and strategy on warm day in Melbourne.
Vettel retained second place at the start behind Hamilton, but he remained on the track a few laps longer than him and beat him after the British driver stuck behind Verstappen in the Red Bull who was yet to make his only stop.
German has built a sufficient advantage to calmly lead the race end and brought Ferrari the first victory since the Singapore GP in 2015 when they were also the last time started on pole position. Vettel is the first Ferrari driver since Alonso in 2012 who leads in the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton finished second ahead of team-mate Bottas after he struggled in the opening stint on ultrasoft tyres and asked the team to change the tyres. Bottas had a good first race in a Mercedes and catched Hamilton in the second part of the race, but in the end he and his team mate kept their positions for a double podium finish for Mercedes.
Kimi Raikkonen had a quiet race for Ferrari in which he finished fourth and only in the last part of the race he was under pressure from Max Verstappen who was on supersoft tyres.
Dutchman was then on the supersoft and was faster than Raikkonen on soft, but Finn upped the pace and set the fastest lap of the race in penultimate round (1:26.538), just two tenths slower than pole position in 2015 and 5.5 seconds faster than the fastest lap in that year.
Verstappen was fifth after the Red Bull tried alternative strategy on supersoft tyres in the second stint, while Massa was the best of the rest of the world in sixth place with more than a minute behind the winner. The Brazilian was the last driver that wasn’t lapped by race winner Vettel.
|5||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull TAG Heuer||57||1:24:40.499||28.827|
|6||19||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||57||1:25:35.058||1:23.386|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||56||1:24:27.579||1 lap|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso Renault||56||1:24:28.873||1 lap|
|9||26||Danil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Renault||56||1:24:42.486||1 lap|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||56||1:25:20.115||1 lap|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||56||1:25:21.125||1 lap|
|12||36||Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber Ferrari||55||1:24:44.265||2 laps|
|13||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Honda||55||1:24:58.807||2 laps|
|14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||50||1:16:26.419||Floor|
|20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||46||1:12:03.297||Puncture|
|18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||40||1:01:54.421||Brakes|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull TAG Heuer||25||41:12.001||Power unit|
|9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||21||33:01.470||Collision|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||13||19:47.343||Water leak|
Leaders: 4 (Vettel 38 laps, Hamilton 16, Bottas 2, Raikkonen 1)
Total laps in the race: 942 laps(82.6 %), 4995 km
Total laps in the GP weekend: 2647 laps, 14 037 km
Top speed: 328.6 km/h (Stroll)
Safety car: –
|3.||Red Bull TAG Heuer||10|
|5.||Force India Mercedes||7|
|6.||Toro Rosso Renault||6|