Vettel beats Hamilton in season opener in Australia

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.

Pos  Nr Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 57 1:24:11.672
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 57 1:24:21.647 9.975
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 57 1:24:22.922 11.250
4 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 57 1:24:34.065 33.393
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
30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 15 24:07.683 Brakes
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: –
Pitstops: 20
Overtakes: 2

DRIVERS STANDINGS

1. Sebastian Vettel 25
2. Lewis Hamilton 18
3. Valtteri Bottas 15
4. Kimi Raikkonen 12
5. Max Verstappen 10
6. Felipe Massa 8
7. Sergio Perez 6
8. Carlos Sainz 4
9. Danil Kvyat 2
10. Esteban Ocon 1

CONSTRUCTORS STANDINGS

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