Sebastian Vettel is the winner of the start-up race for Formula One season 2017. Thanks to a perfect boxing stop tactic in the Albert Park of Melbourne, the Ferrari driver took the lead and did not give it away in the second phase of the 57-round Australian Grand Prix.
The first victory since Singapore 2015! Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second place on the 5303-mile course at sunshine and mild 24-degree Celsius air temperature. The podium in the Australian metropolis was completed by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, a successful start for the Finnish team in the World Championship.
Forza Ferrari, grande macchina”, Vettel shouted after the finish in the boxing radio and praised his”great”new car. That was a fantastic race we had and just what we needed. Great job from everyone on the track and in Maranello. This is for all of you,”said a visibly and audibly liberated vettel.
Rank four went to Kimi Racing Kings in the second Ferrari in front of Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen, Felipe Massa (Williams), Sergio Perez in Force India and Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso). There were also WM points for his teammates Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon in Force India.
Rank eleven went to Nico Hullkenberg (Renault) in front of Antonio Giovinazzi in the clean as well as Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren). Fernando Alonso in the McLaren, as well as Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Lance Stroll (Williams), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Marcus Ericsson (Clean), Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and Romain Grosjean (Haas) digest.
Ricciardo-Ausfall at the home game
The home race had practically run before it had even started. The Australian rolled out of the box into the starting position on the lap due to a sensor problem with the gearbox, which remained stuck in the sixth gear. This team had switched overnight after having damaged it in the qualifying by a departure. After all, Ricciardo was able to start from the box with a repaired car and three laps behind.
The first start of Formula One season 2017 went wrong. Since Hullkenberg was a little too far ahead in his starting box, the start was interrupted and the teams were sent to a new introductory round. The second attempt worked and all the drivers came through the first curve unharmed. A few seconds later, Ericsson collided in the dust and magnets in the Haas.
Although they both landed in the gravel bed, they were able to continue their journey. However, the Dane had to pick up a new set of tires and front wings from the box.
Vettel is holding Hamilton at the start with
At the beginning of the race Vettel was able to keep up well with Hamilton at the top, even putting a little pressure on the Mercedes driver, by driving directly into the DRS window.
The order behind it: Bottas in the third rank in front of queens, Verstappen, Massa, Grosjean, Sainz, Perez and Kwjat in the tenth rank. Behind it: Alonso, Hullkenberg, Ocon, Palmer, Vandoorne, Giovinazzi (who jumped in for the not yet fitter little squire), Ericsson, Stroll, Magnussen and Ricciardo).
In the following phase Hamilton showed what was in his silver arrow. With a quick lap, the former champion got out of the DRS window and had about ten out of 57 about two seconds lead. Then the two switched with the fastest laps, so that the distance remained constant.
Hamilton stops as the first – Vettel goes in the lead
On position seven, Grosjean had to put his Haas with technical problems in Round 14. In the 17th round Hamilton made his first stop at the box while Palmer had to stop his Renault due to brake problems at the box. Vettel did not stop a circuit later but stayed on the track. The Mercedes driver switched to the soft tires and does not have to come back to the box.
Hamilton initially tried to stop the traffic while Vettel at the top expanded the lead. In the 22nd round Vettel also stopped and got the softer tires and stayed in the lead! Bottas and congestions came to the box in Round 24, with which Hamilton had free ride again.
Hamilton was dissatisfied with tire set
For Ricciardo, the race had finished in Round 28, the Australian had to stop his car with a technical problem (engine). The distances after 30 laps: Vettel 6,3 seconds before Hamilton, 11,8 on Bottas, 20,0 on rakes, 28,3 on Verstappen, 41,2 on Kvyat, 49,2 on Massa, 60,6 on Perez, 63,6 on Sainz and 84,3 on Alonso. Behind it Ocon, Hullkenberg, Stroll, Giovinazzi, Vandoorne and Magnussen.
Hamilton continued to struggle with the second set of tires and complained about it by radio. As a result, not only Vettel was able to manage his lead safely from the front, but also team-mates Bottas slowly but surely pressed from the back. In the final phase of the race nothing changed at the top of the race –just stowing flew with the softer tires in the fifth rank and made good ground on rack queens.
After Alonso with his McLaren was a little more surprising than tenth in the points, The Spaniard had to stop his car four rounds before finishing with technical problems at the box.