Vettel takes Australian F1 GP win for Ferrari


Sebastian Vettel holds off polesitter Lewis Hamilton for victory in Australia

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne after a mid-race virtual safety car dashed Lewis Hamilton’s chances for victory.

Vettel pitted during a VSC session (which turned into a safety car) triggered by both Haas cars leaving the pits with loose wheels, a faulty wheelgun to blame, after Hamilton and Ferrari counterpart Kimi Räikkönen had pitted just laps earlier. Hamilton kept on Vettel’s tail for 26 laps but could not catch up, even with the third DRS zone added to Albert Park. The defending champion ended up five seconds back from the leader. The bizarre series of events denied the Haas pair a double-points finish, as Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were running in fourth and fifth respectively.

Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a three-place grid penalty to finish fourth behind Kimi Räikkönen. It was an attacking Fernando Alonso who took fifth after pitting under VSC, his joint-best finish for McLaren, and he praised the Renault power unit after the race.

Max Verstappen, jumped at the start by Magnussen, spun on lap 10 and had to recover from eighth to sixth on overheating rear soft tyres. Nico Hülkenberg finished seventh, ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who recovered to eighth from 15th on the grid due to a crash in qualifying. 

Carlos Sainz Jr rounded out the top 10 while Force India missed out on a points finish with Sergio Pérez 11th and Esteban Ocon in 12th. Charles Leclerc passed Lance Stroll for 13th, with Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley the last finisher in 15th. Sergey Sirotkin (brakes), Pierre Gasly, and Marcus Ericsson were the remaining retirees. 

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Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix Results

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Lap 58
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +5.036sec
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +6.309sec
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +7.069sec
5 Fernando Alonso McLaren +27.886sec
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull +28.945sec
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +32.671sec
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +32.671sec
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +32.921sec
10 Carlos Sainz Jr Renault +45.722sec
11 Sergio Perez Force India +46.817sec
12 Esteban Ocon Force India +60.278sec
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber +75.759sec
14 Lance Stroll Williams +78.288sec
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso +1 lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas DNF
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas DNF
18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso DNF
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber DNF
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams DNF

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