2017 Australian Grand Prix

Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Sunday, March 26, 2017
Round:
1
Weather:
Warm, dry and sunny
Laps:
57
Fastest Lap:
Raikkonen, 1m26.538
Country:
Australia
Circuit:
2017 season:
Report

The talk afterwards was about the track position Mercedes surrendered with Lewis Hamilton and how that had gifted Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel the victory. But given the opposing considerations, in the actual moment it was the correct decision. The real overwhelming truth that dwarfed all the minutiae was that on the day Ferrari had a faster car than Mercedes. It was Ferrari who had the pace to have pressured Mercedes into that awkward decision. They applied the strain and made them snap. Underestimating Ferrari’s pace, the Mercedes race plan was for Hamilton to open out the gap that would allow them the luxury of pitting at their own convenience. In trying to do that he overworked his tyres – and the Ferrari stayed right with him the whole time. Wait too late to pit with fading tyres and they’d have been sitting ducks to a Ferrari undercut. Or if Ferrari had chosen not to do that, they could just as easily have overcut them. They were simply faster in the 38-deg C track temperatures of the first part of the race. “I think if the positions had been reversed and Seb was ahead in the first stint, he’d have pulled away,” reported Hamilton. “In the second stint, on a cooler track and the harder tyre I think we were probably quicker but I wasn’t sure how much tyre life we had after coming in so early – and it would still have been impossible to pass.”

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