Vettel Victorious in Australia

Vettel Victorious in Australia

Ferrari proved that their pre-season testing form was no coincidence on Sunday, as Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to win the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s new Mercedes team mate, Valtteri Bottas, completed the Albert Park podium.


After shadowing polesitter Hamilton throughout the race’s opening stages, Vettel leapfrogged the silver car at the first round of stops. From there the German never looked back, taking the chequered flag almost 10 seconds clear to clinch Ferrari’s first win since Singapore 2015, with team mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth.


Hamilton won the start, leaving Vettel to chase him, but the Mercedes had consumed its ultrasoft Pirelli tyres after 17 laps, whereas Vettel managed to get his to the 22nd lap before making his sole pit stop.


Hamilton ought still to have been able to regain the lead, but he came out of the pits behind Max Verstappen’s fifth placed Red Bull, and simply could not pass it despite running on fresher rubber. Thus Vettel was able to make his stop and emerge still in the lead.


Hamilton did what he could. In the end, though, there was no way either could challenge the red car, as Ferrari scored a hugely important victory which ushered in the new era of F1 in the most popular way, as far as many fans round the world were concerned.


Raikkonen never gave the top three a moment’s concern and finished a distant and uncompetitive fourth, challenged at one stage by Verstappen until he woke up and set the fastest lap on the penultimate tour.


Vettel thus leads the drivers’ points table with 25 points to Hamilton’s 18, Bottas’ 15, Raikkonen’s 12, Verstappen’s 10, Massa’s eight, Perez’s six, Sainz’s four, Kvyat’s two and Ocon’s one.


Ferrari head the constructors’ stakes with 37 points to Mercedes’ 33, as Red Bull have 10, Williams eight, Force India seven and Toro Rosso six.