Nico Rosberg wins the Australian grand prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as huge crash for Fernando Alonso brings out the red flag.
Due to the new Pirelli tyre rules, drivers outside of the top 11 can choose their starting tyre. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Valterri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez will start the race on the Soft compound tyre. The rest of the grid will start on the Super Soft tyre.
The drivers go round for their compulsory formation lap and they work their way around the track. As everyone slots into their grid position, Red Bulls Daniil Kvyat doesn’t and is going nowhere so he gets out of his stricken car. The drivers are made to go round for another formation lap as the marshals push the Red Bull car into the pits and off the track. It looks like an electrical problem and hopefully Red Bull will get him back out and racing. Despite Red Bulls best efforts, they don’t get Kvyat back out.
The lights go green for the first time in 2016 and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel makes a great start from 3rd and goes right through the gap of Lewis Hamilton on the left and Nico Rosberg on the right. Hamilton, who started on pole, goes to the outside of the track and Rosberg on the inside locks up and steers into Hamilton, both drivers don’t touch but are both over taken by the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel leads ahead of Raikkonen, Rosberg, Max Verstappen, Felipe Massa and Hamilton. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen is going slowly and has a puncture.
Lap 3, Hamilton still down in 6th, is now 6.5 seconds behind Vettel. Lap 4, Hamilton goes down the inside of Felipe Massa at turn 3 and Hamilton completes the move by the exit of turn 4. Lap 8, Hamilton has now closed up right behind Max Verstappen and is now 8.2 seconds behind Vettel. Lap 10, Vettel leads by 2.5 seconds ahead of Raikkonen in second as Daniel Ricciardo passes Felipe Massa down into turn 1 for 6th. The pit window opens and Massa, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson pit for the Soft tyre on lap 12. Rosberg, Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer head into the pits on lap 14. Vettel responds to Rosberg and pits at the end of lap 14.
Lap 18, the camera cuts to Esteban Gutierrez who in the gravel trap at turn 3 and up against the crash barrier, is the left over of what was a McLaren Honda of Fernando Alonso. The Red flag is out and the replay shows Alonso was making a move on Gutierrez, who brakes earlier than Alonso expected on the entrance to Turn 3 and the McLaren’s front right tyre collides with the rear of the Haas and Alonso is vaulted into the gravel, rolling into the barrier. The car is in a complete mess and Alonso gets out of the upside down McLaren. Alonso and Gutierrez are fine and waving to the crowd, which is a good sign after a huge crash. Could this crash now have the FIA think more about closed cockpits?
In the frantic couple of minutes, Raikkonen and Hamilton have pitted with Raikkonen going onto the Supersoft and Hamilton going onto the Medium tyre, a bold move by Hamilton and Mercedes. The Safety car comes out and leads the cars into the pits and to a complete halt in the order that they were in before the accident. The marshals pick up the final bits debris left from the crash. It looks like that Rio Haryanto’s race is over as the car is wheeled back to the garage. While the cars are in the pits, they are allowed to change tyres, with Rosberg going onto the Medium tyre as the Ferrari cars of Raikkonen and Vettel are still on the Supersoft tyre. Vettel leads ahead of Rosberg, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Sainz and Hamilton as the the race gets going again on lap 20. Lap 24, Raikkonen is trundling down the pits with his Ferrari on fire! The pits in his box as the fire starts coming out of the air box. Raikkonen gets out the car and the Marshals put out the fire.
Lap 26, Marcus Ericsson has been given a drive through penalty for the Sauber mechanics ‘working on his car in the 15 second signal’ before the restart. Lap 29, the big benefit of the red flag is Romain Grosjean, currently in 8th place in the Haas, what a result for the new team if they finished in the points. Lap 35, Vettel should be pitting right now as his tyre are going off and the gap to 2nd place Rosberg is now just over 1 second.Lap 36, Vettel finally pits and goes onto the Soft tyres and into 4th place behind Rosberg, Ricciardo and Hamilton.
Lap 39, Hamilton took 1 second out of Rosberg’s lead and is now catching 3rd place Daniel Ricciardo. Lap 40, things are hotting up at Torro Rosso as Verstappen pleads the team to let him pass Sainz as Sainz is slow and stuck behind Jolyon Palmer. Verstappen is not happy as he is quicker than team-mate Sainz but Verstappen just can’t pass. Lap 43, Hamilton passes Ricciardo into turn 1 as both, Sainz and Verstappen pass Palmer in turns 1 to 3. Ricciardo pits having lost 2nd place to Hamilton and takes the Supersoft tyres. Lap 45, Hamilton puts in the new fastest lap and is now just over 10 seconds behind Rosberg. Lap 47, Ricciardo passes Massa into turn 1 and is now up to 4th place. Lap 51, Vettel is closing down Hamilton in 2nd and the gap is just 2.4 seconds. Lap 54, tensions reach boiling point as Max Verstappen doesn’t have time to react as Carlos Sainz locks up just ahead of him and Verstappen clips his team-mate, sending him into a spin. Lap 56, Vettel makes a mistake as he runs wide at the penultimate corner and is battle for second is over. Lap 57, Rosberg wins the Australian grand prix ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.
1.Rosberg 2.Hamilton 3.Vettel 4.Ricciardo 5.Massa 6.Grosjean 7.Hulkenberg 8.Bottas 9.Sainz 10.Verstappen 11.Palmer 12.Magnussen 13.Perez 14.Button 15.Nasr 16.Wehrlein DNF Ericsson, Raikkonen, Haryanto, Gutierrez and Alonso DNS Kvyat
- Rosberg 25 points
- Hamilton 18 points
- Vettel 15 points
- Ricciardo 12 points
- Massa 10 points
- Romain Grosjean’s sixth place ensured Haas became the first brand-new team to score points on their Grand Prix debut since Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota in 2002.
- Daniel Ricciardo’s fourth place finish equalled the best result for an Australian driver on home soil – a tie with Mark Webber’s fourth place in 2012.
- On Saturday, Lewis Hamilton joined the Michael Schumacher in becoming one of just three drivers (the other being Ayrton Senna) to have scored 50 or more pole positions in F1 racing.