Vettel snatches Australian GP win

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel wins the Australian GP ahead of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen as McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finishes 5th.

25/03/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Raikkonen  3.Vettel  4.Verstappen  5.Magnussen  6.Ricciardo  7.Hulkenberg  8.Ricciardo*  9.Sainz  10.Alonso  11.Vandoorne  12.Perez  13.Stroll  14.Ocon  15.Bottas*  16.Hartley  17.Ericsson  18.Leclerc  19.Sirotkin  20.Gasly

Ricciardo* took a 3 place grid penalty for speeding under red flag conditions. Bottas* was given a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Race

The lights go out and F1 2018 gets underway with Lewis Hamilton leading down into turn 1 with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel following close behind. Kevin Magnussen goes round the outside of Max Verstappen at turn 1 to nick 4th. Everyone gets through the first couple of turns unscathed. At the end of the first lap, Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley pits for the Soft tyre and looks to be going to the end on these tyres.

Verstappen is given the hurry-up by Red Bull on lap 2 as they are eager to get the Dutchman past the Haas of Magnussen. Lap 5, Daniel Ricciardo is starting to make his way up the order and his first victim is Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. Ricciardo dives down the inside of turn 13 and up into 7th. Meanwhile, Ricciardo’s team-mate, Verstappen is still stuck behind Magnussen. Williams Sergey Sirotkin has pulled off at the run-off area at turn 13, becoming the first retirement of the race. Lap 7, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson pulls into the pits and retires from the race due to a suspected hydraulics issue.

Mercedes Valterri Bottas is also struggling to make his way up the order and is close to Force India’s Esteban Ocon on lap 8 in 13th and 14th and by lap 9 overtakes down the inside of turn 3 for 13th. Lap 10, Verstappen spins at turn 1! The Red Bull spins a full 360 degrees, continues on but Romain Grosjean, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg get past and Verstappen falls to 8th. Lap 12, the top 3 are covered by just 5 seconds and now Ferrari tell Raikkonen in 2nd to push and try to catch Hamilton.

Lap 15, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly slows on track and trundles back to the pits and retires due to suspected engine problems. Lap 19, Raikkonen pits from 2nd and comes back out on the Soft tyre. Lap 20, Hamilton responds by pitting on lap 20 and going onto the Soft tyre. Hamilton rejoins ahead of Raikkonen and now Vettel leads having not pitted yet. Lap 22, Verstappen pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 14th. Lap 23, Magnussen pits and rejoins in 12th. It’s not good news though as Magnussen slows. The Dane ends up at the run-off at turn 3 and is out.

It looks like the left-rear tyre wasn’t fitted properly during the pit-stop. Lap 24, Magnussen’s team-mate Grosjean pits and he slows as well. He just came out of the pits and stops at turn 2. Grosjean is devastated along with the mechanics and a great haul of points are lost. Race Control have activated the Virtual Safety Car with Bottas pitting and going onto the Supersoft tyre. Race leader Vettel pits. He goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in the lead! What has happened? Ricciardo also pits and rejoins in 4th with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso also pitting. The Spaniard exits the pits just behind Verstappen.

A replay shows that this time it was a problem with the front-left tyre on Grosjean’s car when he pitted. Rotten luck. Meanwhile, Hamilton, now in 2nd, is utterly confused in how Vettel was able to jump him and Mercedes review the situation. Race Control deploy the Safety Car. Vettel leads ahead of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Bottas and Carlos Sainz. The Safety Car comes in and racing resumes on lap 32.

Vettel holds onto a narrow lead, just under a second, ahead of Hamilton with Raikkonen managing to hold off podium-hopeful Ricciardo. Alonso back in 5th is still holding off the chasing pack of Verstappen, Hulkenberg and Bottas. Lap 47, Hamilton runs wide after locking up at turn 9 and drops back to 2.8 seconds. Sainz, who is running in 10th, is apparently having problems with his drink which is make him feel sick. Sergio Perez is close behind in 11th. Hamilton drops off from Vettel as he saves the engine.

Race Result

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 58 Laps (100th podium finish & 9th win for Ferrari)
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +5.036s
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +6.309s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +7.069s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  5. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +27.886s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +28.945s
  7. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +32.671s
  8. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +34.339s
  9. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, +34.921s
  10. Carlos Sainz, Renault, +45.722s
  11. Sergio Perez, Force India, +46.817s
  12. Esteban Ocon, Force India, +1.00.278s
  13. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +1.15.759s
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, +1.18.288s
  15. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas, DNF
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas, DNF
  • Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, DNF
  • Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, DNF
  • Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, DNF

 

 

 

 

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