Sebastian Vettel Wins The Australian Grand Prix
It wasn’t the expected outcome, but Sebastian Vettel has won the season-opening grand prix.
Sebastian Vettel will be delighted to stand at the top of the podium once again as he won the Australian Grand Prix for the second year in a row.
Up until the 25th lap, it seemed as though Lewis Hamilton had the win in the bag with a healthy 6-second lead over Kimi Raikkonen. Both Hamilton and Raikkonen had pitted at this point, and Vettel in third place; had yet to make his pit stop.
Raikkonen pitted on the 19th lap, and Mercedes responded straight away in the next lap, and opted for soft tyres. The advantage was extended from three seconds to five seconds.
It all went wrong from the 25th lap where both Haas drivers; Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean had two awful pitstop malfunctions and therefore had to retire from the race. They did this by pulling their cars to the side of the track because of loose wheel fittings.
This triggered a Virtual Safety Car deployment. This basically means that an average speed is set, and drivers are not allowed to go over this limit. At this point, Vettel was yet to pit and had a 12-second lead. On average, a pitstop at the Australian Grand Prix takes 23 seconds meaning he would come out around 10 seconds behind Hamilton.
The average 23 seconds didn’t apply here, as the safety car was deployed. Hamilton (and the rest of the field) had to slow down, and because of this, Vettel was able to overtake Hamilton but only marginally.
A confused Hamilton jumped on the team radio to ask his team what happened, and why he wasn’t told about Vettel pitting. The Mercedes team thought they were safe, but later realised there was a computer glitch meaning a miscalculation in timing the gap.
Hamilton held on to secure a strong second place, but Vettel took the podium position.
Here is how the championship stands after the first race.
#1: Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 25 points
#2: Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 18 points
#3: Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 15 points
#4: Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - 12 points
#5: Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Renault - 10 points
#6: Max Verstappen - Red Bull/Renault - 8 points
#7: Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 6 points
#8: Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 4 points
#9: Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren/Renault - 2 points
#10: Carlos Sainz - Renault - 1 point
#11: Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes - 0 points
#12: Esteban Ocon - Force India/Mercedes - 0 points
#13: Charles Leclerc - Sauber/Ferrari - 0 points
#14: Lance Stroll - Williams/Mercedes - 0 points
#15: Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso/Honda - 0 points
#16: Romain Grosjean - Haas/Ferrari - DNF
#17: Kevin Magnussen - Haas/Ferrari - DNF
#18: Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso/Honda - DNF
#19: Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - DNF
#20: Sergey Sirotkin - Williams/Mercedes - DNF
The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on the 8th April, and Hamilton will be looking to win his first race of the 2018 season.