Australian Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel takes first win of the season at Albert Park
By: S.Harding, Xiro Xone News March 26, 2017 Updated: 11:49 PM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel brought his A-game to Sunday's Australian Grand Prix as he and the Scuderia dealt a small blow to Mercedes taking the first race of the 2017 Formula One season.
"it was a fantastic grand prix. It was quite, in a positive way, when I was coming back to the pits and there were people running on track going wild with Ferrari flags. It was unbelievable," said Vettel.
Later Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne issued a statement congratulating the team on their victory as well as the F1 debut of Antonio Giovinazzi.
Vettel didn't put one foot wrong at Albert Park to take his 43 career win by 10.0s, as an early call for Hamilton to come in after he found himself struggling with the tires pitted on lap 17. He then lost time behind Max Verstappen which both proved to be deciding factors at the end of the race leaving the three time world champion to finish second.
"I struggled with the tires at the end. I had to pit a lot earlier than these guys because I just ran out of grip. Pitted and I got stuck behind one of the Red Bulls and sometimes that’s just the way it goes," said Hamilton.
Hamilton's new Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third and was just 1.2s behind Hamilton. Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line fourth as the team ahead of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in fifth, as Red Bull prepare for what could be a rough season.
Williams Felipe Massa finished sixth ahead of a Force India's Sergio Perez who put in a strong result for the Silverstone based team. Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat took eighth and ninth for Toro Rosso ahead of Perez's teammate Esteban Ocon.
Ocon made the highlight reel with a spectacular overtake on McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso during the closing laps, while Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg ended the day 11th.
Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi who made his F1 debut subbing in for Pascal wehrlein at Sauber finished 12th. Stoffel Vandoorne who started his first full season for McLaren-Honda didn't get off to a good start as he struggled with electronic issues leaving him to end the day 13th.
The first race of the 2017 F1 season had a hefty list of cars fail to finish with the most notable being Daniel Ricciardo who was only able to complete 32-laps before he was forced to retire at his home race.
“Not the weekend I wanted at home. For all these things to happen at my home race that’s probably the most frustrating thing. We were on the back foot already after the crash in qualifying and then today we had an issue during the warm up lap followed by a second issue in the race. On both occasions the car just came to a stop so I couldn’t do anything else. But look, it’s the first race so hopefully we’ll move forward from this," said Ricciardo.