Formula 1 returned in style on Sunday with the opening race of the season in Melbourne. Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari stunned Mercedes as the Scuderia won their first race since September 2015. F1 Top 10 looks back at the winners and losers of the Australian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel: The German might’ve thought his chance of victory was over after Lewis Hamilton got the better start and went into the first corner in the lead. However, Vettel, was always able to stay within touching distance of the Brit and thanks to a great strategy call from his team, the German, took victory. in Melbourne to take an early lead in the championship.
Felipe Massa: The Brazilian who should be enjoying his retirement went unnoticed during the race and had a rather lonely day finishing in 6th. That result earned him the tag of “best of the rest” outside of the top three teams.
Force India: In their striking new pink livery, Force India, manged to get both of their cars inside the top ten. Sergio Perez, who started 11th was able to make up four places to finish in 7th while his new teammate Esteban Ocon got a single point after finishing 10th.
Toro Rosso: Another team to get both cars in the points with Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat finishing 8th and 9th respectively. After a difficult couple of weeks in winter testing which saw them complete the second least amount of laps with just 584 laps done in the STR12, Toro Rosso, will be delighted with Sunday’s result in Australia.
Daniel Ricciardo: What a miserable weekend for Ricciardo in his home race. The Australian was dreaming of a podium at the start of the weekend but after crashing in qualifying those hopes were dented. The Australian also had to take a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox change in his RB13. Then, even before the race it went from bad to worse as Ricciardo’s car stopped on-track resulting in a pit-lane start but by the time he got going he was two laps down. However, his race was cut short after an engine failure cause his to stop on track. This will certainly be a race Ricciardo will want to forget quickly!
Mercedes: Despite a double podium with Lewis Hamilton finishing 2nd and Valtteri Bottas taking 3rd in his first race with the team, they will be disappointed to have lost the race to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. On the evidence of Sunday’s race then Mercedes are going to be in an epic battle to retain both championships!
Romain Grosjean: After an incredible qualifying on Saturday which saw Grosjean start the race 6th on the grid he would’ve hoped to re-lived last years race heroics in Melbourne. After a decent start the Frenchman’s race was cruelly ended after smoke started coming from the rear of his VF-17 during his pit-stop.
McLaren: The Woking based side had a day to forget with Fernando Alonso retiring from the race and Stoffel Vandoorne finishing last of the runners. However, they can take positives as Honda seemed to have ironed out several of their reliability problems and Alonso was running in the top ten for the majority of the race.
The next Grand Prix is in China on Sunday 9th April.