Australian Grand Prix: Victory for Valtteri Bottas, 1-2 for Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas clinched his fourth Formula 1 Grand Prix victory in a career today at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit by winning the Australian Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2019 Formula One World Championship season.
The Finnish driver in the #77 Mercedes dominantly won the race with a 20.886sec advantage over his teammate and defending champion Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) completed a podium, crossing the finish line less than two seconds behind Hamilton.
Two Ferraris were far back, almost a minute behind the winner, with Sebastian Vettel taking P4 and Charles Leclerc in the fifth place. The sixth-placed Kevin Magnussen (Haas) was the last driver in the same lap as Bottas, who also earned an extra championship point for the fastest lap.
The other point scorers are Nico Hulkenberg (Renault, 7th), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo, 8th), Lance Stroll (Racing Point, 9th) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso, 10th). Seventeen drivers finished the race, the returnee Robert Kubica (Williams) was the last among them, three laps behind the winner.
Valtteri Bottas showed his victorious intensions immediately at the start of the race, stealing the first place from pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton by the time they reached Turn 1. Behind their back, Ferrari teammates Leclerc and Vettel closely avoid contact while Australian hero Daniel Ricciardo wasn’t that lucky because he went over the grass and ripped his cars front wing off after contact with Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz (McLaren) was first to retire after just nine laps. Ricciardo joined him in the paddock on Lap 30 while a lap before, Romain Grosjean (Haas) pulled off to the side of the track for because his front-left tyre appeared to have been fitted incorrectly in his pit stop.
Max Verstappen moved from fourth to third on lap 32 with a brilliant move around the outside of Turn 3 on Vettel. After that, he gets close to Hamilton while Vettel significantly slowed down. His teammate Leclerc was told to stay behind on P5.