Hamilton wins opening race
World champion Lewis Hamilton won opening race of the new Formula 1 season at Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. Hamilton, who clinched his 34th career victory, led from start to finish to win Australian GP, crossing the finish line with just 1.3 seconds ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg.
Former four time champion Sebastian Vettel finished third on his debut for Ferrari with more than 34 seconds behind dominant Mercedes duo. Williams’ Valteri Bottas was ruled out of the race because of the back injury and Manor Marussia failed to qualify. Interestingly, only 11 cars finished the race in Melbourne.
At the start of the race, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen had to retire after car failures on the route to the grid, so just 15 cars started the race. Kvyat was ruled out because of the broken gearbox, while Magnussen stopped on his way with smoke coming out from the back of his car. A first-lap tangle with Nasr put Pastor Maldonado into the wall, and Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean retired in the pits soon after. A promising first Grand Prix for Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen ended with mid-race technical problems, while he was sixth, and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the list of non-finishers. It meant only one driver will not score a points and that was McLaren’s Jenson Button.
After a chaotic start that saw Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado crash into the barrier on turn two after being nudged from behind by Nasr, Hamilton and Rosberg sped away from the chasing pack. Hamilton’s lead was never really challenged, so he comfortably started the season with a victory.
Local hope Daniel Ricciardo has again been denied an Australian Grand Prix podium spot, finishing in sixth place, but he must be happy with that after difficulties with his car this weekend. Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz Junior also have reason to celbrate as they won their first career points.
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) -1.3
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) -34.5
- Felipe Massa (Williams) -38.1
- Felipe Nasr (Sauber) -95.1
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1 lap
- Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1 lap
- Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) 1 lap
- Carlos Sainz Jr. (Toro Rosso) 1 lap
- Sergio Perez (Force India) 1 lap
- Jenson Button (McLaren) 2 laps
DNF Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
DNF Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso)
DNF Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
DNF Pastor Maldonado (Lotus)
DNF Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull)
DNF Kevin Magnussen (McLaren)
DNS Walteri Bottas (Williams)