Australian GP 2017

MARCH 26, 2017

Race Notes - Vettel wins Australia for Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, Australian GP 2017
© RV Press


By Mark Karp

Sebastian Vettel won the Australian GP in Melbourne today, in his Ferrari, 9.9 seconds ahead of the polesitting Mercedes GP of Lewis Hamilton in second place and his team mate Valtteri Bottas (11.2s) in third place.

Vettel win is his first victory since Ferraris win in Singapore in 2015.

Kimi Raikkonen (22.3s) in the second Ferrari was fourth, followed by Max Verstappen (28.8s) in the Red Bull in fifth, Felipe Massa (83.3s) in the Williams-Mercedes in sixth, Sergio Perez (1 lap) in the Force India-Mercedes in seventh, Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso-Renault in eighth, his team mate Daniil Kvyat in ninth and Esteban Ocon in the second Force India scoring his first career point in tenth place.

Hamilton in his Mercedes GP grabbed pole on Saturday, ahead of the Ferrari of Vettel, Mercedes of Bottas and Ferrari of Raikkonen.

All the front drivers start on ultrasoft tyres. Ericsson starts on supersoft, while his team mate starts on soft tyres along with Magnussen, and Palmer. Stroll starts from last on supersoft tyres.

On the way to the pre-grid, Daniel Ricciardo was stranded on the side of the track with a gearbox issue, the team looks to make a fix before the lights.

At the appointed time the cars leave the grid to form up for the start - and the start is immediately aborted - the cars circulate the track for another lap, and the race will be shortened by one lap.

The drivers line up a second time and the lights go out and we start the 2017 season. Hamilton takes the lead from Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen.

Ericsson and Magnussen tangle turn 3 and go into the gravel trap, but continue.

Perez passes Kvyat, Magnussen limps around with a flat tyre.

Hamilton leads Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Massa, Grosjean, Sainz, Perez and Kvyat in tenth place.

On lap 2 Ricciardos car is finally fixed, and he starts the race from the pitlane.

Vandoorne in 16th place, reports his dash panel is not working.

At lap 3 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m29.043 and followes 0.6 seconds behind Hamilton in the lead.

Hamilton tells his Mercedes team, ºIm struggling for grip."

The incident between Ericsson and Magnussen is under investigation.

On lap 5 Hamilton sets the fastest lap at 1m28.786, and pulls out to a 1.2s lead.

On lap 6 Stroll pits and switches to ultrasofts - he runs in 18th.

Ricciardo passes Palmer and Vandoorne, although he is still two laps down.

On lap 9 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m28.234s.

Vandoorne pits as they work on the McLaren.

At lap 10 Hamilton leads Vettel by 2.0 seconds, followed by Bottas (6.9s), Raikkonen (11.6s), Verstappen (13.9s), Massa (21.0s), Grosjean (24.2s), Sainz (28.1s) Perez (28.4s), and Kvyat (31.7s) in tenth place.

Hamilton tells the team, ºMy tyres are overheating.¹

Vettel sets another fast lap at 1m28.221s.

Palmer is running slowly.

On lap 13 Hamilton comes back and sets fast lap at 1m28.117s.

On lap 15 Grosjean pits with smoke poring from his Haas - Grosjean gets out of the car.

On lap 16 Giovinazzi pits his Sauber.

Alonso and Hulkenberg pit as well.

On lap 17 Hamilton pits from the lead switching to soft tyres, rejoining in fifth place. Palmer pits after continued problems.

Perez pits for soft tyres.

On lap 19 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m27.551s.

Hamilton asks the team if his floor is okay.

Perez overtakes Sainz for 8th place.

At lap 20 Vettel leads Bottas by 11.0 seconds, followed by Raikkonen (17.6s), Verstappen (20.8s), Hamilton (21.6s), Kvyat (46.2s), Massa (62.4s), Perez (67.5s), Sianz (69.2s) and Alonso (82.8s) in tenth place.

Hamilton, closing on Verstappen.

On lap 23 Vettel pits from the lead for soft tyres, and rejoins in third place, just ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton on the track.

Bottas and Raikkonen, yet to pit lead the race.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is seen slamming his fist.

On lpa 26 Bottas pits from the lead switching to soft tyres, and rejoins in fourth. Verstappen pits as well and switches to supersoft tyres - he rejoins in fifth place.

Raikkonenpits from the lead the next lap, switching to soft tyres. All the top runners have now pitted and Vettel leads Hamilton by six seconds.

On lap 28 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m27.052s.

Mercedes tells Hamilton, ºwere thinking plan B now.¹

On lap 29 Ricciardo is stranded at the side of the track with a continuation of his earlier gearbox issue - his day is done.

At lap 30 Vettel leads Hamilton by 6.2 seconds followed by Bottas (11.2s), Raikkonen (19.8s), Verstappen (28.0s), Kvyat (43.3s), Massa (50.4s), Perez (63.1s), Sainz (65.8s) and Alonso (1 lap) in tenth place.

On lap 33 Hulkenberg is the first driver to make a second stop for ultrasoft tyres.

Mercedes tells Hamilton, ºlet us know what you can do - we need to close that gap.¹

Working his way through traffic Bottas has closed to 3 seconds behind his team mate Hamilton in second place.

On lap 35 Kvyat is the last driver to stop for supersoft tyres and rejoins in ninth place.

Mercedes tells Hamilton, ºtyres look like they are holding up, so we dont thiink people will struggle at the end. Were sticking to plan A¹.

At lap 40 Vettel continues to lead Hamilton by 7.9 seconds, followed by Bottas (10.7s), Raikkonen (23.9s), Verstappen (28.1s), Massa (61.4s), Perez (78.9s), Sainz (81.3s), Kvyat (82.8s) and Alonso in tenth.

Kvyat passes Sainz for eighth place.

On lap 42 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m27.045s.

On lap 44 rookie Lance Stroll retires in the pitlane with a brake failure.

Hamilton complains on the radio that something might be wrong with his car, and that his power is dropping in and out.

Magnussen pulls to the side of the track and retires with suspension damage.

At lap 50 Vettel still leads Hamilton by 8.3 seconds, followed by Bottas (10.4s), Raikkonen (22.0s), Verstappen (23.8s), Massa (71.1s), Perez (1 lap), Sainz, Kvyat and Alonso in tenth.

Ocon passes Alonso for tenth place, Hulenberg passes Alonso as well. Alonso complains that something feels wrong with his McLaren.

Alonso retires the McLaren to the pitlane.

On lap 53 Vettel sets fast lap at 1m26.638s.

Verstappen runs 1.2 seconds behind Raikkonen in fourth place.

On lap 56 Raikkonen takes fast lap at 1m26.538s.

Vettel takes the win ahead of Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen.