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Australian GP 2019

MARCH 17, 2019

Race Notes - Bottas takes opening Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas, Australian GP 2019
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Valtteri Bottas, after taking the lead into the first corner in his Mercedes, never looked back and took a strong victory in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne today.

Polesitter Lewis Hamilton finished in second place, 20.886 seconds behind. Max Verstappen in the Red Bull-Honda finished third, 22.520 seconds behind the winner.

Bottas takes the win and fastest lap for a total of 26 points. It was Bottas fourth career victory.

Sebastian Vettel (57.109s) in the Ferrari finished in fourth place, followed by his new Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc (58.230s) in fifth place, Kevin Magnussen (57.156s) in the Haas-Ferrari was sixth, Nico Hulkenberg (1 lap) in the Renault was seventh, Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo-Ferrrari was eighth, Lance Stroll in the Racing Point-Mercedes was ninth and Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso-Honda took the final point with tenth,

Before the start there was a minute if silence for Charlie Whiting, F1’s Race Director.

At the appointed time the season kicked off, and the grid cleared. Hamilton and Bottas in the Mercedes on the front row, Vettel and Verstappen on row two, new Ferrari driver Leclerc and Grosjean on row three, Magnussen and Norris on row four and Raikkonen and Perez rounding out the top ten.

Most drivers looking for a one stop strategy. The first 13 starters starting on soft tyres, Kubica starting on hard tyres,

With good weather the grid formed up, the lights went out and the race began with Bottas getting a quick start and taking the lead over Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Leclerc, Magnussen, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen and Norris in tenth.

Ricciardo loses his front wing, and has to pit after the first lap.

After four laps Bottas leads Hamilton by 1.6 seconds.

On lap 8 Leclerc runs wide and cuts through the grass but continues.

At lap 10 Bottas leads Hamilton by 3.7 seconds, followed by Vettel (5.7s), Verstappen (8.1s), Leclerc (15.5s), Magnussen (21.1s), Grosjean (23.3s), Hulkenberg (24.8s), Raikkonen (26.7s) and Norris (29.5s) in tenth.

On lap 11 Carlos Sainz pulls off the track with an engine failure and is out.

On lap 12 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m28.633s. The next lap Hamilton goes faster with a 1m28.616s, then back to Bottsd on lap 14 with a 1m28.300s.

Nico Hulkenberg pits and switches to hard tyres and rejoins in 13th.

On lap 15 Vettel pits for medium tyres and rejoins in fifth.

The next lap Hamilton pits for medium tyres. Grosjean has a slow stop for medium tyres and rejoins in 14th.

On lap 17 Magnussen is battling with Giovinazzi, who is yet to pit, for ninth.

On lap 19 Magnussen passes Giovinazzi for ninth, Hulkenberg passes him as well for tenth the same lap.

On lap 19 Bottas sets another fast lap at 1m27.836s.

At lap 20 Bottas leads Verstappen by 14.0 seconds, followed by Leclerc (24.5s), Hamilton (33.2s), Vettel (34.6s), Stroll (48.4s), Kvyat (50.2s), Gasly (51.0s), Magnussen (62.3s) and Hulkenberg (64.3s) in tenth place.

On lap 21 Bottas sets another fast lap at 1m27.815s.

Norris and Grosjean follow Giovinazzi (yet to pit) closely battling.

On lap 24 Bottas pits from the lead for medium tyres and rejoins in secon d - Verstasppen yet to pit takes over the lead by five seconds.

Hamilton questions on the radio that he is not sure that his medium tyres will last until the end of the race.

On lap 25 Verstappen pits from the lead for medium tyres, and Bottas goes back to the lead.

On lap 25 Bottas sets another fast lap.

On lap 27 Norris passes Giovinazzi for 12th place. Grosjean passes Giovinazzi as well. Kvyat pits for hard tyres. Stroll pits for hard tyres and rejoins in tenh.

On lap 28 Leclerc pits from second for hard tyres and rejoins in fifth.

Giovinazzi pits as well for soft tyres.

At lap 30 Bottas leads Hamilton by 16.4 seconds, followed by Vettel (18.8s), Verstappen (19.3s), Leclerc (35.1s), Gasly (38.7s), Magnussen (51.0s), Hulkenberg (53.4s), Raikkonen (56.8s) and Stroll (61.5) in tenth.

On lap 31 Verstappen passes Vettel for third place. Ricciardo retires in the pitlane. Grosjean retires on the side of the track with a left-front suspension failure.

Bottas sets fast lap at 1m27.235s.

Hamilton is complaining that his rear end has no grip.

Kvyat chases Stroll for tenth place.

On lap 37 Bottas sets another fast lap at 1m27,108s. Kvyat makes an overtaking attempt at Stroll but overshoots and takes to the grass and loses some time.

On lap 38 Gasly is the last car to pit for soft tyres and rejoins in 11th.

At lap 40 Bottas leads Hamilton by 21.5 seconds, followed by Verstappen (23.3s), Vettel (31.6s), Leclerc (40.1s), Magnussen (65.5s), Hulkenberg (68.6s), Raikkonen (71.1s), Stroll (73.1s) and Kvyat (76.3s) in tenth place.

On lap 41 Bottas sets another fast lap ant 1m27.043s.

Gasly complains that he pushed the overtake buttons, but nothing is happening.

Bottas sets another fast lap on lap 42 at 1m26.739s.

Vettel asks Ferrari, “why are we so slow?”, while lapping a second slower than the other front-runners.

Verstappen has closes to 1.5 seconds behind Hamilton in second place, and has10 lap newer tyres.

On lap 47 Kvyat has closed back up on the back of Stroll for ninth, closely followed by Gasly in 11th.

Verstappen runs wide over the grass and loses some time to Hamilton.

At lap 50 Bottas leads Hamilton by 25.5 seconds, followed by Verstappen (28.6s), Vettel (42.8s), Leclerc (43.4s), Magnussen (80.6s), Hulkenberg (83.5s), Raikkonen (84.9s), Stroll (86,1s) and Kvyat (88.8s) in tenth place.

Bottas asks Mercedes if they should pit to take new tires to take fast lap, the team says they don’t want to risk anything. Bottas says he wants to take all 26 available points.

On lap 54 Verstappen set fast lap at 1,26.540s.

On lap 56 Hamilton tells the team that he needs the fast lap point, the team tells him the settings he has available,

On lsp 57 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m25.580s.

After crossing the checked flag, Bottas said to the team “how about that!”