By Ros Satar
- Nico Rosberg wins the Australian Open Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton 2nd, Sebastian Vettel 3rd
- Rest of the Brits: Jolyon Palmer 11, Jenson Button 14
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Nico Rosberg got Mercedes off to a winning start as he won a dramatic season opener in Albert Park.
Britwatch Formula 1: Full Fixtures, News & Standings
PITSTOP QUICK HITS
WHO: Rosberg to advantage of a mid-race stoppage to flip the race on its head. The start was all Ferrari, as Sebastian Vettel stole a march on Lewis Hamilton’s terrible start from pole position, but eventually had to settle for third. Hamilton made up ground to keep Ferrari at bay and put Mercedes at the head of the Constructor’s championship with their one-two finish.
Aussie home crowd favourite, the ever-smiling Daniel Ricciardo came in fourth for Red Bull while ‘Ferrari-Lite’ new boys on the block Haas came sixth on their debut.
WHAT: This terrifying crash between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez was what caused the mid-race stoppage, giving Mercedes a chance to get back into the race. Both drivers were extremely lucky to walk away from the carnage, especially given some of the changes this season with the new ‘halo’ design
WHERE & WHEN: Turn 3, lap 19 was where the race changed – Ferrari had made the most of a tardy start by both Mercedes to snatch one-two at the start of the race, with Hamilton slipping down the order as Max Verstappen and Felipe Massa also took advantage, eventually pushing him down to seventh from Pole.
HOW: Mercedes turned things around after a 20 minute break so that the debris from the crash could be cleared. Ferrari were still sticking to a two-stop strategy on the supersoft tyres, and Mercedes more conservative choice of mediums meant they could go on without another stop.
With Vettel needing a gap of at least 24 seconds to handle his final stop, as he came in on lap 35, the two Mercedes and Ricciardo jumped in. Hamilton snapped up the Red Bull but Rosberg was just too far ahead for him to make up ground, so instead he busied himself with keeping Vettel off his tail.
Ricciardo, now on supersofts, put up the fastest lap [time] and agonisingly just missed out on making the podium, and becoming the first Australian to claim a podium place on home turf.
WHAT ELSE HAPPENED – Toro Rosso were all at sea as their two drivers Carlos Sainz and Verstappen squabbled with the young Dutchman being very annoyed at the team’s decision to put Sainz before him, and then the pair having contact after Sainz was not asked to move aside.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||56||1:35:36.380||25|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||56||+20.436s||10|
|7||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Renault||56||+30.639s||6|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||56||+39.594s||1|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||56||+44.050s||0|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||56||+44.725s||0|
|13||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Renault||56||+49.373s||0|
|14||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||56||+55.490s||0|
|15||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Mercedes||56||+58.241s||0|
|16||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||56||+62.604s||0|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||56||+65.296s||0|
|18||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||56||+66.330s||0|
|19||Charles Leclerc||Sauber Ferrari||56||+82.575s||0|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||51||DNF||0|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||37|
|6||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Renault||22|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||18|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||12|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||11|
|11||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Renault||6|
|13||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||2|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||0|
|16||Charles Leclerc||Sauber Ferrari||0|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||0|
|18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||0|
|19||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||0|
|20||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Mercedes||0|
|3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||55|
|6||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||12|
|9||Force India Mercedes||1|