Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel made the most of an unusual Mercedes tactical mistake to beat Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag of the 2017 Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton had looked unstoppable during Friday practice, going around half a second faster than the rest of the field in both sessions. Vettel began to show his pace during saturday morning practice but once again was trumped by the brit in qualifying.
Many fans are hoping that the new rules will close the gap between the dominant Mercedes cars and the rest of the field, but by the way Hamilton flew off the line, it looked as if we may be in for a repeat of the last 3 years. Encouragingly, Vettel was comfortably hanging onto the back of the silver arrow, and when Lewis stopped for his one and only pit stop on lap 17, the German was released to build a lead. Lap 22 saw Vettel stop and was released from the pit lane way ahead of Hamilton, who was stuck behind a slower Max Verstappen. Sebastian built on his lead, whilst Lewis recovered to finish second and his new team mate Valteri Bottas in third.
After a torrid winter, McLaren had as expected a very tough weekend, with double world champion, Fernando Alonso retiring and rookie Stoffel Vandoorne coming in last. This only building to the pressure for Honda to develop a competitive engine.
Fingers are crossed that the 2017 season will be as close as 10 years ago, and from round 1, the signs are positive.
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