Lewis Hamilton won the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 15, his seventh win in the last eight races. Hamilton dominated the first race of the campaign to open up his championship defence with a win while his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg came second while Sebastian Vettel secured the final podium spot on his Ferrari debut with Felipe Massa 4th for Williams and Jenson Button finished 11th and last after nursing his McLaren home.
The feat by Hamilton and Roseberg in Melbourne means that Mercedes have now scored 12 one-two finishes in the last 12 months.
The fiften car-race that took place at the Albert Park in Melbourne was the lowest since the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix. And only 11 out of the 15 cars that started the race made it to the finish line.
While Hamilton safely negotiated the opening lap, Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari caught Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, which then clipped Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus. It clunked into the wall, Maldonado’s participation over. Down to 14. His team-mate Romain Grosjean was then wheeled into the garage after suffering power failure. Make that 13. Max Verstappen, the history-making Toro Rosso man, was next to go. ‘Smoke in the car,’ said Verstappen, anxiously. And with his race cut shot by that spark of fire, the number of competing cars reduced to 12.
Kimi Raikkonen was the next and last victim of the day when a poor pit stop left him with a barely fitted left rear wheel to continue racing. He pulled up and headed to the garage, leaving 11 cars to complete the race.
Expectedly, the 30-year-old Briton was in ecstatic mood after storming to his 34th Grand Prix victory and sixth in the last seven races in Melbourne. He declares: “It is an incredible feeling to continue winning.”
“I am very honoured to be up here with these amazing drivers and great work from the team,” he added.
Rosberg, also savoured his breadth-taking second spot finish.His words: “It’s a nice feeling to be second because it is anawesome start to the season for Mercedes.Lewis drove like a world champion, but I drove to the maxevery lap and I will be doing my best to give this guy a bigrun for his money.”
As for the second runners up, Vettel who staged a comeback from retirement, the outcome of the race was an encouraging as well as wake up call for ‘Team Ferrari’. “It feels great to be withFerrari. It’s a very big honour and I’m very happy. ‘We’vehad a great winter and I said to the guys thanks very much.I’m very proud, but there’s a lot of work ahead to beat thesetwo and Mercedes,” he declared.
Australian Grand Prix Final standing:
1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Sebastian Vettel 4) Felipe Massa 5) Felipe Nasr 6) Daniel Ricciardo 7) Nico Hulkenberg 8) Marcus Ericsson 9) Carlos Sainz 10) Sergio Perez (11) Jenson Button
By Olisemeka Obeche