Bottas beats Hamilton, Verstappen, and Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) won the 1st round of the Championship, Sunday in Melbourne, ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, in pole, and Max Verstappen (Red Bull). The Finnish also took the point of the best lap in the race. No Ferrari on the podium: Sebastian Vettel finished 4th and Charles Leclerc 5th.
The result of the qualifying session of the Australian Grand Prix was a shock, as was the race. On Sunday in Melbourne, Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) opened the World Championship with an authoritarian victory, 20 seconds ahead of his teammate, Lewis Hamilton. On a track that he does not like, on which he does not feel “comfortable at 100%”, the Finn sealed his destiny early on by taking off better than the other silver arrow, the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the second “Rossa” of Charles Leclerc .
With better lap times during the race, Bottas widened the gap with a powerless Lewis Hamilton, who neverin the pits to ensure this new reward. He understood that it would be coveted, and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) got it for a while. Aggressive, reborn after a victoryless 2018 season, Bottas finally clinched the extra point at the 57th of 58 laps to gain the 26 points of a perfect race.
Grosjean cursed, Hülkenberg 7th
Lewis Hamilton, disappointed, was never a contender because of a pit-stop too early stand in the race, due to Ferrari’s undercut attempt with Sebastian Vettel. And Hamilton would never have imagined having to struggle at the end of the race to contain the return of an incredible Verstappen, who offered the Honda engine its 175th podium, the first since the one of Rubens Barrichello at the 2008 Britain Grand Prix.
The Dutchman finished in front of Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) after a superb maneuver. The Scuderia driver, Charles Leclerc, fell behind quickly after going off-track, before closing the gap near the end. He was probably able to overtake the German with failing grip but the Scuderia froze the positions.
Romain Grosjean was in contention for sixth place but was stopped by a failure of the front wheel of his Haas 5 laps after a catastrophic pit-stop. His Danish teammate won the “best of the rest” prize. Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) helped overcome his team’s disappointment in Daniel Ricciardo retiring soon, by finishing seventh. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), Lance stroll (racing point) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) grabbed the last points just ahead of Pierre Gasly (Red Bull), who started 17th.