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Vettel outpaces Hamilton in Melbourne as F1 2017 gets underway

Written by: Neil

Ferrari enjoyed their first triumph in a Formula One season opener since 2010 as Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix.

A new F1 season always whips up excitement in the Petrol News office and with new changes, such as more aerodynamic cars and wider tyres, there was an extra dose of anticipation this time round.

Anyone who got up extra early to catch the action live on TV certainly wouldn’t have felt let down as they witnessed Vettel’s first win since the Singapore GP in September 2015.

Throughout practice and qualifying, it was tough to say whether Mercedes or Ferrari really had the upper hand and although Hamilton started in pole, Vettel had the edge when it came to pace and tyre wear.

Hamilton was 1.8 seconds ahead at one stage, but Vettel soon caught up as the Englishman ran out of tyres. An early Mercedes pit stop left the three-time F1 champion stuck behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. This helped Vettel to pit later and get back out while still ahead, and that was enough to turn the tide in Ferrari’s favour.

Speaking after the race, Vettel had plenty of praise for his team: “We did a very good race. I’m very happy with the calls today.

“It worked brilliantly and big thanks to the team. We say this all the time but I think if you’re not part of the team, I think it’s difficult to realise. But what this team has done in the last six months has been really tough, rough as well, not easy to manage.”

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne was relieved to have loosened Mercedes’ hold on F1.

“It was about time,” he remarked. “We’ve been waiting for this victory for almost a year and a half.

“Sebastian delivered a great race and I am sure Kimi [Raikkonen] will be soon up there battling alongside his team mate.”

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, adds: “This was a great result for F1 and Ferrari and it looks like someone could beat the Germans this year. I can’t wait for Shanghai on April 9th!”

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