Controlled Hamilton Takes Victory In Australian Battle Of Attrition

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Lewis Hamilton stayed in front of team-mate Nico Rosberg to win the first race of the season. The Briton was followed closely through the race by Rosberg but had it covered as Rosberg never quite got close enough to challenge. Sebastian Vettel secured third place and a first podium in his debut race as a Ferrari driver.

The weekend had already seen a depleted field as the Manor team were unable to get any track running and did not participate in the race. Sunday morning saw Valtteri Bottas ruled out of the race due to a back injury which flared up during qualifying. It was to get worse with Kevin Magnussen’s hopes to impress in his sub appearance for Fernando Alonso ended as the McLaren reserve driver pulled to the side of the track while on his way to the grid for the racestart. Danil Kvyat’s debut race for the senior Red Bull squad finished before it began due to a mechanical problem, leaving just 15 drivers to start a field which had 20 entrants when the weekend began.

It was a race with strong performances and few real incidents. The two Mercedes had their own private battle for the win as Vettel beat the sole remaining Williams of Felipe Massa to a podium. Felipe Nasr was the highest finisher of the drivers making their first start as all three put it strong drives. Carlos Sainz Jr picked up two points with a ninth place finish and teenager Max Verstappen showed Toro Rosso were right to give him a race seat at seventeen years old as he was in the hunt for points before his power unit failed.

Lewis Hamilton said in the post-race press conference that it was his ability to respond to Rosberg’s pressure which was key to his win.

“Nico was very quick throughout the race,” he said. “Once you get a two-second gap you try to manage that.

“There’s no need to eke out more, but when Nico turned up the heat, I was able to react, which is good.”

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Nico Rosberg said he did everything he could to pass his team-mate but it was not enough as he had to settle for second place.

“The attack was most definitely there,” he said. “But Lewis made no mistakes, it was not possible to get closer than that, let alone try to overtake.

“It was a matter of saving a little bit of fuel in the middle of the race to be able to go full-on at the end.

“But Lewis did a similar thing, so in the end he could also push, so it didn’t really help me unfortunately.”

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Proud of his third place finish, Sebastian Vettel was full of praise for his Ferrari team as he got his first podium finish for Ferrari.

It feels great. It’s a very, very big honour. I’m very happy. Obviously it’s a great start to the season for us. We had a very good winter already; the team has worked phenomenally hard. ”

“We can very proud, I said to the guys, thank you very much, grazie mille, abbiamo una machina bella, we have a great car not only in qualifying but for the race as well and it’s great to join them and I’m really proud.”

“There’s a lot of work ahead of us trying to beat these two and beat Mercedes but I’m sure we will.”

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Felipe Nasr commented on a race which the Brazilian said could not have gone better. The Sauber driver drove well to stay ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and net a strong fifth place for a Sauber team which had a tough weekend due to legal matters in Australia.

“It was a unique feeling, I couldn’t ask for better,” he said. “It was a dream come true.

“It’s been some hard years to arrive in Formula 1, and to see that finish line was a big relief.

“It’s a pleasant feeling for everyone that believed in me since the beginning.”

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Daniel Ricciardo finished in sixth, in a race where he struggled to keep up with the Sauber of Felipe Nasr. The Australian remarked that Red Bull were a long way off the pace of the leading Mercedes team but was optimistic that Red Bull would improve.

“Winter was a lot better than last year but in terms of pace we’re not one second off, it’s more 2s, 2.5s off,” Ricciardo said.

“We know where a lot of that lies but obviously there’s some more as well and that’s unexpected.

“We’re definitely behind, but it is what it is and we’ve got to try to make the best of it. I’m sure we will get there but it could be a little while.”

Australian Grand Prix Result

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m54.067s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1.360s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 34.523s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 38.196s
5 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.149s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1 Lap
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
11 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 2 Laps
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Wheel
Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault Power Unit
Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda Not started
Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes Withdrawn
Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault Not started
Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes Power Unit
Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes Collision
Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari Withdrawn
Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari Withdrawn
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