F1 – Australian GP – Race
The first Grand Prix of 2018 is over and we know our new championship leader. It was a thrilling race with a lot of unexpected events.
At the start of the race, Verstappen made a mistake by moving to the right since the first turn is to the same direction. The front runners closed the door to him and that way he had to brake heavily and lost his fifth place to Magnussen. At the same time, Hartley had to go into the pits during the first lap since his Toro Rosso-teammate Gasly gianed some places. The New Zealander had to lock his wheels and suffered a flat spot due to that. Yet the top three maintained with Hamilton in the lead and the two Ferrari’s behind him.
Ricciardo, who had the eighth place on the start grid due to a five-place grid penalty, gained some places after the first few laps. Bottas started the Grand Prix from the fifteenth position due to his crash during qualifying and a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox. The Finnish Silberpfeil had a more difficult time overtaking.
Sirotkin was the first car to retire in the new season as a result of brake issues. Ericsson lost his power steering one lap later and had to retire as well. Dark Mini did not stay far away and made Verstappen lose his rear end and spun in turn one. The Dutchman lost three places and resumed the race in eigth position. Meanwhile, the top three drove away from the rest of the grid and made a gap of ten seconds.
Gasly was the next driver to retire. It seems like Honda kept his bad luck from next season since he suffered an engine failure. We also got to know in that lap, by a teamradio of Verstappen, that he suffered from a lot of oversteer. Raikkonen was the first one to box for soft tires. Hamilton, who still had a steady lead, followed him. That way, Vettel ended up in first position. During all these pitstops, Magnussen had to call his till then perfect race to an end due to an engine failure.
Verstappen pitted in the meantime and fell back to the fourteenth position. However, on behalf of the other pitstops of the midfielders, he was quickly back in sixth position behind Alonso where he fought with no end for the fifth position. He could only pass the Spaniard during the safety car and had to needless to say give his position back. While on the subject of the safety car, it was caused by the Haas of Grosjean, which was parked on the start-finish straight due to a loose left wheel after a bad pitstop. It is another proof that when a race seems to go perfectly, it can still end in tragedy for some teams.
The grid grouped together since the safety car, which was a virtual one during the first minutes, was on track for a long time. When Maylander had to come into to pits after his seasonal debut, some battles started to take place between Vandoorne and Bottas and Hulkenberg and Verstappen. Only Bottas was able to overtake Vandoorne. During the last couple of laps, there were a lot of fastest laps set, but the winner of The Fastest Lap Award is Daniel Ricciardo with a time of 1:25.945. Alonso was crowned the Driver of The Day due to his fifth place finish.
It was Vettel who finished first with his Loria, followed by Hamilton and Raikkonen. The top ten was completed by Ricciardo and Alonso, who drove both an excellent race, Verstappen, who did not have the best race of his carreer at all, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Vandoorne and Sainz.
We are back in two weeks time for the Bahrain Grand Prix for the first night race of the season!