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Australian GP: Bottas dominates to take victory in Melbourne

  • Published on 17 Mar 2019 07:39
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Valtteri Bottas has won the opening race of the 2019 Formula 1 season, dominating from lights out to the chequered flag.

The Mercedes driver crossed the finish line 21 seconds ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton in second place, and now leads the F1 drivers' championship for the first time in his career.

Bottas overtook Hamilton off the start line and led into the first corner. He conceded his lead momentarily when he made his pit stop on lap 23 to Max Verstappen, who made his one and only stop two laps later.

Bottas also picked up an extra point as he set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix.

Verstappen chased down Hamilton towards the end of the race, making his way past Sebastian Vettel on lap 31. However, he couldn't get past the five-time world champion, even making a mistake in his pursuit, which set him back a number of seconds. 

Bottas pitted later than Hamilton, as Mercedes was forced into an early stop for Hamilton to cover Vettel, who came into the pit lane on lap 15 for a set of the medium tyres. 

Vettel struggled towards the end of the Grand Prix, with teammate Charles Leclerc, who eventually finished in fifth place closed to within a second after the gap previously boasted roughly 13 seconds.

Daniel Ricciardo's maiden race for Renault got off to a disastrous start, as he lost his front wing on the run into the first corner.

The Australian was squeezed onto the grass which resulted in heavy damage. Ricciardo eventually retired on lap 31 of the race.

The first DNF of the year came from Carlos Sainz in the McLaren, as the MCL34 caught fire on lap 11. Romain Grosjean also retired from the event with a suspected suspension issue.

However, it wasn't all pain for Haas, as Kevin Magnussen scored a sixth-place finish. 

The Dane head Nico Hulkenberg who managed some points for Renault. Kimi Raikkonen was eighth for Alfa Romeo, while Lance Stroll, who dropped out of Q1 on Saturday, crossed the line in ninth place.

Pierre Gasly failed to break into the top ten and was stuck behind Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat for much of the race, with the Russian picking up the final point. 

AU Albert Park - 17 March 2019

Photos Australia 2019

Replies (9)

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  • An... interesting start of the season. For Mercedes to be so far ahead is concerning, but Im glad Bottas was the one to dominate. Now he needs to do this every race from now on. Ferrari's got work ahead of them. But Red Bull... That Honda worked pretty well for them, didn't it? I was promised dream-powered explosions, but the only explosion was that of a Honda-powered dutchman when the V-TEC kicked in. But Gasly really didn't look very convincing at all, did he? As for Renault: what on earth is going on? They've had woes with their MGU-K for ages, surely they've solved it for this year, and Sainz' woes was just a random error? HAAS, as per usual, looking for new, inventive ways to retire from a race. All that aside, a very close midfield, which is nice. No weird pitting for fastest laps this time at least.

    • + 0
    • Mar 17 2019 - 08:20
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 102

      Happy for Bottas but my hopes are with Red Bull now to end Mercedes domination. Albert Park is really a bad track for overtaking. Even with a supposed mega DRS didn't see many overtakes. I understand that Ferrari were being cautious and wanted to maintain status quo but they could have atleast allowed Leclerc a pit stop for some fresh soft tires and go for that extra point. There was a huge gap in between even acounting for a really bad pit stop. Midfield is close and Bahrain should be interesting. Giovinazzi defended brilliantly and kind of sacrificed his own race. I would say he pulled a Marcus Ericsson.

      • + 0
      • Mar 17 2019 - 09:11
    • @calle Good balance of the race. I want to believe Bottas will be truly competitive, but I do have in the back of my mind the fact that apparently Lewis' floor was damaged. Not to take away from Bottas who was flawless all weekend, but I find myself quite skeptical of the margin of that win.

      That being said, Australia tends to be an oddity in the calendar. I don't find it particularly good at predicting the rest of the year. Not just due to the nature of the track, but also the fact that cars are all new, with lots of untested parts.

      Whatever the case I am massively excited by the battle in the midfield.

      Also @calle, see why I was skeptical of Ferrari's intent to respect Leclerc and not making him a #2? It really bothered me to see them not even allow Charles to give it or go. Magnussen was really far back, they didn't even properly try for fastest lap. This would have been big for Charles after a tough start. Damn you Scuderia once again.

      • + 0
      • Mar 17 2019 - 23:45
    • @abhidbgt yeah Bahrain ought to be interesting.

      @AJPP yeah, I wonder about that too, but time will tell. Bottas had such a convincing start anyway so Im pretty sure he'd win anyway.

      And I fully agree Albert park is an oddity, yet I think we can read one or two pieces from this race. For instance, RB tend to be pretty weak around this track.

      As for LeC: yeah more than anything it was a vain hope from my side. But it's still early days.

      • + 0
      • Mar 18 2019 - 06:39
  • Good race, some overtaking, more q's than answers in some ways, but a brilliant start for the driver of the day, Bottas - do wonders for his confidence. If he can maintain this focus he will push Hamilton harder than any the others. Hamilton didn't look too concerned by the result (for him, that is..) suggesting a level of confidence in where his issue was. Also, I like the 1 point for fastest lap - it was a great addition to the mix, quite often in the past races tended to be processions to the end - not any more I suspect. Bravo F1, great start - RIP Charlie.

    • + 0
    • Mar 17 2019 - 09:47
  • Kean

    Posts: 496

    Impressed by Bottas and Verstappen today. Also Kvyat and Stroll did really well, in part thanks to Giovinazzi. Gasliy looked bleak... if this is a sign of things to come then we could see Kvyat replacing him mid-season. Ferrari... well let’s hope they bounce back in two weeks. Renault a big disappointment, they should be fourth but clearly Haas is.

    • + 0
    • Mar 17 2019 - 09:48
  • f1ski

    Posts: 380

    Ferrari will be sporting a front wing like Mercedes next race

    • + 0
    • Mar 17 2019 - 12:41
    • Maybe - I was disappointed to see team orders in THE FIRST RACE - surely LEC should have been allowed to pass and show us the kind of pace he had to the end of the race. On that basis, if LEC is on pole, he will be asked to wait on the line till VET passes and then start his race. Bonkers - pls don't do this again !

      • + 1
      • Mar 17 2019 - 16:11
  • Job well done Valtteri! Don't like seeing the Mercs so dominant but happy that it was Bottas running away. Good on ya mate!

    • + 2
    • Mar 17 2019 - 17:30

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    11:40 - 13:10

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    13:10 - 14:10

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Local time 

  • Fridayweather-image

  • Free practice 1

    11:40 - 13:10

    Free practice 2

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  • Saturdayweather-image

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  • Sunday weather-image

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  • Points 924
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  • Date of b. Aug 28 1989 (29)
  • Place of b. Nastola, Finland
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Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix
Circuit
-
Spain
-
Spain
15 - Mar 17
Australia
29 - Mar 31
Bahrain
-
Bahrain
12 - Apr 14
China
26 - Apr 28
Azerbaijan
10 - May 12
Spain
-
Spain
23 - May 26
Monaco
7 - Jun 9
Canada
21 - Jun 23
France
28 - Jun 30
Austria
12 - Jul 14
United Kingdom
26 - Jul 28
Germany
2 - Aug 4
Hungary
30 - Sep 1
Belgium
6 - Sep 8
Italy
20 - Sep 22
Singapore
27 - Sep 29
Russian
11 - Oct 13
Japan
25 - Oct 27
Mexico
1 - Nov 3
United States of America
15 - Nov 17
Brazil
29 - Dec 1
United Arab Emirates
See full schedule

Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
15 - Mar 17
Australia Albert Park
29 - Mar 31
12 - Apr 14
26 - Apr 28
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
10 - May 12
23 - May 26
Monaco Monte Carlo
7 - Jun 9
21 - Jun 23
France Paul Ricard
28 - Jun 30
Austria Red Bull Ring
12 - Jul 14
United Kingdom Silverstone
26 - Jul 28
Germany Hockenheimring
2 - Aug 4
Hungary Hungaroring
30 - Sep 1
6 - Sep 8
Italy Monza
20 - Sep 22
27 - Sep 29
Russian Sochi Autodrom
11 - Oct 13
25 - Oct 27
1 - Nov 3
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
15 - Nov 17
Brazil Interlagos
29 - Dec 1
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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