Lewis Hamilton is anticipating another good fight with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday after the Silver Arrows locked out the front row for the first race of the 2015 F1 season.
Having lost none of its advantage from 2014, Mercedes stormed to P1 and P2 on Saturday in Melbourne, with Hamilton winning the intra-team battle to finish six-tenths of a second clear of Rosberg.
After going toe-to-toe for the drivers’ championship in 2014, Hamilton and Rosberg will renew their rivalry on Sunday, but it is the Briton who holds the momentum after Saturday.
“It’s been a great start to the weekend,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t feel like it has been a long time since the last race.
“A big rush and a huge effort from all the guys to enable us to come here and have this performance. I feel incredibly blessed to have this car. Today we found a good balance, and it was just about trying to push in those laps.
“It’s so much fun when you get into qualifying; you have those single laps that you have to push. I just feel incredibly grateful.”
Hamilton hopes to enjoy a better start to 2015 than he did last season, having retired from the race in Australia after just two laps whilst Rosberg went on to win.
“We had a difficult start to the season last year here, so definitely as a team, as a whole, we’re hoping for a better start – for both cars to succeed tomorrow,” Hamilton said.
“So we’re going to work as hard as we can to make sure we do that. Lots of work to be done tonight to study for the race tomorrow, because it’s going to be a huge challenge and a good fight hopefully with Nico.”
You can watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 12:30a ET tomorrow.
SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.
The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.
Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.
Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.
But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.
It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.
Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.