Sebastian Vettel was pleased to get his Ferrari career off to a successful start by finishing third in today’s Australian Grand Prix behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Starting fourth, Vettel entered a race-long battle with Felipe Massa on lap one of the race, and managed to pass the Brazilian through the pit stops after going three laps longer on his first stint.
The ex-Red Bull driver then controlled the gap to Massa for the rest of the race, crossing the line 3.6 seconds ahead of the Williams driver to finish third.
Given the imperious pace of the Mercedes drivers at the front of the field, finishing as the ‘best of the rest’ in third place was perhaps the best result that Vettel could have wished for in Australia.
To make the result all the sweeter for Vettel, Red Bull picked up just eight points in total as Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth, with Daniil Kvyat failing to start the race thanks to a gearbox failure on his installation lap.
It may be early days in 2015, but Vettel’s decision to jump ship and move to Ferrari already appears to be paying dividends.
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.