Vettel Storms to Australian GP Win

Sebastian Vettel did everything right on Sunday and clinched his first ever win in the Australian Grand Prix, leading the field from pole position to the chequered flag on the Albert Park Circuit.

As the new era of Formula 1 kicked off this weekend, Vettel always showed he’s up for it by dominating the qualifying on Saturday and setting an incredibly fast early pace in the Sunday race. The German maintained first position after the first corner and seldom lost it until the end, the only times the race had a different leader being when he made his first pitstops.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line some 22 seconds behind, after a somehow trouble-free race Down Under. While managing to maintain his deficit to Vettel under 10 seconds in the first half of the race, a run-off visit midway through the running damaged the floor of his McLaren MP4-26 and the British driver had to settle for a decent 2nd place (incredible finish considering the expectations set for this weekend).

The surprise came from Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, who became the first Russian driver to ever score a podium in Formula 1, finishing the race a second ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The Renault driver used a 2-pitstop strategy in Melbourne that almost cost him in the end, but nurtured his tires quite well in his last stint to eventually fend off attacks from the Spaniard in the last couple of laps.

Alonso managed to overcome a poor start – that sent him to 9th place after the first few corners – and recuperated to 7th place after a couple of laps. Later on, he benefited from a drivethrough penalty handed to McLaren’s Jenson Button for cutting a corner when passing Felipe Massa and jumped two spots to 5th place.

It took the Ferrari-an two rounds of pit stops to pass Red Bull’s Mark Webber, and his late surge seemed to get him close enough to Petrov to try an attack for the podium. It wasn’t to happen though, as he had to settle for 4th, just ahead of the Australian driver from Red Bull.

Jenson Button tackled the Aussie race with a 2-pitstop strategy – a normal one considering he’s a very careful driver when it comes to his tires – and survived his drivethrough penalty to end up in 6th place, just ahead of Sauber’s duo Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi.

Perez managed a phenomenal first race in the series and got himself out of trouble at the start, after which he used a one-pitstop strategy to emerge inside the Top 10. Behind Kobayashi, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa had a troubled afternoon to finish 9th, ahead of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi.

Mercedes failed to put at least one driver in the classification due to 2 racing incidents involving their drivers. Michael Schumacher suffered a puncture after the first corner and eventually retired due to safety reasons, while Nico Rosberg was hit from behind by Williams’ Rubens Barrichello and the contact damaged his cooling system beyond repair.

Force India finished just outside the points through Adrian Sutil and rookie Paul di Resta (11th and 12th respectively), while Jaime Alguersuari got over his first lap incident with Schumacher well enough and finished one lap down, in 13th place.

Renault’s Nick Heidfeld was easily the disappointment of the day, as he didn’t come even close to his teammate’s pace on Sunday and finished the race on a disappointing 14th place, one lap down to the leaders. The last drivers to be classified were Team Lotus’ Jarno Trulli and Virgin’s rookie Jerome D’Ambrosio.
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