Ferrari's Sebatsian Vettel claims new era after Australian Grand Prix win

Jeannette Daniel
March 29, 2017

At the season opening race in Melbourne, Verstappen challenged for a podium place, and provided a hard obstruction for Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes' pit-stop - something that would prove ultimately pivotal in the Mercedes' attempt to win the race. "Pole might be a stretch but I think we can be in that next little group with the right setup and the right lap in quali". Max Verstappen qualified and finished fifth, though he closed up to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages.

What the global Formula One circuit and its new owners Liberty Media, which had clinched majority control in a $US8 billion deal in January, got was some exciting racing and some challenges to the dominant Mercedes team and its lead driver Lewis Hamilton.

Even the vanquished Hamilton welcomed Ferrari's first grand prix triumph in 18 months.

"But look, it's the first race so hopefully we'll move forward from this".

After Vettel recorded three wins in 2015, the Ferraris had fallen off the pace in the second half of 2016.

Red Bull Racing, on the other hand, had remained off the pace throughout testing and then practice this weekend, and will now be playing catch-up before the next grand prix in China in a fortnight.

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After crashing out in the third and final part of qualifying for the opening round of the championship in Melbourne, Daniel Ricciardo was handed a five-place grid penalty and would've started the race from 15th on the grid.

"It was quite mad in a positive way when I was coming back to the pits and the people were running on the track going wild with the Ferrari flags, you know it was unbelievable", he said.

Ricciardo was eventually able to join the race two laps after the start, but retired after 25 laps when a suspected fuel pressure problem left him stranded out on track.

"I feel bad for everyone".

Although disappointed to be starting tenth, Ricciardo said he wasn't disappointed by the fact he crashed as it proves he was pushing to the limit.

"I think the auto is better than we are showing but it is a bit of a puzzle we are trying to work out", Ricciardo added.

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