It was like 2014’s spectacular season for Mercedes AMG never ended, with the team finishing up yesterday’s 2015 Formula One World Championship season opener, the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park, with a decisive one-two finish. It was reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton who crossed the line first, followed by last year’s runner-up Nico Rosberg just 1.36 seconds back.
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Third place went to Ferrari’s new recruit Sebastian Vettel, though the gap between the four-time world champion and the race winner was more than 34 seconds. Still, the German was more than happy with the result, shouting “Forza Ferrari” into his radio after the race. It was the team’s first podium since Fernando Alonso finished second in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix and it was Vettel’s first since a third place in Japan, also in 2014.
Williams’ Felipe Massa crossed the line fourth while incredibly Sauber newcomer Felipe Nasr finished fifth on his F1 debut. Nasr was a full 95 seconds behind the winner, however.
After a strong qualifying result, the Mercedes duo led off the front row, followed by Felipe Massa in the Williams. There was drama aplenty, however, with the new Mercedes-AMG GT S safety car forced to come out and only 11 cars finally finishing the race. The safety car was out at the start as Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus spun and crashed at Turn 2 on the opening lap, leaving plenty of debris to deal with. By then we had also lost McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen (filling in for Fernando Alonso) and Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s new recruit Daniil Kvyat who had problems on the way to the grid and, of course the two Manor/Marussia cars were not there either. Williams’ other driver Valtteri Bottas also sat out the race due to a back injury during qualifying.
Ferrari at the 2015 Formula One Australian Grand Prix
Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth at his home event, though suffered the indignity of being lapped by the race leaders right at the end. Force India, which didn’t have an easy time developing its new car for the 2015 season, at least managed to finish the race, with its star driver Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh. Eighth went to Sauber’s other driver Marcus Ericsson while Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz finished ninth. Rounding out the top ten was Force India’s other driver Sergio Perez.
Following the Australian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 25 points. In second is Nico Rosberg with 18 points and in third is Sebastian Vettel with 15 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG leads with 43 points, followed by Ferrari in second with 15 points and Sauber in third with 14 points. The next race on the calendar is the Malaysian Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Below are the full results for the 2015 Formula One Australian Grand Prix:
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG
2) Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG
3) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
5) Felipe Massa, Williams
5) Felipe Nasr, Sauber
6) Daniel Ricciardo, Infiniti Red Bull Racing
7) Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
8) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
9) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso
10) Sergio Perez, Force India
11) Jenson Button, McLaren
Ret) Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari
Ret) Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso
Ret) Romain Grosjean, Lotus
Ret) Pastor Maldonado, Lotus
DNS) Daniil Kvyat, Infiniti Red Bull Racing
DNS) Kevin Magnussen, McLaren