It was a one-two finish for Mercedes-AMG at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, the opening round of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship.
Star driver Lewis Hamilton started the race on pole but it was his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who would cross the finish line first. Hamilton, the reigning champ, crossed second, though was 20 seconds back.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was the performance of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, now running on Honda power. After an impressive drive, Max Verstappen finished third just a few seconds behind Hamilton.
Sadly for Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc, it wasn't the dream start he must have been hoping for. The Italian team already lacked pace, and after a small error on lap 8 that saw him lose ground to Verstappen, Leclerc pressed on and could have finished in fourth. However, he was given team orders to hold back and let fellow Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who was managing his tires toward the end of the race, cross first. Thus, Leclerc had to settle for fifth.
Renault's Daniel Ricciardo at the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix
It also wasn't a dream start for local hero Daniel Ricciardo, who drove his first race with Renault. The Australian suffered a broken front wing in the first seconds of the race after running wide onto the grass while attempting to pass Racing Point’s Sergio Perez. He later swapped for a new nose but didn't make much headway and eventually retired on lap 30 with another issue.
Another impressive run was that of Haas' Kevin Magnussen, who finished sixth thanks to a brilliant start. After qualifying behind teammate Romain Grosjean in seventh, Magnussen was able to jump ahead and establish a gap with the trailing drivers.
Unfortunately for Grosjean, delays were caused with a tire issue during a pit stop on lap 15. This dropped him to 14th and served as a precursor to his retirement. Another driver to retire was McLaren's Carlos Sainz, whose car caught fire on lap 9.
Thanks to also setting the fastest lap on the day, earning him a bonus point, Bottas currently leads the 2019 Drivers' Championship with 26 points. Hamilton is second with 18 points and Verstappen is third with 15 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 44 points versus the 22 of Ferrari and 15 of Red Bull. The next race on the calendar is the Bahrain Grand Prix in a fortnight.
2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
1) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG +20.886 seconds
3) Max Verstappen, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +22.520 seconds
4) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari +57.109 seconds
5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +58.230 seconds
6) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +87.156 seconds
7) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault +1 lap
8) Kimi Räikkönen, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
9) Lance Stroll, Racing Point +1 lap
10) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso +1 lap
11) Pierre Gasly, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +1 lap
12) Lando Norris, McLaren +1 lap
13) Sergio Perez, Racing Point +1 lap
14) Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso +1 lap
15) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
16) George Russell, Williams +2 laps
17) Robert Kubica, Williams +3 laps
Ret) Romain Grosjean, Haas
Ret) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
Ret) Carlos Sainz, McLaren