Australian Grand Prix: Bottas – Hamilton – VerstappenMarch 17, 2019
The first race is one of the most interesting and exciting stages. There are still no leaders and outsiders, the alignment of forces has not yet been determined – the history of the next championship is written from a blank sheet.
In the winter tests, everyone called Ferrari the obvious favorite, but it took weeks, conditions changed and the track, and in the course of all sessions before the start of the Grand Prix, the rider Mercedes was surely the leader.
Lewis Hamilton led the training protocols on Friday and Saturday, and at the crucial time of qualification, won the pole with a new track record, but recently all were convinced that cars built in accordance with the new regulation will pass at a speed last year.
In the winter, teams were able to compensate for the lower aerodynamic efficiency of cars, driven by the desire of the FIA to facilitate overtaking and enhance the entertainment. Only WIlliams could not be added-the car built by Paddy Low last year was worse, and this year it became even slower, and nine days before the season, the team remained without a technical director.
One of the most anticipated events of the season was connected with Williams – the return of Robert Kubica, but during the three sessions out of four, before the start of the race, the Pole was the last.
The three racers in Melbourne spent their first Grand Prix in Formula 1 – George Russell at Williams, Alexander Elbon at Toro Rosso and Lando Norris at McLaren – and all three qualified in the qualification ahead of more experienced teammates.
From the first row of the starting field of the race Hamilton and Bottas started, with the second – Vettel and Verstappen , with the third – Leclerc and Grozhan.
Returning to Toro Rosso after a one-year break, Daniel Kwiat looked good on winter tests and during the weekend, but in qualifying at the crucial moment he was in traffic and started only 15th.
Before the start of the traditional group photo shoot, there was a minute of silence in memory of the director of the FIA Racing Charlie Whiting, who died suddenly on Thursday night in Melbourne, and about the victims of the terrorist attack in New Zealand.
Under the standard markings Hard, Medium and Soft this time used tires С2, С3 and С4. Most riders started off on Soft. Giovinazzzi, Quay, Stroll, Gasley and Russell chose Medium for the first race, and Kubica – Hard.
At the start, Bottas outstripped Hamilton, heading the race. Riccardo popped out on the grass, hooked the drain hatch and damaged the front wing. Magnussen outstripped Grosjan. Hulenkenberg, Stroll and Sains played several positions.
Kubica lost her front wing, clutching Gassley’s car. Norris’s blow to Raikkonen’s car was worthless.
Top ten on the 2nd circle: Bottas – Hamilton – Vettel – Verstappen – Leclerc – Magnussen – Grozhan – Hulenkenberg – Raikkonen – Norris.
Kubica and Riccardo folded into boxes, the riders changed their nose trim and tires.
Balthus gradually broke off from Hamilton, the one from Vettel – the peloton stretched out.
On the 8th lap Leclerc flew to the grass, but kept his position.
On the 11th lap, Sains’ machine produced a cloud of smoke and stopped at the entrance to the pit lane.
At 13th circle Raikkonen changed rubber – in boxes there was a hitch. On the 14th, Hulenkenberg and Perez held a pit stop, on the 15th – Vettel, Magnussen and Elbon, on the 16th – Hamilton, Gorzhan and Norris. When servicing the Gorzhan machine, the mechanics lost eight seconds when replacing the front left wheel.
On the 19th lap, Giovinazzzi was mistaken in the fight against Magnussen – and missed Kevin, Raikkonen and Hülkenberg.
Norris tried several times to get ahead of Giovinazzzi, riding on worn tires, but it’s hard to overtake Albert Park even with a big difference in speed.
On the 23rd lap Bottas replaced the rubber, returning to the second track, behind which he had not yet been in the box office of Verstappen.
On the 25th lap, Verstappen ran a pit stop. At 27th Norris still ahead of Giovinazzzi, after whom the Italian outstripped and Gorozhan.
At the 27th lap, the Kvyat replaced the rubber, returning to the 11th route. At 28th Russell, Stroll and Giovinazzzi held a pit stop, at 29th – Leclerc.
Fröstaken’s attack on the Vettel lagged behind, and on the 31st lap he stepped forward in the fight for third place.
On the 30th lap, Riccardo stopped the car in the box, at 31, Gorzhan stopped on the track and retired from the fight due to problems with the pendant.
Top ten on the 32nd lap: Bottas – Hamilton – Verstappen – Vettel – Leclerc – Gassley – Magnussen – Hulkenberg – Raikkonen – Stroll.
Hamilton complained about the problems with rubber, but heaved the pace when Ferspapen began to approach the rear.
On the 37th lap, the Kvyat flew into gravel after attempting to overtake Strolyn, but returned to the track and continued the fight.
On the 38th lap, Gassley replaced the rubber, Pierre went to the Kwiate on a cold tire, and Daniel overcame him. After a few laps, Gassley’s tire warmed up, but he failed to return.
Russell ran a pit stop on the 44th circle.
Top ten on the 45th circle: Bottas – Hamilton – Verstappen – Vettel – Leclerc – Magnussen – Hulkenberg – Raikkonen – Stroll – Kviate.
At the 47th lap, Kubica changed the rubber.
Verstappen drove out of the track in the first turn, having lost a half and a second, but retaining the position.
Leclerc gradually reduced the backlog from Vettel and tried to attack, but at the last moment released his partner.
In the last laps, Verstappen screwed up the pace and drove the best lap race in the fight for an extra point. Bottas also added at a pace – and left the best circle behind him.
Waltery Bottas won the Grand Prix of Australia, having won the fourth victory in his career and earning an extra point for the best lap. Losing more than twenty second second to Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes started the season with a winning double.
Max Verstappen rose to the third step of the podium – this is the first podium for the Honda motors with the 2008 Grand Prix.
Daniel Kwiat earned a point for the tenth place in the first race after returning to Formula One. In one lap, only five pilots finished with the leader. Williams riders lost two and three laps to the leader.
Two weeks later, the fight will continue in Bahrain.
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