2017 Australian Grand Prix – Race Report

(Above) Antonio Giovanzzi makes his way to the starting grid in his Formula One debut for Sauber. 

Image Source: Channel 4

Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag at the Australian Grand Prix for Ferrari, their first win in 27 races. Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton finished second for Mercedes, with teammate Valtteri Bottas close behind in third.

The key turning point of the races took place during the first round of pit stops as Hamilton was brought in for Hard tyres and handed the lead to Vettel. After intially closing the gap to the German, Hamilton lost time behind Verstappen in the Red Bull and struggled to overtake. Subsequently, Vettel opted to stayed out for five more laps and when he did eventually pit, he retained the lead of the race. 

Ferrari demonstrated fastest race pace on the day, exemplified by Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1:26.538 on the second to last lap. Despite this, the four time world champion wasn’t getting too carried away.

“There is a long, long way ahead. We have a lot to prove still but for now we are just happy”, adding:”It is March now. I know people start to get excited but it is our job to work and I am much happier if we are working now and not talking”.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates a well deserved victory; Ferrari’s eighth in Australia.

Image Source: Channel 4

Meanwhile, Hamilton defended Mercedes’ decision to call him in for a pit stop on lap 18: “My strategy was to stop on lap 19 and I think I stopped on lap 18. I had nothing left in my tyres”.

In addition to this, Hamilton stated he looking forward to fighting against Ferrari and Vettel: “It is going to be a close race. I truly believe we can beat them. It is great to see Ferrari there”.

Further down the field, Räikkönen held off Max Verstappen for fourth place, whilst Williams’ Felipe Massa proved he still has fire burning within to finish alone in sixth. 

Sergio Perez (right, Force India) overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr. (Toro Rosso) around the outside of turn 3.

Sergio Perez in the Force India pulled off a ballsy manouvere on Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Toro Rosso to beat the line for seventh, with Danill Kvyat making a late pit stop due to a loss air pressure, finishing ninth. The final point went to Force India’s Esteban Ocon, who overtook Fernando Alonso’s McLaren on the home straight and then stayed ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault for tenth. 

Esteban Ocon (Force India) completes his overtake on Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, with Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) following through.

Image Source: Channel 4

However, in the lead up to the pass, Ocon’s front wing emplate clipped the right rear wheel of Alonso’s car, resulting in the Spainard to retire shortly after. Antonio Giovanazzi, drafted in by Sauber on Saturday after Pascal Wherlein decleared himself unfit, finished 12th on his Formula One debut.

For the home favourite Daniel Ricciardo, his weekend was a nightmare. After crashing out of Q3, and recieving a five place grid to put on 15th in the Red Bull, the Aussie slowed to his way to the starting grid, an issue which involved the gearbox and electronics. As a result, he started the race two laps down and eventually retired on lap 38. 

To stay that Daniel Ricciardo had a difficult weekend is an understatement, having crashed out in qualifying (top) and stopping on his way to the grid due to a sensor failurr on the gearbox (middle), before his eventual retirement (bottom).

Image Source: Channel 4

Haas also suffered a difficult race, with Romain Grosjean experienced a water leak after qualifying in a promising sixth. His teammate Kevin Magnussen also suffered a right rear suspension after collecting Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson at turn 3 on the opening lap.

Quote of the day: Max Verstappen: “How much faster is the fastest lap?” Christian Horner (Red Bull Team Principal): “Too fast”
2017 Australian Grand Prix Official Classification

  1. Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Ferrari 1:24:11.670 25 Points
  2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes +9.975 18pts
  3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes +11.250 15pts
  4. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN), Ferrari +22.393 12pts
  5. Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull +28.827 10pts
  6. Felipe Massa (BRA), Williams +1:23.368 8pts
  7. Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India +1 lap 6pts
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Toro Rosso +1 lap 4pts
  9. Danill Kvyat (RUS), Toro Rosso +1 lap 2pts
  10. Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India +1 lap 1pt
  11. Nico Hulkenberg (DEU), Renault +1 lap
  12. Antonio Giovanzzi (ITA), Sauber +2 laps
  13. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren +2 laps


  • Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren, Front Wing Damage/Suspension 
  • Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas, Right Rear Suspension
  • Lance Stroll (CDN), Williams, Broken Brake Disc
  • Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull, Engine
  • Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber, Hydralics
  • Joylon Palmer, (GBR), Renault, Brake Failure
  • Romain Grosjean, (FRA), Haas, Water Leak

The Constructors’ Championship after the opening round in Melbourne, Australia.

Image Source: Channel 4


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