There was a lot of excitement before the opening ace of the 2017 Formula one seson got underway with home favourite Daniel Ricciardo continuing the bad luck streak that hits Aussie racers at their home event when his Red Bull Racing gearbox got stuck in 6th gear on his way to the grid.
Getting taken back to the pits in the recovery truck, it was hoped that the team could get the car repaired in time to get him in the race, even if it did mean starting from pitlane, and he did, but not until 2 full laps had already taken place.
The start itself was aborted the first time so drivers had to do a second formation lap. When the lights went out, the expected happened, Hamilton took off and lead into the first corner with Vettel staying second and Bottas third, just how they started.
As the midfield came through the first corner there was a bit of a scuffle that saw Magnussen and Ericsson into the gravel. They both carried on for a short time, however reliability wasn’t strong at this event, with seven drivers forced to finish the day a lot earlier than expected, including Ricciardo, who eventually parked it in the gravel.
Lewis Hamilton came in for an early stop, allowing Sebastian Vettel into the lead. When the Mercedes driver came back out of the pits, it was behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, and no matter what he tried, Hamilton was unable to get through. This enabled Vettel to pull out a strong lead that Hamilton was unable to recover from. Vettel won ahead of both Mercedes, Hamilton then Bottas.
“Some races you win, some races you lose, and when the days come where another team has done a better job, you need to accept that with humility and recognise their performance. Today, Sebastian and Ferrari were well-deserved winners. From the early stages of the race, it was clear that Sebastian was very quick because Lewis wasn't able to pull away,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said after race. “Sebastian came into the window where the undercut was possible and we had the feeling at that point that the tyres were not lasting>”
“ It was the team's impression on the pit wall looking at the data and Lewis' in the car, too. So that was when, with all the clear risks of coming out in traffic, we took the decision to come in. We were between a rock and a hard place, really, and we went for it. But Ferrari played it very well - and they had the quicker car today.’
‘After that, we seemed to pick up in performance on the Soft tyres. Lewis managed everything perfectly and I must compliment Valtteri, too - he showed really good pace, made no mistakes through the whole weekend and got his first podium with the team in his first race. Now, the job for us is to learn the lessons from this race, understand why we didn't perform to our maximum today and keep working hard to improve the car in every area. “
As Kimi Raikkonen came fourth, ahead of Max Verstappen in fifth, Ferrari leave the Albert Park Circuit as leaders in both the drivers and team’s championship.