F1 2017 is alive and kicking after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel beat pre-race favourite Lewis Hamilton to victory in the season-opening Australian GP.
Vettel drove a perfectly-judged race to claim the Scuderia’s first victory since 2015 as the all-round excellence of the new Ferrari car and an inspired strategy combined to deliver what was ultimately a comfortable victory.
“It’s a great relief for everyone,” said Vettel. “This is just the beginning.”
Did strategy cost Mercedes the win?
Hamilton, a frequent voice of frustration throughout the grand prix, crossed the line almost 10 seconds behind Vettel with Valtteri Bottas third on his Mercedes debut.
“They were quicker today, no doubt,” said Bottas. “It’s going to be a big challenge.”
In 19 of the last 27 seasons, the winner of the first race of the campaign has proceeded to win the championship.