Vettel downs Hamilton to win AGP

Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has stressed that Ferrari must stay focused after Sebastian Vettel gave them victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

It's eighteen months since Vettel last won a race, but he won this race with a auto that looked to be quicker than the Mercedes, and cunning that outwitted the German team.

In 19 of the last 27 seasons, the victor of the first race of the campaign has proceeded to win the championship. It's great to see people smiling. As a team I think we did a good job with the auto we had. We won't panic, though.

"I struggled quite a lot with the ultra soft tires, I felt I was sliding around, missing some front and rear grip", he said at the post-race media conference. "We will come out stronger".

While qualifying showed that Mercedes still has the edge as far as outright pace is concerned, Sebastian Vettel demonstrated that the Ferrari is close.

"This is one of many steps and we have to enjoy what we do". Sebastian explained, talking about his new auto, "Gina". That is why we always considered Red Bull or Ferrari to be real competitors - and they were.

Lewis Hamilton says he is looking forward to the prospect of having a direct fight with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for the 2017 Formula One world championship.

"It was about time", Marchionne said.

There may only have been one pit stop for the leaders, but this was an exciting race in many ways, mainly for the fact that the 2017-2018 season in F1 looks like it might be a proper competition.

But like Vettel, Marchionne is not getting carried away at the start of a globe-trotting season which will wrap up in Abu Dhabi in November.

Fernando Alonso was surprisingly upbeat in the paddock about the new orange McLaren despite a pre-season dogged by Honda engine problems.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen split Vettel and Hamilton when Hamilton pulled out of the pits, which slowed the Mercedes and allowed Vettel to easily pull out a large gap.

"Sure, I'm disappointed now but it is what it is".

Hamilton said: "I wouldn't say I'm happy".

Hamilton had the advantage of pole, bt hew didn't have the pace to out run Vettel, and when he pitted for his first stop he came out behind Verstappen - and got stuck there.

For Daniel Ricciardo, it was a home grand prix to forget.

  • Julie Sanders