The fate was invited to Melbourne to help the Ferrari driver to win the Grand Prix in front of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. The French did not have the same luck.
“We will see who will smile Sunday,” predicted Sebastian Vettel, the Ferrari driver, in a press conference Saturday, against a Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) who had just achieved the ideal qualifications. Sunday, March 25, the roles were reversed. The radiant German won the Australian Grand Prix, the first event of the 2018 season, ahead of the British favorite, who was in pole position in Melbourne. This is the 48th success of Vettel’s career, which had already won here last year in front of Hamilton. The second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen completes the podium. We were waiting for answers from this first Southern race. The spell redistributed the cards on an Albert-Park circuit where it is very complicated to double.
Leading lucky drivers, Sebastian Vettel – which does not detract from his talent. Until then third, he had the good surprise to get out of the stands in front of Lewis Hamilton, on the 26th lap, taking advantage of the neutralization of the race at 80 km / h because of a car that had broken down near a bend. “What’s wrong, what did I miss? Asked Lewis Hamilton to his team through the headset. “Nothing,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Mercedes apparently made a mistake when calculating the minimum speed under yellow flag, which benefitted Vettel, emerged just in front of his rival. The leading race was then a distance duel between the two men, long separated by less than a second, but Hamilton has never managed to get close enough to double.
Behind them, the Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, 4th, will be rather satisfied with Melbourne: “I prefer to have a fast car and not be on the podium,” he smiled. A thought certainly shared by Fernando Alonso, whose fifth place can be read as a double rebirth: that of the talented champion bridled for three years by a non-competitive car, and that of the McLaren team who can welcome the benefits of his new Renault engine – the French team sees its two cars in the points.
Abandon of Gasly and Grosjean
On the other hand, the tricolor drivers were much less lucky. Starting with Pierre Gasly (Red Bull Toro Rosso), who had his first retirement in the Grand Prix on the fourth lap. The two Haas pilots also dropped one after the other on rounds 24 and 25 under the same circumstances. Just after going to the pits, Kevin Magnussen then Romain Grosjean stopped their car, a front tire being insufficiently fixed, according to the first explanations. “We have to raise our heads,” French fair play said. If it’s a human error, it’s a human error. Sure, right now, we want to cry, but if we do the same in Bahrain [next Grand Prix] it will be better. ”
The only Frenchman to finish the race, Esteban Ocon however does not score points for Force India since he finished 12th «A difficult Grand Prix, confirms the native of Evreux. It’s hard to double here. We will have to come back stronger. The driver Mercedes Valtteri Bottas will also have to come back stronger. Starting in the back of the grid, he finished only 8th. Insufficient for a Toto Wolff currently in full renegotiation of pilot contracts.
2018 Pilots Championship
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER, Ferrari), 25 points;
2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes), 18;
3. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN, Ferrari), 15;
4. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS, Red Bull), 12;
5. Fernando Alonso (ESP, McLaren), 10;
6. Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull), 8;
7. Nico Hülkenberg (GER, Renault), 6;
8. Valtteri Bottas (FIN, Mercedes), 4;
9. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, McLaren), 2;
10. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP, Renault), 1.