Sebastian Vettel felt Lewis Hamilton falling in behind Max Verstappen after his pit stop was the main reason for him being able to jump the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver during the Australian Grand Prix, a move that ultimately gave him race victory.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver had trailed Hamilton in the early stages but had stayed close to the rear wing of his rival, but the Briton’s decision to pit early released the German, and when Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen delayed Hamilton, Vettel came out of the pits following his own pit stop in the lead.
Vettel admitted that it was a struggle to keep up with Hamilton in the early stages of the race, but having done so and taken the lead, he was able to stay clear and win by 9.975 seconds.
“I was struggling to keep up, but still hanging in there,” said Vettel. “I knew I needed to be right behind him. Once it was clear that he went in, there was no point to follow. We stayed out, the tyres were still holding on and the pace looked alright.
“It was very tight. I knew that Max would probably try something but I just kept in front. That was obviously crucial for our race, I tried to push for as hard as I could for the one or two Max was still out to open a bit of a gap and control the race.
“We did a very good race. I’m very happy with the calls today.”