Valtteri Bottas won the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix – Albert Park after getting the jump on Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the start and then controlling the race at the front and become the first driver to score a point via the fastest lap.
Max Verstappen had a superb drive from fourth, overtaking Sebastian Vettel round the outside into Turn 3 on Lap 31 after the stops to bring home a sixth podium in a row and the first for a Honda-powered car since 2008. The Dutchman had a sniff of snatching second from Hamilton but running too deep into the same bend meant he had to settle for third instead.
Charles Leclerc brought the second Ferrari home in fifth after a couple of excursions on the grass before closing up a gap of over ten seconds on Vettel before settling for his position.
Kevin Magnussen brought the only Haas F1 Team car home in sixth place after his team-mate Romain Grosjean had to pull off the track with broken front suspension at the half-way point.
Nico Hulkenberg completed a sterling drive for Renault F1 Team in seventh position after starting outside the top ten but his partner Daniel Ricciardo had to end his debut for the team after 28 laps with sustained damage to his chassis when he ran onto the grass on the pit straight on Lap 1 and losing his front wing.
Kimi Raikkonen finished his first race with Alfa Romeo Racing in eighth, with Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat making up the points scorers.
Pierre Gasly was eleventh on his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing debut after starting six places further down and on the harder-medium compound.
Lando Norris had finished the best of the rookies in twelfth, as his race was compromised by being stuck behind Antonio Giovinazzi for over ten laps, who had not pitted at this point, during his second stint. Unfortunately, his team-mate Carlos Sainz had to retire on Lap 10 due to an abrupt MGU-K failure.
Sergio Perez, Alexander Albon, and Giovinazzi were next with the two Williams Racing drivers George Russell and Robert Kubica completing the finishers.
As a result, Bottas leads the drivers’ championship by eight points from Hamilton, while Mercedes leave Melbourne with the maximum 44 points, double the points to second place Ferrari.
The next stop for the drivers will be the 2019 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit on the 29-31 March.
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