At 5am GMT, the lights went out signalling the start of the opening race of the 2015 Formula 1 season.
Before that, there was more drama on the lead up to the grid. Valterri Bottas was unable to drive in the race due to a back injury, Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat didn’t even make it to the grid from their respective installation laps. Coupled with the non start from Manor-Marussia, that means there were only 15 cars starting the race.
As the lights went out Lewis Hamilton had a lightening start and got through the first corner without any issues as did Nico Rosberg but the 2 Ferrari drivers collided forcing Nasr into evasive action and tagged Kimi Raikkonen who in turn tagged the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado causing him to crash into the barrier at turn 2. This incident, brought out the first safety car of 2015. During the safety car period, Lotus’ bad luck continued when Romain Grosjean came into the pits and also retired from the race. At the end of Lap 3, the safety car pulls into the pits releasing the cars once again, Lewis Hamilton caught the rest of field napping and once again drove away into a 2 second lead by the end of the lap.
Sergio Perez had been deemed to overtake Ericsson under the yellow flag and had to give the place back but it was during this incident that he had lost position to Jenson Button in the sole struggling McLaren. Carlos Sainz Jr was also caught napping after the safety car and lost 3 places in rapid succession. Felipe Massa continued his good run of form holding on the 3rd place. The local hero spurred on by his home crowd drove consistently throughout the race. The best battle on track at this point was the battle at the back of the field between Jenson Button and his former teammate Sergio Perez.
The time came for the first round of stops where only briefly Nico Rosberg had the lead of the race when Lewis Hamilton entered the pits. Only to be followed a lap later by Nico. Raikkonen also pitted but was plagued by problems with the left rear wheel. Whereas Vettel and Massa were duelling over third place and Vettel got the jump on Massa through the stops. Marcus Ericsson had established he could also overtake cleanly after spending last season with Caterham, he never got the chance to show his potential as a racer as often as he would like. The gap between Lewis and Nico would continue to fluctuate between 1 and 3 seconds giving speculation that Lewis at times was “fuel saving”. Felipe Nasr held onto 5th place throughout the majority of the race showing that even as a rookie he was great maturity and also how far Sauber had come after such a disastrous season last year.
Kimi Raikkonen made a second stop which once again was plagued by problems with the left rear wheel. He was released with the wheel not properly attached and had to retire his car from the race. Max Verstappen didn’t have much better luck when his engine decided to give way, leaving the 17 year old disappointed.
This meant that there were only 11 cars left running in the Australian GP. The gap between Lewis and Nico continued to fluctuate for the entire race and as the chequered flag dropped Lewis Hamilton claimed his first victory of the 2015 season with Nico Rosberg taking 2nd and Sebastian Vettel taking the final place on the podium.
The Final Results
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||8|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||6|
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||2|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||1|
|R||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||0|
|DNS||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||0|
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See you in Malaysia for Race 2.