|Hamilton (R) and Rosberg romped to a 1-2 finish as the Mercedes parade season began|
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg brought home the Mercedes parade to a 1-2 finish in the Australian Grand Prix, 34.5 secs. ahead of new Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton led away from pole in Melbourne and played with his teammate the entire race, only momentarily losing the lead to Rosberg during the pitstop sequence before taking the 34th win of his career.
Rosberg crossed the line second, 1.3 seconds adrift, as Mercedes picked up where it left off the last F1 parade season.
Hamilton admits he still had plenty of pace in the tank in Melbourne but didn't really need to move up a gear to hold off Nico Rosberg.
The Mercedes driver has started the defense of his Drivers' title in excellent fashion as he claimed the coveted hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory at the season-opening race at Albert Park.
He made a brilliant getaway when the lights went out and he had a lead of about four seconds over his Mercedes team-mate at one stage, but Rosberg kept chipping away and the gap stayed between one second and about 2.5s for most of the race.
Hamilton, though, says he had things under control and didn't see any reason to go all out.
"Once you get a two-second gap, you try to manage that. There's no need to eke out more," the double World Champion said. "When Nico turned up the heat, I was able to react to it. Otherwise, it was a phenomenal race for both of us.
"Nico drove very well and Sebastian [Vettel of Ferrari] must've done a great job to be where he is today."
Four-time World Champion Vettel claimed the final podium spot in his maiden race for Ferrari and the Italian team now appear to be Mercedes' biggest rivals.
"I've not seen the times and everything, but I think the Ferraris have taken a huge step forward," Hamilton said.
"Clearly they've made one of the biggest steps, so we definitely cannot back off because I'm sure and I anticipate we may have a good fight with them at some stage this year."
Vettel passed Williams's Felipe Massa at the mid-race pitstops to take third and confirm Ferrari's improved pace.
Vettel was happy with third but knows the gap to Mercedes is too much to overcome.
"If you look at the gap, for no one is it going to be easy [to catch Mercedes]," he said.
"We have to focus on ourselves and make sure what we have learned from this weekend we take into the next races.
"The most important thing is if we finish, we finish right behind Mercedes. We need to confirm that in the next race. That is priority number one.
"We need to make sure it was not a one-off.
"You have to be realistic, this weekend was in Mercedes' hands.
"It's a big gap. It could turn around a little bit for the next grand prix, we could be closer, but it could be even worse."
"It's an honor to sit in the red car. When your head is down and you try to push every single lap, you don't realize the color so much but when the checkered flag came out it was a great feeling."
In a major embarrassment to F1 and it's silly engine technology that is expensive, hard to make work, and that fans hate due to the horrible engine sound, just 15 cars started the season-opening race, after both McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat broke down on the way to the dummy grid with mechanical problems.
Valtteri Bottas had already been ruled out on medical grounds because of a back injury sustained in qualifying, while neither Manor ran all weekend as it continues its efforts to get back into F1.
|Hamilton takes the lead at the start of the parade|
The field was further depleted after just a few corners, when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was hit by Carlos Sainz Jr's Toro Rosso at Turn 1 sending the Ferrari into Felipe Nasr's Sauber, which then hit Pastor Maldonado, sending the Lotus driver into the barriers and out of the race.
This brought out the safety car and F1's embarrassment was compounded one lap later when Romain Grosjean broke down on the formation lap because some small silly component on his overly sophisticated Mercedes failed.
Raikkonen looked on course to finish fourth, but at his second stop his Ferrari team failed to fit the left-rear tire properly.
|Sebastian Vettel was 3rd in his Ferrari debut|
The Finn rejoined, but pulled off the track a few corners later and retired with his engineer saying "sorry, Kimi" on team radio.
Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen, who became Formula 1's youngest driver by taking the start, retired when running ninth with smoke pluming from the rear of the car, his lemon Renault engine having expired.
Such was the embarrassment to the F1 series, Jenson Button actually almost scored a point in the turtle-like McLaren Honda. Sadly for Button, the attrition was not quite enough for him to claim the point for McLaren-Honda, the British driver finishing two laps down and well off the pace, but at least completing a race distance.
It's quite unbelievable, really, what this team has done. It's a great feeling to start off the season the way we finished the last and the car is just incredible, so thank you to the team. It was still a tough race, though, as Nico was very quick throughout. It was about managing fuel and also the tires – trying to see how long we could push them. Once I'd built a two second gap it was about maintaining it. But when Nico turned up the heat it was tough. He drove really well and it's a great result for the team to start the season with a 1-2. It's good to see Ferrari back up here on the podium. I think they have taken a big step, so I anticipate a good fight with them this year at some point and we can't back off. In fact, the podium was pretty awesome. I don't often get star struck but I can't believe I was up there with the Terminator! Anyway, we've learned a lot this weekend and there will be a lot of analysis to do before Malaysia. Hopefully we'll keep finding ways to improve. Just because we had that gap today it doesn't mean we'll be cruising. There's still a long way to go.
What a start for us. It's great to have the quickest car again and what an amazing job by everybody involved. A big thank you to the guys back in the factories for all their work. Okay, so now it's 1:0 to Lewis. He did a perfect job this weekend with no mistakes and improved a lot from Friday to Sunday. Yesterday after Qualifying I was already on the back foot and that's difficult to change in a race against Lewis. I need to have a better Saturday, which I was able to do last year. But it's still a long season with lots of races to go. I want to strike back in Malaysia, so that's the focus. Thanks to everyone in Europe for waking up so early and for crossing their fingers for us – we've had fantastic support and it's really great to see.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Toto Wolff
We never expected a performance like this today. Winning in Formula One is never easy and never something you can take for granted. But today, the car and the drivers were faultless, so we must congratulate them and the team here on the track and back in the factories. Lewis got everything 100% right today – he grabbed every opportunity and drove a perfect race. Nico was right on his heels but never quite able to get close enough to really attack. Clearly, we have a great car and engine; we have made some good steps over the winter and done our homework right. But Ferrari have bounced back strongly, too, and it's good to have them back in the game – they have everything they need and they will be coming closer. Now we have to head home and focus on Malaysia.
A terrific result and a great way to kick off the 2015 championship. It's particularly satisfying to get both cars home at the first race of the season, where reliability is always a key focus, and to do so with such a strong performance is a great achievement. All credit to the teams back at the factories for building a car that appears to be both quick and reliable. Hopefully this race will be a good indicator of what's to come throughout the year. Congratulations also to both Lewis and Nico, who drove faultlessly throughout the race. We now look forward to a very different challenge at the first of our home Grands Prix in the heat and humidity of Malaysia.
I'm only half happy today, because the real joy comes when you win. I am happy about the podium and for Seb, but above all I am pleased for the team, because this is a good starting point, although it's definitely not the end of the road. I am sorry for Kimi, because everyone could see how strong he was in the race. But at the second pit stop, there was a problem with a wheelnut on which the threads had already been crossed during the first one. We realized there was a possible problem and we decided to stop the car immediately, because safety is the number one priority. Looking to Malaysia, we will keep our feet on the ground, because the Albert Park is a rather unusual track. If the second Williams had also been racing today, there would have been a clearer picture of the opposition we face. But now we have realized we can do well, we must begin to stop thinking about being "second best" and start aiming higher.
Shortly after the start, someone hit me from behind. Then I felt another contact on my right side, but I don't think it was Sebastian's car. The impact activated the anti-stall system and did some damage to the floor of the car. We were very quick in the race, able to catch the Williams and to fight for the podium: but then there were problems at both pit stops. I don't know exactly what happened, but I know I lost something in terms of downforce. However, my team-mate's podium is a great result for the team. Already in qualifying, despite my mistake on the quick lap, we knew we had a good car. And in the race, the gap to the Mercedes seemed less than on Saturday. It's simply that, today, everything happened to me.
|Sebastian Vettel showed why he ia a 4-time F1 champion|
They did not play the Italian anthem on the podium, but we can be very pleased with this weekend. It's a shame that a small mistake prevented Kimi from finishing the race but, in general, it was a very "clean" weekend. The most important thing is we have a good car, a real platform from which to carry on working. So thank you and congratulations also to the people who have worked hard in Maranello, as well as those here in Australia. Without them, this result would not have been possible. The start was not the best, there was too much wheelspin and when I tried to hold the inside line, my tires were still too cold. We had a great race strategy, which allowed us to jump the Williams, which had a good top speed, at our one pit stop. Now we must confirm our performance in the coming races and then, one step at a time, let's hope we can begin to close on the Mercedes. The gap is still big, but of all the teams, I think ours is the one that has improved the most over the winter. For a long time, I've dreamed of driving for Ferrari and it's happened at the right time. I drank the champagne on the podium and I kept some for the guys in the team, because they told me they like it a lot… Thanks also to the fans. We have a great car, not just for qualifying but also for the race. Let's hope we can get on the podium again and maybe even get a few wins!
It wasn’t the most exciting race. After the start I was able to stay with Nasr, but I wasn’t able to get close enough to make the move. We finished the race and got some points which was positive, and there are things we can learn; I think on paper sixth was the best for us today. It was a shame for Dany, I feel for him I hope we have a smoother weekend in Malaysia. In terms of where we need to improve, the main issue is the drivability and the power, there are pretty big chunks that we know we need to find there. Beyond that it’s hard, as with the chassis itself I don’t think we’ve really been able to test it to its limits yet due to the other issues we’ve had. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have got a lot of information from this weekend which will help us ahead of Malaysia.
I had to stop on the way to the grid as we had a problem; I think it was something to do with the gearbox. Obviously it’s not a nice feeling to watch the other drivers on track while you are here. From now on, it can only get better so we are staying positive. I have confidence in the team. We have another race in two weeks and will be pushing as hard as we can ahead of that.
A frustrating grand prix for us. It was disappointing to lose Daniil before the race started with a gearbox problem. Daniel did everything he could with the tools that he had. It unfortunately demonstrates that there’s a quite a lot of ground to make up, so sixth place was the best we could manage on a rather difficult day.
Thierry Salvi, Renault
A very hard first race for the team. From the opening session of the weekend we’ve faced a number of issues, and for sure are not where we wanted to be in reliability and performance. This has cost lap time and points. The mapping and software need to be looked at in detail to give better drivability in the coming races. We’ve got to be realistic about what we can achieve but we can definitely move forward from what’s been a frustrating weekend overall. We are as disappointed as anyone but also resolved to fix these issues in Malaysia.
|Massa was 4th behind Vettel|
The aim of today was start the season with a solid points haul and demonstrate that we have a competitive car. We have managed to achieve much of what we wanted so this has been a positive start. The only disappointing part of the race was that I was jumped at the first pitstop by Vettel after losing a second and a half behind Ricciardo on my out-lap which was enough to lose the position. I have faith in the team and the car and we head to Malaysia knowing we are very much in the fight.
I have done a lot of work since the issue with my back came in qualifying to get myself ready, starting treatment immediately, so the news that I couldn’t race today was obviously disappointing but I respect the decision. I now have two weeks until the next race to receive further treatment to ensure I will be back to full fitness and even stronger in Malaysia. I’m very eager to get back in the car and race because the FW37 is looking competitive and I’m confident we can fight for podiums.
First of all, the team has done a great job over the winter. It is amazing for everyone in the team here in Melbourne and also back home in the factory to get this result in the first race weekend of the 2015 season. We have seen good progress during pre-season testing, and with this achievement I am really happy for everyone. For me as a driver, I have scored my first points in Formula One, which is a big goal achieved. Now, we can build on this for the next race.
|Nasr finished 5th after a difficult weekend for Sauber|
I am very happy with fifth position in my first ever Formula One race. It is such a big relief for the team and myself that we are able to score points, and I am very pleased about this achievement. It was a tough race. Right after the start it was quite messy in turn 1, as another driver hit my wheel. I thought the car was damaged a bit, but after a few laps I noticed everything was fine. After that, the race went according to plan. There was pressure from behind during the whole race, which was not easy. That was an emotional race for me and everyone in the team.
I am very pleased with today's result and starting the season with two cars in the points is always positive. It was a good race; I didn't make any mistakes and, while the reliability of our car helped us take advantage of the problems of others, at this stage in the season it is important to capitalize on any opportunity. We were ready when it counted; we had a good strategy and we delivered under the pressure. In terms of performance we are not yet where we would like to be, but everyone is working really hard to get there and make our car quicker. With points on the board we can now look forward to Malaysia in a couple of weeks and hopefully take another step forward.
|Perez was 1-lap down in 10th|
It was one of those unusual races where so many things happened, but I’m certainly happy to come away with a point and see Nico also score good points for the team. We went for a different strategy compared to Nico to maximize the team’s chances so I started on the medium tires in order to have the advantage on the softs at the end of the race. Unfortunately, after the safety car the FIA asked me to give a place back to Ericsson, which also meant dropping behind Button, and that was really painful for my race. Button was on the soft tires and, although I was quicker, it was not easy to overtake and I lost a lot of track position. Still, I’m focusing on the positives of scoring a point from a difficult race, which is a good result for the team.
We had a loss of power on the formation lap; there was a technical issue which we are investigating. It’s not how you want to end your race, but we know the car is good and we’re miles ahead of where we were last season. We have a good baseline with the E23 and a good engine. We also have new pieces that we are bringing over for the next races, so more performance coming. The first race is always a bit of a tricky one, you never know what might happen and, unfortunately it was bad luck for us today but it doesn’t matter: I’m still very hopeful for the year.
Racing is like this. It was quite busy start, going into a narrow corner. I just felt a big hit on the back and didn’t see what happened. It’s disappointing because it was a great chance for us to have a great race. The pace of the car was looking much better than in qualifying, so looking forward we can learn from this race. It was a good weekend until today, it’s looking quite promising. In two weeks we will be again fighting for points and again doing our best to be even more competitive.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|8||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||2 Laps|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren/Honda||Not started|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||Not started|