Everyone was surprised to see Ferrari in the opening weekend being far behind and none of the other teams expected to have such a gap.
Hamilton Returns to Europe with Optimism
The weekend had quite a few surprises and that included Hamilton who was beaten by Valtteri Bottas, even though he claimed eleven Mercedes won last year. Bottas had the critical move in the race in the bag as he overtook his teammate and enjoyed an impressive win. After the race Mercedes confirmed the damage to Hamilton’s car and the current World Champion later revealed that it occurred on the fourth lap. Currently. Mercedes is still investigating the cause of the damage. Hamilton was happy in general with his race and felt he did what was needed, nothing less and nothing more.
Ferrari’s Strategy at Melbourne Race
Leclerc’s question to Ferrari was if he needed to stay behind Sebastian. The answer from the team was that he had to back off as well as stay behind his teammate. Mattia Binotto explained that when Sebastian changed to medium tyres, he never found the grip expected and at the same time was attacked by Verstappen. This led to the team’s decision not to take any more risks and score points. Leclerc accepted the decision while Vettel said he had no chance of fighting anyone and focussed on getting to the end.
Vettel pitted on lap 14 to change to medium tyres while Leclerc only pitted 14 laps after that to change to harder compound, which offered him with what was needed to close down the 12-second lead. Fourth and fifth potion offered 22 points regardless of the order the drivers ended in. Binotto did acknowledge that it could have been possible to get Leclerc to pit for new tyres. It could have helped them closing laps to increase their chances of fastest laps. Ferrari feels in some races you are not the best, yet it is important to score points, and that was their choice.
Australian GP Dominated by Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas simply crushed the competition and won the Australian GP while Ferrari’s Hamilton struggled during the season-opener of the F1 2019. Bottas enjoyed his best race ever, while Hamilton never seemed comfortable and Verstappen delivered an impressive display for Red Bull.
At the start, Hamilton was challenged by Vettel although he fell back and was quite fortunate to end in fourth after Leclerc was instructed not to attack. While Hamilton could not match his teammate until the 11th lap, Botta’s race was spectacular. In the end, Bottas ended in first, Hamilton in second and Verstappen in third, with Ferrari settling for fourth and fifth place. Kimi Raikkonen finished in eight for Alfa Romeo and his teammate in fifteenth. The Williams team ended up in sixteenth and seventeenth positions, and with all the surprises and excitement in the opening race, F1 fans can expect 2019 to be one of the most exciting racing seasons.