Lewis Hamilton seeks answers from Mercedes over performance issues

Rex Christensen
March 20, 2019

Such was Bottas's dominance around Albert Park that he also claimed the newly awarded bonus point for the fastest lap during the race, meaning that he leaves Melbourne with the maximum 26 points, with Hamilton trailing eight points behind.

Valtteri Bottas stormed to victory at the Australian Grand Prix as he dominated the race and stretched out a 20-second lead over his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished second.

And after taking the chequered flag, he served up a four-letter riposte to those who had criticised him in the past.

"I guess we were just slow", Vettel said after the race.

"It just came. I just wanted to send my best regards to him".

'Obviously there are many people who support you, and honestly I appreciate that a lot. "During the hard times there is the other part that is a lot more negative, but that is their weakness and that's fine".

Ferrari had been the quickest auto at winter testing, just edging champions Mercedes, but Barcelona must have felt a distant memory as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc crossed fourth and fifth, almost a minute behind Bottas.

In the race, the two men narrowly avoided a collision at the start as Leclerc tried to pass Vettel around the outside of the first corner, and Leclerc had a trip across the grass later during his first stint. Just the auto was feeling so good today, it was truly enjoyable. "I have been here a long, long time, it is a long year to go and there is a lot of knowledge that we can take from this race", he said.

As the contest reached half distance it was a one-horse race with Verstappen making a late bid for the fastest lap which was surpassed on the penultimate circuit by Bottas with a one minute 25.580 second-effort.

Mercedes
Mercedes

Despite his pleasure in the result, the Austrian did reinforce the risk element in Bottas and Hamilton's actions.

Hamilton was called in to pit early and change to medium compound tyres, straight after Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel did the same.

The 29-year-old Finn kept his emotions in check after what he described as the drive of his life to win the Australian GP on Sunday, his fourth F1 title and his first since 2017 - the year he won three.

"Sebastian was managing his pace because of poor grip and bringing the vehicle home".

Ferrari's performance over the weekend was a disappointment, after they had appeared to have the fastest auto in pre-season testing.

"We don't know at the moment", came the reply from the pit wall.

A look at the key things we learned from the first race of the Formula One season in Australia.

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton couldn't quite set the stage on fire in Australia, as both world champions struggled for pace all through the 58 laps of the opening grand prix.

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