Hamilton cruises to Australian GP victory
Lewis Hamilton produced a faultless drive to win the season opening Australian Grand Prix which saw only 15 cars make the start.
The Mercedes driver proved untouchable at the front as the reigning world champion cruised to a 34th career victory.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg ensured Hamilton was unable to relax but the German was unable to challenge the Brit as he settled for second spot.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel managed to jump the Williams of Felipe Massa in the pit stops to claim the final place on the podium.
Massa pushed hard from the start converting his third place grid slot but he couldn’t hold back a charging Vettel in the second half of the race.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr provided one of the talking points as the Brazilian came home in an impressive fifth on his F1 debut. His team-mate Marcus Ericsson finished in the points in eighth.
The Swiss team went the entire 2014 season without scoring a point with Nasr and Ericsson’s results arriving after the squad was taken to court earlier this week.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo brought his off the pace RB11 home in sixth for some valuable points.
The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished in seventh and tenth while Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was ninth on debut.
Despite being forced to run conservative settings on his Honda power unit, Jenson Button nursed his McLaren to 11th position.
Only 11 cars finished the race which had just 15 starters after the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat and the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen withdrew shortly before the race with mechanical dramas.
The withdrawals came after Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was ruled out of the race by the FIA medical delegate due to a back injury sustained in qualifying.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen retired from fifth in the closing stages after a problem with his left rear wheel following his second pit stop.
Both Lotus cars retired in the early laps with Pastor Maldonado fired into the wall by a Sauber at Turn 1, which brought out the Safety Car on the opening lap. Romain Grosjean suffered a suspected power unit failure.
Max Verstappen had been running in the points for the majority of the race before he was forced to stop on track with smoke bellowing from the rear of his Toro Rosso.
Result: F1 Australian Grand Prix
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||58 laps|
|4||Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||29.196s|
|5||Felipe Nasr||Sauber Ferrari||1m26.14|
|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 jnr||Toro Rosso Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||2 Laps|
|Ret||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso Renault||Mechanical|
|Ret||Romain Grosjean||Lotus Mercedes||Mechanical|
|Ret||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus Renault||Crash|
|DNS||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Honda||–|
|DNS||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Renault||–|
|DNS||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Mercedes||–|
|DNS||Will Stevens||Manor F1||–|
|DNS||Roberto Merhi||Manor F1||–|
F1 Championship Standings
|9||Carlos Sainz jnr||2|