Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel triumphed in the first F1 race of the 2017 season in Australia, outdueling Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in a straight fight for victory.
Hamilton led during the first stint from pole position, but an early pitstop left him behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who was yet to stop for fresh tyres.
Vettel, meanwhile, stayed out for longer, gaining just enough time to come out ahead of Hamilton and take the lead.
With the Englishman struggling on soft compound, Vettel was able to extend his advantage and secure Ferrari’s first victory since Singapore 2015.
Valtteri Bottas made it two Mercedes drivers on the podium, finishing just 1.275s behind Hamilton in third place.
Kimi Raikkonen held off Verstappen to take fourth place, while Felipe Massa was last of the non-lapped drivers in sixth.
After missing out on Q3, Force India enjoyed a much stronger Sunday, with Sergio Perez finishing seventh and Esteban Ocon taking his maiden points finish in 10th
Toro Rosso also enjoyed a double points finish with Carlos Sainz finishing ahead of teammate Daniil Kvyat in ninth.
Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo was among several drivers who failed to make it to the finish, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Haas of Romain Grosjean being the other notable figures.
by Rachit Thukral