Lewis Hamilton takes pole position ahead of Australian Grand Prix

Vettel finished the best part of 10 seconds clear of Hamilton as Ferrari, who failed to win a single race past year, became the first team other than Mercedes to win the opening round of a season since 2013.

After crossing the finish line, Vettel howled in ecstasy and thousands of red-clad Ferrari fans flooded onto the lakeside circuit to share in the German's triumph.

Daniel Ricciardo had a weekend to forget. We have to make sure that spectator safety, both from the track point of view and throughout the venue - and also the workers who will be loading up the freight tonight - is looked after.

Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix gave Formula One the changing of the guard it had so desperately yearned for. Vettel kept Hamilton honest but as the Briton slowly began to eke out a lead over his rival, the result appeared a formality.

The German's time was 0.479 seconds quicker than Mercedes number two Bottas with Hamilton a further 0.011 seconds down on the lead time. The guys are very happy and we will have a nice time later on. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished where he qualified in fourth, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the top five.

"And the cars are wider so I think there's more turbulent air so now it's more like two seconds or even two and a half because you actually feel quite a big effect from the vehicle in front and that way in the corners it's more hard to follow". Bottas had a very strong Mercedes debut, finishing third.

Felipe Massa drove a lonely race for Williams in sixth, finishing more than 50 seconds behind Verstappen and nearly 30 seconds ahead of everyone else.

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WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Mercedes looked unable to answer Ferrari's pace, with Hamilton seeming uncomfortable in the Mercedes W08.

Bottas struggled with the ultrasoft tires in the first stint.

If he makes it to the big screen, Britain's three-time world champion might be backed up a bevy of bureaucrats performing more knee-jerks than the cast of Riverdance. Ricciardo had a disgusting home race with his engine failure. Between them, Hamilton and Vettel have won seven of the last nine championships.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are relishing the opportunity to fight each other for the drivers' championship in relatively equal machinery after being closely matched in the Australian Grand Prix. Besides the two wins Red Bull Racing took home, Mercedes won every race.

"There are always things that could have gone better but it is a good starting point for the journey for me driving for Mercedes", said the Finn.

"The big difference was being able to deliver a really good auto [.] I think the new vehicle in general obviously is fantastic and is a great reward, a big relief for everyone", Vettel said. - Fernando Alonso to NBCSN after his retirement.


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