Sebastian Vettel broke Ferrari's Formula One drought with a victory over Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on Sunday at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
German Vettel cruised to his 43rd race victory with a 9.9 second gap to Mercedes' runner-up Lewis Hamilton, with the Briton's new teammate, Valtteri Bottas, finishing third.
Ferrari hadn't won an F1 GP since Vettel's victory in Singapore in 2015, and Mercedes dominated in 2016.
Sebastian VettelWe say this all the time, what this team has done in the last six months has been really tough, rough as well. (It’s) not (been) easy to manage the whole team, but I think the new car in general obviously is fantastic and this is a great reward, a big relief for everyone.
With new regulations designed to make the cars faster this season, Vettel proved Ferrari's extra pace in preseason testing was genuine.
Sebastian VettelThere’s been a lot of ups and downs, left and rights in the last 12 months. The big difference was being able to deliver a really good car. I saw the guys (in the garage), they were smiling and singing, I’m sure we’ll see some more of that. But... it’s just the beginning. Motivation has been really high but obviously it helps to wave from the podium.
For the second year running, Hamilton started on pole position at the Albert Park circuit and placed second. Last year, he lost to then Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who went on to edge him for the world championship before retiring. This time, four-time world champion Vettel took the lead when Hamilton pitted for new tires early and held on for most of the race.
Force India Open Season with Double Points Finish
Sahara Force India made a promising start to the 2017 Formula One season with a double points finish through Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.
Perez, who was on 11th spot on the grid, made two bold moves to finish the 57-lap race in seventh place.
It was a memorable race for Econ as he scored his first point in Formula 1 on his Force India debut, passing two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso to secure 10th place.
Force India collected seven points from the weekend, one less than Williams with Felipe Massa finishing sixth.
The Silverstone-squad had finished a record fourth in team standings last year, beating the likes of Williams and McLaren.