Vettel claims Australian victory after Mercedes pitstop bungle

Sebastian Vettel has claimed a upset victory in Melbourne after a strategy blunder from Mercedes have him the lead, and Lewis Hamilton was unable to chase down the Ferrari while managing a slight performance issue. Valtteri Bottas held off a distant Kimi Raikkonen who was a distant 4th. 

The battle for the lead remained close in the opening laps, but by the end it was the gap to the rest of the field was more than 10 seconds. 

The highlight of the race came in the dying laps when Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg both caught an ailing Fernando Alonso at the end of Turn 1 with the cars approaching the corner three abreast. Alonso retired shortly after, but Nico and Esteban continued fighting for the final championship point on offer right the chequered flag.

Daniel Ricciardo’s race was over before it began with the Australian breaking down on his way to the track, beginning the race from the pitlane and eventually starting two laps in arrears of the leaders. Red Bull’s deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari was evident in qualifying, and with the race a total write-off he put on the most crowd-pleasing testing session of all time.

Haas were unable to deliver another fairytale for Romain Grosjean following an admirable qualifying performance. It's clear Haas will be mixing it with the midfield of Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso throughout the season.