Vettel wins comprehensively in Australia

Sebastian Vettel today won the opening race of the season in Melbourne, Australia, in a controlled and imposing manner.

The German was blindingly quick from start to finish, and although it occasionally looked as though he was getting through his tyres quickly, no one could touch him in terms of outright pace. He did not even use the KERS that theoretically provides a distinct performance advantage.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in second place, although his car might not yet pass stewards’ scrutineering on the basis of a broken undertray.

Vitaly Petrov took a great third place for Renault, underlining the car’s potential.

He was hounded towards the end by a charging Fernando Alonso who was only ever on the coat-tails of the leading pack in terms of pace. The same went for Mark Webber, whose fifth place evinced his heavy use of the Pirelli rubber.

Jenson Button was sixth, an early drive-through penalty being given to him after he ran off the track when battling Felipe Massa. Rookie Sergio Perez only stopped once and accordingly finished a superb seventh on his debut.

Felipe Massa was eighth with Perez’s team mate Kamui Kobayashi’s ninth place reinforcing Sauber’s impressive start to the season. First of the lapped runners Sebastian Buemi followed him into tenth place.

The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Scottish debutant Paul di Resta will not be unduly disappointed with eleventh and twelfth places respectively, and Alguersuari, Heidfeld, Trulli and d’Ambrosio were the other finishers in that order.

Both Mercedes drivers retired after contact with other cars, and the perpetrator of Rosberg’s demise, Rubens Barrichello, was the other big name not to finish.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Australian Grand Prix
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia;
58 laps; 307.574km;
Weather: Sunny.

Classified:

Pos Driver Team Time
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h29:30.259
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 22.297
3. Petrov Renault + 30.560
4. Alonso Ferrari + 31.772
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 38.171
6. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 54.300
7. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:05.800
8. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:16.800
9. Massa Ferrari + 1:25.100
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
15. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
16. D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:28.947

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 50
Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 49
Rosberg Mercedes 22
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 19
Schumacher Mercedes 19
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 10
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1