Vettel and Ferrari are back in the sunshine

Mar 28, 2017, 00:49
Vettel and Ferrari are back in the sunshine

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (C) leaps in celebration alongside Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) and team mate Valtteri Bottas of Finland. There is every chance he could be crowned Formula One's pole king by the time of July's British Grand Prix.

He has secured pole here for the past four years, but converted just one to victory.

A string of new regulations has radically changed the aesthetics of the cars, which while speeds are at record-breaking levels overtaking is expected to become more hard.

"It is close between us all and as you can see it is going to be a tight race this year", said Hamilton, who finished 0.268 seconds clear of Vettel after setting the fastest lap ever recorded at Melbourne's Albert Park. I have my points and I'll do better next time. We'll get a much better idea at the next race in Shanghai.

"There was a bit of luck that Lewis came out in traffic".

Niki Lauda has hailed Valtteri Bottas's debut for Formula One world champions Mercedes as "incredible" and suggested the Finn's retired predecessor Nico Rosberg would have done no better.

"Third position is not ideal and I am not happy for the result", he said.

"It was quite mad, in a positive way, when I was coming back to the pits and the people were running on track going wild with Ferrari flags".

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However, some observers questioned whether her business credentials were sufficient to earn her a place at the meeting. The meeting has been highly anticipated as the two leaders have publicly differed on key issues.

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But the spine of Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante and Diego Costa have been crucial to everything good at Stamford Bridge. His free-kick from an acute angle caught out Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant and found it's way into the bottom corner.

"I think in the end it was clear when we started off three years ago that there's a lot to do, a lot to reshuffle and we knew the team was at a low but the spirit was very good in the first year, in 2015, and I think last year was also a very good year, not in terms of the results but in terms of the team and it's good also to hit some lows and go through hard periods even though they suck", Vettel said.

But we want to know what you think, and if, based on this first race, you're looking forward to the rest of the season. We've got a race on our hands.

"The vehicle feels good, we have improved, and it has been a big winter for us".

"I only saw a very small part of the preparation and it's nice to see the work has pulled off and we're fighting at the front".

Mercedes' gamble did not pay off as Vettel took the lead from Hamilton when the Brit emerged from the pit lanes behind him, Bottas (also Mercedes), Finnish Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) and Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

Ricciardo crashed during Saturday's qualifying and the necessary repairs to his auto meant he copped a penalty, sliding five spots down the grid. Only Britain's Jenson Button, in 2009, and Germany's Rosberg last season interrupted their success.

Reliability problems were rife in other teams, however, with seven cars failing to finish, including McLaren's twice champion Fernando Alonso and Williams' Canadian debutant Lance Stroll.

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