Ricciardo receives five-place grid penalty in Melbourne

Mar 29, 2017, 01:48
Ricciardo receives five-place grid penalty in Melbourne

Vettel started behind Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton in the Australian Grand Prix, but the German was electric in his strategy and speed, using a pit stop to overtake the Brit early in the race.

"It's a long way ahead, but for now, we're over the moon", Vettel said after the trophy presentation.

"Just a long day and happy to move on".

Verstappen said that one bright spot is that the new-generation 2017 cars are more enjoyable to drive, but he joined those worrying that overtaking will be particularly rare this year.

"On both occasions the vehicle just came to a stop, so I couldn't do anything else".

"Our auto is clearly third, but in the next two races, we intend to reduce the gap", he said.

Even the vanquished Hamilton welcomed Ferrari's first grand prix triumph in 18 months.

The Ferrari ace cruised to victory, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

"It was positive to see we weren't that far off Ferrari and Mercedes over a full race distance, this was a concern this morning but I'm relieved now to finish within touching distance".

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But winter testing in Europe indicated that the celebrated Italian prancing horse marque had found some pace.

Ricciardo's crash in Saturday's qualifying meant he was slated to start from 10th on the grid but overnight repairs to his auto included a new gearbox, incurring a five-spot slide to 15th spot.

Instead, Ricciardo began from the pits - when he finally got on the track, his rivals had already completed two laps.

He said, "Not the weekend I wanted at home".

Joking that he got "shivers" when it was pointed out the complaints with the chassis in particular mirror those from Red Bull's tough 2015 season, Ricciardo is optimistic a disrupted pre-season period fraught with niggles accounts for much of the performance deficit to the front.

"We were laps down, but getting some information - it was valuable track time".

Two other cars retired before Ricciardo stopped again, this time at turn three on the 28th lap, with a fuel pressure problem.

I believe there's really good development potential in the concept that we have.

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