Valtteri Bottas crushed the competition to win the Australian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari struggled at the world Formula One 2019 season-opener yesterday.
The Finn took the lead at the start from Hamilton, who made a slow getaway from pole position, and even took the new bonus point for the fastest lap.
Hamilton was left far behind, and had to concentrate on holding off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for second place.
Verstappen passed Sebastian Vettel for third on a sobering day for Ferrari.
“Why are we so slow?” Vettel asked his team at two-thirds distance. “We don’t know at the moment,” came the reply. It was an exchange that summed up Ferrari’s entire weekend.
It was a weekend which began in mourning following news of the death of F1 director Charlie Whiting — one of the most influential people in the sport.
Whiting, who was 66, was due to officiate this weekend’s race. He was the official race starter and oversaw all rules matters in F1.
Bottas dedicated the win to Whiting: “Thank you Charlie. This win is for Charlie and all his work in F1. He has done massive amounts, so thanks from all us drivers.”
Bottas, a distant third in the championship and without a victory last year, overtook Hamilton off the line and went on to win the race ahead of his pole-sitting team-mate by more than 20 seconds.
The Finn also took the maximum 26 points available after setting the fastest lap.
“It was definitely my best race ever,” said Bottas. Hamilton never seemed comfortable in his Mercedes, which the team subsequently claimed was damaged, and only just held off a charging Max Verstappen in the Red Bull for second place.
Source : The Herald