Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2018

Vettel snatches Melbourne win as VSC wipes smile off Hamilton’s face

2018 Australian Grand Prix summary

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Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to victory in the Australian Grand Prix in a race which swung on a mid-race Virtual Safety Car period.

Vettel took the lead when Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen pitted early on. However the VSC was deployed after Romain Grosjean’s Haas stopped on-track, which allowed Vettel to make his pit stop and come out still ahead of Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Albert Park, 2018
2018 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
The reigning world champion, who told Vettel 24 hours earlier he wanted to “wipe the smile off your face” after beating him to pole position, made repeated efforts to get close enough to pass. But a mistake at turn nine gave Vettel some breathing space.

Raikkonen held off Daniel Ricciardo in the first of the Red Bulls for the final place on the podium. Ricciardo moved ahead of Max Verstappen when his team mate spun at turn one while trying to pass Kevin Magnussen.

Like Grosjean, Magnussen was doomed not to finish. Both drivers stopped within minutes of each other after apparently being sent out of the pits with loose wheels. The team is under investigation for unsafe releases.

Fernando Alonso took advantage of their misfortune to finish fifth for McLaren in their first race with Renault power, holding off Verstappen to the flag. Nico Hulkenberg was the first of the works Renault drivers in seventh.

Having started 15th due to his crash and gearbox change, Bottas recovered to take the chequered flag in eighth place. He passed Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished ninth in the other McLaren, and Carlos Sainz Jnr, who reported on the radio he was struggling with nausea.

The two Force India drivers finished outside the points followed by Charles Leclerc, who was 13th on his debut. Lance Stroll and Brendon Hartley were the only other finishers.

2018 Australian Grand Prix reaction

    Check back shortly for more race reaction

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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175 comments on “Vettel snatches Melbourne win as VSC wipes smile off Hamilton’s face”

  1. I’m not an expert but what is the logic in having the VSC and then sending the SC out when the conditions didn’t change in between the VSC and SC, why not send the SC from first? That was a bit of a stupid decision that is not in line with the pinnacle of motor ports.

    1. That was a puzzling question when car was parked outside 2nd turn without any safe place to move it or recovery vehicle close by to remove it quickly. Its wrong decisions like this that Whiting makes showing his age.

      1. If someone stopped you need to act immediately. The least damage (at least in theory) is to introduce VSC and so they did. Only later realised crane had to drive out on track so only choice then is SC. The problem here is VSC giving advantage to those who pit. Doesn’t explain how Vet gained 8sec between start of VSC and him pitting. Thats what bothers me.

        1. Justin (@boombazookajd)
          25th March 2018, 8:23

          Explain how Vettel gained 8 seconds. He pitted with a 14 second lead and emerged a few tenths ahead of Lewis. Seb did not “gain” any time what-so-ever. He was in the lead, pitted, and came back out in the lead due to Lewis being unable to drive above a certain speed due to the VSC. Everything worked as intended. This has happened several times before, notably in Monaco a few years back where Lewis was caught out by a VSC and the team blamed the computers.

          1. @boombazookajd It was 11sec before VSC started and then grew to 19sec during VSC. Will have to wait for official times from FIA to confirm

          2. Justin (@boombazookajd)
            25th March 2018, 8:38

            @ivan-vinitskyy I was watching the race and with the F1 live timing. Sebastien was 14 seconds ahead of Lewis when he entered the pit lane. Lewis was unable to cover that gap because he simply was not able to drive fast enough to overtake Seb.

            This has happened to Merc before, a few years back in Monaco. They and Lewis were caught out by Seb when a VSC came out. Lewis back then questioned why Seb was in front, he was genuinely puzzled and the answer was the same, the software.

          3. It was 11sec before VSC started and then grew to 19sec during VSC.

            If the distance between the cars remains the same but the cars slow down, the time between then will increase.

            That said, I think it needs looking at. It looks like, by current rules, you can drive faster into and out of the pits under VSC than on the track. I don’t fault Vetel or any other driver for exploiting this, but I don’t think it should be the case. There should be an earliest time of arrival at the pit line and between the end of the pit lane and the end of the pit exit.

          4. Pit time loss is 23 seconds and he came back out in front, so it’s quite clear he gained time.

            But he was 11 seconds ahead when the VSC came out.

          5. @drmouse The easiest way to prevent drivers getting an advantage through pit stops when the VSC is active would be to enforce a reduced put lane speed limit. Wouldn’t be perfect, but e.g. if VSC makes drivers fine art half the usual speed round the lap, then halving the pit lane limit would compensate for the artificially increased time differentials between cars.

          6. 14 sec * 220 km/h / 3600 (sec/h) ~ 0.8556 km (To distance traveled at 14 sec with average lap speed on fast lap)
            -> 0.8556 km /(23 sec / 3600 (sec/h)) ~ 133.9 km/h (Slowed average speed to meet same distance at 23 sec)

            If someone has that final sector speed in normal race lap and what is the top allowed speed under VSC, it’s not that harder to calculate. I’m sure Merc. have and they are trying to figure out what went wrong.

      2. Why was it parked there? It wasn’t an engine problem. Often drivers park in safe positions when they can.

        It seems reasonable to ask why they parked a running car in such a difficult place.

        I remember Rosberg driving a flaming Mercedes far behind the wall to prevent a safety car. Perhaps the opposite happened in Australia.

    2. If they deployed the safety car immediately, Vettel would have gained an even bigger advantage than under VSC, so it would not have changed the outcome.

      1. @vjanik
        Exactly. You can clearly tell the Ham-fans.

      2. No. He wouldn’t. Cars can run faster under SC.

      3. If they deployed the safety car and it caught Seb as leader, the gap to Lewis would have been negligible and Sebs stop would have cost him multiple places. It’s not difficult to understand.

        1. There always is advantage to be gained if the pit-stop coincides with a safety car. But six seconds? I don’t think that has ever happened, so it would seem that the VSC period made the difference. And if so, I don’t think that this would have been intended. Maybe the VSC deployment needs a re-think?

          1. It has happened, last year in Barcelona, just reversed.

        2. Apparently it is difficult to understand. Seb would have been behind SC only if it came out while he was on the start-finish straight. Otherwise he would drive under the delta time just like this time and everyone else would drive under the delta time until they caught up with the SC. Seb would on that lap and still come out P1 just like it happened today

      4. @Keviny
        not hard to understand! if safety car came the first time, seb would be caught out by it or ham would need to catch the safety car, seb would most likely be 3rd or 4th! Ham wouldnt need to slow down until catching safety car! This instance, safety car came right after vettel pitted safely… it took them 2 laps to figure out safety car needed… it just stinks bad! if they were to do keep the field balanced during vsc, they should impose no pit entry limit or certain limits to prevent this kind of big gains… unfair to gain such an advantage! impose 5 sec stop before pitting actions allowed? during vsc? gain is quite obvious and not something other drivers would want when they have made enough gap to the field and only to loose it during vsc car only because someone gambled on a vsc!

        not to mention, two haas failing tyre fix one after another, it looks super dodgy… almost crash gate…

        1. Safety car doesnt just magically pop out in front of the leader or even as you say it “catch it”. It comes out from the pits and then slowly drives around until the lead car catches up to it. As i said the only way for Seb to be behind it was if it had come out while he was on the S/F straight. In all the other scenarios he would just continue his current lap in delta times and then pit at the end. It would be the same scenario. And Lewis couldnt just catch the SC driving flat out(even if he did and for some reason wasnt allowed to pass it, he would be stuck behind it). There are still delta times the drivers have to adhere under SC conditions.
          Now for closing the pitlante during SC and VSC i strongly disagree. We had that rule and it was stupid. Speed limit reduction might work though. But it could also look silly at times when the whole grid goes in the pits at the same time during SC/VSC.
          This might not look very fair, but the rules are the same for everyone and its not like you can really exploit them without some epic Alonso-style crashgate, which i seriously doubt happened today(though im not saying it didnt). This isnt the first time someone gains an advantage during SC/VSC. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you dont. Today Ferrari was able to put one of the cars in a position to benefit from it if it were to happen(because Merc 2nd car wasnt a threat) and it paid off.

    3. The real question is with Hass Ferrari. Its bad enough the same issue is used to spoil the race. The question is why did they need to stop so suddenly and so precariously. The second car, like the first, could have been taken off the track.

      Is this the ‘strategy’ Vettel thanked his team for? Is this really the mighty prancing horse. Is this the worthy victory of potential champions? Is this really how you broaden the appeal of a sport?

  2. Ferrari International Assistance

    1. Remember Spain 2017? Luck evens out sometimes.

      1. Lewis last year pitted under VSC and he was 6-7 seconds behind Seb. He pitted for Soft tyres and then set an insane outlap that took 3-4 seconds out of Seb’s lead. Vsc helped Lewis by getting him closer but the 2nd and 3rd sectors of Lewis’ outlap were almost at qualifying pace. Had he put all 3 sectors together, that lap would have most likely been in the 1:21’s-1:22’s, more than 1 second faster than his and the race fastest lap, a 1:23.5

        1. @krichelle
          Doesn’t matter, Lewis still got lucky to gain 8 seconds on Seb under VSC. Without VSC that would have been a completely different race.

          Vettel was also very unlucky with the timing of the full SC in China 2017.

          But of course now Hamilton fans cry about the rules.

          1. @kingshark well it wasnt a mercedes supplier failing tyre fitting one after another… more so, vsc car so weird when SC was required, and they took 2 laps to determine, and coincidentally by that time vettel pitted safely…

            also 2017 incident, it was vettel’s fault not using it, they were in the same vsc period, and vettel didnt use it… also hamilton wasnt in the lead when that happened and vettel still wasnt leading either until being able to overtake bottas… here was gonna be 5-7 seconds behind leader/kimi too, if you think this was fair, ask kimi too… they screwed him too… yeah game tactics and all… also in your 2017 incident, ham didnt come out in the lead, he followed and overtook fair and square! just like vettel had to overtake bottas first!

            here vsc didnt just assist ferrari, it murdered the race… if people’s definition of breaking merc/hamilton dominance means dirty games like this… FIA made a great show today…

          2. Indeed, people forget in 2017 china it as a ferrari junior driver who crashed, giovinazzi, and played in hamilton’s favour.

            So I’d say coincidence until proven otherwise, while I’m the first to say hamilton and raikkonen deserved more than vettel today.

      2. Yes, you’re right it’s just a pity it’s so difficult to pass at this track (and others) that Lewis and Seb didn’t really go wheel to wheel. Kimi also lost out when he’d had such as strong weekend

    2. Ferrari International hAAssistance.
      I have to admit, I said the Ferrari car was rubbish, I was wrong, I still don’t think they can realistically fight for victories. I was right on the other 2 teams. This track is not representative of the whole season but it’s a PU track and a traction track.

      1. Last year in Spain and China the SC helped Mercedes, this time it helped Ferrari. What goes around comes around.

        1. @telegrafista You are right, the Brits do forget, it’s only natural, it’s a thing called nationalism, we all have it.

          1. Absolutely. Kudos to you for acknowledging that. By the way I agree with you that Ferrari does not look fast enough to win on merit. They are working to improve the car balance and setup, let’s see what they can do in the next races.

      2. Has hell frozen over?

    3. Vettel admitted his luck, but come on, 32 laps on Vettel’s rear wing is plenty of time for Hamilton, over half the race. This is just what fans wanted, not a runaway by Merc, at least not yet…. by the end of he year, nothing will have changed, Merc still have an engine advantage the FIA gave them 4 years ago by locking engines way to early. Did you see Quali? Merc is still way ahead.

      Sad for Haas, really wanted to see if either driver could hold it together til the end.

      1. Onto vettel vs hamilton, there’s no way, ferrari and mercedes are too close in performance, you need much more delta to overtake here.

        Onto haas, I think they would have, haas, renault and mclaren this time around are able to defend themselves on most tracks from ferrari, red bull and mercedes, check even bottas’ race to see it’s not so easy to overtake cars when they’re closer to tops.

  3. Ricciardo :” Can I have my 3 places back……please “

  4. Great title, Keith :P

      1. He’s still smiling ear to ear with that race pace. He’s just giving some energy to you fools. God thinks about everyone.

    1. Love it. Well done Keith!

  5. I’m more gutted for Kimi. He just doesn’t have any luck in Ferrari isn’t he? Finally a weekend where he much faster than Vettel and this happens.

    1. Right, it would seem after Vettel’s stop he should have come out behind Hamilton and Kimi.

    2. Agree. Even Ferrari fans ignore the fact that Kimi was better all weekend. I guess beating Ham blinds them to other unfairness towards other Ferrari driver.

      1. Dude, stop posting this nonsense, it’s hurting you. It was a lucky win indeed, but thought out on a moment. It was the VSC time and VET had to come to the pits in that very lap, not before or after. HAM benefited from moments like this even last year. So, not completely lucky ’cause they had to think stuff over and also alter VET’ strategy to some sort. It was obvious (at least to me) that VET was set to make the pit-stop as late as possible and try to attack with 10 laps to go by having fresh tyres. There was nothing else to do, it was just a procession, and would have been stupid to accept 2nd and 3rd and just wait another 30 laps for the race to end. Also, implying that Ferrari messed up Kimi’ strategy this race too is really a joke. Find another excuse, ’cause it’s not working anymore. When he’s behind and they pit him after VET is bad, when he’s in front and they pit him first… is bad again. The contradiction is obvious, decide when it’s bad, ’cause it can’t be both cases!

      2. 100% agree with you

    3. Kimi knows he is number 2

    4. @sonicslv Yep exactly. A perfect weekend from Kimi and it all goes down the drain. Or well, not everything, as podium is always a podium. But now everything what people will notice is Vettel winning and everyone will soon forget the fact that Kimi was faster of the two all weekend long.

      There were so many races (probably more than half of the calendar) last year when Kimi was behind Vettel during first stint, Ferrari pittid Vettel first, Mercs pitted too and Kimi being left alone on track for a longer stint, leading the race. Kimi never had a kind of luck Vettel had today. Kimi’s car must be cursed.

      1. @huhhii I dont know what race you watched but Kimi wasnt ever faster.
        He got an impressive p2 in qualifying where Vettel made a mistake, thats not “faster the entire weekend”.

        1. @rethla Got any arguments why Vettel was faster?
          Please read few of my and others’ messages below and you’ll see why Kimi was faster in quali and in race also.

    5. @sonicslv Granted Vettel was slower on saturday, but you got to help me here on sunday. Vettel managed to hold of Hamilton in the Mercedes whilst all the time Kimi struggled to keep distance from Ricciardo. At one moment in time Vettel had 10 seconds on Kimi whom at that point both where in clean air. Seems Kimi wasn’t that much faster ‘all weekend’.

      1. @flatsix Maybe Kimi was asked to hold off Ricciardo? Or maybe Kimi started to save an engine or something, since he knew overtaking HAM and VET would be impossible anyway? Kimi outqualified Vettel, kept him behind with ease during the first stint and drove fast enough at the start of his 2nd stint so that in normal conditions Vettel wouldn’t have made overcut. So all in all Kimi was the faster Ferrari man throughout the weekend.

        1. @huhhii I think only 769 people posted overtaking was not possible, but you still say ‘Kimi kept Vettel behind’… Vettel stayed behind and didn’t push him as the delta according to Ferrari was fine. Neither Ferrari cars expected to be in position to fight for the win so finishing as they went around lap 1 was already the most optimal way. Unless you really believe Vettel had nothing in hand over Kimi (which basically is is proven wrong right after the SC)….

          1. @flatsix Sure I believe Vettel had nothing in hand. Kimi looked strong all weekend. I already gave you some possible explanations for the pace difference after SC. Just before VSC they were both in clean air and it was all under Kimi’s control.

          2. @huhhii
            Had Kimi been on top he would have been ready to strike on Hamiltons mistakes in the persuit of Vettel and his total collapse on the last 2 laps.

            Kimi looked blazing when he attacked on Hamilton the first lap. What i saw after the first lap was a Hamilton pulling away from Kimi in the first half of the race and in the second half i saw Hamilton and Vettel pulling away from Kimi. On top of that he was whining on his engineers for no good reason.

            There is no doubt Vettels placement ahead of Kimi and Hamilton was a lucky strategy but his pace was superior the whole race.

      2. @flatsix Kimi pitted far earlier than Vettel and Ricciardo. Vettel and Ricciardo had the advantage of fresher tires. After few laps of SC restart, Vettel to Kimi gap stabilizes around 8s and the top 4 lapped at more or less the same pace. Going to what-if situation, without the VSC, it’s widely expected Vettel stayed 3rd from Hamilton and Kimi pace showed until VSC happened.

        1. @sonicslv I agree that without the VSC Vettel would’ve finished third, no doubt. But only because overtaking is ridiculously hard and Vettel had to pace himself against Kimi. Something he didn’t have to do as soon as he was ahead, hence he was able to pull a gap.

          1. Not a raikkonen fan, in fact I criticize him a lot when he’s slow. But damn, he never gets the right circumstances to win, when he has good races, something happens, sent back into the lapped cars at monaco 2017, 2nd behind hamilton in silverstone with no chance to win but probably best race of the year for him, puncture, 3rd; 2nd behind vettel in hungary with steering problems, they don’t let him try to jump him at pit stops, malaysia 2nd on the grid, DNS, singapore good start, vettel squeezes verstappen, DNF.

            And again this race he was on track for 2nd, and had he been in vettel’s position he’d have won, but ofc he ends up being 3rd due to the VSC and cause of being in front of vettel earlier on, I guess he just lost motivation after he ended up being 3rd.

          2. @flatsix That also what happens in the first stint, only reversed. The gap from Vettel to Kimi only grow few laps after SC restart, which I think it’s very fair to give that to a) fresher tires b) he need to defend from Ricciardo who also have fresh tires. After that, even when Vettel chased by Hamilton, Kimi can still match his time. So Vettel doesn’t really have that extra pace compared to Kimi, which again supported by practice and qualifying sessions. When all the evidence supported Kimi faster this weekend, except the fact that Vettel finished ahead that helped a lot by VSC situation, it’s pretty absurd to say Vettel is faster in the race.

          3. @flatsix Also, consider this: When Kimi and Hamilton pitted, Vettel is leading and have clear track in front of him. He doesn’t light up the timing, in fact he still losing time to Hamilton and Kimi. Of course they had fresh tires, but if what you said is true and he has extra pace, why he’s not lapping faster?

          4. @sonicslv You’re a master at twisting things in favour of Kimi, I’ll give you that. Let me give it another go.

            There’s two phases in this race;

            1) Before the VSC; Kimi was ahead of Vettel, no way to overtake him, no reason to be right behind him, keep the standard x second gap just to remain close if something happens. Vettel had no issue whatsoever in doing that, neither did Kimi. Both Vettel and Kimi drive to a given delta by Ferrari. We know for a fact Kimi was losing time compared to Hamilton, time that also Vettel was losing compared to Hamilton. The assumption here could be that had Vettel been infront his delta could’ve been higher. As Kimi pitted obviously he’s faster on new softs than Vettel on quite old and worn ultra softs, the strategy was clearly to go deep, and attack later in the race.

            2) After the VSC; Both Kimi and Vettel find themselves in clean air, on the same tyres, with a life difference that isn’t really one that would make a difference pace wise. Vettel manages to pull a 9-10 second gap, with Hamilton chasing him, meanwhile Kimi loses those 9-10 seconds compared to Vettel whilst mildly chased by Ricciardo, whom was slower than Hamilton at all times. Only in the latter stages did Ricciardo really put on a challenge.

            Given the fact A) Vettel had to pace himself against Kimi in phase 1 as overtaking makes no sense, and the race to Hamilton was quite clearly ‘lost’ at that moment in time, and B) he managed to pull a gap on Kimi of 9-10 seconds after the VSC whilst both were chased by a faster car, I find it safe to assume Vettel had better race pace all race long.

            If we assume Kimi had the better race pace we wouldn’t have seen the gap after the VSC, nor would we have seen the small gap in the first stint, then you’d expect Kimi to pull away more from Vettel as he would’ve been able to pace himself against a more competitive delta, as he had nobody ahead of him.

          5. Please also read above, @huhhii.

          6. @flatsix @rethla It amazes me how many people have hatred towards Kimi here.

            If we think that “Vettel had to phase himself against Kimi” and he was being faster, then we should assume Vettel didn’t have no problem to stay within 2s of Kimi during the first stint. If it was easy, then Vettel probably would’ve preserved some of the pace from the softer tyres. It’s called overcut. However Vettel was losing to Hamilton and Kimi when he had the clean air. If Vettel was faster than Kimi why did he need bizarre VSC incident to get in front? And as always, I’ve already given multiple reasons for the pace difference after VSC.

            This year’s Ferrari has a longer wheelbase, similar to Lotuses of 2012 and 2013. Kimi will fair much better versus Vettel this season. This won’t be the last time Kimi is faster than Vettel this season.

          7. And I’d also like to add that even Vettel himself admitted he couldn’t have matched Hamilton nor Kimi without the VSC incident. He surely knows better than us since he actually drove in the race.

          8. @huhhii Uhm

            It amazes me how many people have hatred towards Kimi here.

            Having a different opinion about something, which I clearly staffed with fair assumptions and facts hardly qualifies as ‘hatred’ towards Kimi.

            It’s called overcut.

            Didn’t work, there was no overcut. It’s not because you go longer you by definition go faster, the overcut is something that works only on several circuits in the right circumstances, that’s why you’ll far more often see strategists try the undercut.

            Kimi will fair much better versus Vettel this season. This won’t be the last time Kimi is faster than Vettel this season.

            Sure, Kimi will be faster. Sure, this won’t be the last time he’ll be faster than Vettel, except as I stated above quite elaborate, he wasn’t this weekend. That doesn’t mean he can’t be at any other race, but I really don’t see how you fail to see Kimi was overall on sunday not the fastest Ferrari driver.

            Vettel admitted no such thing, he admitted he would’ve never overtaken the two had he not had the VSC, which is something very plausible given the amount of drivers who were stuck behind slower cars (I.e. Verstapen, Ricciardo, Bottas, …)

          9. @huhhii
            I dont see anyone here denying Vettel couldnt have beaten Hamilton and Kimi without VSC.

            Being preised in a top team but underperforming for years, are you surprised hes hated?

  6. As Vettel said what goes around comes around! #wipethatsmileoff Lol! (Looks like its already happened, Hamilton looking morose as always)

    Time for Ferrari’s party (Sunday’s the party that matters)

    1. Hamilton’s comment from yesterday makes this win even sweeter.

    2. Ham celebrated being quicker. Vet celebrates being lucky. #wipethatsmileoff will therefore mostly be used by Ham and Mercedes.

      1. No one is being as agressive on the straights like Lewis Hamilton. The way he gains time there no one else can. True masterclass.

        1. what he pushes the pedal harder? you cannot be this naive…HE HAS A MORE POWERFULL ENGINE….what masterclass skillset does it take to floor the gas pedal and follow the car ahead?

          1. You need to re-read my statement. It was irony.

        2. @xenomorph91 yeah you keep telling yourself its all about the PU. But maybe at some point you want to look at all sectors (yes, some have corners) and speed traps.

          1. More powerful engine? Use it with higher wing angles and more downforce. You gain more time by this. Additonally it enables lower tyre usage during the race.

      2. Hamiltons laughing commenta came back on him and to rub it in his radio was brilliant…hell I am going to push now….as he goes straight off the track. So happy for a Ferrari win with plenty of potential to come versus overheating Mercs, hopefully Merc running hot will lead to an engine breaking.

  7. Brilliant

    1. Ah, I’d wondered how long before the xenophobic nutjob would appear again.

      1. Baby want a bottle Anon?

        1. No, since I don’t support either Hamilton nor Mercedes – what I would rather see, however, is the end of your openly xenophobic and racist trolling (your open hatred of non-Germans and the language that you sometime use veers uncomfortably close to that used by some white supremacists on the extreme right in Germany, and your frequent allusions to nationality and race has made more than a few posters here wonder what your motives really are).

          1. I agree. The word brilliant is only used by those who hate non-whites of course.

            And i really appreciate the courage you’ve shown anon with your non-anonymous deprecating comments…

          2. Racist trolling? Sorry anon. Take your own insecurities elsewhere.

  8. An absolute strategic masterclass from Ferrari! Superbly managed by Vettel!!

    1. Hardly a master class. Unless you mean giving Hass last years car on the condition they cause a safetycar when required ? If you don’t think that then it was just blind luck that no one at hass has the ability to put a wheel on a car.

    2. Couldn’t but ask what was the master class in gaining advantage under VSC conditions? If conditions remained the same, Vettel would have exited the pit lane behind HAM and RAI. That was a master class luck and a master class stupid decision from Charlie.

    3. VSC is now a strategic masterclass? Ferrari must have a Haas-destruct button.

    4. @fish123 you cant win this one. Either Ferrari planned Haas failure and they caused this result or they lucked into the situation which doesn’t make them strategic geniuses. Splitting strategies, like they did is nothing special with no threat from behind and any team would do that.

      1. Take your loss on the chin. You think the system isn’t fair? Let’s make the sport have parity then.

      2. Yes it was lucky to get VSC there, but it was strategy to put VET in that position to benefit from that. It was the right call because at that point it was either settle for 3rd or try something different and hope for SC or VSC. And they were in a position to try this strategy, because Mercedes 2nd car was nowhere near to help the team out. It was a strategy that depended on luck. It had low risk:high reward ratio and it payed off. It’s as simple as that.

      3. @@ivan-vinitskyy they could have just pitted Vettel right after Kimi but they didnt. Wonder why? Clever strategy… they knew the chance of a VSC was high at Melbourne & took a gamble by staying out. Yes it was luck that there actually was a VSC but the masterclasss im referring to is splitting strategies by keeping Seb out longer instead of just pitting him the lap after Kimi.

        Even youve got to admit it was a good call, what do u say?

        1. Can I just point out that VET hadn’t pulled enough of a gap to be able to pit and get back out into clean air until the VSC, leaving him out was not good strategy, they had no other choice.

    5. Superb tyre management from Vettel, Ham destroyed his tyres again like last year, had to pit early therefore losing the opportunity to pit under VSC.
      Job done Vettel, Forza Ferrari

    6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      25th March 2018, 16:42

      He’s just being ironic – what kind of champion would wait to be lapped by their teammate and Lewis and wait quietly so he can win the race in the VSC? That’s some kind of joke, right?

      Lewis, why are you 10th? Oh, I’m going to win this once Ocon and Perez bring out the VSC!!!

      Grande strategia!!! Fantastico! Lewis how did you know you’d win when you were 10th. Oh, I knew it – Messi wears #10 and he’s numero uno so I did what Messi does!

      Enjoy F1!!!

    7. Ferrari put themselves in a position to exploit a safety car situation on grand prix which had at least one SC in 8 of the last 11 races. Merc could only answer to one of the Ferrari car’s strategies and they had to respond to the undercut. Had Bottas been there in the top 4, it would be another story.

  9. I mean, where to begin? An absolutely dreary race which has put the cat amongst the pigeons. VSC costing a win is never nice, but it does create a nice situation. Merc clearly fastest but Ferrari not far behind in the race, and the development will be fascinating. Red Bull dreadful, bad strategy decision and Verstappen doing a replica of 2016, impatient and frustrated and that never ends well (although, what was with his car? Looked undriveable). Good on Danny Ric to get this far forward. Alonso, dubious as to how he jumped the Renaults, but a good result for McLaren. And those poor Haas….
    Also, all but one driver in the same lap (or, SC, but still) and the Sauber not uncompetitive. I like how this season is shaping up, although I am worried that the cars are now even worse at following and overtaking. One overtake all race, and frankly that was a beauty by Ric but Hulk was asleep.

    1. Toto just said that he sure they had 3 seconds margin according to Merc computer.

    2. @hahostolze The quicker the cars worst overtaking, more aero. The older the regulation tighter gaps. Not great but I’ve seen worst Melbourne races, at least the track is spectacular. There was more than one overtake, and there were a couple not featured on the broadcast, most if not all were DRS, except Alonso on Verstappen…

    3. Ah, indeed, where to begin, hhh. Well,why not right where you left?
      As always, when his precious VMax messes things up, this fan starts blaming others and making up excuses for his idol’s mistakes. RB dreadful, bad strategy decision? They would have been right up there with Ham and Fer/Vet fighting for the win if it wasn’t for the spin. That car didn’t go too bad in the hands of Ric (and also in Ver’s before he spun), now did it?
      It starts with what looks like a bit of criticism directed at the young man from Belgium, but, hold your horses, almost simultaneously it makes up ridiculous pretenses to try to explain the unfortunate incident and convince itself and others that the flawless Belgian hasn’t done anything wrong at all; he was merely a victim of the dreadful circumstances his team had put him in. How dare they..
      And as a cherry on the cake, it manages to bash on Ric, not accidentally the primary rival of his one true love.

    4. @hahostolze Alonso overtook Sainz after he went out at turn 1 on lap 23. Two laps later Hulkenberg pitted right behind Grosjean that provoked the VSC.

  10. A deja-vu to last season’s edition in some ways. Obviously Vettel winning ahead of Hamilton, but also both Haas-drivers and Ericsson DFN’ing on this circuit for the 2nd season in a row.

    1. Thanks.

      Now Lets wait for a third year on the trot, and see if anyone gets it.

  11. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the horrible pit stop today, and we grieve the Hass’s loss. To prevent this situation from ever happening again, I’m calling for wheel gun control!

    1. I’m calling for a race ban. How pathetic can a team be that they can’t even change a wheel ? A loose wheel is a serious issue yet they let both cars rejoin the track when there was plenty of time to stop in pitlane ?

      1. Justin (@boombazookajd)
        25th March 2018, 8:28

        This has happened to many teams. Heck it happened to Kimi, what was it? Last year Ferrari had him roll with a loose wheel? Clearly they need to revise their procedures for release but with stops lasting 2.7-3.0 seconds, its not a reflection on the team. The air pressure could have been low in the gun lines, the wheel nuts could have a poor design (which again, we’ve seen before). Grosjean stopped on the inside of the exit from T2, about the soonest he could possibly stop in a safe place. Magnussen reporting it as a suspension failure clearly shows that the wheel nut wasn’t properly installed but was on at least.

        Really, cool off a bit man, mistakes happen. They’ll pay their fine for sure and then investigate the issue, either pit lane equipment or wheel nuts. A race ban is just silly.

        1. @boombazookajd ”Last year Ferrari had him roll with a loose wheel?”
          – Actually, that happened at COTA in 2016 as well as on this weekend’s venue in 2015.

          1. Justin (@boombazookajd)
            25th March 2018, 16:57

            Thanks for clarifying the year @jerejj

    2. when are we changing our facebook profile pictures?

  12. Max on Dutch tv: damage on his car already before his spin that caused oversteer mid corner.

    1. @anunaki Might be true, cars on qualifying are under parc ferme, floor damage that went unnoticed perhaps. Regardless he looked so spectacular, power sliding on the quick corners.
      @stjs16 Might well be a Ferrari design though of course no F1 team makes their own wheels.

    2. It is never max, the team, max and dutch commentators will always deny it was max.
      Only when it is undeniable they will say so and still come up with circumstances that it really wasn’t max, this is also the time max will not show up, or is very late, for the mandatory post race interviews.

      In this case, from corner one it was clear max was overdriving the car in order to get his place back, and that was before he starts banging over the curbs and breaking stuff on his car (again).

      Max still needs to learn that you can only loose the race in the first view laps

    3. @anunaki I have no doubt in Max but i find it funny that yesterday he asked for more front wing and today he oversteers and even spins out :)

  13. Did Ferrari supply the wheelnuts to HAAS ;-)

  14. Vettel – surely one of the most consistently fortunate drivers in F1 history.

    1. Only to Hamilton/Alonso fans I imagine. This doesn’t even even out his safety car related bad luck over the last couple of years. Never mind a bunch of other stuff….

  15. Why did you change the title Keith 😏?

    1. @j3d89 It hasn’t been changed.

  16. Thanks BST, I missed the race.

  17. I actually believe that Williams, Sauber and Torrorosso will genuinly struggle to score this year. Even with the Haas misfortunes you still have Renault, Mclaren and others to pick up the points. I don’t even remember seeing Williams and Sauber in the race except for Sirotkins retirement.

  18. The real party was on Sunday and Seb was the best dancer.

    Sorry Hamster!


    1. @elio
      Party mooooooooooode !

  19. Lucky for Seb, only Ham and Merc are scary… scary fast. Championship over.

    1. Merc overheated engine, Hamilton struggled to keep the car on track and his pace meant his tyres dropped off at the end, another few laps he would of come 4th. All to play for, Forza Ferrari.

      1. I hope so, but listen to Marko… Forza Ferrari.

        1. If you mean Helmet Marko I cannot see EYE to EYE with the cyclops views. He can only see half as much as normal people, he has to keep his only eye on what Red Bull do so doubt he knows what others can do.

  20. It’s hard to believe that I’m going to complain about Merc being beaten by Ferrari (or anyone) when that is the result I’ve been hoping for. But, I am complaining. It seems a major glitch in the VSC rules or implementation of the VSC to allow this to happen in this way. This should be investigated.

    I was nearly rooting for Hamilton to pass Vettel as it would have been poetic justice in this case. My wish is for Merc to be challenged on the track, not in the rulebook.

    1. (Virtual) safety cars are part of the game. Some gain an advantage like Lewis and Alonso (and even RIC maybe) today and some not like Lewis Kimi and Max today

      1. I mean Seb of course

    2. @bullmello
      It doesn’t have anything to do with any glitch in the rules or implementation of the (V)SC. It’s just simple math. No need for an investigation.

      1. If the drivers are forced to drive slower on the track then why not have them drive proportionately slower in the pit lane?

        It wasn’t that long ago that the speed in the pit lane was subject to an automatic limiter, so why can’t the same be implemented for drivers pitting under vsc?

  21. I don’t see how losing places due to a VSC is really any different to drivers losing spots due to a normal SC or Red Flag.

    It’s also not as if Lewis is the 1st driver to have lost places due to a VSC (Or a Full SC or Red Flag), He may be the 1st to have lost the lead but pretty sure others have lost places under a VSC since it was introduced & I don’t recall anyone complaining about it then.

    It’s a part of the sport, A part of the strategy & just like a full SC or Red Flag sometimes it benefits you & sometimes it cost’s you. Today Lewis lost out & Vettel gained, Next time it may well go the other way.

    1. Because last year Lewis benefited from those and not Ferrari that’s the reason for the complaining today..specially since the Merc is a monster of a car they feel robbed

    2. @stefmeister Agreed. I don’t like how things played out today but I won’t blame anyone or anything. It’s all part of the game. To quote Picard: It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.

    3. Ricciardo and Alonso gainee as well. I don’t understand the fuss about it, it’s been like this since I remember

  22. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    25th March 2018, 9:02

    Not an overexciting race, but the usual Melbourne premiere.
    The top teams seems closer in race situation, especially RBR
    Haas has a very good package with both drivers feeling good on it
    Renault underperfomed or didnt exceed the expectations created after testing
    F.I need to make their upgrades to work as soon as possible…
    Good race by Leclerc, while Sainz, Ocon had terrible weekends
    As for Williams, i dont know what to say…

    1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      25th March 2018, 9:03

      Sainz not a terrible one, but he underperfomed on Sunday & he did that mistake

    2. Williams should just bury their car and get last years Merc….

      1. What they need is their last drivers.

  23. Forget about the VSC. VET did not have the pace to win the race all being equal. 7 Laps fresher could not pull out a lead, only when HAM turned the motor down. The red car now the third fastest team.

    1. The more props for Vet and Fer then.

      1. I don’t think “props” are due for luck. I was happy for the result, it’s good for the championship but Vet celebrating made me cringe so hard, I personally would be ashamed to win like that, and the times I got on a podium through luck, you sure didn’t see me happy about it.

        1. In the second stint Vettel mounted supersofts compared to Hamilton’s softs, so they wore out more quickly.

        2. But Lewis has a far better car .Why isn’t he ashamed to get pole just because of that ?
          And than get a huge advantage in the race because of that.

        3. But h has a dominant car since forever.why is he so happy to win like that?

          1. Hamilton is the greatest of all time

  24. Congrats to VET and Ferrari. This is sport- there are so many variables that determine a result in F1 of which VSC is just one. As Ham fan I am gutted that his AUS curse continues- maybe he needs to visit Tia Dalma to get a cure or something.

    But seriously I think while Vettel and Ferrari will be elated today, they should be concerned for the next races imo. On pure race pace Ferrari is behind Merc. That much is clear from today’s evidence. And RB don’t seem too far behind they are behind at all.

    1. Finally a fair comment from Lewis’s fans.True Yes but most important will be reliability. The season is long.Good luck in the next race !

  25. MeadowSoprano
    25th March 2018, 9:51

    hahaha. Haas earning their Ferrari engine in style. Well-played :)

  26. @sleepywill
    I agree Vet-Fer got a lucky win, but Fer were well underway to a double podium before the (V)SC. And if they are the third fastest team, coming home second and third is a testimony of having done a solid job where others didn’t extract the most out of it (Bot q3, Ver q3-start-spin, Ric penalty and q3).

  27. Boring race, watching drivers struggle to control the car when trying to chase down the leading car hoping the driver in front makes a mistake is sad.
    VSC situation(s) happen and it’s entirely based on luck, although the HAAS problem was terrible, really felt sorry for the drivers.
    Will be interesting to see when P.U component changes will start happening…

    1. Drivers? Looks like Hamilton was the only one who struggled to control his car (on rails).

      1. You don’t think Ves struggled to control his car today?

    2. So indycar gets heaps of praise when the cars are difficult to drive and the drivers are on the ragged edge; but when f1 cars are hard to drive and drivers are on the ragged edge it is boring??

      Personally I loved watching Hamilton driving on the edge and trying to get that last bit of pace. Great to watch

  28. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    25th March 2018, 11:37

    Great headline!

    I haven’t seen the race yet, but am delighted that Vettel won the race for the championship.

    The win feels even sweeter after the bitterness from Hamilton yesterday. I thought his comment was full of spite, poor sportsmanship and lacked in style.

    But anyway, on to the next one, hopefully Vettel can get another win.

    1. I thought his comment was full of spite, poor sportsmanship and lacked in style.

      Of course you did. I’ve been on these forums alot and it goes without saying- you are not exactly objective when it comes to Hamilton. What you are selectively leaving out is its Seb who started with the jibes and Lewis responded in kind. So one could a;lso easil say it was Vettel who was bitter after being beaten fair and square in qualy not just by Lewis but his off colour team mate.

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        25th March 2018, 22:42

        I would have said the same for any sportsman. I used to be a huge Hamilton fan especially after meeting him in 2007. In more recent seasons he has just let it all go to his head and as a fan I have just slowly disliked him more over the years.

        Anyway you selectively ignored that my main comment was about Seb winning is good for a more open championship.

        On that note, one could say that you selectively focused more on my Hamilton comment because you’re not reading my comments objectively…

    2. @peppermint-lemon When I can’t see a race live I’m in submarine mode up until I get to watch it. No radio in the morning, no TV, no websites, arriving at work and preventively asking for no spoilers :)

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        25th March 2018, 22:34

        Yeah I used to be like that but since Hamilton has dominated (usually more predictable), the cars don’t sound as good, Halo has come in, and Lewis gets more ingratiating year on year… I don’t have that same hardcore fan dedication.

  29. So where to begin:
    – Mercedes aren’t as quick in race trim and can’t seem to follow another car
    – Bottas is rubbish (a bit harsh I know)
    – Mclaren seem to be on the right track (they actually got both cars to finish!)
    – Honda are still rubbish

    1. @jaymenon10 “Mercedes aren’t as quick in race trim and can’t seem to follow another car” is actually the OPPOSITE. Seb admits they are behind as opposed to last year. Lewis was able to breathe down his neck for about 20 laps with OLDER tyres – on another circuit he would’ve overtaken him. It does not feel like win for Ferrari and Seb knows it – they got away with this one.

      1. He is actually right the Mercedes can’t still follow, which means should they fall behind will struggle, also Hamilton’s fastest lap was just 0.025s faster than Vettel’s, and towards the end his tyres gave up as well.

  30. Sergey Martyn
    25th March 2018, 11:48

    Lewis wiped the smile off Seb’s face in quali, but Mercedes wiped the smile off Lewis face in the race – very stupid decision not to leave him on ultra-softs for a few more laps.
    I don’t know whose smiles Haas dimwits wanted to wipe but they did it in such epic fashion that it doesn’t matter anymore. Ferrari has to pay their fine for unsafe release. They did it twice!

  31. Haha what a race. Move of the day was Max doing a 360. Amazing the car control that child has. Only anti-stall held him down. Totally reminds me of Senna loosing it in the wet.

    Then there is the whole VSC controversy. Very entertaining to observe Hamilton fans cry faul. In result nobody was happy on the podium. Hamilton failed to wipe the smirk from Vettel, Vettel was a bit down he only won due to luck and Kimi was just Kimi.

    What we the race fans however got was thrilling chase by Hamilton, if positions would have been reversed we would get a walk in the park. Mercedes simply is faster in clean Air.

  32. Party Mode: activated
    strat: 14
    Overtake Warp: 9.8
    smile: 0

  33. I was there today and best Melbourne GP for quite some time.

    I hate the halo but seeing it live is better than on T.V….. its ok…. at best.

    Hoped Dan would get a podium but he drove really well. So did Kimi to keep him at bay.

    Force India proved testing concerns were real. Not a good start unfotuatlety for them.

    Good season opener !

  34. Here are 2 tweaks to the VSC. If either of them are implemented, it can reduce the randomness effect of VSC
    1) Reduce pit lane speed limit during VSC. If it is 80, make it 65 or 60, this can be tweaked for every circuit depending upon the pre-defined VSC speeds of that circuit. This means that the time required for a VSC pitstop would become higher to compensate for the slower speed of the cars on the main straight
    2) Implement VSC speed limit for all sections except for the section between put start and pit end. This will allow drivers on the main straight to drive as fast as usual thereby nullifying any loss relative to the driver pitting.

    Option 2 cannot be implemented in those cases where the incident causing the VSC is on the main straight itself, but option 1 can be implemented in all cases.

    Don’t see any bottlenecks in implementing these. Just that, the initiative and drive to fix unfair situations of the sport (both on-track like these and off-track like income distribution) is lacking from the FIA.

    – A Ferrari fan

    1. Regarding your 2) idea, don’t forget, if the incident is on the main straight, the cars would filter through the pitlane anyway – it still would cause the advantage to those pitting because the pitlane speed limit would have to be respected, and it would not nullify the entire advantage, much of the time would still be spent under limited speed conditions, but it would reduce the advantage, that’s for sure.

    2. As well as all other wins affected by VSC, namely Spain last year, this was a farce.

      It’s not difficult to implement fairness in a regulated sport but it seems F1 has put safety as top priority without considering/addressing side effects. For example in GP2 a couple years back, Sirotkin took a drive through to negate an advantage gained under a VSC.

      In today’s case, calling a full safety car would have been fairer and it’s Charlie’s/FIA’s responsibility, and job, to understand each track point and act appropriately. Surely it doesn’t take 3 minutes to understand that a truck is needed to move a car. In fact it’s too convenient that the VSC was run for precisely the time required for Vettel to do a pit stop. I’m surprised this wasn’t discussed in the show, and also that Brundle was so confused as to how Vettel gained time on Hamilton and Raikonnen.

      If it was a full SC then Vettel potentially would have gotten the same benefit, which ultimately is fair. As race director, Charlie Whiting showed either a bias toward a non-Merc winning or incompetence to think flexibly/quick enough to marry safety with fair sporting outcome. The guy needs to make way for someone better.

    3. Close the pitlane while VSC is on and problem solved? Not sure race direction sees it as a problem though. Shuffling, luck, drama, spice etc.

  35. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    25th March 2018, 16:11

    The only time I really even noticed the halo today was the onboard shots, which sucked but can be worked on hopefully. There were good drives up and down but Hulk, given a wider track could have challenged for a top 4 today. Really impressed with him and Alonso and not impressed with Bottas. I know he had his problems this weekend and today but put Lewis in that position and I think you get a top 5 or better. I have a question for anyone who knows, was that the best crowd at Melbourne in some years or just good camera work? Would be good to know.

  36. @keithcollantine
    C4 Qualifying info/comparison between LH and KR shows Ferrari was considerably faster on straights and that Lewis beat both Ferrari’s on breaking and on getting off each corner. Considering not all race tracks have such short straights, am I right in assuming that this could mean Ferrari are the dark horse and have the better engine this year? And, if so which race tracks will give Ferrari an advantage against the rest?

    1. I think it means Merc ran with more wing angle and could go around corners quicker than Ferraris

  37. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    25th March 2018, 16:45

    Bye Bye F1!!! Arrivederci Ragazzi! Fantastico Lavoro di ESPN, FIA e Liberty Media!

    F1 Numero Uno

    F1 = il numero 3 può vincere!

  38. Can’t enjoy a lucky win like this. Just can’t.
    Vettel did good after he took the lead? He just couldn’t do bad. It was this easy to keep the place until the end.

    If Alonso did it with a car 1.5 seconds slower. Or Perez kept Bottas behind for a long time too.

    This track just can’t suit these cars anymore. The last decent race there was that one Kimi won with Lotus, and that because the tyres were lasting 5 laps.

  39. Andre Furtado
    25th March 2018, 21:31

    The usual here of whoever gets an advantage with the safety car is happy, and the other guy is upset. But at the end of the day the issue is very basic, formula 1 isn’t about pure power anymore; it’s about resource management. If Hamilton was pushing like back in the days instead of managing tires, pu, or fuel he wouldn’t have lost the lead. I am personally consistently frustrated when hearing drivers through the race being given target times. The only thing we should hear is push hard as qualifying laps every single lap.

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