Valtteri Bottas wasted absolutely no time to make up for his winless season during 2018. They took a genuinely dominant win for Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix for the first race of the season.
Bottas nearly missed pole position over the weekend against his team partner, Lewis Hamilton. However, it took Bottas less than 100 meters to place his Mercedes ahead of Lewis Hamilton as the field came speeding down to the first turn. Bottas led all laps, except for one, at Albert Park. He even set the fastest lap time to accumulate an additional point for the world championship thanks to a newly-introduced rule for the 2019 season. This was before he took the checkered flag with an impressive 20.8 seconds in front of Hamilton, while Max Verstappen managed to finish third in his Red Bull.
Once Lewis Hamilton was passed by Valtteri Bottas at the beginning of the race, he seemed a shadow of the driver who up until race day, managed to dominate the weekend. Lewis Hamilton was forced into a rather early pit stop to cover Sebastien Vettel in his Ferrari. It’s wasn’t long until he started to complain about the lack of grip because his medium tires began to wear while his second stint unfolded. Max Verstappen won within a second from Hamilton during several stages. However, he never attempted to overtake Hamilton and merely settled for third place following a crucial mistake on the first turn during the final laps.
Everyone was under the impression that the Ferrari’s were quicker before they arrived in Melbourne. However, it became quite clear after the race that Scuderia still has loads of issues to sort out before the next race. Vettel managed to drop from the third position to fourth place after Verstappen easily overtook him on the third turn halfway through the race. The German finished the race 35 seconds behind Bottas. Leclerc managed to finish in the fifth position.
Kevin Magnussen managed to give Haas a massive smile as he finished in 6th position, allowing him to claim 8 points from the race. However, it was somewhat of a Deja vu case for the American team as Romain Grosjean retired due to a wheel issue for the second time at Melbourne. Grosjean was on the tail of Magnussen when he went in for a pit stop but was unfortunately held for more than 10 seconds due to a mistake with the front left tyre. He then dropped down to 9th position and pulled off the track a few laps later with a loose tire.
Kimi Raikkonen managed to finish in 8th position while driving for Alfa Romeo after he completed 45 laps on his medium tyres. Lando Norris, who managed to qualify in 8th position dropped down to a 12th position at the end of the race for McLaren. It’s been an exciting start to the season for Bottas. Let’s see if he can continue his winning streak on the next track.