Valtteri Bottas wins the opening Grand Prix of the 2019 F1 season with a dominant win in Australia, with Lewis Hamilton second and the Ferraris struggling.
You might have expected, after Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, that he would simply take that and romp away to a win. But Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate, had different ideas.
In what was probably his best race ever, Bottas got off to such a good start that he swept past Hamilton before the first corner and proceeded to dominate the race, finishing a full 21 seconds ahead of Hamilton in second, 22.5 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen in third (a Honda triumph and a deep cut for McLaren) and almost a minute in front of the struggling Ferraris of Vettel and Leclerc in fourth and fifth.
Bottas, prompted by Mark Webber in a post race interview, seemed to thank his stunning drive to a breakfast of porridge, but whatever the reason it puts Hamilton, and the rest of the grid, on notice that 2019 might well see a different Bottas to the Hamilton stooge of 2018.
Behind the top five it was Magnussen in the Haas in sixth, Hulkenberg’s Renault in seventh, Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo in eighth, Stroll in the Racing Point in ninth and Kvyatt in the last points place in the Toro Rosso. Bottas also grabbed the new extra point for fastest lap.
Lando Norris in the McLaren failed to turn his eighth place on the grid in to points – finishing 11th – and Carlos Sainz in the other, now Renault-powered, McLaren retired – as did Grosjean in the Haas and Ricciardo in the Renault – and the Williams of Russell and Kubica were the last of the finishers.
The F1 Circus is off to Bahrain in a fortnight.