Hamilton, who dropped first, seemed to be on the way to victory; with a clear advantage of rhythm. But it was overtaken by Vettel.
By Newsroom, with news agencies – Melbourne, Australia
Sebastian Vettel made full use of the safety car to move ahead of Lewis Hamilton and hold on to the frustrated current Formula One champion in the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, on Sunday.
The infamous “party mode” of the Mercedes engine, which got the best lap and pole for Hamilton on Saturday could not do much after Ferrari’s Vettel took the lead by re-entering the track after pitted in the race at Albert Park.Park .
Hamilton, who dropped first, seemed to be on the way to victory; with a clear advantage of rhythm. But the test turned upside down with the safety car. The feature stopped the race after Romain Grosjean’s Hass stopped working on the second corner.
In another good result for Ferrari the Finn Kimi Raikkonen finished third, leaving Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull without his first home race podium.
Four-time champion Vettel won the 48th victory in the category and third in Melbourne after winning at Albert Park last year and in 2011.
“Needless to say, we were lucky with the safety car timing,” the German said.
He had dropped third and inherited the lead. Hamilton and Raikkonen had made their pit stops earlier in the race.
“It’s not the best test for overtaking,” he said.
For Hamilton, the result was a bitter remedy to swallow and had similarities to last year’s race.
Vettel had also been able to re-enter the track during 2017. In the same race, the Briton, who had also started on pole, was blocked by traffic.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team had made a miscalculation. They have wrongly processed the margin between the cars during the period when the safety car entered the track.
– We thought we had enough margin. It must have been a bug in the system software that caused this error. We’re digging deeper to understand how we had this problem, “Wolff said.