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Sebastian Vettel wins Australian Moto GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton due to safety car confusion

Sebastain Vettel wins Australian Moto GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton due to safety car confusion.
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team threw away victory at the Australian Grand Prix with a massive miscalculation that handed Sebastian Vettel the opening-day win.

Hamilton, who finished second, had been in charge after a clean get-away from pole and a smooth first half of the race before the random intervention of a virtual safety car (VSC), brought about by Romain Grosjean’s Haas pulling up at the side of the track.

At this point, midway through the race, Vettel came in to be reshod. His lead over Hamilton, who had already stopped for his change of rubber, was only 11 seconds.
It should not have been a big enough margin for the German to get in and out of the pits and back in front, but with the VSC deployed, Hamilton had to slow down to the mandatory limited lap time. It allowed Vettel to emerge in front.

Hamilton was nonplussed, little realising he had been cruising for a bruising, when — seemingly — he should earlier have been pressing harder to put himself in a position that would have allowed him to remain in front in the event of a VSC being called.

‘What just happened, guys?’ asked Hamilton. ‘Why did you not tell me Vettel was in the pits?’

‘We’re just reviewing,’ came the response. Later, Mercedes told him: ‘We thought we were safe. There is obviously something wrong.

Hamilton after pitting while the virtual safety car was in operation
Both Haas racers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, retired within laps of each other when well placed
Max Verstappen spun in the early stages after losing fourth to Magnussen in disappointing race for Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team threw away victory at the Australian Grand Prix with a massive miscalculation that handed Sebastian Vettel the opening-day win.

Hamilton, who finished second, had been in charge after a clean get-away from pole and a smooth first half of the race before the random intervention of a virtual safety car (VSC), brought about by Romain Grosjean’s Haas pulling up at the side of the track.

At this point, midway through the race, Vettel came in to be reshod. His lead over Hamilton, who had already stopped for his change of rubber, was only 11 seconds.

Mercedes threw away victory at the
Vettel managed to extend his advantage and won the opening race of the F1 season, with Hamilton left in second place
The podium placers spray champagne.

AUSTRALIAN GP RESULTS AND FINAL STANDINGS
Drivers’ standings:

1 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 25pts

2 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes GP 18

3 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 15

4 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 12

5 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren 10

6 Max Verstappen (HOL) Red Bull 8

7 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault 6

8 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes GP 4

9 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren 2

10 Carlos Sainz (SPA) Renault 1

11 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 0

12 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India 0

13 Charles Leclerc (MON) Sauber 0

14 Lance Stroll (CAN Williams 0

15 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso 0

16 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 0

17 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 0

18 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso 0

19 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber 0

20 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Williams 0

Constructors standings: 1 Ferrari 40pts, 2 Mercedes 22, 3 Red Bull 20, 4 McLaren 12, 5 Renault 7, 6 Force India 0, 7 Sauber 0, 8 Williams 0, 9 Toro Rosso 0, 10 Haas 0

Race result:

1 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 1hr 29mins 33.283secs

2 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes GP 1:29:38.319

3 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:29:39.592

4 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1:29:40.352

5 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren 1:30:01.169

6 Max Verstappen (HOL) Red Bull 1:30:02.228

7 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault 1:30:05.954

8 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes GP 1:30:07.622

9 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren 1:30:08.204

10 Carlos Sainz (SPA) Renault 1:30:19.005

11 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:30:20.100

12 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India 1:30:33.561

13 Charles Leclerc (MON) Sauber 1:30:49.042

14 Lance Stroll (CAN) Williams 1:30:51.571

15 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso at 1 Lap

Not Classified:

16 Romain Grosjean (FRAN) Haas F1 24 Laps completed

17 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 22 Laps completed

18 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso 13 Laps completed

19 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber 5 Laps completed

20 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Williams 4 Laps completed

Fastest Lap: Daniel Ricciardo 1min 25.945secs on Lap 54.

Hamilton was on pole and got away cleanly, however confusion over the VSC allowed Vettel to sneak ahead via a pit stop.

Max Verstappen had a bad race, spinning out after being overtaken for fourth by Kevin Magnussen in the opening stages.

The young Dutchman kicks up grass from the verge a he spins out at turn one, which saw him drop two places to eighth
The VSC was deployed when Romain Grosjean pulled up track-side following the second of two botched Haas pit stops.

What was a promising day for Haas turned nightmarish after Magnussen and Grosjean both had to retire from the race.

The safety car, which followed the VSC, was withdrawn with 27 laps remaining. Hamilton was right on Vettel’s tail but passing here is close to impossible. With 12 laps remaining, the Brit said he was ‘going for it’. We held our breath.

He pushed too hard, locked up and ran on to the grass. His deficit, always around or under one second, slipped back to nearer three. Race over, though Hamilton got relatively close to his red prey later on, only to make another mistake. The final victory margin was five seconds, but Hamilton had given up by the end.

It was an awful day for Mercedes, whose pace had suggested they should have won with something to spare, even if Ferrari were closer to them on pure pace than most people suggested. Kimi Raikkonen’s third place gave the Scuderia the early lead in the constructors’ table.

ajay
Sports freak at your door step

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