Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) earned his fourth straight Australian Grand Prix pole. The balance of Top 6 qualifiers were Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), and Romain Grosjean (Haas’s best qualifying position ever).
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), who crashed out in the first round of qualiftyin, stopped on track during warmup laps with a gearbox problem. He started the race, but three laps into it.
The front four maintained their positions through the first lap. Grosjean retired 15 laps in with an engine fire.
Hamilton pitted during Lap 17, changing to soft from ultrasoft tires to set up a one-stop strategy and ceding the lead to Vettel. Hamilton reentered behind traffic, and when Vettel pitted he retained the lead. Ricciardo’s car failed in Lap 29.
Vettel won, followed by Hamilton and Bottas. Esteban Ocon (Force India) finished tenth to score the first championship point of his career. Vettel’s victory brought about the first time in the past 4 years that a non-Mercedes driver has held the championship lead.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 25
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 18
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Mercedes – 15
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland), Ferrari – 12
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull-Renault – 10
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 8
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 6
Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain), Toro Rosso-Renault – 4
Daniil Kvyat (Russia), Toro Rosso-Renault – 2
Esteban Ocon (France), Force India-Mercedes – 1
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 37
Mercedes (Hamilton, Bottas) – 33
Red Bull Racing (Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo) – 10
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Lance Stroll) – 8
Force India-Mercedes (Perez, Ocon) - 7
Toro Rosso-Renault (Carlos Sainz Jr., Daniil Kvyat) – 63
Haas-Ferrari (Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez) – 29
Renault (Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer) – 8
Sauber-Ferrari (Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson) - 2
MRT-Mercedes (Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon) – 1
Next event: Chinese Grand Prix – Shanghai, Apr. 7-9, 2017