Lewis Hamilton

Bottas and Mercedes dominate Australian opener


MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Valtteri Bottas capitalised on a late pitstop to upset his world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton and clinch the season-opening Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday with the “best race” of his life.


Runner-up Hamilton, who switched to the medium compound tyres seven laps earlier than Bottas, had to battle to hold off third-placed Max Verstappen and was fortunate the Red Bull driver took a late skid in the grass to lose vital seconds.


Bottas claimed his first race win since Abu Dhabi in 2017 and added icing to the cake by securing a bonus point for the fastest lap at the lakeside circuit in one minute 25.580 seconds.


Four-times champion Vettel held the podium spot for most of the race but ended up easily picked off by Verstappen as Red Bull celebrated a positive debut with Honda engines.


Haas, who lost both cars due to botched tyre changes in last year’s race, showed they were not free of their pit-stop gremlins, as a poor stop caused Romain Grosjean to lose two places.


Prior to the start, drivers and officials stood for a minute’s silence at the grid in tribute to the late F1 racing director Charlie Whiting and in remembrance of victims of a mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday.






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