All eyes were on Melbourne last weekend with the return of the Formula 1 season where Mercedes were hoping to keep their top form. But with successful pre-season testing, both Ferrari and Red Bull were looking to chase them down.

All eyes were on Melbourne last weekend with the return of the Formula 1 season where Mercedes were hoping to keep their top form. But with successful pre-season testing, both Ferrari and Red Bull were looking to chase them down.

Qualifying on the Saturday showed that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes still have what it takes to earn poll position. His new team mate Valtteri Bottas also proved a force to be reckoned with getting third place on the starting grid, however Ferrari have stepped up a gear from last season with Sebastian Vettel taking second place and his team mate Kimi Räikkönen gaining fourth.

Unfortunately, the qualifying session was not so good for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. A spin into the wall in Q3 left him with tenth place in addition to a repair to the gear box meant a penalty put him into 15th on the grid. The problems did not stop there as on race day his car had a sensor failure which forced it to be brought back to the pits. After a few quick repairs by the team, he made his way to the race two laps behind but by lap 25 a suspected engine failure meant he had to retire.

With the race underway Hamilton took the lead with Vettel not far behind him, however tyre degradation meant Mercedes had to change their strategy and pit after only 17 laps, whereas Vettel managed to make his last until the 22nd lap.

The German pulled out of the pits just ahead of Hamilton, and lead the way for the rest of the race taking the chequered flag 10 seconds ahead of the Mercedes to win the first race of the season, and scoring Ferrari’s first race win since the Singapore GP in 2015. Hamilton took second place on the podium with fellow Mercedes driver Bottas coming in third.

As is always the case in the first race of the season there were a few retirements from the cars, including both Haas drivers, Brit Jolyon Palmer in the Renault and Lance Stroll making his debut for Williams. Alonso, who was in tenth for most of the race, suffered from a suspension problem and had to retire his McLaren on lap 50. Alonso’s team mate Stoffel Vandoorne managed to finish the race but only in last place behind rookie Antonio Giovinazz, who made his F1 debut with Sauber in the place of Pascal Wehrlein who was out with a back injury.

The race means Ferrari start the season at the top of the constructor’s championship, with Mercedes and Red Bull in Second and third respectively.

See the Formula 1 season unfold as the team’s make their way to Shanghai next for the Chinese Grand Prix.

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