Sebastian Vettel right to be positive after Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Mar 28, 2017, 00:30
Sebastian Vettel right to be positive after Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Many were expecting them to also bring the fight to Mercedes yet the team seems to have regressed compared to past year. It's been a hard winter, the whole team has been working really hard.

This is Vettel's third season with Ferrari, and it was at this track two years ago that he made his debut, and he qualified fourth, 1.4 seconds off Hamilton, who took pole.

"Don't forget Mercedes have won 51 out of 60 races in the last three and a bit years and there is every sign that Lewis and Valtteri Bottas will be very competitive".

Hamilton was also having to watch his mirrors as team-mate Bottas, destroyed on pace in the opening stages, was now getting a second wind. "I'm fine physically but emotionally it's tough", said Ricciardo, who will start in 10th, with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in 5th.

The consensus in the paddock was that Ferrari, led by four-time champion Vettel and starved of championship glory for a decade, held the advantage following a promising eight days of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

"It was about time", Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said after the Melbourne race - his words echoing the thoughts of the legions of Tifosi fans around the world.

"Big congratulations to Ferrari and Sebastian", Hamilton said. "Finally we can have an actual race. It's going to be great for the fans".

Fans should delight in this news, as the season past year was completely dominated by Mercedes. But Red Bull was well off the pace in Melbourne, with Verstappen placing fifth - nearly 29 seconds behind Vettel - and local hope Daniel Ricciardo failing to finish.

The German pitted at lap 23 and exited the pit-lane just in front of Verstappen, who was still gamely holding off Hamilton while riding his tyres thin. He was among the seven drivers who failed to finish. "There is not a lot of room for error on this track, but it is fun and so far I have really enjoyed driving it".

"This was not just a one-race wonder", Vettel said, "but the tip of the iceberg". "It was an awesome race weekend for me".

But Sebastian has four titles and he will continue for many years to come.

This time a reduced advantage meant the Ferrari was simply faster on the ultra-soft tyres with which the leading teams started the race. Never before in the history of the sport has a single team been so dominant for so long-but the new 2017 regulations were supposed to shake things up and, with a little luck, dethrone the king.

"I didn't know how quick they were going to be in the race". But Michael Schumacher's racing lap record from 2004 stood up, with Hamilton predicting the 2017 cars would go faster as the year progressed.

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