The F1 2015 season got off to a relatively low-key start, with Lewis Hamilton emerging victorious at the Australian Grand Prix. The Brit started from pole and looked in control throughout the race, finishing 1.3 seconds clear of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Sebastian Vettel was third in his first race for Ferrari, with Felipe Massa fourth for Williams. Felipe Nasr debuted for Sauber and finished fifth, ahead of home hero Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.
Marcus Ericsson, Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr and Sergio Perez completed the top 10. Meanwhile Jenson Button’s McLaren Honda surprisingly made the finish, albeit two laps down in 11th. Here are eight memorable moments from the Australian Grand Prix:
The field was pretty bare in Australia, with only 15 drivers lining up for the first race of the 2015 season. Valtteri Bottas suffered back pain during Saturday’s qualifying session and was taken to hospital. After checks on Sunday he was deemed unfit to race by the FIA and was forced to sit it out.
Kevin Magnussen, standing in for Fernando Alonso, suffered a power unit problem on his way to the grid. Smoke poured from his McLaren Honda and he failed to make the start, as did Daniil Kvyat. His Red Bull RB10’s gearbox failed on his way to the grid and he also registered a DNS.
The Albert Park Circuit is notorious for first lap accidents, and that continued in 2015. There was contact between Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz Jr into the opening turn. The former slowed, bunching up the pack.
Nasr was squeezed between Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado, pitching the Lotus driver into the wall. So yes, Maldonado did crash, but it wasn’t actually his fault this time.
Despite a woefully slow car, Button still got the brief chance to battle wheel-to-wheel during the race. His scrap with Perez got a bit too close at Turn 3, with the two colliding. The Force India driver eventually found his way past.
Max Verstappen became the youngest ever F1 driver when he left the grid at the Albert Park Circuit. The 17-year-old was enjoying a positive debut and looked set to score points, but a power unit problem just after his second pit stop cruelly forced him to retire.
The Ferrari pit crew will be extremely frustrated after the Australian Grand Prix. The team suffered several slow pit stops, and Raikkonen’s second tyre change caused his retirement from the race. The left-rear wasn’t fitted properly, but the ‘Iceman’ was given the green light to exit the pits. Game over.
The gap between the two Mercedes drivers remained under three seconds throughout the race, but Hamilton had it all under control. As expected, the team dominated and were rarely seen on our TV screens, and Hamilton eventually won by 1.3 seconds.
There may have only been 11 finishers, but there were still several great drives in Australia. Vettel performed well on his Ferrari debut to finish third. Meanwhile Nasr was one of the stars of the race as he competed in his maiden F1 race. He crossed the line in fifth, ahead of Ricciardo. Sainz Jr also impressed on his debut.
Arnold Schwarzenegger made a surprise appearance on the podium to interview the top three. It was both amazing and awkward at the same time, and concluded with the classic “I’ll be back”.