After five Drivers’ World Championships in a row, the Mercedes dominance in Formula One got off to the perfect start as Valtteri Bottas won the first race of the 2019 season in Melbourne.
Bottas claimed a bonus point for the fastest lap of the race, with teammate Lewis Hamilton finishing in second place behind in the Finn.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed the podium, finishing in third place.
The two Ferraris, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, finished in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Although it’s the first race of the season, it’s a brilliant start from Toto Wolff and Mercedes. And it could prove to be another season of success for the side.
2014 and 2015. Lewis Hamilton.
2016. Nico Rosberg.
2017 and 2018. Lewis Hamilton. Again.
Total dominance from Mercedes, and a first win for Bottas since Abu Dhabi in 2017. The 29-year-old could prove difficult competition for Hamilton this season.
Having failed to win a race in the 2018 season, with his teammate Hamilton easing to a fifth championship, Bottas took the lead after a flying start and didn’t look back.
Hamilton finished over 20 seconds behind Bottas, a similar story for the Brit from last year. 2018 saw him finish in second place, this time behind Vettel.
A complete contract, however, for Bottas. In Melbourne, a year ago, he finished down in eighth place after crashing in qualifying. Retribution for the Finn.
After the race, Bottas told the Guardian that the race was the best of his life:
“It was definitely the best race I’ve had in my life.
“It’s quite difficult to explain what’s been going on here last winter inside of my head and definitely something changed in terms of the way I feel about things in life in general and in racing, but that’s all in my thoughts. I felt good in the car today and yesterday. That’s all that matters.”
On a British perspective, Lando Norris finished in 12th for McLaren, and Williams’ driver George Russell came in 16th place.
Daniel Ricciardo, competing his first race since swapping Red Bull for Renault, retired 28 laps in. Not the start he would’ve hoped for, coming in his home race.
Some positive news for Bottas, is that every time a driver has headed a team one-two in Melbourne, that driver has gone on to win the championship.
The next race on the calendar is in two weeks’ time, as they head to Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Will Bottas cement himself as a serious title contender, or will Hamilton start his hunt for a sixth championship?
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