Sebastian vettel needed to talk. The 31-year-old spent a long time at the ferrari control room looking for explanations for another defeat by lewis hamilton’s mercedes team in the first qualifying round of the new formula 1 season.
"I’m really amazed, we have some homework to do," said the hessian after the starting spot chase in melbourne. World champion hamilton took pole position for the sixth time in a row for the opening race at albert park, fin valtteri bottas drove the second silver arrow to second place, vettel was third.
Hamilton’s lead over vettel was unexpectedly rough at 0.7 seconds. Afterwards, the briton relaxed and squatted in front of the photo wall of the world federation, snapped a few cell phone photos and waited patiently for vettel, who was also late for the race. "We’ve made rough steps forward in the past few days," the 34-year-old noted. Still at the test drives in barcelona ferrari had been faster. There was no sign of that in australia.
"It didn’t feel as good as it did in the tests," vettel conceded. "We’re not worried grossly yet, but it’s certainly not great," he added. In the previous two years, vettel had won the opening race. With another win this time, he was keen to build momentum for his first world championship title with the scuderia in his fifth year under contract.
This hope was put to the test on saturday by the lead of the series champions in silver. At least vettel loves his new teammate behind him. 21-year-old charles leclerc from monaco finished fifth behind red bull driver max verstappen from the netherlands. Renault driver nico hulkenberg finished eleventh.
Once again, no one was able to keep up with hamilton despite brake problems, even though the defending champion initially made a driving mistake in the final run. "That’s unusual for me," said the five-time world champion. His final lap was again perfect, with hamilton setting a track record in 1:20.486 minutes. "I’m shaking a bit, it was so incredible out there," said the mercedes superstar.
This means that on sunday (6.10 a.M./RTL and sky) for the 84th time. Time in his career at the best starting position. He also equaled the record set by michael schumacher and ayrton senna, who had also claimed pole position eight times on one track.
Vettel, on the other hand, experienced a humbling day at work. "We are losing time in all the curves," analyzed the heppenheimer. In the second section, vettel pushed too hard and ended up in the gravel trap after turn eleven. "I was a little jealous of valtteri bottas, who drove rally in winter. I liked that too. Maybe I had this in mind. But it was the wrong time," joked vettel. He has retained his sense of humor for the time being.