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Australian F1 Grand Prix 2017 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights, Reaction

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2017

Formula One cars roll out at the start of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --        (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
SAEED KHAN/Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel took the win in the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, the first race of the 2017 Formula One season.

Ferrari outsmarted Mercedes in Melbourne, grabbing the lead from Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane and never relinquishing it. Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished in third place, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

The latter's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo struggled with electrical issues throughout the race and retired, as did both Haas drivers. 

Here's a look at the results from Sunday's race:

Formula 1 @F1

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION (LAP 57/57): First blood to @ScuderiaFerrari #AusGP 🇦🇺 #F1 https://t.co/i6ZYu7kmcv

The standings after the first grand prix of the season look like this:

F1 Standings
POSDRIVERNATIONALITYCARPTS
1Sebastian VettelGERFerrari25
2Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes18
3Valtteri BottasFINMercedes15
4Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari12
5Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing10
6Felipe MassaBRAWilliams8
7Sergio PerezMEXForce India6
8Carlos SainzESPToro Rosso4
9Daniil KvyatRUSToro Rosso2
10Esteban OconFRAForce India1
Formula1.com

Recap

There was plenty of drama before the race even started, as Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat almost couldn't leave the grid due to an empty fire extinguisher and home favourite Ricciardo faced a serious electrical issue.

The Australian missed the two formation laps but somehow made it out onto the track with just a minor deficit, per BBC 5 Live's Jennie Gow:

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Jennie Gow @JennieGow

Ricciardo is out on track - 2 laps down GO GO GO #F1

Hamilton had a smooth start and held the lead into the first corner, while Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen of Haas collided further down the back. The latter suffered a puncture as a result.

Vettel kept Hamilton close in the opening stages and built a lead over Bottas, a good sign for Ferrari after their slower pace in practice. Hamilton comfortably stayed ahead of his rival, however.

Eighteen-year-old Williams debutant Lance Stroll and McLaren's Fernando Alonso impressed in the background, while the Spaniard's team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne had to make an early stop as he lacked power.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H on track during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Just 11 laps into the race, Hamilton contacted the pit crew to complain of too much heat into the tyres, while Renault's Jolyon Palmer faced even bigger problems. Romain Grosjean was the first man to drop out of the race, steering his smoking Haas into the pit lane in time.

Hamilton made his first stop to move onto the soft compound after 17 laps, with Vettel staying out on track. The Englishman soon closed in on Verstappen, who had moved into second, but to the frustration of Mercedes the young Dutchman held his ground.

Per BBC 5 Live Sport, Mercedes warned Hamilton he had to make his move quickly:

BBC 5 live Sport @5liveSport

"This is race-critical, you need to get past Verstappen" Hamilton in 5th after pit stop Vettel leads #AusGP https://t.co/yGPFwDHF76 https://t.co/EtGBkReGPN

Vettel didn't pit until Lap 25, and Ferrari's decision paid off in a big way, as the German emerged back on track ahead of both Verstappen and Hamilton.

By the time the situation at the front cleared up, Vettel led Hamilton by over three seconds, and the latter complained to his engineers of a lack of grip over the radio. Further back, Ricciardo admitted defeat, per F1's official Twitter account:

Formula 1 @F1

📻 RED BULL: "Sorry mate - the car's done" Tough weekend for RIC is over after he stops at Turn 3 #AusGP #F1isBack 🇦🇺 https://t.co/zWsdgowF2c

Bottas closed the gap to Hamilton while Verstappen left the pit lane on supersofts, setting up another intriguing tactical battle. Instead of closing in on Vettel, Hamilton effectively had to start looking over his shoulder for his team-mate.

With 10 laps to go, Vettel kept Hamilton at bay. As shared by NBC Sports' Luke Smith, there was a simple explanation:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Hamilton: “I’ve got power dropping in and out!"

Magnussen joined team-mate Grosjean on the sidelines with eight laps to race, becoming the sixth driver to drop out. Alonso also retired before the end.

Esteban Ocon of Force India moved ahead of his rivals in the battle for the final point while Vettel posted a fastest lap time of 1:26.638 with the race winding down. The four-time world champion was never really threatened, taking his first win of the season and the top spot in the standings.

Per F1's official Twitter account, Hamilton blamed Mercedes' tyres for the struggles:

Formula 1 @F1

HAM: "Big congrats to Ferrari. We struggled with the tyres. Overall a good race... and look at the crowd!" #AusGP 🇦🇺 #F1 https://t.co/eQKGJJUIs2

Vettel was in awe of the work the Ferrari crew put in:

Formula 1 @F1

VET: "It was an unbelievable race. The guys have worked so hard and have hardly slept this week..." #AusGP 🇦🇺 https://t.co/WDF66kbfKA

It's a superb result for Ferrari who came into the opening race with great expectations after a solid showing in pre-season. Mercedes have dominated F1 for the last three years, and Hamilton's power issues are a major cause for concern after one race. Even at full tilt, the Silver Bullets weren't significantly faster than Ferrari.

The second grand prix of the season will take place in China, on April 9. 

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