Current world champion Sebastian Vettel claimed a dominant victory in Formula One’s season opening Australian grand prix.
The Red Bull driver, who was equally impressive in taking pole position in qualifying, beat McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton into the first corner and held a lead that never came under threat all the way to the chequered flag. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov took a surprise third ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Many had predicted a classic at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne thanks to the new Pirelli tyres and ‘DRS’ moveable rear wing, both designed to improve overtaking. But instead there was remarkably little incident, with Felipe Massa’s early defence of fifth from Jenson Button perhaps the main highlight.
There was disappointment for Mark Webber in his home grand prix; he struggled for pace all weekend and come home fifth ahead of Button.
Sauber’s Sergio Perez came home an impressive seventh on his debut but he, along with team mate Kobayashi, was disqualified due to a technical infringement with his car’s rear wing. That meant fellow rookie Paul di Resta was promoted to 10th on his debut for Force India.
Classified top 10 drivers after 58 laps (unofficial timings)1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h29:30.2592. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +22.2973. Petrov Renault +30.5604. Alonso Ferrari +31.7725. Webber Red Bull-Renault +38.1716. Button McLaren-Mercedes +54.3007. Massa Ferrari +1:25.1008. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap10. di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1 lap