World champion, Sebastian Vettel made the perfect start to the new Formula One season, with a hugely impressive victory in the opening race of the campaign, the Australian Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old German was always in control of the race, from the moment the lights turned green and he eventually had 22 seconds to spare over Lewis Hamilton in second. Vitaly Petrov finished on the podium for the first time in his F1 career. Fernando Alonso was fourth for Ferrari, Mark Webber took fifth in the second Red Bull, with Jenson Button sixth for McLaren.
Seven times World Champion, Michael Schumacher was forced to retire with technical issues, as was his fellow Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg. It was a disappointing start to the season for the German, who had hoped to get the year off to a flyer in Australia.
Winning driver Vettel said: “It was a good race. In the end things calmed down, Lewis didn’t push, but it was not an easy race. The start was crucial, I was on the clean side, but didn’t know if it was enough until we got through the first corner. With Lewis dropping off later in the race, there was no pressure, so I was able to control it.”
Vettel added: “It’s a long season, so we have to keep on doing what we are doing now, enjoying, but working hard.”
Hamilton was delighted with his runner-up spot as he said: “We can take this and be very proud of ourselves. A week or two ago we weren’t expecting to be in the top five, so to come to second is a great achievement.”
Petrov was thrilled with his first podium finish : “To be honest I can’t believe I’m sitting with these guys. We didn’t know where we were coming into the season, but in practice and qualifying we were good. In the race the team did everything perfectly. We can be very proud of what we have achieved.”