Formula 1 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix LIVE
Location: Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Current Weather Conditions: 37 degrees. Sunny
The season-opening race is just around the corner and following yesterday’s Australian Grand Prix Qualifying session which saw Lewis Hamilton claim pole with Kimi Raikkonen in P2 and Sebastian Vettel in P3 – we’re now all getting ready for the race.
With driver interviews and all the updates as they happen – LIVE.
Pre Race Driver Interviews – Formula 1 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton: “I hope the lap is something we do often. The weather is out in all it’s glory today. The Ferrari’s will put up a great fight and hopefully we will too.”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s a special race for everyone, the teams, the fans and the drivers as well – it’s good to kick-off the championship in this way. Hopefully we will be able to put on a good show for everyone today.”
Valtteri Bottas: ” It was a tough day yesterday but today, it’s all upon us. We have the chances still. Starting in 15th I not the ideal place to start but we should never give up before the race. We will go in today with a fighting spirit and try to come as high as we can.”
Thanks to the Mercedes Twitter – here’s a little picture with the team working on Valtteri Bottas’ car.
Below, you can see the 2018 driver group photo.
PIT LANE OPEN – Formula 1 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
The green light is on and the pit-lane is now OPEN as drivers start making their way to the grid for the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
Some drivers are stopping and practicing their starts – others are making their way to the grid right away.
Current weather conditions are looking good – it’s sunny and warm and at the moment it’s around 39 degrees which could play a part in how drivers (and teams) manage their tyres and cars.
Niki Lauda: “Bottas to finish in 6th or 7th – you can’t overtake and there’s only 1 pit-stop. Lewis is in very good shape.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Weather conditions are good – it’s very windy out there but hopefully it’ll be good.”
Marcus Ericsson: “We are struggling a little bit with the downforce side but I think it’ll be a good race.”
Max Verstappen: “Everything is under control but maybe in 10 minutes – everything will be different.”
Alain Prost: “Looking objectively at the year – we are ahead of where we should be. We are ahead of the McLaren team but our target is to keep progressing.”
Brendon Hartley: “It’s kind of like a home race for me as I’ve seen a few flags and it should be a good race ahead.”
Toto Wolff: “There is so much to think about – we need to keep him in front and not worry about the guys behind. If we don’t have enough time to the teams at the back (for pit stops) – you cannot win.”
LIVE RACE – Formula 1 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
The formation lap is under way and it’s nearly time for the Formula 1 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton has a good start and Kimi Raikkonen cuts across and gets in front of Sebastian Vettel.
Raikkonen closing in to Hamilton who stays in the lead – it looks like all drivers have managed to make their way through the first corner ok.
Bottas makes no improvements. Fernando Alonso battling with Carlos Sainz.
Hamilton, Raikkonen and Vettel – the top 3 drivers for the moment.
Hartley comes into the pits – he had a little moment.
Team to Verstappen: “Come on mate, no time – let’s get in there.” He’s currently behind Magnussen.
DRS is now enabled.
Max Verstappen has closed the gap to Magnussen – he can’t find a way past however he’s ready to make a move.
Hamilton in the lead and the gap has widened slightly between him and the Ferrari’s.
Daniel Ricciardo now makes his way past Nico Hulkenberg.
Team to Ricciardo: “Nice job mate, nice job.”
Ricciardo is now up into P7.
Verstappen still behind Magnussen – he’s radioing his team settings.
Sergey Sirotkin is off-track. He’s on the run-off area and it’s double yellow flags down in sector 3.
Sirotkin: “The brake went full straight.”
No overtaking in the area (sector 3) – racing continues.
Verstappen: “My tyres are really hot.”
The front 3 drivers are looking after their tyres for the moment. There’s a little battle between the two Ferrari drivers. Vettel sets a faster time than his team-mate and his team-mate, Raikkonen, responds setting a similar or faster lap time.
Who will Ferrari bring in first for a pit stop – will they allow Raikkonen to come in first when required or bring in Vettel?
Bottas is down in P14 – he’s gained 1 place and is now behind Ocon but not looking as strong as his team-mate in the lead.
Bottas easily makes his way past Ocon – up into P13.
Hamilton in the lead – the top 3 drivers are keeping distance from one another and it looks like they’re managing tyres at the moment.
Max Verstappen spins – he loses places and is down into P8!
Team to Verstappen: “OK – make sure you’re sensible now and look after these tyres.”
Daniel Ricciardo is now up into P8.
Team to Raikkonen: “Try to close, try to close.” The team is pushing Raikkonen to put the pressure on Hamilton – could that be to help Vettel in the longer-run?
Hamilton is putting his foot down setting a fastest lap of the race.
Marcus Ericsson has retired from the race.
Team to Alonso: “OK Fernando – Vandoorne has spun.”
Alonso – “OK, speak up as it’s a long race and you are already losing your energy.”
Team to Alonso: “I am here, I am with you for the race.”
Motivation from Alonso to his team!
Hamilton leading the race – he’s handling the race and in control.
Brendon Hartley is going slowly.
Hartley: “What’s going on?”
Team to Hartley: “Try to box. Try to box.”
Team to Raikkonen: “Kimi, push as much as you can. Critical moment – critical moment.”
Team to Hamilton: “Can we pick up the pace slightly – looking at something in the 1:27’s”
Hamilton delivers with a 1:27.753
Team to Raikkonen: “Box Kimi, Box”
Hamilton leading the race. Vettel now up into P2
Raikkonen on the Soft compound tyres – the yellow tyres.
Team to Hamilton: OK Lewis, box – box”
Hamilton now comes into the pits.
Onto the soft tyre – yellows.
Making his way back out onto the track.
Vettel leading the race. Hamilton in P2.
Team to Ricciardo: “Magnussen up ahead is starting to struggle.”
Ricciardo: “Yeah – any opportunity, we’ve got to take it.”
Max Verstappen comes into the pits.
Vettel still leading the race.
Magnussen pits however after coming back out onto the track – he’s going slowly.
Team to Magnussen: “There we go guys, suspension failure.”
A team member in the pits realised a tyre wasn’t on correctly – he stormed out of the pits.
Vettel leading the race with Hamilton in P2 – Vettel still hasn’t come into the pits.
Romain Grosjean has slowed down on track too – what’s going on!?
He’s out of the race.
VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR
Bottas now comes into the pits – will Ferrari bring in Sebastian Vettel?
Ricciardo: “Does this screw us over?”
Team to Ricciardo: “No, it doesn’t.”
Sebastian comes out ahead of Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton has closed the gap however Sebastian Vettel leads the Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton: “What happened guys? Why didn’t you tell me Vettel was in the pits? “Did I do something wrong?”
Team to Hamilton: “We are looking into it Lewis.”
The safety car will now bring all the drivers together.
Verstappen giving a place back to Fernando Alonso – Max Verstappen actually waving Alonso to go by.
The Safety Car will be coming in at the end of the lap.
Hamilton right behind Sebastian Vettel who’s backing the cars up.
Max Verstappen makes his way past Hulkenberg – he’s up into P6.
Hamilton closing the gap to Vettel once again – he’s right behind and putting the pressure on Vettel who has been lucky with the Virtual Safety Car.
Alonso up in P5 – he’s got Ricciardo in front and Verstappen behind him.
It’s good to see McLaren up in the points.
Ricciardo now closing the gap to Raikkonen who’s in front of him in P3.
Vettel sets a fastest lap time.
Vettel has now started to defend as Hamilton has closed in on the Ferrari.
Ricciardo has closed the gap to Raikkonen.
The pressure is on for both Ferrari and Red Bull – at the moment.
Ricciardo being told by the team “he will make mistakes – we’ve seen it” as Ricciardo is still behind Raikkonen however closing the gap.
Hamilton now setting the fastest lap time who’s closing the gap to Vettel – again.
Team to Hamilton: “Strat 14” however – Start 14 isn’t a sustainable mode.
Slight smoke is appearing from the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton sets another fastest lap.
Team to Vettel: “He’s having problem with power unit temps” in regards to Hamilton. “Keep it there, keep your head down.”
Sainz: “I have no power now.”
Team to Sainz: “OK, we will look into it.”
Vettel leading the race – Hamilton behind but not putting as much pressure on him at the moment.
Team to Ricciardo: “Have a think about how you want to go about these last few laps. Do you want to keep attacking or have a rest and chill for a bit?”
Ricciardo: “I don’t want to let him breathe” in regards to Raikkonen who’s in front.
Sebastian Vettel now sets the fastest lap time.
Hamilton: “Can I push yet? You know how much I want it – come on! I’m going for it.”
Lewis Hamilton now setting the fastest lap times – purple sectors and he’s pushing, putting the pressure on Ferrari.
Team to Hamilton: “Ok Lewis, see if you ca manage you temps – we have Brendon Hartley up front so there will be an opportunity there.”
Team to Vettel: “He’s half a second faster – try to pass Hartley.”
Alonso still in P5. Ricciardo still in P4.
Both Vettel and Hamilton make their way past Brendon Hartley.
Sebastian Vettel WINS the Australian Grand Prix
If it wasn’t for the advantage during the Virtual Safety Car, Vettel would have been in P2 or P3.
There was a lack of communication from Mercedes to Hamilton during the VSC but a good race nonetheless and hopefully we’ll have close battles like this throughout the season.
Sebastian Vettel: “We got lucky with the safety car but I really enjoyed it – a great turnout today. As for my race, my start could have been better and I settled for third. I was struggling with the tyres and I was praying for a safety car and then when I saw it and came out on track and was really close to Lewis – the adrenaline was high and I enjoyed it.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been an incredible weekend – to have the performance we had is amazing and congratulations to Sebastian. Them guys did a better job today. “
Kimi Raikkonen: “Luckily Seb got the luck and the team got the win today. I tried to follow and we tried to see what we could do with pit stop and put pressure on the guys Red Bull had fresh tyres and I will take 3rd place and be happy.”
Sebastian Vettel: “He (Lewis) had a great lap yesterday and he totally deserved the pole position. We are not yet where we want to be – we got lucky with the safety car today but it’s a good start, a good win and fresh motivation for the next few weeks.”
Mercedes – SYSTEM ERROR for the miscalculated timing today.
Toto Wolff: “I think we have a software issue. A situation that we haven’t had yet with constellation of the cars n track and the gap that we needed was wrongly calculated on the systems. The way the algorithm is set up – we always had a green light and then we saw the TV pictures and the timing wasn’t enough.”
“The car was good, the time was quick and we were close to Sebastian Vettel. If you look at the lap yesterday – I’m not saying it because he is my driver – the lap was incredible and you have never seen anything like.”
Press – 2018 Australian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel: “Needless to say, we got lucky with the safety car today and this time, it worked for us – this was our key for the win and Lewis was fast. I struggled at the beginning where I had to let them go for a little bit as the tyres I was struggling. It’s not the easiest track to pass here – we are not where we want to be yet but it’s a good start and it’s the right motivation.”
Lewis Hamilton: “This is the second hardest circuit to overtake on – you need to have a big advantage to be able to pass. I was as close as I could be and the aerodynamics made things tricky. He looked like he was struggling, I saw a couple of mistakes and tried to put the pressure on but when I got close, I then had a lock-up. I just thought towards the end that it’s better to fight another day and make sure the engine is OK for the next races.”
Fernando Alonso: “Today’s race went better than qualifying and today we had an attack from Verstappen for the last 20 laps. Now we are here and it’s a good starting point for the team. Things are definitely going to be better this year and thee’s a lot more to come – hopefully in Bahrain we will see a step forward and Red Bull will be our next target.”
There’s lots more on the way – driver interviews will be online later this afternoon!