Ferrari starts the 2018 Formula 1 Championship with a double podium and a victory for Sebastian Vettel.
To be honest, it was a bit depressing when qualifying wrapped up. Lewis Hamilton just took pole by more than half a second, which is a lot in Formula 1. It seemed Mercedes would just control the race from the front and add yet another victory to their trophy room. Of course anything can happen in a race, as we found out soon enough.
The start was clean and the top 3 didn’t change, Kimi in P2 tried to find a gap but soon settled behind the leading Mercedes. The first and only pit stop of the race was going to prove critical for the podium finish. Kimi came in first, attempting an undercut and Hamilton quickly reacted in the next lap. Meanwhile Vettel stayed out longer, knowing Melbourne is a tricky circuit and crashes happen every year.
The deciding moment came in a freak incident involving both Haas cars (who deserve a special mention for their incredible pace in Practice and Qualifying, a massive improvement over the 2017 season). Magnussen stopped at Turn 4 after his stop, and Grosjean did the same in turn 2. The team has explained a problem with the wheel nuts prevented the wheels from being properly tightened and making it impossible to drive any further. A heartbreaking moment for the hardworking team.
The stranded cars brought out the Virtual Safety Car, meaning all drivers have to slow down on track. Vettel knew this was his moment to fit new tires, and he exited the pits in the lead and ready for the restart on fresh rubber. A pass in the pits, but a pass nonetheless. Sometimes strategy wins the race over pure speed. Hamilton tried to get back in the lead, but the Ferrari proved too strong to pass. Sebastian Vettel is the first winner of 2018, meaning he currently leads the championship and got an unexpected mental boost. This GP is an exciting prelude of things to come, a battle among titans of the sport. Bring it on!