March 25, 2018 / 11:44 AM / 8 months ago

Team by team analysis of Australian Grand Prix

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Team by team analysis of Sunday’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix (teams listed in championship order):

Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 25, 2018 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel celebrates his win on the podium with Ferrari Race Strategist Inaki Rueda REUTERS/Brandon Malone

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FERRARI (Sebastian Vettel 1, Kimi Raikkonen 3)

Vettel won in Melbourne for the second year in a row and third time in total. The German had the virtual safety car to thank for allowing him to pit and stay ahead. The podium was his 100th, making Vettel only the fourth driver to reach that milestone, and the win his 48th. Raikkonen, who started in second place with Vettel third, now has 92 podiums.

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MERCEDES (Lewis Hamilton 2, Valtteri Bottas 8)

Hamilton led from pole (his 73rd and record seventh in Australia) but lost out to Vettel, who stayed out after the Briton and Raikkonen had pitted and was rewarded by the virtual safety car being deployed just as he was about to come in. Bottas started 15th after crashing in qualifying.

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RED BULL (Daniel Ricciardo 4, Max Verstappen 6)

Ricciardo started eighth after a three place grid drop and moved up thanks to the two Haas cars retiring and Verstappen suffering a 360 degree spin on lap 10. The Australian still missed out on an elusive home podium. Verstappen started fourth but lost a position at the start to Magnussen. He said something broke on the car, causing the spin.

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MCLAREN (Fernando Alonso 5, Stoffel Vandoorne 9)

Alonso, who started 10th, equalled McLaren’s highest finish from their three dismal years with Honda in the team’s debut with Renault power. The double points finish represents McLaren’s best start to a season since 2014.

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RENAULT (Nico Hulkenberg 7, Carlos Sainz 10)

A solid start for Renault but still behind their two customer teams. Hulkenberg started seventh while Sainz was ninth on the grid. The Spaniard struggled with a problem with his drinks bottle, which left him feeling sick.

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FORCE INDIA (Sergio Perez 11, Esteban Ocon 12)

No points for Force India, who had Perez chasing Sainz at the end. The team, fourth overall last year, are hoping for a step up at the next race in Bahrain, with new parts to come. Ocon passed Stroll at the start and then battled with Bottas.

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SAUBER (Charles Leclerc 13, Marcus Ericsson retired)

Formula Two champion Leclerc made his debut and chalked up a first finish. Ericsson, who has not scored a point since 2015, retired on lap six with an hydraulic issue.

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WILLIAMS (Lance Stroll 14, Sergey Sirotkin retired)

Debutant Sirotkin was the first retirement, pulling over on lap four with a rear brake failure that may have been caused by a stray plastic bag that blocked the cooling. Stroll started 13th, his car was in the wrong mode on the opening lap and he then lost out to Leclerc after the safety car re-start.

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TORO ROSSO (Brendon Hartley 15, Pierre Gasly retired)

Hartley made an early pit stop after flat-spotting the tires into turn one at the start. He then had a puncture on the second stint. Gasly retired with a power unit failure, the first after a trouble-free testing with new partners Honda.

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HAAS (Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen retired)

What had looked like bringing a points bonanza for the U.S.-owned team, who qualified fifth and sixth, ended in bitter disappointment, with both cars retiring after being released from pitstops with loose left side wheels. The team were fined 10,000 euros ($12,000) for the breach. Magnussen had been fourth at the end of the first lap, Grosjean fifth.

($1 = 0.8097 euros)

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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