Lewis Hamilton skilled frustration for a 3rd successive 12 months on the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, as a poor begin and an early pitstop condemned the Method One champion to a different runnerup end.
Briton Hamilton claimed a record-extending eighth pole place at Albert Park on Saturday however ended up a distant second to his resurgent group mate Valtteri Bottas, who acquired the soar on him at the beginning and burned away. Hamilton was referred to as in to pit early and alter to medium compound tyres, straight after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel did the identical.
Bottas, in the meantime, stayed out on his comfortable tyres and prolonged his lead. With Purple Bull’s third-placed Max Verstappen a menacing presence behind him, Hamilton complained on the group radio that he was apprehensive his tyres wouldn’t final and battled dealing with points late on.
He later came upon there was a bit of his flooring lacking which might have exacerbated his automobile’s steadiness issues and so did effectively to carry on to second to the end.
Most factors for Mercedes was a fantastic group consequence, however Hamilton was condemned to ending runnerup for a 3rd 12 months in a row in Melbourne, after shedding to Vettel within the final two editions.
Total, Hamilton has transformed solely two of his eight poles into wins at Albert Park, in 2008 and 2015, a file which might frustrate essentially the most tranquil of drivers.
“Clearly the technique was not perfect within the state of affairs that I had,” he instructed reporters of the early tyre change. “So working with what I used to be given, I feel I did a comparatively first rate job.
“Simply clearly the beginning, I misplaced out rather a lot.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff mentioned it was the fitting choice to have Hamilton pit early.
“No, I don’t suppose it was a mistake as a result of we may have ended up behind Vettel, not doing that,” he mentioned.
“I don’t know why they pitted (Vettel) so early. That put us underneath stress, we wanted to cowl that undercut.”
Whereas Hamilton’s day was tinged with disappointment, Mercedes have been thrilled their uncooked tempo was greater than sufficient to place Ferrari and their rivals out of the equation.
Each Vettel and his new group mate Charles Leclerc completed almost a minute behind Bottas, a efficiency that stunned the Silver Arrows.
“I feel we have been stunned that we had such an excellent tempo and we have been stunned that they didn’t have any tempo in any respect,” Wolff mentioned.
“And possibly the reality is someplace within the center.”