Formula One World Championship 2015, Round 1, Australian Grand PrixReport – “Forza Ferrari!” the Italian accent might still need some work, but this was Sebastian Vettel’s happy radio message to the team on his slowing down lap, as he made it to the podium in his debut race for the Prancing Horse. It was the Scuderia’s first podium since Fernando Alonso finished second in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix and it was Vettel’s first since a third place in Japan, also in 2014.

The season started with a Safety Car, as Maldonado’s Lotus spun and crashed at Turn 2 on the opening lap, leaving plenty of debris to deal with. By then we had already lost Magnussen and Kvyat who had problems on the way to the grid and, of course the two Manor cars were not there either. The Mercedes duo led off the front row, followed by Massa in the Williams. Kimi and Sebastian were behind the lead trio, but the Finn’s Ferrari found itself trapped behind Massa and dropped to eighth.Once the Safety Car came in, Vettel managed his race to the end and thanks to a well planned strategy, he was able to get ahead of Massa at his pit stop on lap 24.

Kimi’s race was complicated by a problem with the left rear wheel, during his pit stop on lap 16. Trying to make up for lost time, he put in several fastest lap after fastest lap, passing Verstappen on lap 27, he was fifth and set off in pursuit of Massa. Unfortunately, there was a problem at his second pit stop, again with the left rear, which resulted in the Finn having to park his SF-15T at the side of the track.

Sebastian Vettel’s third place is a great reward for all the hard work over the winter and a great incentive to learn lessons from the weekend and mount an even stronger challenge in a fortnight’s time in the heat of Malaysia.

Final Results:

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m54.067s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes -7.640
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 25.523s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 29.196s
5 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m26.149s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1 Lap
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
11 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 2 Laps
- Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Retirement
- Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault Retirement
- Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda Not started
- Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes Withdrawn
- Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault Not started
- Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes Retirement
- Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes Collision
- Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari Withdrawn
- Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari Withdrawn


Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 25
2 Nico Rosberg 18
3 Sebastian Vettel 15
4 Felipe Massa 12
5 Felipe Nasr 10
6 Daniel Ricciardo 8
7 Nico Hulkenberg 6
8 Marcus Ericsson 4
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. 2
10 Sergio Perez 1
11 Jenson Button 0


Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 43
2 Ferrari 15
3 Sauber/Ferrari 14
4 Williams/Mercedes 12
5 Red Bull/Renault 8
6 Force India/Mercedes 7
7 Toro Rosso/Renault 2
8 McLaren/Honda 0


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Official Team Statements

Kimi Raikkonen: “Shortly after the start, someone hit me from behind. Then I felt another contact on my right side, but I don’t think it was Sebastian’s car. The impact activated the anti-stall system and did some damage to the floor of the car. We were very quick in the race, able to catch the Williams and to fight for the podium: but then there were problems at both pit stops. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know I lost something in terms of downforce. However, my team-mate’s podium is a great result for the team. Already in qualifying, despite my mistake on the quick lap, we knew we had a good car. And in the race, the gap to the Mercedes seemed less than on Saturday. It’s simply that, today, everything happened to me.”

Maurizio Arrivabene: “I’m only half happy today, because the real joy comes when you win. I am happy about the podium and for Seb, but above all I am pleased for the team, because this is a good starting point, although it’s definitely not the end of the road. I am sorry for Kimi, because everyone could see how strong he was in the race. But at the second pit stop, there was a problem with a wheelnut on which the threads had already been crossed during the first one. We realised there was a possible problem and we decided to stop the car immediately, because safety is the number one priority. Looking to Malaysia, we will keep our feet on the ground, because the Albert Park is a rather unusual track. If the second Williams had also been racing today, there would have been a clearer picture of the opposition we face. But now we have realised we can do well, we must begin to stop thinking about being “second best” and start aiming higher.”

Team radio – Kimi: “Did you leave the rear loose?”

“I got hit by Sainz on the rear wheel, the floor got damaged at the rear,” Raikkonen explained after the race. “I then got hit by the Sauber quite heavily so it damaged the front wing.”

The early incident could have derailed Raikkonen’s race but Ferrari switched him to a two-stop strategy, which seemed to be working as he scythed through the field in his middle stint. He set several fastest laps before his second pit stop but then his hard work was undone when Ferrari failed to correctly fit his left rear tyre on lap 40.

“I’m not very happy right now but I still believe in the race we are not too far away from Mercedes [on pace]. Obviously it depends on the race and what they do, we just had too many things not go our way today. I am sure we can be up there and fight at the front, so obviously we need to improve in qualifying as they are ahead of us by some margin. Things didn’t work out this weekend.

“We had the speed for a podium, even with the issues we went through after the start, we could still challenge the Williams at the end of the race, but it didn’t happen. I think we had a good car in qualifying, so we should have been higher up. Even with the damage with the floor from the rear when we got hit, the car was still fast. I strongly believe that we have a good race car, a fast car, I think the gap in the race is much smaller than in qualifying. Too many issues and an unfortunate thing we didn’t finish.” []

Cross-threaded wheel cause of pit-stop problem: As he brought his car to a stop Raikkonen asked his team “did you leave the wheel loose?”. “Unfortunately the wheel was not tight,” his engineer replied, “I’m sorry, Kimi”.[]

Ferrari and Raikkonen escape penalty

Ferrari has escaped punishment from the Formula 1 stewards for releasing Kimi Raikkonen from his second Australian Grand Prix pitstop with the left-rear wheel not properly attached.

Raikkonen stopped at Turn 4 on his out-lap after the problem – caused by damage from a cross-threaded nut at an earlier stop – was detected, costing him a likely fifth-place finish.

But while unsafe releases usually lead to teams being punished, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer accepted that the car was not sent out of the pits in an unsafe condition.

One of the crew on the left-rear corner of the car did signal that there was a problem when Raikkonen’s car was released.

But the stewards, including Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, deemed that Ferrari had monitored this situation closely and stopped the car as soon as the data and Raikkonen confirmed there was a definite problem.

“The team explained that the system used to monitor the pitstops gave no indication that the car was in an unsafe condition when released and the team caused the driver to stop immediately [once] the problem was apparent from the driver and telemetry.

“The team had paid close attention to the telemetry after the actions of the team members involved in the pitstop and further that the FIA technical delegate accepted the car was not in an unsafe condition when released.

“The stewards took no further action.”

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was seen talking with the pit crew after the incident, which he stressed was primarily to ensure the team remained focused.

“I went down into the box first of all to calm them down because I didn’t want them to panic,” he said.

“Second, I was asking the mechanics what had happened and if he could explain it to me.

“I simply said to him ‘calm down, be focused, don’t worry'”.

“I got hit by Sainz on the rear wheel, the floor got damaged and the rear,” said Raikkonen. “The car went into anti-stall because of that, then obviously I was slow before I could get the gear in, then I got hit by the Sauber quite heavily so it damaged the front wing, but it was the Toro Rosso of Sainz that started everything.”

Sainz admitted responsibility for the incident.

“I just know that I braked a tiny bit too” late, probably a bit too encouraged by the great start I got, and unfortunately I hit one of the Ferraris. I’m sorry for that. But lesson learned,” he said.


G.P. AUSTRALIA F1/2015 Report – Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will start the first race of the year from the second and third rows of the grid. Dominating today’s qualifying at Melbourne’s Albert Park was the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton (1.26.327,) with the top three completed by the Englishman’s team-mate, Nico Rosberg (1.26.921) and Felipe Massa for Williams (1.27.718.). Vettel was fourth in his SF15-T, posting a 1.27.757, followed by Raikkonen who did a 1.27.790.

Final Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.327s -
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.921s 0.594s
3 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m27.718s 1.391s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m27.757s 1.430s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m27.790s 1.463s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m28.087s 1.760s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m28.329s 2.002s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m28.510s 2.183s
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m28.560s 2.233s
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m29.480s 3.153s
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m28.800s -
12 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m28.868s -
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m29.070s -
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m29.208s -
15 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m29.209s -
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m31.376s -
17 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m31.422s -
18 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda 1m32.037s -


Kimi Raikkonen: “On my quick lap, I lost around three tenths at turn 3 and then I made a couple of mistakes in the next two corners. We knew we couldn’t fight the Mercedes, at least not in today’s qualifying, but third place on the grid was possible. In any case, during free practice, we saw that our long runs are pretty good, so we can be confident of having a good race. All we need to do is get a good start and then give it our best, but I think we can fight for a good position. As a team, we are working well together and we have a pretty clear picture of the situation. We know we are quick, but we need to improve in all sectors and, as for myself, I have to drive better.”

Ferrari duo say mistakes hampered Q3 lap Kimi: “I had quite a big mistake, three tenths in corner three, and messed it up the next two corners. The rest of the lap was pretty good and I caught up with the laptime, but it was pretty much done. We should have been in P3 but that is how it is. And probably we would have been one second behind Mercedes. We knew we cannot fight with them [Mercedes] in qualifying, but yesterday we had pretty good long run. Tomorrow the weather plays a big part, but like last year we are more confident with the race pace and this year we improve a lot overall. So it is a bit disappointing to have a mistake and start in P5, but I think we can still do a good race.”

Vettel, who lined up fourth, thought he should have done a better job on his first set of tyres in Q3. “Felipe nailed the lap. I think it was in reach on the first set, and ideally it should have been a bit quicker, but it wasn’t. That was down to me. The second shot in terms of strategy we could have done things differently, but all in all it was a very good result to have both cars in the top five.”


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Report – Sebastian Vettel was second fastest in the third free practice for the Australian Grand Prix, the final session before the all-important qualifying. Vettel posted a 1.28.563 to split the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton (1.27.867) and Nico Rosberg (1.28.821.) In the other SF15-T, Kimi Raikkonen was sixth with a 1.29.017, as he and his team-mated worked on a qualifying set-up. Both Ferrari men completed 13 laps, running two sets of Medium tyres and one set of Softs.

FP3 Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.867s - 11
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m28.563s 0.696s 13
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.821s 0.954s 14
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m28.912s 1.045s 14
5 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m28.988s 1.121s 18
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m29.017s 1.150s 13
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m29.481s 1.614s 12
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m29.864s 1.997s 15
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m29.869s 2.002s 19
10 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m29.934s 2.067s 24
11 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m29.952s 2.085s 16
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m30.613s 2.746s 21
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m30.741s 2.874s 14
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m30.993s 3.126s 17
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m31.185s 3.318s 10
16 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda 1m31.391s 3.524s 14
17 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m31.666s 3.799s 13
18 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m32.830s 4.963s 6


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Report – Nico Rosberg was fastest in the second free practice session just ended at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, home to the first round of the Formula 1 World Championship. Behind the German Mercedes driver, who posted a 1.27.697, came his team-mate Lewis Hamilton (1.27.797) and the two SF15-T of Sebastian Vettel (1.28.412) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.28.842.) Both Scuderia Ferrari drivers worked on set-up, running different aero downforce levels and comparing the Medium and Soft compounds chosen by Pirelli for this track. Raikkonen, just over seven tenths slower than his team-mate, admitted over the radio that it was “not a very good lap”. FP2 Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.697s - 29
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.797s 0.100s 25
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m28.412s 0.715s 33
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.842s 1.145s 33
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m29.265s 1.568s 32
6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m30.016s 2.319s 27
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m30.071s 2.374s 41
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m30.104s 2.407s 11
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m30.205s 2.508s 37
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m30.473s 2.776s 30
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m30.755s 3.058s 33
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m30.980s 3.283s 32
13 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m31.387s 3.690s 21
14 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m31.395s 3.698s 6
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m32.303s 4.606s 14
16 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda 1m33.289s 5.592s 4


Report – The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished the opening free practice session of the Australian Grand Prix in fifth and eighth places respectively, to get the 2015 season underway. Vettel completed 13 laps in his SF15-T with a best of 1.31.029, while Raikkonen did 14, the fastest being a 1.31.310. Both drivers used the Medium tyres, working on a programme featuring aero testing and set-up work to suit the car to the semi-permanent Albert Park circuit, which was still too dirty for any more in depth work. FP1 Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.557s - 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.586s 0.029s 19
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m30.748s 1.191s 20
4 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m31.014s 1.457s 32
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m31.029s 1.472s 13
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m31.067s 1.510s 31
7 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m31.188s 1.631s 19
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m31.310s 1.753s 14
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m31.451s 1.894s 22
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m31.570s 2.013s 9
11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m32.073s 2.516s 18
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m32.247s 2.690s 22
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m32.261s 2.704s 19
14 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m34.542s 4.985s 6
15 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Honda 1m34.785s 5.228s 7
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 2m17.782s 48.225s 5


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Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a typical Friday of free practice. In the first session I could not drive very well and it was difficult to put a good lap together. So, for the second session, we made some changes to the car before the long-runs and, in the end, the feeling was better. Now if we can put everything together and find a good lap, we should be OK. It was a positive day overall, and the feeling hasn’t changed since winter testing: I think the whole package has improved. On the other hand, it’s only Friday, and we know we still have a lot of work to do”.