It's about time, says Sergio Marchionne after Ferrari's Australian Grand Prix win
Mar 28 2017 by Kelly Saunders
"It's not the time to look at the table". Aussie Daniel Ricciardo nearly didn't start after his vehicle stopped on the way to the grid.
Sebastian Vettel wasn't quite as optimistic as Lewis Hamilton that Ferrari would be staying in contention with Mercedes over the coming months, though. The pace they showed in testing was true and today their speed in that first stint on ultra soft tires was fantastic.
He came home second to Sebastian Vettel at the Australian Grand Prix after getting caught behind Max Verstappen in the pit-stop phase. The guys didn't get much sleep, vehicle really behaving well, incredible fun to drive, a attractive day. Vettel followed with Bottas in tow until Hamilton tried to get the undercut on Vettel and pitted from the lead on Lap 18. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff angrily slammed his fit on to a desk as the red auto emerged from the pits before Hamilton could regain the initiative. As drivers neared the pit lane, several overly enthusiastic Ferrari fans took to the track to wave a flag as close to race victor Vettel as possible.
The team 's frantic efforts saw Ricciardo eventually start the race from the pit lane around two laps down, with the Australian taking to the Albert Park circuit for what would amount to a test session at worst, or a miracle championship point (or two) at best.
Truly, I don't expect that to be the case in 2017, because the SF70H is clearly a very good auto and much better than its predecessor. "Seb was always able to answer in terms of lap time". I had nothing left in my tyres. Do get stuck into the comments...
"Trust me, we've done a lot to be better prepared this year than it was last year", he said.
Hamilton finished second to the German in the season opener in Melbourne after losing the lead following pressure from the Ferrari driver's superior pace. The big difference was being able to deliver a really good vehicle. "I'm excited to watch it, first time in 11 years now in front of the TV, so that's a massive different experience". I think since then, since day one, he proved he is very, very quick, very talented and also working hard. At the start I was a bit too nervous and had too much wheelslip off the line, then I had to take care of Valtteri.
"Overall, I think not a disaster, first race weekend with the team", said Bottas, who joined Mercedes for 2017 as a replacement for Rosberg. F1's new chairman Chase Carey and Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches - the sporting and commercial executives - were all present in Melbourne, and while they will be pleased that a Mercedes auto did not win, the show itself was hardly a thrill-a-minute spectacle.
"Ah, you could push much harder", the race victor said.
Hamilton couldn't even get close to the target lap times once in clear air.
"Valtteri did a great job and it's great for us as Mercedes".