Mercedes-Benz’s Nico Rosberg won the 2016 Australian Grand Prix Sunday, overcoming a poor start for the Silver Arrows to continue the dominance the team exhibited throughout 2015. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was second, while Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third.
Vettel may had finished at the front of the pack if it weren’t for the race being red flag following a heavy crash between Haas F1’s Esteban Gutierrez and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
The Ferraris, starting from the second row, got off to an excellent start, with Vettel clearing both Hamilton and Rosberg and taking first place well before they reached Turn 1. Raikonnen then capitalized on a mistake from both Mercedes drivers and passed them on the exit of Turn 1, putting the Ferraris 1-2 almost immediately.
The Ferraris then began to pull away as Hamilton lost positions. Both Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Williams’ Felipe Massa passed him on the first lap, but his bad luck would soon be no longer.
A crash between Gutierrez and Alonso, which sent Alonso’s car rolling before coming to a rest against a tire barrier, red flagged the race for 20 minutes. Ferrari, on a two-stop strategy, had super soft tires on Vettel’s car when the red flag came out, meaning they would have to pit once more before the checkered flag. Mercedes, meanwhile, had decided to take the more robust Mediums.
Unable to clear the 24 second gap needed to stay in front of Rosberg and Hamilton following his pit stop, Vettel handed the lead over to Mercedes and stopped for tires. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo also passed Vettel, however he later stopped for rubber as well and handed the third place spot to the German.
Unable to pass Rosberg, Vettel came home third with the two Mercedes in front. Raikkonen retired from the race soon after the restart due to a suspected turbocharger failure, which caused a fire in the engine compartment of his Ferrari.