Valtteri Bottas dedicates Australian GP win to Charlie Whiting

Mercedes

Mercedes

Charles Leclerc was fifth in his first F1 for Ferrari.

Following a season in which he failed to deliver a single victory, Bottas is a man under pressure this year.

"But then after that, I was trying to look after the tyres and then I got stopped super-early [for tyres] in reaction to the Ferraris." he added.

Valtteri Bottas celebrates after his win.

Black armbands and other tributes were on display throughout the race weekend.

Mercedes
Mercedes

He is now tied in second place with Juan Manuel Fangio, and is one triumph ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.

But this year's addition of a bonus point for the fastest lap encouraged everyone to push in the closing stages, regardless of how far ahead or behind they were of the nearest driver.

It didn't worry Bottas, who did a lot of soul-searching over the winter break and has come back physically and mentally stronger.

Lewis Hamilton stormed to an incredible sixth successive Australian Grand Prix pole position to lay down an ominous marker in the defence of his world title.

Down under, 4X champion Sebastian Vettel qualified 3rd, but was more than 7/10's slower than MercedesAMG's Polesitter Lewis Hamilton, and dropped to 4th in the race after being passed by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

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"I think I need to reconstruct the radio calls, how that happened". Just for the whom it may concern, they should look in the mirror sometimes and think actually why they do that. In the end I'm very happy, collecting that extra point is good, it's entertaining, it's a great new part of the spectacle.

Ferrari was unable to even muster a podium finish, with 2017 and 2018 victor Sebastian Vettel passed by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, leaving the German fourth.

The Australian smashed his front wing just metres after the race start and was forced to retire on lap 31, ending a forgettable home Grand Prix.

Red Bull proved they have enough power in their new Honda engines to be a genuine contender this year, with the aggressive Max Verstappen charging to third and overtaking Vettel along the way.

"In this Ferrari it is possible", Leclerc smiled, but he also said he is not rushing. I'm certainly surprised (by the gap to Mercedes) I think everybody is, probably even themselves.

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Before the start of Sunday's race, drivers and F1 staff lined up behind a sign that said "Thank You Charlie".

In his role as race director and safety delegate, as well as his involvement in various commissions, Whiting was well established as the first point of contact for drivers for a wide range of issues.

For Ferrari, they would have essentially been risking nothing for the potential to gain one point.

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