Lewis Hamilton was frustrated for the third consecutive year at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday early in the season, while a mediocre start and an early pit stop have sentenced the Formula One champion to another arrival.
Mercedes Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas leads Lewis Hamilton out of the first round in the second round of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, on March 17, 2019. AAP / Julian Smith / via REUTERS
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MELBOURNE: Lewis Hamilton was frustrated for the third consecutive year at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday in the opening of the season, when a bad start and an early pit stop sentenced the Formula One champion to another arrival.
Britain's Briton signed an eighth pole position at Albert Park on Saturday, but was trailed by a second place behind teammate Valtteri Bottas, who got the jump and burned.
Hamilton was called on to fill up early and switch to intermediate rubber tires, just after Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel did the same.
Bottas, meanwhile, stayed on his soft tires and extended his lead.
With Red Bull's third-placed Max Verstappen, a threatening presence behind him, Hamilton complained to the team's radio that he feared his tires would not last and fought late for handling problems. of road.
He later discovered that he was missing a piece of his floor that would have aggravated the balance problems of his car and that he therefore did well to stay in second place.
Max points for Mercedes was a great team result, but Hamilton was sentenced to finish second for a third consecutive year in Melbourne after losing to Vettel in the last two editions.
In total, Hamilton converted just two of his eight sticks into victories at Albert Park in 2008 and 2015, a record that would frustrate the quietest riders.
"Obviously, the strategy was not ideal in the scenario I had," he told reporters about the early tire change.
"So, working with what I've been given, I think I've done a relatively decent job.
"Obviously the beginning, I lost a lot."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said it was the right decision to be in Hamilton early.
"No, I do not think it's a mistake because we could have been behind Vettel without doing that," he said.
"I do not know why they trained (Vettel) so early, it put us under pressure, we had to cover that cut."
While Hamilton's day was tinged with disappointment, Mercedes was delighted to find that his brutal pace was more than enough to put Ferrari and its rivals out of the equation.
Vettel and his new teammate Charles Leclerc both finished nearly a minute behind Bottas, a performance that surprised the Silver Arrows.
"I think we were surprised to see that we had such a good pace and that they had no rhythm at all," Wolff said.
"And maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle."
(Edited by Amlan Chakraborty)