Published: Mon, March 18, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Honda secures 1st podium since return to F1

Honda secures 1st podium since return to F1

Verstappen overtook two-time defending Australian Grand Prix champion Sebastian Vettel on the outside just after halfway through the season-opening race on Sunday and kept powering away from the Ferrari ace to finish third.

McLaren failed to live up to its early-season promise, however, and its campaign soon unraveled as the team wound up finishing seventh in the constructors' championship, meaning Alonso's declaration has not aged particularly well.

Red Bull are expected to move to another level with Honda engines this season, team principal Christian Horner describing the change to new power units as "the missing ingredient".

Red Bull, previously powered by Renault, had not finished on the podium in Australia in the current engine era, while Honda's last podium came in their previous spell in the sport in 2008.

Verstappen had started fourth at Albert Park but made up a place on Sebastian Vettel shortly after his pit-stop.

Mercedes drivers finished first and second, with Finland's Valtteri Bottas winning the race for his fourth career F1 victory.

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"Max has been able to use that to really good effect today", he continued.

But his pain would have only intensified after watching his former team Red Bull defy the critics and land a podium in the Formula One season opener.

"In terms of the speed we had throughout the race, it was a very good step forward from a year ago. In general, I'm just happy to be on the podium".

"I thought we had the quicker vehicle than him, certainly in the second half", he added, "at this venue this is really encouraging for us".

"We've got a good base from which to start and really develop this vehicle". As soon as I had the opportunity to go for it, I went for it, and luckily it paid off. It's good progress, there's a lot of positive things coming. "I think we were faster than him but at this track it's just so hard to get past".

"I'm very pleased with that - the engine has been performing well without any issues". Speaking to La Presse, Villeneuve said, "For Gasly, the only goal is to compare himself to Max Verstappen". "Time will tell if we can challenge for top spot".

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