Published: Wed, March 20, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Ferrari confident Australian GP struggle won't set 2019 tone

Ferrari confident Australian GP struggle won't set 2019 tone

"I don't have a crystal ball so I can't tell you but I can assure you we'll be pushing onwards and upwards from here".

The 2019 version of Valtteri Bottas is leading a Formula One championship for the first time. The Finn then dominated the race and deservedly took the chequered flag but Hamilton revealed afterwards he had lost downforce after sustaining damage to the floor of his auto on lap four.

Sure, he's only one Grand Prix into the season, he concedes, but it was a big one.

Hamilton was around four-tenths a lap slower than Bottas during the Australian Grand Prix, allowing the Finn to build a comfortable gap and take victory unchallenged.

"I had no way of knowing it was the floor", Hamilton added.

The team struggled to get their auto ready for pre-season testing and later saw technical chief Paddy Lowe take an indefinite leave of absence ahead of the opening race.

The Finnish driver finished nearly 21 seconds ahead of second placed Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), while Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished in third place.

Bottas overtook Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the first corner in Melbourne before romping away with the first race of the 2019 season.

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Sebastian Vettel says his new Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc will push him hard throughout this season. I think that maybe these years at Williams, and then the shock draft into Mercedes, was something that he needed to digest. "I didn't have much chance to fight anyone, just a case of getting to the end". He added: "I'll go back to Europe straight away and I'll be back in the factory in the week and by the time I get there - I think it's Wednesday or Thursday - I'll have a much better understanding of the damage that was on the auto, I'll understand about the start and understand how to try and correct that for the next one". Leclerc was bound to finish in fifth place either way given the fact that he was not allowed to pass Vettel.

"Today in the morning meeting when we talked about strategy, I forbade them to go for the fastest lap if we were running first, second or third", said Wolff.

"Ultimately I didn't do a good enough job", he said.

"I was planning to just stay close behind, two, three seconds", Hamilton explained.

"It was one race", said the German driver.

Ferrari's main title rivals, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, secured a one-two in Melbourne to take an early lead in the race for the title.

Whiting died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism in Melbourne on the eve of the season-opener, and his presence and influence will be widely missed as the sport's global governing body tries to find a permanent replacement.

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