F1: Valtteri Bottas wins Australian GP

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 17, 2019 13:34 hrs
Valtteri Bottas

Finland's Valtteri Bottas has raced to a comfortable win in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park. Bottas took over the season-opening race early on from Mercedes teammate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, and went on to win by 20.886 seconds.

Bottas was able to stay out seven laps longer than Hamilton, and after a straightforward pit stop, he held a substantial lead for the rest of the race.

"I don't know what just happened. I don't know what to say. The start was very good. It was definitely my best race ever," Bottas said post-race.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen made a charge through the field and looked set to catch Hamilton for second, but a miscalculation on a corner lost him time and he had to content himself with the third step of the podium.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel faded as the race went on and finished nearly a minute back in fourth, while the German's teammate - Charles Leclerc, finished fifth in his first race for Ferrari.

For Bottas, this was a fourth career win and he also got an extra point for the race's fastest lap which has been reintroduced this season.

Bottas is the third racer from Finland to win at Melbourne, after victories for Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and two successes - in 2007 and 2013 - for Kimi Raikkonen.