Valtteri Bottas dominated the Australian Grand Prix thanks to a sizzling start to scythe past polesitter Lewis Hamilton. It was Bottas’s first win since the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and puts him atop the championship standings for the first time in his Formula One career.

– Bottas described it as his best-ever race, and it’s easy to see why — his victory margin of 20.886 seconds easily eclipses his previous largest margin of 3.899 seconds — over Hamilton at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — and his average winning margin of 1.725 seconds.

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– The ordinarily mild-mannered Finn signed off what he called his best-ever drive with a sure to be timeless, “To whom it may concern, fuck you”. Pressed on what he meant or to whom he was referring, Bottas said, “It would be quit a long list, unfortunately, but that’s how it goes. I’m sure that people to whom it was destined know who they are.” He later added that some of his more ardent critics should “look in the mirror sometimes and think why they do that”.

– Bottas also took home a point for the fastest lap of the race. As per F1 editor Luke Smith, Bottas claims the extremely unusual title of being the first man to score more than 26 points on more than one grand prix weekend, the first such occasion being the double-points 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

– Bottas dedicated his victory to Charlie Whiting, who died suddenly on Thursday morning of a pulmonary embolism.

– Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed after the race that he had forbidden his team to go for the fastest lap if his drivers were running in first, second or third, claiming his engineers and drivers conspired to ignore his advice. Although happy to collect the extra point and pleased that it contributed to the spectacle, he said he didn’t believe the risk was worth it when running in such high-points-paying places.

– Lewis Hamilton’s 20-second deficit to Bottas was explained away by Mercedes as due to a chunk of the Briton’s floor missing due to circumstances unknown. Hamilton had earlier suggested he suspected he knew the answer to his lack of performance.

Max Verstappen finished third in his Honda-powered RB15 in a big result for the new chassis-engine partnership. It was the Japanese manufacturer’s first podium of its 2015 return as an engine manufacturer and its first since the 2008 British Grand Prix, the latter scored by Rubens Barrichello driving for the works Honda team.

– Ferrari, in a tail spin over its missing preseason pace, finished fourth and fifth almost 29 seconds ahead of the midfield. Despite the gap being large enough for a free pit stop, Charles Leclerc explained that his team didn’t want to risk a tyre change just for an additional point for the fastest lap, choosing instead to bring both cars home in formation.

– Renault, on the other hand, suffered what appeared to be its first power unit failure of the season. Carlos Sainz lasted just nine laps in his McLaren debut before he was forced to retire from the race with fire and smoke spewing from the back of his car thanks to an MGU-K problem.

Romain Grosjean was felled, almost unbelievably, by another problem with his front-left wheel. After infamously succumbing to an incorrectly fitted front-left wheel at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix, Grosjean again stopped by the side of the track with what he reported to be a suspension problem, but replays appeared to show a loose front-left tyre. Kevin Magnussen made it to the end of the race in sixth place.

Daniel Ricciardo suffered another disappointing home grand prix. After qualifying 12th behind teammate Nico Hulkenberg, his race effectively lasted only a few metres. At the start he innocuously put two wheels onto the grass alongside the pit wall, but his car bottomed out over a gutter, destroying his front wing. He circulated at the back of the field after a reparatory pit stop but was withdrawn from the grand prix after 28 laps with an overheating car.

– Early indications are that the revised front wings are aiding drivers keep close to one another, even if overtaking came at a premium at Albert Park, where passing is ordinarily difficult anyway. Seven drivers finished the race within 1.5 seconds of another car — eight if you add Max Verstappen finishing 1.634 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton. Alex Albon, who was involved in the race-long midfield scrap, said, “Following cars was actually better than I expected”.

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