There were plenty of storylines to follow heading into the first weekend of 2019 in a season that has promised to deliver a mouth-watering prospect. 

F1’s annual curtain-raiser in Australia certainly served up a few surprises and provided the first answers to some of the questions we were anxious to learn over the winter break. 

Here are some of the main talking points to come out of the Australian GP…

Driver Ratings - Australia GP

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Mercedes fool everyone, Bottas hits back

Mercedes had managed to convince itself (and the rest of the paddock) that it was on the back foot and facing its toughest task yet heading into the new season, having pinpointed Ferrari as the team to beat in 2019.

But in Melbourne the reigning world champions shocked everyone (including themselves) by locking out the front-row of the grid with a seven-tenth margin to the fastest Ferrari, before a rejuvenated Valtteri Bottas headed a dominant 1-2 ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton - who still managed a relatively comfortable second place despite sustaining floor damage. 

The result was a significant one for the team which has conquered the V6 hybrid era and is looking to create more history by becoming the first F1 squad ever to win six consecutive double world championships. 

Melbourne’s street circuit is something of an anomaly and it would be foolish to call the championship fight off after just one race, especially considering Mercedes held a similar gap over Ferrari in Australian GP qualifying last year, only for the Scuderia to find its feet and arguably boast the stronger package for most of the campaign. But at face value the early signs were ominous. 

In claiming his first win in 16 months, Bottas proved he has no intentions of playing a supporting role to Hamilton for a third straight year as he ruthlessly crushed his opposition on Sunday. The Finn, powered by porridge for breakfast, described his emphatic display as his “best race ever” to cap a perfect start.



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