In their words: Drivers speak about Sunday's Australian GP

For the first time in 18 months, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel managed to take 25 points and a race win away from a weekend. It's fair to say, that the battle seen in the Australian Grand Prix today was much needed. Will the rest of the 2017 Formula One season follow suit?

Vettel's classy drive was enough to beat Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes - who struggled all afternoon with tyres after starting on pole. And how about this for a stat - today is the first time in 1,625 days that a Ferrari driver is top of the Drivers' Championship.

Valtteri Bottas claimed third on his Mercedes debut, and Esteban Ocon scored his first F1 points.

But, for every good weekend, there's a bad one. Daniel Ricciardo's Saturday luck carried into Sunday - he missed the start due to a sensor problem that caused his car to be stuck in sixth gear. Entering the picture two laps down, his race was effectively over. On lap 28, a suspected fuel pressure failure ended his weekend at the Turn 4 runoff area.

Ricciardo's already miserable weekend got even worse. | Photo: Getty Images/Robert Cianflone
Ricciardo's already miserable weekend got even worse. | Photo: Getty Images/Robert Cianflone

McLaren looked be on course for points; but Fernando Alonso's 10th pace was stolen by Ocon with six laps to go - Nico Hulkenberg demoted the Spaniard to 12th in the same passage. Two laps later, Alonso pulled into the pits with suspension failure.

Stoffel Vandoorne fared no better as he trundled around at the back, suffering with gearbox system ailments. But, a race finish is a positive.

Few positives also for Haas. Romain Grosjean was running well in 7th before engine failure stopped his race, with Kevin Magnussen's uneventful weekend ending with suspension failure, making the American team the only constructor to have a double retirement.

Here's what the whole grid had to say after the first 57 laps of the season.


Sebastian Vettel - 1st

"I'm usually not a big fan of champagne, but on the podium it tastes good every time! I don't know why?! We had a great race, a great relief for everyone. It's been tough for the last couple of months, but then again, I think we just did our job. We focussed ourselves, tried to build a good car, looking out for detail here and there. Putting it together, [Kimi and I] had a good feeling driving the car."

Kimi Raikkonen - 4th

"Not what [I] wanted to start with. But, if I compare it to the past two years, I'll take it. I think we understood a lot of things yesterday, the car was good on the soft tyres. So, disappointing, but I'm happy we understood a lot of things and I'm sure we're going to get back to where we should be in the next race."


Lewis Hamilton - 2nd

"I didn't really know how quick [Ferrari] were going to be in the race. The pace they showed in testing was obviously true. Today their pace on the ultra-soft tyres was fantastic. To be honest, my real strength wasn't until the end of the race, but it was too late by then. I think I executed the strategy well, I only stopped a lap before my target. It's great we've got a race on our hands."

Bottas impressed on his Mercedes debut. | Photo: Getty Images/Octane
Bottas impressed on his Mercedes debut. | Photo: Getty Images/Octane

Valtteri Bottas  - 3rd

I expected a little bit better. It's a decent start. Good amount of points for us as a team, we're missing the win - Ferrari was surprisingly quick. I think the main question mark for me is the first stint. I just didn't have the pace I should have had. I felt the car was sliding around a lot on the ultra-soft tyre, but once we put the softs on, it was feeling very good."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo - DNF

"On the plus side, I'm getting out of here. It's been a long week - don't get me wrong, it's been fun. I feel bad for everyone, I feel bad for the fans; I believe there's more people here supporting me than the others, and I'm sure they would've loved me to get out there and race, but it just snowballed on from yesterday."

Max Verstappen - 5th

"I was a little surprised that we were that close to Kimi [Raikkonen]. Pace was quite good, compared to him. The whole race, we were quite close to each other. Behind me, there wasn't much pressure, so that was nice. I think the car behaved a bit better in the race than in Qualifying."


Lance Stroll - DNF

"I had a good start, which was risky although I didn’t plan on it being quite so risky! It was my first race, and first weekend, so there are a few positives to take out of it. We had what I believe was a brake disc failure. I just hit the pedal, it went long and I was lucky it was in a place where there was a lot of run-off."

Felipe Massa - 6th

"It was a good race today. I knew that Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, they had a car that was quicker than us. To beat them, it would have been lucky, which we did with Daniel [Ricciardo] unfortunately, I'm not happy for him. That's the way it is, I'm happy to have gained a position for that. I managed to pass Grosjean, that was important for me. After that, I raced alone."

Force India

Sergio Perez - 7th

"I think it was a good day for us. I think finishing P7 was the maximum we could have got today, considering how far away we were from Williams - also Toro Rosso; I think we beat them due to a good strategy and good management of the tyres. But I think they should have been in front of us. Considering that, it's a good day."

Esteban Ocon - 10th

"Pretty happy, it's been a tough weekend and it's good to have this reward at the end. It's been a hard race also, I've been fighting with Fernando all race - he's a hard opponent at the start. I had much better pace than him, but it's so hard to overtake now. It's still to early to say [where we are], there's still a lot of development left."

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat - 9th

"It was just a shame that we had to make an extra stop during the final laps, as we had to fill my car with air again. If it hadn’t been for that, P7 was definitely on the table and we were fighting for it well. The team has done a fantastic job all weekend and I’m very glad about that – congratulations and thank you everyone!"

Sainz scored good points. | Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason
Sainz scored good points. | Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason

Carlos Sainz - 8th

"A tricky race! Obviously, with this new generation of cars, we didn’t know really what to expect, but to finish P8 is a decent result I’m happy with. Towards the end of the race I was coming fast, catching the Force India, and I got quite close to overtaking him - if only there had been a few more laps, I could’ve given it a try."


Nico Hulkenberg - 11th

"My first lap wasn’t great as I tried to get Kvyat on the outside of Turn 13 but he squeezed me wide and I lost a position to Alonso. There was not much I could do about him, even though I was lot faster as I just couldn’t overtake. I had a very positive last stint on the ultra-soft tyres with the car getting better and better, although it wasn’t quite enough to gain another position."

Jolyon Palmer  - DNF

"My race was going well. I made places at the start despite being on the hardest tyre, my pace was pretty reasonable and I could see Nico [Hulkenberg] and Esteban [Ocon] ahead of me. Unfortunately, my brakes stuck on at Turn 14. We hoped it was just a glitch, but it happened again so we had no alternative other than to retire.


Marcus Ericsson - DNF

"A very disappointing race for me. I did not have a good start, but then I was fighting hard in the first couple of corners on lap one. Unfortunately, in turn 3 I got hit from behind, which caused lots of damage on the right side as well as to the floor of the car. Later on, I had to stop the car on track due to a hydraulic failure caused by the incident on lap one."

Antonio Giovinazzi - 12th

"My preparation for this race was like no other in my career. Everything was too fast, not much time to think about the race. But, so far, we've done a good job. Thanks to Sauber, who didn't give me too much pressure and also to Scuderia Ferrari, and I think this was the target."


Stoffel Vandoorne - 13th

"I had a very tricky race. At my pit-stop, I had to perform a full power-cycle of the car to reset it, which cost me time and position, and I also lost the dashboard readout for a while. We definitely don’t have enough pace to compete with the cars ahead of us, so we need an extra big push for China, in a fortnight’s time."

Alonso had late problems. | Photo: Getty Images/Robert Cianflone
Alonso had late problems. | Photo: Getty Images/Robert Cianflone

Fernando Alonso - DNF (14th)

"It was pretty good, driving one of my best races so far and we were surprisingly in the points. All the race, we had to do some fuel saving and it was hurting us a lot, but we were able to keep the position. We're last. That's the performance we have now. We were 10th because the Qualifying lap yesterday was extremely good."


Romain Grosjean - DNF

"I suddenly lost a lot of power. I told the guys, then the next thing I knew I had to slow down the car. It’s a pretty disappointing result, but again, right now I’m hot and we’re all disappointed to lose a seventh-place position, but the car was there in qualifying in P6. I’m feeling it right now, but tomorrow I’m going to wake up thinking, you know what, we’ve got a great car, so no matter what, we’re going to be there this year."

Kevin Magnussen - DNF

"I had contact at Turn 3. I had Ericsson on the outside and I understeered into the side of him, which was unfortunate. I lost my front wing and damaged the car a little bit. We changed the front wing and then I went for a long test session to feel the car and learn a bit more about it, which was good."